The Starling Tellum 79er. A Better Bike Through Science!

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starling tellum
Fun up front and business out back, the way things should be

The new Starling Tellum is a ground-breaking, industry-shaking full suspension mountain bike… with a difference.

It takes the scalpel-precision of a fast and maneuverable 27.5in wheel and places it up front. Then, adds the blunt (but stable) force of a tough, hard hitting 29in wheel on the rear. The bike is made with no geometry compromises and built around Starling’s fast, compliant and simple steel single pivot frames. And of course ‘Tellum’ is Mullet, but backwards!

The Tellum was born out of Starling founder Joe McEwan’s constant hunt for answers to the question of how we can go faster and have more fun on our mountain bikes. Having built the Starling Twist, a traditional Mullet bike, Joe questioned whether his understanding was correct.

Party on the descents

“I think I was mislead in the way I applied the science” says McEwan. “I started from a clean piece of paper again and thought ‘how do we properly do this?’”

“I have talked a lot about gyroscopic stability, the forces that keep a wheel in-plane, and how this is the only significant difference between 29in and smaller wheels. A bigger wheel is more likely to stay in-plane and not get deflected off line, it is also more stable when leant over in a corner. It is these factors that people translate as “better at carrying speed”. But conversely they also make the wheel harder to be manoeuvred in and out of line choices.”

“With the Twist I took the industry standard mullet solution and applied the wheel stability science, concluding it was better to have a big front wheel for tracking, and a small rear wheel for manoeuvrability. Essentially applying science to a pre-existing solution.”

All business on the climbs

“With the Starling Tellum, I took a different approach, if we start with the science, what solution do we end up with? What we want is a manoeuvrable front wheel, allowing it to be moved in and out of line choices, picked-up and put where we want – after all the front wheel is where steering occurs! The rear wheel then just follows on. If the rear wheel is stable it just trucks on and keeps the speed, there is no need for a manoeuvrable rear wheel.”

“The solution, the Tellum, just works. The science is right, the bike is right!”

And we’d have to agree. Andi even tried it for himself on the Lone Parabellum we had in earlier this year. Andi has been trying the Tellum system for a while now and reckons that it’s like the bike knows where to go. “yeah, it felt like it was choosing its own lines!”

Joe from Starling Cycles agrees “I hope that my approach inspires the bike industry to flip their established notions of bike design and look at how they can do things differently. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a World Champion on this sort of bike soon?” And he’s even made a video showing how impressive this bike is on his local trails.

The Tellum is available now for pre-order through Starling Cycles with a limited run of frames being built to order. Pricing and further information is available on request.

More details are available at :

Comments (13)

    photoshop on the back wheel gives it away…

    but the date aside, i have actually tried this and prefered it to the other way round. the way they feel on the front is what i don’t like about 29ers, on the back i don’t notice the gyroscopic weight feeling, and it rolls better of course.

    Again date aside is this not what Chris Porter has been doing/saying for a bit?

    I want one. Paint mine bright orange and spec it with a top tube shifter and ape hanger bars. A modern day Raleigh Chopper, they handled sweet

    Anything with those cranks (or the e-wings) always gets my vote.
    @single07 – as a professional photoshopperiest, I’m annoyed that I can’t see what you’re seeing. Surely he just built this for real from existing parts?

    No photoshop on the video!

    I have a Moxie that’s currently a bit like this…
    29er rear, 650b+ front while I’m waiting to build a plus rear. Nothing wrong with lots of grip up front! Seems to work fine! Will be going with the plus rear though as I can then shorten the chainstays for easier manuals.
    I run the Murmur plus and I wouldn’t change it – best bike I’ve ever ridden. The Moxie is the best HT I’ve ever ridden when it’s + both ends.
    If I was building a frame I’d ignore being able to fit 29er wheels and have just enough chainstay length for a decent plus tyre I reckon.
    I sort of get mullets with plus rear tyres for ebikes as there’s a bit more power to get down but I’d still go for a plus up front I think…
    Anyway, back to trying to think of lies to tell the family..!

    How far away is that front wheel?

    Wrong, wrong and wrong.

    RIP Nick3216.

    He spent so long trying to convince us this was the future. And he wasn’t joking.

    Anyone remember those 69ers? Were they created on 1st April too or did they ride well?

    @charlie dontsurf

    The front wheel isn’t far away, it just appears that way because it’s small.

    yes i tak eit back, no photoshop. the light on the back wheel is just weird.
    but then i watched the vid!

    I’ve got a Kona Big Unit SS with 29″ rear and a 650B plus up front on a Maverick SC32 fork and handles like nobodies business, absolutely awesome ride.

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