The Australian adventure specialist at Curve Cycling build some capable gravel & bikepacking bikes, but one of their most unique products is their massively wide Walmer flared dropbar. 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!

Curve Walmer super wide 46 & 60cm flared off-road dropbars

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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 Walmer wide flared drop bars – Tech details

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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 the 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.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding actual weight

The Walmer 46 bar is 610mm wide overall outside-to-outside, while the Walmer 60 bar is a whopping 750mm outside. Of note, the flat carbon bar that I took off the Moots to put this on was only 700mm wide, and the alloy Titec Jones H-bar it had before that was just 660mm wide.

Curve doesn’t officially list the weights for the wide drop bars, but our Walmer 46 tipped the scale at 362g.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding actual weight

And the super wide Walmer 60 was less than a hundred grams more at 454g.

Pricing is the same no matter how wide you go – AUS$189 – which comes out to about $125 in the US or 113€ in Europe at current exchange rates. Included in that price is some nice grippy 3.2mm thick black bar tape made by Velo in an extra-long length to wrap these monsters. Standard tape will work for the shorter bar, but that 60cm monster needed the extra length, so I was happy that the tape has been both comfortable and durable throughout our test.

Review: Walmer wide drop bars riding impressions

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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.) Wide flat bars already offer a popular boost for singlespeeders, and the Walmer gave the bike more leverage than it had ever seen – with plenty of stiffness.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike ridingPlanting my hand into the drops and I felt like I could bomb down the most technical trails as fast I did on a full suspension trail bike. That was a bit of a false feeling. I wasn’t actually going faster, but it sure felt fast. And with hands in the drops you kinda don’t really need to hold on so much – no white-knuckling required.

Of note, when you start putting your hands 75cm apart, you actually are likely to need a shorter stem. Just spreading your arms out that wide decreases the reach of your hands when coming from a narrower bar, so I actually shortened my stem by 2cm to get the bar where I wanted it exactly.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

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. Then, slide down into the drops, and that flare gives a nice bit of extra width and plenty of room for your hands/wrists in any position seated or out of the saddle (really, I don’t think I want 0° flare even on my road bike bars anymore!)

What are the downsides of a super wide, flared bar?

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

I think the narrower Walmer 46 would likely to 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. I measure its clamping surface to just 7cm, which is barely enough for me to get a single accessory mounted on either side of the 3T stem.

On a road bike that’s fine (what are you clamping there anyway?) But on an adventure bikepacking bike I wanted to clamp a Quad Lock that mounts a phone/camera over the stem, a GPS out front for navigation, a bike bell to alert others, a dynamo powered headlight, probably plus some bag setup. Surely, it will work for many people, but it is worth thinking about what you plan to bolt up (aero bars for those extended tours?)

On the 60 it’s a non-issue with more like 25cm of 31.8mm diameter clamping area to work with. I suspect that might make the 50cm bar more attractive to many with an extra 3-4cm to clamp accessories on.

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

Anyone who has ridden a dramatically flared bar has encountered their peculiar hood/shifter ergonomics, and it’s no different here at 29°. Dropbar brake hoods aren’t all designed to accommodate that dramatic tilt, nor is a long throw mechanical shifter as easy to operate at that angle and that far away. Put a set of boxy SRAM hydro levers on here and you end up pushing your hands down on the square corner of the hood, and cursing the double tap shifts.

These very old Shimano Exage brake-only levers were comfy, as were the Campagnolo Record EPS 11 levers on the Audax with their easy electronic shift paddles.

These Walmer bars are also just super wide. Like really wide stuck between trees on single track wide. I tend to cut my trail & enduro bars down to 74cm to clear tight trees on our local trails, and I definitely came to a screeching halt a couple times with the even wider Walmer 60. Even the 46cm bar at 61cm outside before it gets wrapped in bar tape requires special attention just to get through tight European doorways.

Not a huge problem. Just don’t overlook that outside width before you buy.

