Surly's new Corner Bar is a drop-bar that uses MTB controls

Drop bar MTB
Corner Bar is wide, and can pack a 4-pot disc brake lever (Image credit: Surly)

Surly has solved the issue of converting your mountain bike to a drop bar mileage machine.

The cult American cycling brand, with its portfolio of uniquely offbeat bike names, has a significant gravel and touring following. It's not just the names that are unusual, Surly has gained huge notoriety as a brand that doesn't follow convention.

The Surly Corner Bar is a perfect example of this. Product specialists at Surly were noticing a demand for drop bars on mountain bikes. Especially for those riders who want to convert a 29er hardtail to take on long haul bikepacking or dirt touring.

Drop bars are easier on the wrists and shoulders, when you are trying to crush 60-miles a day, on a weekend bikepacking adventure. Or that big Sunday 'gravel' ride that turns out to be mostly singletrack that's too gnarly even for the best gravel bikes.

Putting drop bars onto a mountain bike isn't as simple as swapping out the bar, buying a new gravel bike shifter and brake set is expensive and the ergonomics of the best gravel handlebars often have a negative effect on a mountain bikes handling characteristics.

Drop bar MTB

The wide stance and shallow drop maintain the desired handling characteristics of your mountain bike (Image credit: Surly)

Surly’s Corner Bar changes all that. It is shaped in a way that will accommodate legacy and current mountain bike brake levers and shifters. Without compromising too much on the ergonomic comfort and body positioning, of a drop bar.

Industrial designers at Surly have fashioned a solution, by shaping small extrusion pods, where the Corner Bar starts to curve into its drops. These pods are shaped to act as clamping points for your mountain bike disc brakes and shifters.

It is a very elegant solution, to a real off-road cycling issue. Whether you need a handlebar for the occasional bikepacking expedition or want to revive a legacy 26-inch hardtail into a monster cross bike, the Corner Bar is a great alternative.

The actual Corner Bar stem clamping bore is 25.4mm, which might require you to use adaptors, for standard mountain bike stems.

Unlike most touring handlebars, the construction is not alloy, with Surly choosing to make its Corner Bar from chromoly steel – which lasts a lifetime and should help reduce trail buzz.

What are the sizes? You can have the corner in three widths, at 460-, 500- and 540mm. With drop bars, the end width is what really matters, and the Corner Bar range is 630- to 710mm, in that regard.

Complete Corner Bar geometry sees a 94mm drop and 65.2-degree sweep, with 41.4 degrees of flare.

Surly is scheduled to start shipping its Corner Bar range by September, at a price of $100.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.