Bespoked - a celebration of handmade bicycles & those who make them.



Getting to know the people that make the bikes

Joe McEwan of Starling Cycles


Bristol based builder of full suspension MTB's.

 An ex aerospace stress engineer Joe makes bikes designed to bring a smile from ear to ear. Now that's a fine way to remove any stress!


Joe in the workshop

Do you remember your first bike?


Yup, dark red, solid tyres.  Cranks kept falling off so my big brothers mate welded it back on.  Great for skids!



How did you get into building bikes?

I've always built things for all of the hobbies I've been involved in; skateboards, golf clubs, radio controlled car mods...  When biking was my hobby things were no different.  I did a framebuilding course with Dave Yates where I built my first frame.  But more importantly it that gave me the confidence to set up in my shed and start knocking up my ideas.


How would you define your style as a framebuilder?


I'm an engineer by background, the idea of having a framebuilding 'style' makes me laugh!  I build bikes that ride well.



Who or what has inspired you along the way?


I'm inspired by the engineering challenge of building a great riding bike.   I probably take influences from other sources, but it's not concious.  So I can't say anyone or anything has particularly inspired me?



What can we expect to see from you at Bespoked 2018?

At Bespoked I'm showing two new prototypes, from two extremely different ends of the bicycle spectrum!


Where is your favourite place to ride?


Lots of great trails in South Wales!  But I've had some great riding in Spain, France, Portugal.  I'm quite happy whenever I can get out on my bike.  Whether sliding around in the mud in Leigh Woods in Bristol, or hanging on for dear life down the side of a mountain in the Alps!


And finally, if you weren’t building bikes for a living what would you be doing?


I'd still be an aerospace stress engineer.  Signing off analysis spreadsheets armed with a multitude of highlighters; almost as exciting as it sounds!



starling cycles

Starling Cycles makes the fastest, most lively and beautiful steel full suspension mountain bikes.  Each frame is constructed in Bristol using Reynolds 853 and Columbus tubing.  All frames are available with custom front triangle geometry, and a smattering of other customer options.  Currently three models are available, the Murmur a 145mm 29er and Swoop 155mm 275 Enduro race bikes  and the Beady Little Eye, a 110mm singlespeed full suspension frame design purely for fun!  All of the bikes, especially the Murmur have been received with massive acclaim by the mountain bike media, come to Bespoked to see them in the flesh.

Maker - Joe McEwan

Designer - Joe McEwan

Where - Bristol