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Old 07-22-08, 10:19 AM   #1
dhalbrook
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A Dearth of Gearhub Mixtes

Iíve been researching a new bike for my wife ó a city bike. Her desired list of features is quite short. It should be a step through or mixte frame, it should be simple to shift, it shoudnít be too expensive, and if at all possible, it should be a shade of blue. Seems simple enough, right?

Well, as it turns out, the market is only starting to address this kind of bike. The have the frame right, the cost right, and the color right, but the ďsimple to shiftĒ hasnít quite gotten there. To me, that means an internal hub, which pretty much means some variety of Shimano Nexus. There really are only a few bikes that Iíve found which fit the bill completely, and Iíve been looking a little while. Aside from building up one of the new Soma Mixtes (which apparently have more male-oriented geometry anways, and wonít come cheap), or waiting for the Masi mixte (which looks gorgeous, but where to find?), hereís the list:

1) Jamis Commuter 3.0 ó $550. A lot to like for the price, but canít find any in stock. My first pick as of right now. Swap the suspension seatpost for a nice sprung Brooks, add a rack and some lights, and youíre done. Wish it had the red-band Nexus, but you can't have everything.

2) Bianchi Milano ó Alfine (so iím willing to spend a little more), but just seems to be more style than function. For example, the riding position seems way too aggressive, probably due to the lack of an adjustable quill stem. Ahead has itís purposes, but city bikes ainít one of them.

3) Gary Fisher Simple City 8 - Saw one in a shop. Gorgeous bike, but is it really worth $300 more than the Jamis (or thatís one hell of an expensive front rack) ?

4) Giant Trans Send EX - Hits all the checkboxes I want (Alfine, frame) and some I donít (cheapo suspension forks, weight?)

5) Breezer Uptown 8 or Villager 7 - Must give this more thought. Definitely true city bikes and will probably outlast all of the above bikes, plus a dynohub, but about twice the price of the Jamis.

So, there you have it. Anyone else have suggestions of bikes I may have missed? Seems to me the simplicity of a gearhub combined with the ease of riding of a step-through should be a no brainer. Maybe the market will figure that out next year. As of now, Iíll keep waiting for the Jamis to be in stock.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:33 AM   #2
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Price range?
Number of gears needed?

-------

Electra Townie line
Electra Amsterdam line
Trek Lime
- other Coasting bikes
Novara Fusion stepthrough (currently sold out I think)
Dahon - multiple womens models
Schwinn Cream
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Old 07-22-08, 10:35 AM   #3
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Electra Townie 8 women's (it's blue)
http://www.electrabike.com/townie/
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Old 07-22-08, 11:53 AM   #4
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The mixte seems to be a boutique style, which is a shame, because the frames can be both beautiful and very useful. Rivendell (puttin' on my flame-retardant suit now) makes two "models" (different paint job and badges, that's all) for 650B wheels (fittin' on the helmet and gas mask now . . .).

Also, ANT out of Holliston, MA has done some custom mixtes as have Jitensha in Berkeley, CA and I think Velo Orange in Annapolis, MD, all small-volume outfits.

For inspiration:

Jitensha blue

or this striking example of full-length split stays

and this

or this nice green ANT

Last edited by CHenry; 07-22-08 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:04 PM   #5
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Azor makes step through frames with internal gear hubs. Batavus and Biria are also available in the US with step through frames and IGH. Several Dahon models have IGH and are technically step throughs. I've test ridden a Dahon, and liked it a lot... if I hadn't had such specific requirements for an every day bike, I might have ended up with one.

I went for a Breezer Villager, since it was available locally (no such luck with Azor), I can lift it (damnit Batavus), and the shop didn't turn pale at the idea of loading it with 50lbs (damnit Dahon). Biria is available locally but noone *had* one in stock.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:17 PM   #6
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I noticed this when I was looking for a bike for my wife. The only newer stuff in step throughs is either boutique or comfort. And I didn't want to spend a fortune or discourage her with a sluggish bike.

I found a vintage steel frame (light, lugged), and built it up.
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Old 07-22-08, 02:45 PM   #7
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For my girlfriend's bike, I had to build up an older mixte myself.

As for my mom, she is incredibly happy with her new Electra Amsterdam.
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Old 07-22-08, 06:19 PM   #8
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I bought a Raleigh Sport ladies bike with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub at a yard sale for $5. My wife loves it and will not trade it for any other bike in my stable. Mostly for parts, I bought another one for $10 last month.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:12 PM   #9
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None of the bikes the OP mentions are mixte, so I wonder what you are talking about. I don't think they even make Mixte frames anymore.

