London Bike Show 2013: Starley Bikes
Newly launched bike company pays homage to JK Starley, the inventor of the Rover safety bicycle
There were some interesting new brands using the London Bike Show as a platform to launch themselves, and one of them was Starley Bikes.
John Kemp Starley brought the Rover Safety Bicycle to the world in 1885, and with it set the blueprint for pretty much every bicycle produced since. Starley opened the Rover bicycle company to manufacture the bikes on a huge scale in Coventry, before the advent of the automobile. Rover transformed into a car company, and they stopped producing bicycles in 1904.
Short history lesson over, Starley Bikes are producing a range of carbon fibre road and time trial bikes. The Cheshire-based company has the full blessing from the Starley family to use his name in this way.
The aero AR1 certainly looks the part
The bikes then... well, they’re all carbon fibre and the road bikes come in two flavours, the aero AR and the regular R1. The frames are made using readily available open moulds but Starley are very specific about the carbon layup. They have the necessary engineering background with carbon fibre to know precisely what they want to achieve with the layup. They use a mix of Toray 700 and 800 carbon.
The all-round and very nice looking R1. Starley have their own paintshop and will do any colour you want
Details include internal cable routing, and they have a Di2/EPS specific frame that is moulded without the redundant cable ports. There’s a Press-Fit 30 bottom bracket, tapered head tube, and AR aero frame has an integrated seatmast.
There's a time trial frame too, which looks bang on trend
The frame and forks sell for £699 and this includes any choice of colours you can think of. A full custom paint job design costs an extra £150. Starley produce their own handlebars and seatpost, and you can get a module, including a stem, for £949. Complete bikes are offered too, starting at £1,750 with a SRAM Apex groupset. SRAM Force and RED are also available.
Starley also make their own wheels. They have a full-time wheelbuilder who’ll build up any combination of hub and rim you want. There’s everything from 24, 38, 50, 60 to 80mm rims, a disc wheel and even a five-spoke carbon wheel. The JS Meteor AC 38/50 C wheels cost £749 and use an aluminium rim wrapped with a carbon fairing and weighs 1,750g.
We’ll be getting a bike in for review soon, as we’re keen to take a closer look. Check them out at http://starleybikes.com, or why not visit the show this weekend and see them for yourself?