The Curve Walmer: A Unique Adventure Dropbar
The Australian adventure specialist at Curve Cycling builds some capable gravel & bikepacking bikes, but one of their most unique products is their massively wide Walmer flared dropbar.
Wide and Flared for Added Comfort and Control
Many adventure gravel and bikepacking riders have embraced wide drop bars for their added leverage, and flared drops for improved ergonomics. But the Curve Walmer takes that to the extreme – offering a 60cm wide, 29° flare bar that is a whopping 75cm wide at the outside of the drops. So, obviously we had to try it out!
Two Versions for Comparison
OK, so who in their right mind needs a drop bar that is so wide? We didn’t know either. Curve says it’s about the ability to move your hands around even more for all-day comfort, the space to fit tons of bags, but also just to get the extra leverage for stability when riding a loaded-down adventure rig on steep technical terrain. That sounds reasonable enough, right? So I decided to give them a whirl. I’ll be honest… I was skeptical from the start, so I opted to get two versions of the Curve Walmer bar – their narrowest one and the widest one. That way I could compare and contrast the two – and try them on a mix or terrain & bikes.
Wide for Technical Singletrack
After riding for a while with both versions of the wide, flared Walmers, I did actually settle into a riding style that worked for both setups. The widest 60cm bars eventually found their way onto fifteen-year-old rigid(ish), singlespeed Moots YBB 29er mountain bike that I ride split between local technical singletrack and family rides with my 6 & 10-year-old kids. Without the need to operate shifters that are more than half a meter apart, the Walmer 60 and its included extra-long bar tape give me enough room to move my hands casually around on the tops. Then, when things get serious, I can drop down for a more aggressive position and plenty of control.
Narrow for Mixed Use
The narrower Walmer 46 settled onto a Bombtrack Audax from a couple of years back that sees even more mixed use. With 650b wheels & the original WTB Road Plus Horizons, a Pelago Commuter front rack, and full-coverage SKS fenders, the Audax starts each day as my city commuter bike, but is likely to end the day on gravel roads, smooth singletrack, or even some sub-24 hour overnighter mini bikepacking trips. The narrow Walmer bar here delivers that extra control for riding off-road or when hauling gear, without ever really feeling super wide (except maybe when going through narrow doors.)
Curve designed the Walmer bars in Melbourne, Australia to handle technical off-road riding, whether rough gravel or bikepacking. They wanted something wider than any they found on the market to complement their GMX+ monstercross titanium off-road bikepacking bike, so they designed their own. The 6066 alloy bar is available in four sizes, with widths measured from the hoods at 46, 50, 55 & 60cm. All four sizes share the same 29° flare to the compact drops, which adds another 15cm to the overall width. The Walmer features 7° backsweep on the tops (both to feel like a regular mountain bike bar up top & to limit the extra reach to the drops), and compact 60mm Reach / 110mm Drop in those flared drops. The Walmer 46 bar is 610mm wide overall outside-to-outside, while the Walmer 60 bar is a whopping 750mm outside.
Impressions and Downsides
Having spent plenty of time mountain biking singletrack on alt bars and plenty of gravel bike & cyclocross bike trail riding on drops, I was both curious to try the Walmer bars and not too worried about a different feel. The crazy wide 60cm/75cm bar offered a huge boost in leverage that gave my singlespeed a renewed sense of control (and the feeling that I could crank the gear ratio up out back.) On a more standard gravel / road plus setup, moving from a 44cm compact road bar to the Walmer 46 was essentially seamless. The hoods felt like they were in the same place. What are the downsides of a super wide, flared bar? I think the narrower Walmer 46 would likely be the first step for most people looking to go wider & flared with a drop bar. But while the widest version offers tons of real estate for clamping 31.8mm accessories, the space on the 46 is limited. Anyone who has ridden a dramatically flared bar has encountered their peculiar hood/shifter ergonomics, and it’s no different here at 29°.