4 Reasons Why Wide Drop Bars are Best for Adventure Cycling and Bikepacking

4 Reasons Why Wide Drop Bars are Best for Adventure Cycling and Bikepacking

There are a wide range of wide (and flared) drop bars on the market now. Curve was one of the first brands to offer super wide drop bars for bikepacking, gravel and cycle touring. Are you curious about going wide? Want to know what the big deal is with wide drop bars? Read on to find out more.  

On longer rides, comfort becomes increasingly important. Bikepacking, adventure cycling and cycle touring all usually involve longer durations behind the bars. For this sort of cycling, being fast is usually not the number one priority; comfort is more important for most people.

A wider bar offers more comfort especially through the upper back. You can do a simple experiment right now to see what I mean. Put your hands where they would normally be on the hoods of a narrow drop bar. How does your upper back feel just below your neck? A little tense, right? Now move your hands out a little so they're further apart. Can you feel your upper back relax a little? I certainly can.
With a wider hand position your chest is more open, allowing easier breathing. This also adds to the comfort of wider bars.

More hand positions
Ever had numbness in your hands or fingers on longer rides? Me too! You can alleviate a lot of these problems by changing your hand positions regularly. Wide drop bars offer loads of options, allowing you to change the precise contact points between your hands and the bar. This prevents pressure and tension build-up, and helps minimise numbness and even blistering. You can vary between close on the tops, middle of the tops, wide on the tops, hoods, drops. The different positions also change the loading on your upper back, slightly changing the load on various muscle groups to spread the load. 

Stability and control
For off-road riding, and loaded bikepacking having good control is critical. On an unloaded road bike, a narrow drop bar works perfectly well. A wider bar offers better control and fine directional adjustment, especially on technical terrain. That's why MTB bars are wide and have become wider in recent years. A wide drop bar gives you the same improvement in handling.
Wide drop bars combine the stability and control of MTB bars with the multiple hand positions of drop bars. On the hoods it is like riding with an MTB bar from 2010 with bar ends. This position is great for tackling technical climbs - the wide bar offers good control allowing fine adjustments to your line. On the drops, with a wide and flared dropbar you're in a position closer to more modern wide MTB bar (for example, the widest Curve Walmer Bar is 750 mm wide at the drops). This position is great for bombing down sketchy off-road descents on a loaded bike.

More room for bar rolls and accessories
If you ride with a flat MTB bar, you can run a bar roll bag of any size and not interfere with your grip position, so long as the bar roll is spaced out a little from the bars. With a narrow drop bar this is not the case. When riding with drop bars, a bar roll must fit between the drops - the width of the bar determines the maximum width of the bar roll you can ride with. This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people forget this. It's a very common reason for returning bar rolls! Running a wide drop bar gives you more room to mount bar rolls.

The extra width offered by a wide drop bar also allows easy mounting of lights, navigation devices and clip-on aero bars. Curve's Walmer Bar options also offer a wide central oversized section to help with this (just make sure you select the BP option for the 46 and 50 cm options). This oversized section either side of the clamping area allows you more flexibility with mounting clip on aerobars - it can get very annoying with other bar options when you need to mount them just where the bar diameter tapers! With the widest Curve Walmer Bar (60 cm wide at the hoods, 75 cm at the drops) you can even strap on two footlong Subway sandwiches, one on each side of the bars.

If these four reasons have piqued your curiosity and convinced you that wide is the way for any and all adventure applications, why not check out our range of Walmer Bars on our website HERE, pop into our HQ for a demo or shoot us a message so we can wax even more of the wonders of W I D E!

Outside of Melbourne or around the world and want to try W I D E? Check out our Stockists list for our international dealers who can lend a hand!

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