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Adapting a Ladies Step Through Frame as a Mans Bike Due to Injury

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Adapting a Ladies Step Through Frame as a Mans Bike Due to Injury

Old 01-11-21, 06:32 AM
  #1  
johnggold
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Adapting a Ladies Step Through Frame as a Mans Bike Due to Injury

A lifetime of playing squash and racketball has left me with a hip problem. Also, I have a collection of ladies frames from all the bikes I have been donated for spares over the years, and the step through designed would help. I have selected a frame, and having a neighbour who re-sprays all my normal restorations, I should get it looking less ladylike.

I have a short body, long legs, so I have been thinking about a long seat post, drop handlebars a long way forward to offset the geometry..

Are there any other considerations?

Please let me know.
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Old 01-11-21, 07:23 AM
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If you have several candidate frames, look for the longest seat tube (to accommodate your leg length) with the shortest effective top tube length (to accommodate your torso length) and be prepared to use a tallish stem with a short reach to fine tune things. Good luck!
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Old 01-11-21, 07:54 AM
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Also consider northroads or flat-type of handlebar, as to maintain a more erect/upright posture and prevent further hip damage due to bending over. As long as the frame fits and the bike is in prper mechanical condition, no further "needs" required.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:31 AM
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Fortunately, "ladies frames" typically have longer seat tubes and shorter effective top tubes to fit those body proportions. I'm somewhat similar in that I have longer legs with a shorter upper body and I find "ladies frames" quite comfortable.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:41 AM
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Don't see a drop bar as a solution, think you'd be bending more at the hips than if sitting more upright. Nothing wrong with a step-thru frame if it allows you to keep riding.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:42 AM
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Can your step-through frame accommodate current drivetrain components? What is the rear dropout spacing. What is the bottom bracket design? Most of the step-through frames I've seen were on old balloon-tire, Ashtabula crank bikes and not suited for any kind of performance road builds if that's what you are intending to do.

Perhaps a Mixte frame would be more compatible.
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Old 01-11-21, 05:51 PM
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At the Bike Exchange we have piles of discarded drop bars. When ever possible, if it is not an all out race bike, we put on riser bars or north road bars with thumb shifters. At 72 yrs old I hate drop bars, all my bikes have been converted as above and I love it. I also have a brooks b 72 saddle which is perfect for a more upright riding style. I have a metal hip in one leg and knee in the other and have no problem riding.
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Old 01-11-21, 06:31 PM
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I would never have bought a flip-flop single speed except for knowing that in his last few years of bicycling, in his 80s, after his third hip replacement started giving him problems (small town medical incompetence, thank you), my dad took to my mom's pink and white gas pipe girl's single speed for his daily 20 mile ride around town. I figured if an 80+ year old could make that kind of ride on a crap bike, I certainly could handle it.
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Old 01-11-21, 08:06 PM
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Really as others mentioned your proportions lend themselves towards a ladies frame though a mixte would also work. Really any neutral frame color will work fine, if it bothers you just add darker colored tape or grips and bottle cage. But really I'd focus on having good running parts that let it ride smoothly and just enjoy.
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Old 01-12-21, 04:15 AM
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Ride your choice of bike set up the way you like.

I ride step-thru folders, ridden by men and women, and my usual ride has a set of BMX style handlebars and off-road tires because I still like to do some light off-roading despite my arthritis. It has a single-speed coaster brake hub, no hand brakes, and dynamos front and rear to run the lights without excess wire or batteries. My other one has a three-speed derailleur, hand brakes front and rear, and flat bars, with a basket front and rear to bring the shopping home from the market.
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Old 01-12-21, 09:42 AM
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Dude, rock a pink Univega mixtie. Be an attention getter for safety
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Old 01-12-21, 10:22 AM
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A step through with drop bars indicates that your hip issue is not being able to lift your leg over the saddle and you do not having a serious problem bending to use the drops. Of course, you can use an upward angles stem and raise the drops high enough to be comfortable.

If you have a bike which is comfortable to ride, but not mount, take the measurements off that bike and transfer them to a suitable frame.

Typically I’ll use the center of the BB. I put the bike on a level surface, and use a 4ft level. I can to determine the aft location of the saddle, measure saddle height from BB, handlebar location from a particular place on the saddle, and bar height using a level from the saddle.

This will get you close, of course crank arm length has to be compensated, but this has worked for me for years. At least you are starting with something you can ride and then tweak from there.

