As gravel and off-road cycling continue to grow in popularity, riders are constantly looking for ways to improve their performance and comfort on rough terrain. One trend that has emerged in recent years is the use of wider and flared drop bars - gravel handlebars and super wide drop bars have emerged as a new genre. Here at Curve, we've been advocates of wider, flared bars for a long time. Our Walmer Bar was designed specifically to meet the needs of adventure cycling. But what exactly are the benefits of this design, and is it worth the investment?
First, let's talk about what we mean by "wider and flared" drop bars. Traditionally, drop bars have a straight shape that tapers down to a slightly narrower width at the drops. However, newer designs feature a wider, flared shape that gradually widens as it approaches the drops. This provides a wider grip and more hand positions for the rider.
So why would you want wider and flared drop bars for gravel and off-road cycling? One of the biggest advantages is improved control. The wider grip allows for greater stability when navigating technical terrain and descending steep hills. When you're riding on rough, unpredictable surfaces, having a stable and confident grip on the handlebars is crucial for maintaining control of your bike. Our Walmer Bar comes in 6 sizes from 40cm to a whopping 60cm (measured at the hoods) to suit all off-road applications whether it be cyclocross or crossing continents.
The flared shape of the drop bars also offers a wider hand position, which can help to improve stability and control. By providing a more natural position for your hands, the flared shape can reduce strain on your wrists and shoulders, which can be especially beneficial on longer rides.
Another advantage of wider and flared drop bars is improved leverage. With a wider grip, you're able to apply more force to the pedals when climbing steep hills or pushing through technical terrain. This can be a game-changer for riders who are looking to improve their climbing abilities or tackle more challenging terrain.
In addition to improved control and leverage, wider and flared drop bars also offer more hand positions. This means you can shift your grip from the hoods to the tops to the drops all to find a comfortable position for different types of terrain and riding conditions. This is especially important on long rides when you want to minimise hand fatigue and avoid developing hotspots or blisters.
Wide drop bars also offer more room for bar rolls and accessories like lights, navigation devices & sleeping equipment, making it easier to carry gear and supplies on longer rides. This is especially important for bikepacking and touring, where riders need to carry everything they need for their trip. With a wider bar, riders can attach bar rolls of various sizes without interfering with their grip position, providing greater versatility and convenience.
Of course, there are some potential downsides to wider and flared drop bars as well. The wider shape can make it harder to fit through narrow gaps or navigate tight spaces on some technical singletrack or even city traffic. And if you're used to riding with traditional drop bars, it may take some time to adjust to the new shape and find the hand positions that work best for you. However, these drawbacks are minimal when compared to the benefits in comfort and control gained from a wider bar.
So, is it worth it to invest in wider and flared drop bars for your gravel or off-road bike? We'd give a resounding "YES!" to all of the above. If you're looking for improved control, confidence, leverage, storage space and comfort on rough terrain, wider and flared drop bars are a game-changer.
In conclusion, wider and flared drop bars can offer significant benefits for gravel and off-road cycling, including improved control, leverage, and comfort. With the right setup, wider and flared drop bars can take your riding to the next level and help you tackle even the most challenging terrain with confidence.
Check out our range of Walmer Bar in sizes 40, 43. 46BP, 50BP, 55 & 60cm. If you have any questions about our Walmer Bars why not get in contact with our sales team who can answer any further questions you may have about going wide!