We Made a Drop Bar for Your Mountain Bike. Enter the Corner Bar.
Grab a stool and say hi to the Surly Corner Bar, a strange yet versatile handlebar that allows you to try out a drop-bar hand position and ride experience while running your current mountain shifters and brake levers.
Pintz Guzzld Explains Why We Did It
“If you have a mountain bike setup with a flat bar and you want to convert it to a drop bar, it’s not an easy or cheap conversion,” says Pintz. “You have to buy shifters, brake levers, sometimes a new derailleur — because none of them are compatible. And the clamp size on a mountain handlebar and a road handlebar are different, so the levers don’t even fit the bars. So that’s one of the ideas here — how do we make it easier and less costly to convert?”
Forged from Chromoly and available in three widths (46, 50, and 54 cm measured from hood to hood), we made the Corner Bar so you can get familiar with the dirt-drop lifestyle without investing all your cryptocurrency gains in a new drivetrain and brake setup. And that’s a decent value proposition, isn’t it? Sort of like catching the band without paying the cover.
You can always throw some road-style drop bars on your mountain bike and overhaul your components, of course. People do that. But a wider drop bar dedicated to coloring outside the lines will provide a bit more stability on uneven terrain.
We built the Corner Bar for comfort and control in two primary positions: the drops and the tops. Unlike your standard drop bar, it’s not really designed for putting your hands on the hoods. We’ll show you a little hack for achieving that position later on, but first, here are a couple of ways you might wrap it up for a night on the town.
Door Number One
First, grab some scissors and electrical tape. Then, take your bar tape and wrap the bar from the bottom up — like you would with any other drop bar. It might take a little trial and error to navigate the hoods and controls and get the tape looking and feeling the way you want — it all depends on how much or how little you want to wrap that section. This example shows the bar and controls wrapped fully for a clean and presentable look. Smile for Grandma.
Door Number Two
For another way to wrap the Corner Bar, use bar tape along the top and standard mountain grips on bottom. This approach allows you to have larger grips for more padding, and it also leaves room for a little more creative freedom. You can go full SKOL mode as shown here with purple and gold, but all colors and patterns are fair game. Even houndstooth.
With this method, your primary hand position is in the drops, but there’s plenty of space available up top. We’ve left the hoods and controls unwrapped here in case you want to see how that looks. One advantage to leaving the controls exposed is that you won’t have to unwrap and rewrap the bar whenever you want to swap it out for something different. Just pull it off, set up the new one, and get rollin’.
If You Gotta Have the Hoods
We mentioned above that we didn’t design this bar around using the hoods. But if you’re a Humanoid who wants to make that hand position work, here’s how it can be done, but don't expect it to feel exactly like your normal drop-bar hoods:
- Get your controls mounted and positioned the way you want them
- Take a silicon grip out of your parts bin and cut it up
- Pad the hoods with the scraps and secure them with electrical tape, taking care to not go too thick with the padding (you don’t want to interfere with the controls)
- Wrap the whole area with bar tape. Stand back and admire your work
Anytime you change a bar, it’s going to impact the bike’s geometry and your position on it. The Corner Bar is no different. You’re putting your hands in a whole new place, which is exciting and liberating, but it also means things like stem length and height may need to be adjusted. Same thing with cable length — your current cables may be too short to work with the Corner Bar without some adjustments. It’s also possible that your current setup won’t need any tweaking to accommodate the new bar. Every bike is unique.
How Pintz Guzzld Is Using It
“The Corner Bar doesn’t give you all the same hand positions of a road-style drop bar, but you do get the tops and the drops. Really, I think this is good for people who want to ride their bikes to the trail, rather than drive there. I like to do a lot of urban exploring where I’m on the road and then I’m on some trails, and it really gives you that comfortable position when you’re kinda between trails. And then when the trails are smoother and less technical, it’s easier to ride in those different positions because you’re not braking all the time.
“We started on prototypes three years ago. There’s nothing else like this bar, so we went through a few iterations to find that sweet spot and get the fit and feel of the road positions right. You know, getting the right sweeps and also having good access to the shifters and brakes. Some people want more sweep, some want less. You can’t satisfy everyone’s needs, but people are gonna try out different things and find what they like and that’s cool.”
“I really like it on bigger rides when I’m doing mixed terrain. That’s where it really shines. And for bikepacking. When you’re on gravel roads and then doing technical trails — when you’re combining things like double track and single track — it’s great.”
Don't Just Take Our Word for It. Here are a couple of vids to consume with more detail and thoughts on Corner Bar
The Corner Bar will land at North American Surly dealers in early September 2021. International Humanoids are encouraged to check with their local shop for availability. For a complete list of retailers, click here.
So that’s everything we wanted to tell you about the Corner Bar. If you have additional questions, your local Surly dealer is equipped to help.