Staran FSM-140 trail bike review

Canadian bike maker delivering value with consumer-direct sales model

27.5 All Mountain Trail
Staran Cycles FSM-140 Full Bike

Staran Cycles FSM-140 is a well-spec’d trail bike.

What is it?

Staran (aka “trail” in Gaelic) is a new brand out of Canada that’s aiming to deliver a trail bike solution with a consumer-direct model. They chose to focus on one bike first and put the bullseye correctly on the aggressive trail market, in this case 140mm travel on a 27.5 wheeled steed. How they chose to differentiate from the crowd is by providing the best components for the money and by offering good customer service and a 30-day return policy with a 10-year guarantee. Have they succeeded? Read on to find out.

Utah Playground

Staran Cycles FSM-140 getting some Utah exposure.

Pros
  • Good spec with Race Face components
  • Very good 1×11 XT drivetrain and brakes
  • Light wheelset
  • Dropper post
  • 2017 spec improvements are significant
  • Strong U.S. dollar nets an even bigger bargain
  • Very good guarantee and customer service
  • Horst Link rear suspension works well if controlled properly
Cons
  • Only one bike in one green color
  • Frame is not unique or innovative
  • Rear X Fusion shock does not control or support the rear enough
  • Continental tires tall and not supported enough
  • X Fusion dropper post and lever are dated
Staran Cycles FSM-140 Drivetrain

Drivetrain is a 1×11 Shimano XT with Race Face crankset.

Mtbr’s Take

The star attraction of this bike are the components. Race Face bars, stem, grips, saddle and cranks are some of the best available today, and it is a pleasant surprise to find them on this sub-$3000 bike. They’re not lightweight carbon bits, but they all share the right ergonomics, strength, and looks of the higher end line.

The drivetrain is 1×11 Shimano XT with XT brakes with 180mm rotors. This combo works very well and is a highlight of this package. The gearing is excellent with the 32-tooth front ring working with a 42-tooth cog and 28-pound bike weight. One more lighter gear on this rig would make it even better. The stoppers are dialed with incredible power using minimal lever effort.

Staran Cycles FSM-140 Cockpit

Stem is Race Face 60mm and bars are 760mm.

Wheels are Stan’s ZTR Arch and tires are Continental Mountain Kings. Internal width of the rims is acceptable at 26mm but these tires do seem tall and balloon-like, requiring more tire pressure to support them laterally.

The X Fusion Sweep suspension up front is good, with plush, out-of-the-box performance. The rear on the other hand is a bit bouncy with not quite enough mid-stroke support for this Horst-Link suspended bike. It’s fairly plush in descents but we longed for more control on climbs and technical trails.

Staran Cycles FSM-140 Exposure

Staran Cycles FSM-140 tackles Moab, Utah.

The Upcoming 2017 Model

What’s really exciting about this bike is the 2017 build not featured here but coming in the next few weeks. Race Face continues to rule the roost but Fox suspension enters the fray in the most critical areas. A Fox 34 will take care of the front and a Fox Float X will handle the rear end duties. This is a significant improvement that will maximize the performance of this platform by offering adjustable mid-stroke support. This new suspension will come at a slightly higher price of about $200, a very worthwhile trade-off in our opinion.

Tire duties will be handled by Maxxis Minions with the latest rubber compound and sidewall technology called 3C/EXO/TR. This will deliver a massive improvement. There will also be an SLX/X Fusion version available at around $2100.

Staran Cycles FSM-140 Post

Dropper post is the X Fusion Hilo Strait.

The US Dollar Factor

Because Staran is a Canadian company shipping on demand, it is subject to whims of the Canadian-to-U.S.-dollar conversion rate. And boy is the U.S. dollar looking good right now. Staran primarily uses PayPal and that uses the conversion rate of the day and charges the U.S. consumer the real-time rate.

So the $3600 Canadian dollar price is a pretty good deal for this bike. Buy this bike today in the U.S. and you get charged $2735 at today’s conversion rate. That is an even better deal, especially once those 2017 spec builds become available.