John
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Old 01-12-21, 10:32 AM
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If the geometry of the frame places the saddle and bars at a reasonable location relative to the pedals then there is really no downside.
I suspect that a 'mixte' frame (where the rear triangle has three sets of stays rather than two) might be a bit stiffer if you want a more 'performance oriented' ride.
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Old 01-12-21, 11:32 AM
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I think you shouldn't have any problems, but if my hip was that bad I would also look at considering trying a recumbent.
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Old 01-13-21, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cbrstar View Post
I think you shouldn't have any problems, but if my hip was that bad I would also look at considering trying a recumbent.
That is indeed another good choice, although getting up from low levels can be a problem for some. For me step-thrus make sense because reliably swinging my leg high enough to clear the rear wheel is a hit or miss affair, as is getting up from close to ground level - but once on board everything is OK! Step-thrus also allow me to install baskets and bags, without having to then clamber over them.
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Old 01-13-21, 07:41 AM
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Another option is a semi-recumbent, like a Giant Revive. I bought one for $75 used last spring just because it looked interesting, and it really is interesting. Like most recumbents, you push against the seat back for leverage on the pedals rather than pushing down on them. But unlike most recumbents, you can step through the frame of the bike and mount it more or less like a traditional bike. The handlebar and stem adjust in a few different planes and the seat will also slide fore and aft and also up and down along that angled "wedge" of a "seat tube". My kids think the Revive is a real hoot, mostly because it's different from nearly anything else out there. I ride it some...though the vinyl seat back isn't very cool in the warmer and more humid months, if you know what I mean.

One of my favorite bikes is a '70 model Peugeot mixte. I have a pretty large Wald "saddle bag" basket on the back (twin cages on either side of the frame) and it's our yard sale bike...we cruise the neighborhoods on Saturday mornings and bring home anything we just have to have in/on that bike. The mixte frame is just barely low enough to step through, and you do have to angle the bike over a good ways to avoid a real tall step over.

Modern step-through frames (such as something like this Trek 7200 WSD) offer a true step-through experience.

Any of these types of bikes can often be found used for low prices and fixed up nicely.
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Old 01-14-21, 05:18 AM
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Obviously the older frames have threaded forks and the frame probably won't accept front derailleurs but I think my flat out racing days are over.

Apart from that I will be going all alloy. The frame will be steel, so I have to make weight savings elsewhere. I take old wheels with alloy hubs and rebuild with lightweight rims.

Weinmann brakes centre pull will fit this type of frame. I collect Weinmann, so drop length not a problem

I will have no hanger on the frame, but I have plenty of Shimano rear derailleurs.

My main concern was frame geometry.

.

I had intended to use drop handlebars, but maybe I should reconsider
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Old 01-14-21, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
At the Bike Exchange we have piles of discarded drop bars. When ever possible, if it is not an all out race bike, we put on riser bars or north road bars with thumb shifters. At 72 yrs old I hate drop bars, all my bikes have been converted as above and I love it. I also have a brooks b 72 saddle which is perfect for a more upright riding style. I have a metal hip in one leg and knee in the other and have no problem riding.
I have always done the opposite. I have loads of discarded flat bars. My grandson just got me to convert his flat bar MB to drop handlebars so that he can ride faster than his friends. However, the shifters were bar end Microshift. Really easy to use.
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Old 01-14-21, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
If the geometry of the frame places the saddle and bars at a reasonable location relative to the pedals then there is really no downside.
I suspect that a 'mixte' frame (where the rear triangle has three sets of stays rather than two) might be a bit stiffer if you want a more 'performance oriented' ride.
I havent got a mixte frame at the moment, but they do have a higher step through than standard step through.

I have considered a modern recumbent 3 wheeler. There is one that I see on the road regularly. Much more stable than the Pedersen hammock!
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Old 01-14-21, 05:41 AM
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I have had far more replies than I expected. Thanks to everyone who posted.

I am a big fan of drop handlebars but I take on board the practicalities of not having them.

I had a comment about rear dropouts. I have a very effective jig made from a few 10mm nuts, two 10mm coach bolts, some big washers and a length of 15mm copper plumbing pipe if anyone is interested. Older frames were usually 5 or 6 speed or Sturmey Archer. If you go too wide then spacers are needed to keep the gears away from the frame. I stop at 9 speed upgrade.

I will look again at the recumbent design.

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