Curve AIR Kev Ti + Carbon Gravel Bike, Huge Walmer Carbon Bar Tease & Gearbox GMX+
Curve Cycling has got a lot going on. Check out an all-new AIR Kev gravel bike mixing it up in titanium & carbon, a new prototype of their mega-wide Walmer flared dropbar in carbon, and a next-gen version of their titanium GMX+ adventure bike with an all-new Effigear Mimic 9-speed gearbox. That’s just a few of the things they were showing at the 2023 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia.
But now that you can actually pre-order the limited first run of Air Kev… It’s time we took a closer look…
Curve’s most popular bike is their titanium GXR gravel cross racer, aka Kevin. It’s their simple no-nonsense do-it-all gravel racing and bikepacking bike, built in titanium to last a lifetime. Well, in celebration of their 10-year anniversary, they decided to add a little bit of extra flair. Lighten up the bike and give it a racier race bike edition. All of that, based on the carbon seat tube concept from their limited edition Belgie AIR endurance road race bike. And with carbon bonding in-house in Melbourne, Australia.
Enter the AIR Kev.
The Curve AIR Kev gets the same basic geometry and generous tire clearance (max 700×45 or 650×2.2″). But it replaces the frame’s titanium seattube with a bonded-in carbon tube. Then, it gets a Curve custom 27.2mm carbon seatpost with a 3D-printed titanium head & ENVE guts. It gets more neatly integrated conventional internal cable routing (but not through the headset), also through the BB & chainstay via a new 1-sided chainstay yoke.
The frame also features new machined titanium dropouts with UDH or T-Type derailleur compatibility. And it gets a direct flat mount 160 rear brake mount.
Plus, it pares the plethora of mounts back to the bare essentials for a gravel race bike. You get two cages in the frame, one mount under the downtube and another on top of the toptube. The AIR Kev also gets a custom Ride 415 full carbon fork. That fork features internal cable routing and a drop out flip chip, but no bikepacking mounts.
This show bike also features a new evolution of Curve G4.5T carbon wheels with a new straight-out-of-the-mold finish, and laser-etched graphics. Curve says getting ready of post-mold finishing meant an 8% weight reduction vs. their current G4T wheels.
The new Curve AIR Kev isn’t officially available yet, but Curve is taking pre-order slots via email. Apparently, just 23 are being produced in the first batch this year. So, get in touch if you need to have one.
This prototype by the way is being pedaled around Europe as we speak, as Curve’s sales director Ryan Flinn is back on the road – bikepacking around to meet dealers and Curve owners for rides all summer!
Lastly, this bike is sporting a prototype 46cm Walmer carbon ultra-flared dropbar. It gets a 31.8mm clamp, quickly tapered down to a more ergonomic shape on the tops with integrated routing channels.
Based on the popular but niche 6066 alloy Walmer bars that we’ve previously tested, this carbon prototype likely shares the same generous 29° flare to compact drops, plus a small 7° backsweep up top. That means this 46cm bar is likely a full 61cm outside-outside at the end of its drops. (That’s measured center-center at the hoods)
See it really is huge.
Last summer Curve built a gearbox concept iteration of their Gravel MonsterCross GMX+ bike with a Pinion to hash out the value in alt drivetrain. This year, they have a new Gearbox GMX+ bike. But it’s now with a new Effigear Mimic 9-speed gearbox that they say works even easier with just a single cable pulled by a SRAM 11sp DoubleTap shifter making for a cleaner, simpler setup.
It’s a French-made gearbox that debuted in 2012, which we weren’t already familiar with. But, it’s less than 2kg. It uses the same mounting as Pinion. It’s directly compatible with SRAM X trigger shifters, SRAM Rival 11sp shifters, or Campy Centaur levers. And it offers a 469% gear ratio in 9-speeds. Sounds interesting, right?
The Gearbox GMX+ Mimic is still just a prototype that you can’t yet buy from Curve.
But under that bar bag made by BUCK!T from recycled Vittoria gravel tires, it’s also sporting a wider 50cm version of that same prototype Walmer Carbon flared gravel dropbar (65cm ? outside). That suggests to us that Curve is likely to make these carbon Walmer bars available pretty soon.
Lastly, the Curve Belgie AIR MN road bike. The all-road Belgie was the first to get a race-focused AIR version with a carbon seattube to make it more of a dedicated road bike. This pre-production version takes the Belgie AIR to the next level. In an attempt to see how Curve can bring frame production back to their Melbourne, Australia base. To do that, the Belgie AIR MN takes advantage of newly refined 3D-printed ti parts including several new items. A 1-piece headtube to integrate fully internal cable routing through the headset. A sleek UDH compatible dropouts, a 3d-printed ti front derailleur hanger developed especially for SRAM AXS shift stiffness. And a custom made carbon integrated seat post and printed ti topper.