Malvern Star are a truly historic brand in Australian cycling, with a history that stretches back to 1902. In recent years the brand have struggled to compete globally, but Malvern Star’s buyout shows there’s still life left in this iconic name.
The Malvern Star Sprint 7.0 features a full Shimano 27-speed drivetrain and a carbon fork. It turned out to be a fun and capable flat-bar road bike.
Ride and handling: Sporty agility and fit
The Malvern Star’s handling surprised us – this thing rides fast! Out-of-the-saddle sprinting and hard cornering is confident and more importantly, fun on the Sprint. The stiff frame doesn’t fight your efforts and rewards you with instant acceleration.
The 28c width tyres boosted this acceleration and helped make the bike feel light. The ride was a little harsher than some other flat-bar road bikes, but there's space for a wider tyre, so this could be easily solved.
The Sprint provides an efficient rider position, but it isn’t tall and upright like other flat-bar road bikes. We liked this, because it made the bike feel zippy and responsive where more upright models can feel vague and sluggish.
Frame and Equipment: Basic, yet up to the task
The frame is constructed from hydroformed aluminium. The frame tubes are slender, with smooth, stylish curves. Smooth welds add a further touch of class. Pannier and fender mounts have been provided so the Sprint has the potential to serve commuter duties.
At exactly 11kg, the Malvern Star is lighter than many similarly priced options. The use of a fork with carbon fibre leg blades helps achieve this, but further weight has been saved in places that are usually overlooked, such as the wheels, which are built with lighter-weight aluminium nipples. These also coordinate nicely with the bike’s other blue highlights.
The Shimano Alivio, Acera and non-series drivetrain mix was not as immediate or positive as more expensive offerings, but it was sufficient and reliable. With a combination of mountain bike and hybrid gearing, there was never a time when we ran out of gears across the massive range. The Shimano Octalink crankset was a nice choice and it provided reliable shifts and a secure connection to the bottom bracket. The EF65 shifters were the main low point for the price – they had a plastic shift feel and caused occasional miss-shifts out back.
Stopping is provided by Tektro Mini V-brakes, a common item on this style of bike. They do a fine stopping job and are easy to maintain. Disc brakes provide better wet weather performance and durability, but the Mini V-brakes are lighter, cheaper and just as secure in good conditions.
We found the 620mm wide flat handlebar a blessing for rush-hour commuting, and it still offering enough leverage for efficient climbing. The Kenda Kwick Roller Sport tyres were good too, offering fast speed with comforting grip.
The saddle featured a small cut-out and proved to be a comfortable perch. We didn’t love the ergonomic grips, because they twisted over time, but they were comfortable when they remained in place.
The Malvern Star Sprint turned out to be a capable, fast and, dare we say it, fun ride. If you’re looking to ride rough multi-use pathways and footpaths, the narrow tyres and firm ride won’t be ideal. But the Sprint is perfect for weekend road rides and fast commutes, which makes it very deserving of its name.