Curve Walmer wide flared off-road dropbars – Parting Thoughts

Curve Walmer super wide flared dropbars, gravel bikepacking adventure alloy drop handlebar, mountain bike riding

So, I actually really like the massive Walmers. I’ve replaced a conventional drop bar for my regular gravel adventure commuter bike with the Walmer 46, and there’s no going back. All I need to do is solve a better mount for my dynamo light (which was already part of the plan), and the bar is likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

As for the giant Walmer 60, it is a lot of fun to ride on my singlespeed Moots 29er, too. This is the kind of toy of a bike that I will never get rid of, and the Walmer gives it alt-bar ‘trail cred’ at a completely unheard of level. I tried the bar out briefly on a regular geared 650b gravel bike, and just couldn’t accept the feel. And I certainly couldn’t imagine it on a more conventional mountain bike. But for a playful monstercross adventure bikepacking bike, the mega Walmer bar is a perfect fit for off-road exploring.

CurveCycling.com.au

10 COMMENTS

  1. In washington state there is a gravel series put on by Vicious cycles. Monster series, with monster climbs, and thus monster decents. The issue I have with ‘standard’ drop bars is breaking for extended periods of time. (Think decending on a very very rough fire road for 30-40 minutes – yes, actually that long of a decent). The brakes on regular hoods are just not meant for this, extrememly fatiguing on the hands. To mitigate, I installed a set of cross brakes. But, only being able to mount them very close together, that didn’t solve the problem. While the cross/mtb brake lever are way more comfortable, decenting with your hands pressed together at the center of the handlebar doesn’t do much in the way of control. Would be interested to see if the 60mm bar would allow me to mount the cross brakes far enough apart so that, on those long decents, the setup would be more mtb bike than gravel/road bike…..

    • weird descending on rough terrain on drops is better for me than any other position, i just wish sometimes to have a dropper seatpost on really really steep descends

  2. First of all you should be in the drops for descents, not on the hoods. That’s why your hands are fatiguing. Also in the drops the you get plenty of brake power with just one finger. Wide and flared drop bars just make it even easier. It’s all about leverage. You’ll never get the cx levers far enough apart to make any sense.

      • Yes, the aluminum cowboy is right. In fact, both bikes feature here have a Brooks C13 Carved Cambium saddle. The MTB gets the standard (now special) organic cotton & the gravel commuter gets the All-Weather nylon version.

  3. Fantastic, finally someone understands ergonomics better than the bicycle parts industry in general.
    XC Bikes: 680mm – 740mm bar width, Downhill Bikes: 760mm – 800mm bar width, Enduro Bikes: 740mm – 780mm bar width are recommended for mtb flat bars. With a gravel bike flying down a dirt road on lil much narrower tires. At least with this bar at 46, 50, 55 and 60cm wide at the hoods or 61, 65, 70 or 75cm at the drops you stand a chance of staying in control. The bike parts industry is mostly still going max’s of 460mm at the drops because it is very slow to embrace smart, innovative ideas that follow the physics of momentum. Many gravel riders are going wide flat bars with long bar ends to get more comfortable positions and control because there just aren’t enough options in gravel drop bars yet. You will eventually see gravel drop bars with these kinds of spacing at the hoods with a bit less flare at the drops. I will be looking for about a 15 degree flare in a 60cm or greater at the hoods gravel drop bar. Remember if you want the super wide tops of the 600mm, you don’t necessarily have to have all the flare width in the drops. You can reduce that width by trimming the drop ends down a bit and still have plenty of room to get in your drops.
    Btw, I have been riding gravel bikes off and on since the 80s (mtb bikes with drop bars), before Tomac made it famous on the Norba mtb racing circuit. They are really fun and people are finally getting it.‍♂️
    https://roadbikeaction.com/the-origins-of-fat-tires-drop-bars/
    https://bikerumor.com/2020/05/29/review-curve-walmer-bar-is-a-wide-or-super-wide-flared-dropbar-for-off-road-adventures/

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