The Frame

The aluminum frame itself on this bike is nothing extraordinary, a tried and true Horst-Link suspension with the shock swingarm hiding in the frame like those found in Scott bikes. And since these are active designs under pedaling, they need control and support from the rear shock under pedaling loads. The task is not handled too well by the X Fusion rear shock but the 2017 Float X should address that.

Staran Cycles FSM-140 Rear Linkage

Rear linkage tucks in the frame neatly while supporting an X Fusion rear shock.

Geometry is fairly modern with a 67-degree head angle and 73-degree seat tube angle. Chainstays are 430mm long and reach for the medium is 425mm. A little steeper seat angle and longer reach would have been nice but this cockpit worked well enough with the 60mm Race Face stem and 760mm bars.

The bike descends well with its well sorted cockpit and good geometry. Brakes and shifting and power transfer were excellent. The dropper post does feel dated with its archaic lever and post that doesn’t stay in place. The front fork is a gem but we longed for more control with the rear shock. It’s a good descender but more labored on climbs and slow, twisty single track. It shows a lot of promise, thus making us very eager for the 2017 spec build.

Staran Cycles FSM-140 Tire

Tire duties are handled by a 2.4” Continental Mountain King.

Key components
  • Travel: 140mm Travel, 27.5 wheels
  • Fork: X-Fusion Sweep RC HLR
  • Shock: X-Fusion O2 PRO RCX
  • Saddle: Race Face Atlas
  • Seatpost: X-Fusion Hilo Strate
  • Wheelset: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch EX, 24.6mm width
  • Crankset: Race Face Turbine Cinch
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT 11-speed
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore XT 11-42
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore XT
  • Handlebars: Race Face Next Carbon 35mm diameter, 760mm width with 10mm rise
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect 60mm
  • Grips: Race Face Love Handles
  • Brakeset: Shimano XT, 180mm SLX rotors
  • Tires: Continental Mountain King II 2.4″ Width
  • Chain: FSA Team Issue
  • Weight: 28.4 pounds size medium
Staran Cycles FSM-140 Crew

The Staran Cycles crew hails from Ontario, Canada.

Bottom Line

It’s not an $8000 dream bike or even half that. Rather, it’s a good value trail bike with solid components. The 2016 effort is worth noting but the future looks bright for the incredible 2017 build and that good old U.S.-to-Canadian dollar conversion rate. If you value every dollar earned and/or have friend looking to get serious about mountain biking, then the new line of Staran bikes is worth a look.

Performance Rating: 4 out of 5 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: $2735 at publication date

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Ron says:

    Transition called… they want their Bottlerocket back. =)

    But kidding aside, the spec on this bike is almost the same as my revived Bottlerocket (converted to a trailbike, with dropper post, 42-tooth cog, 66.5 deg HA courtesy of an Angleset). The only difference is the 5-lbs weight difference and the 26-inch wheels.

  • Stevie says:

    Sounds like you pimped out a Bottlerocket, nice way to keep it alive! This suspension design is notably different (4-bar vs horst-link). The specs do sound like an awesome deal.

  • gg says:

    What is so special about the 10 year warranty ? Others offer lifetime.
    I’d like to see more detail about the pivot h/w and quality of bearings very important stuff.
    See the rear drop-out has been damaged and forward pivot will be ground off next as it sticks out so much.
    Would like to see a protector as a wear items for this design and oher makers too.
    Francis you must not like my posts as you keep taking them down ?

  • Mike says:

    Some smaller mainstream manufacturers out there have warranties on aluminum frames as low as 3 years! and don’t allow changing ownership. etc. A lifetime warranty is fluff – how many riders are original owners and actually riding a +20 year old bike?

  • MTBBoy says:

    Looks like a sick ride and a sweet deal! Glad to see a North American company offering high-end bikes online. Ever since my old Rocky I thought Canadians have always known how to build up great bikes.

  • James R. says:

    This looks awesome, what a killer deal! It ain’t carbon but it’s a fraction of the price and looks burly, and is still well below 30lbs.

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