Curve Remlaw Bar Review: Flat Bars for Drop-bar Bikes
Flat bars for drop-bar bikes? That’s not an entirely new concept, but the new Curve Remlaw Bar takes it a step further with a handlebar that’s optimized to provide the exact reach as a drop bar, but with the comfort, simplicity, and control of a flat bar. Find our full review here…
As you may have noticed in the little survey/video exercise we did recently—Flat Bars vs. Drop Bars—I’m a flat bar person, through and through. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the dirt-focused curly-bar bikes that are in the spotlight, and generally like drop bars, particularly the wide drop-bar trend that’s been unfolding over the last few years. But when I heard about Curve’s new Remlaw handlebar, a flat bar made specifically for drop-handlebar bikes, a wave of joy swept over me. After installing one on my Salsa Cutthroat a few months ago and taking it out on a couple of scouting trips, here’s my review…
Curve Cycling just released the new Remlaw Bar, as a matter of fact. This follows up the innovative, ultra-wide Walmer drop bar that the Melbourne, Australia-based company released back in 2019. In case you didn’t catch it, Remlaw is Walmer backward. The Walmer was named after a narrow pedestrian bridge in Melbourne. According to Curve, “There’s little room for anything else if Walmer Bars are crossing.” That reverse naming might clue you in to the fact that the Remlaw is also pretty dang wide—800mm, to be exact. And like the Walmer, the new Remlaw is also designed with bikepacking and touring in mind, and more specifically, for the company’s GMX and GMX+ dirt-touring shred sleds.
That being said, the Curve Remlaw is a flat bar that can be used in place of a drop bar on any all-road, gravel, or dirt-drop bike. It’s made to have a comparable reach as a modern drop handlebar and optimized positioning to keep body weight in front of the stem, with a backsweep to help keep the hand position from being too far forward. The nature of the geometry means that when converting from a drop bar to the Remlaw, the same length stem can be used without it altering the body position or handling.
The Curve Remlaw Bar is made from 6061 alloy and features a 12° backsweep and a 0° rise, making it a true flat bar with an alt-bar sweep. The magic of the bar comes from its dramatic forward bends giving it a 41mm reach measured at the placement of the thumb and forefinger on a standard 110mm mountain bike grip. And as you may have assumed, any typical 22.2mm grip and brake/shifter clamp can be used, although with its long and straight flat section, you could get creative with foam or bar tape to add a few hand positions.
Like many drop-bar bikes, the Cutthroat has a shorter reach and taller stack than its 29er mountain bike counterparts. These geometrical nuances are put in place to make up for the longer reach of the bars—both at the neutral hoods position and in the more aggressive drops position. The 41mm reach and wider stance of the Remlaw is designed to emulate the riding position at or around the hoods. Some of you might be wondering, why not just get a longer stem? You could, but in many cases it would have to be quite a bit longer. For example, if you’re running a 90mm stem, you’d need something like a 130mm stem to make up for the geometry and fit changes.
On the trail
My issue with drop bars is hand numbness. After a 900-mile scouting trip last summer, I lost the strength in both my thumbs, which was a little disturbing, to put it lightly. I’ve never had such an issue with flat bars, so I was eager to try the Remlaw on the Cutthroat during another scouting trip.
I set it up with my preferred Ergon GA3 grips, PAUL Love Levers, a Crankbrothers dropper lever, and a 70mm PAUL Boxcar stem. On the first ride, it was immediately evident that the fit I had with the ENVE drop-bar-clad Cutthroat remained consistent. Admittedly, the sensation of being over the stem with flat bars was a little strange at first, but I got used to it after a while. The general feel of the bar and its 12° backsweep was great, otherwise. 800mm is plenty wide and gave it that extra leverage for steep climbs. Descending with the Remlaw was pretty good, too. I missed the ultra low, aggressive stance of being in the drops. But, the added control of the wide flat bars made up for it and I compensated by moving into a lower body position and a more aggressive, elbows-bent stance.
All that said, I don’t think the Remlaw is as stable or solid feeling as a mountain bike bar without the added reach. It’s kind of in between a drop bar and a normal flat bar in that regard. The “out front” steering quality was a little pervasive. Even so, it solved a couple problems I had with the Cutthroat. It’s a comfortable bar for long rides and there was no sign of any hand issues. Additionally, it offers more control and confidence than a drop-bar.
Considering the Remlaw in a bikepacking context, the wide 31.8mm clamp area has plenty of space to strap on a bag, and the fact that it’s 23cm wide and stays the same diameter all the way across helps keep the bag straps from migrating, as they often do on the tapered areas next to the clamp zone on some other bars. I would say it’s a little easier to attach a roll style bag or harness system, such as the Revelate Pronghorn shown here, than it is a saddlebag/top-opener. However, with a couple of large foam blocks to push the bag out and down a little, that’s also possible. As for a roll bag, the cable routing might depend on the spacers and your lever rotation. I had to route them up and back behind the bag, which is a little different but worked pretty well.
- Model Tested: Curve Remlaw Bar, 800mm
- Actual Weight: 387 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $149 AUD (~$112 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: CurveCycling.com
- Well-engineered solution that emulates the reach of a drop-bar and allows a consistent fit transition to flat-bars
- Long clamp area works well with bikepacking handlebar roll bags and feedbags
- Nice and wide with a comfortable backsweep
- Long grip area provides options for alternative taping and hand positions
- Over-the-stem position and steering feels a little odd and might not be for everyone
- You lose “multiple hand positions”… although the only one I kind of missed was the aggressive drops position
So, who’s the Curve Remlaw Bar for? Many of you might be scheming up a comment along the lines of “why not just buy a mountain bike and get normal bars?” I agree, but there might be a few tinkerers out there who have a drop-bar rig in their stable and a growing parts bin that they want to fiddle with. There also might be folks who come from a drop-bar background and want to try out flat bars on their gravel bike or touring rig. The Remlaw Bar is perfect for any of these situations.
As mentioned, I don’t think it has the same iron-clad stability as a wide mountain bike bar due to the kind of out front steering feel. And it’s lacking any rise or upsweep, which are qualities some people like on flat bars. However, the Remlaw’s pros outweigh its cons. Its long clamp area works well with bikepacking bag straps and the extended grip area length offers the opportunity to use foam or tape to carve out a couple more hand positions. Additionally, I really like the 800mm width and ample 12° backsweep and found it to be quite comfy on long rides.
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