If you walk into a bike shop and say Mixte to a guy who really knows bikes, here is what he/she is going to think you mean. Note how the top tube(s) continue on to become the rear stays.:

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Old 07-22-08, 08:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhalbrook View Post
Anyone else have suggestions of bikes I may have missed? Seems to me the simplicity of a gearhub combined with the ease of riding of a step-through should be a no brainer.
According to their web page, the SWOBO Dixon is offered in a 16.5" step-through version:
http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...?cPath=201_204

They don't show a photo of it, but I'm assuming the frame is the same as the Otis:
http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...cPath=201_207#

Also a couple of the Specialized Globe models have IG hub and ST frame

Globe Elite IG8
http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=33685

Globe City 6
http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=34068


I've offered to buy my girlfriend a bike, and have come to the same conclusions as you as to the type of bike that would suit her best (at least for starters). ...and damn hard to find one in a shop anywhere!
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Old 07-22-08, 09:09 PM   #11
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I built up a bike for my wife using an old Raleigh Super Course mixte frame (Reynolds 531 tubing), Sturmey-Archer AW, 700c rims, rear sidepull brake, front generator/drum brake hub, B&M headlamp, alloy VO fenders, an alloy chainguard, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is there are some cool old mixte frames out there, at good prices, and you can build them up however you please.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike View Post
None of the bikes the OP mentions are mixte, so I wonder what you are talking about. I don't think they even make Mixte frames anymore.

If you walk into a bike shop and say Mixte to a guy who really knows bikes, here is what he/she is going to think you mean. Note how the top tube(s) continue on to become the rear stays.:

I want to build a bike like this for every female member of my family as well as my girlfriend. Too bad they don't want me to and I don't have enough money to do it.
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Old 07-23-08, 01:00 AM   #13
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I want to build a bike like this for every female member of my family as well as my girlfriend. Too bad they don't want me to and I don't have enough money to do it.
Ha haa haaaa. I'm with you on that, hxzero.
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Old 07-23-08, 01:15 AM   #14
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This gorgeous little Kuwahara Mixte was donated to our co-op and after going over and servicing what is a nearly mint 1986 model set it on the shop floor and asked my little sister if she could test drive it...

She will take it home on Thursday.



There is a very special woman in my life whom I adore and who also has a love for Mixte frames... I found a beautiful Peugeot Mixte and will be building it up in any way her beautiful heart desires be that IGH, ss, fg, and with whatever else makes her happy.

We do know it will be sage green which should compliment the Brooks saddle it will be getting.



I do love these porteur bars...

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Old 07-23-08, 04:19 PM   #15
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Try to find a mixte and "brush it up". Find some inspiration here: Show us your mixte (mhendricks' new happy place)
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Old 07-23-08, 04:54 PM   #16
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Yes, I should have been clearer. I said "a step-through or mixte". There are very few new mixtes available and they're virtually all high end (Rivendell, etc).
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Old 07-23-08, 04:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Price range?
Number of gears needed?

-------

Electra Townie line
Electra Amsterdam line
Trek Lime
- other Coasting bikes
Novara Fusion stepthrough (currently sold out I think)
Dahon - multiple womens models
Schwinn Cream
Preferably under $800, but up to $1k if worth it. Doesn't seem to buy that much these days
At least 7.

The Electras are dubious because my wife is 5'4" and their "one size fits all" doesn't seem to, though their men's Amsterdam looks fantastic
Trek Lime - 3 speed, and "coasting" is a little too automatic
Didn't know about the Fusion step through - thanks!
Will check out Dahon
Schwinn Cream -- also 3 speed
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Old 07-23-08, 05:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post
Try to find a mixte and "brush it up". Find some inspiration here: Show us your mixte (mhendricks' new happy place)
This is tempting, but I don't have much free time these days. Still, it's an option, and Portland certainly has its choice of parts suppliers
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Old 07-23-08, 05:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHenry View Post
The mixte seems to be a boutique style, which is a shame, because the frames can be both beautiful and very useful. Rivendell (puttin' on my flame-retardant suit now) makes two "models" (different paint job and badges, that's all) for 650B wheels (fittin' on the helmet and gas mask now . . .).

Also, ANT out of Holliston, MA has done some custom mixtes as have Jitensha in Berkeley, CA and I think Velo Orange in Annapolis, MD, all small-volume outfits.

For inspiration:

Jitensha blue

or this striking example of full-length split stays

and this

or this nice green ANT
If my wife was OK spending that much on a bike for her, I'd buy one of those Jitenshas in a heartbeat. Sadly, she's not
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Old 07-25-08, 11:56 AM   #20
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Found some really nice examples of womens IHG city bikes
see the thread Interesting Brands
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