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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- 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
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
Price: $2735 at publication date