July 12, 2022
In 2019, Curve Cyling from Melbourne introduced its notoriously wide Walmer Dropbar. The bar is one of the most unique products in the Curve Cycling lineup. For the past two years, our newest contributor, Immu, has been running the bars and has a lot to say about them. Let's go.
If you (somehow) haven't heard of them, Curve Cycling is a team of adventure cyclists from Melbourne, Australia who design a full range of products. The core idea behind their Walmer Bar was to combine flat MTB bars with drop bars creating one hybrid bar—although it's something of a trend these days, it was unique and fresh when Curve introduced the bars three years ago. The Walmers have the stability and control of MTB bars, but also offer the multi-hand positions of drop bars. With a 29° flare for better control during fast off-roading, the bar is ideal for almost anything.
The Walmer bars were named for a (very) narrow pedestrian/cycling bridge in Melbourne. At the initial launch, there were only four sizes available: 46cm, 50cm, 55cm and 60cm. With the increasing popularity of endurance road and gravel grinding, Curve added narrower versions of 40cm and 43cm with BP versions providing wider central oversized sections for more mounting spaces. The Walmer is made from 6066 alloy designed with 7° sweep and 29° flare. The drop section is 110mm and the reaching part is 60-65mm.
For the past two years, I have been running the 55cm Walmer Bar Walmer bars on my Surly Bridge Club and have done some serious distance with them. My main style of riding is off-road bikepacking trips through the jungles near Chiang Mai but I still run the bars for short rides and cafe hopping near my home in Bangkok. My current setup includes a X-Pac Big Buffalo Bag (size M, 26L) and two Buff Tanks strapped to the Walmer. Just in case you're wondering, and I know you are, I run 27.5x2.22 tires.
At first sight the Walmers are almost weird and awkward. Hah! Yes! It's ok to admit this. However, once I put them on the bike and started pedaling, a love affair started.
My first observation after riding with the Walmer bar was how impressed I was with the stability they offered, especially when descending technical routes that would normally require MTB bars. My cycling mates know me as “Unstable Immu”, because I am always accidentally choosing the wrong line on technical or off-road routes. The shallow drop, short reach and flared lower drop really helped me find my balance and roll up the technical climbs. The 29° flare allows me to use more fingers while gripping the brifter for better control. In the sense of body anatomy, the flared and wider bars provide better balance through your chest and back leading to a more relaxed ride. And my friends, well, they don't call me “Unstable Immu” anymore ;)
There is a lot to love about the Walmer bar but there is also a lot to consider before deciding if they are right for you. For example, the widest version (55 or 60cm) has a hard time in narrow spaces and might be a safety concern while riding in traffic. The bar is also designed for adventure bikes that normally have long top tubes, so you may need to adjust your setup to accommodate—for example, the stem length or saddle position, in order to fit with your arm reach and ensure a comfortable position.
Most riders who focus on single track or wild routes and need more control would be fine using a 50-60cm width bar. Those who hit the gravel and road may want to consider the 40, 43 and 46 BP options. Your tire size would also be a consideration, and if you are running anything over 2.5” width, you probably would be safe with the 55-60cm versions for better control and more stability. If possible, I suggest trying to find a set to grip the bar first and ask yourself if you like the feel or not.
To keep it all easy, Curve suggested the following: 40 and 43 BP suits endurance road and light gravel riding. For gravel grinding and bikepacking, 46 and 50 BP. And finally, for drop-bar MTB, off-road touring and fat-tire bikepacking rigs, go for the 55 and 60 BP.
The Walmer Bar has really improved my rides when I go out cycling in the wilderness—it provides more control and stability than any other bar I have tried. Keep in mind, the key to enjoying your Walmer is selecting the perfect width. If you can, ask your local Curve distributor before finalizing your selection.
The current price of the Walmer Bar is $127 USD / $164 CAD / $199 AUD, which includes anti-slip and 3.2mm thick shock reduction bar tape. Get it here.
|✓ Pros||✕ Cons|
|Natural multi-hand positioning||Effort when cycling in traffic or super narrow track|
|Better grip on brifter lever||Requires longer bar tape (one set of 3.2 mm think provided with the bar)|
|Better control and more stability||Requires time to adjust e.g., stem and your body|
|More space for bags, tools, etc.||More difficult when loading the bike on a train, coach, etc.|
|Great for climbing technical hills|
Immu is the founder of Spinning Bear Bike Shop in Bangkok. When she's not in her shop you can find her bikepacking the steep jungle roads near Chiang Mai, Thailand.