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Mixte or Step Through Frame, which is it?

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Mixte or Step Through Frame, which is it?

Old 05-06-18, 12:43 AM
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Mixte or Step Through Frame, which is it?


My question is which type of frame is this, a step through or a mixte? And what makes it one or the other? I know it is a lugged frame with double butted chrome molybdenum tubing. Given its ultimate use by a small light weight person I think in either form it will work well for them, perhaps with the addition of a triplizer. Thanks
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Old 05-06-18, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post

My question is which type of frame is this, a step through or a mixte? And what makes it one or the other? I know it is a lugged frame with double butted chrome molybdenum tubing. Given its ultimate use by a small light weight person I think in either form it will work well for them, perhaps with the addition of a triplizer. Thanks
The defining characteristic of a mixte frame is the top tube(s) that run from the head tube straight down to the rear dropouts.
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Old 05-06-18, 05:55 AM
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Some would argue that mixte only refers to the twin external lateral design shown above, and that the various other styles of open "ladies" frames have other names. Here is an interesting article on classic UK builders illustrating some of the other styles.
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Old 05-06-18, 06:58 AM
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Mixtes originally designed for the French Army???

From what I'd heard BITD, mixte frames were designed for the French army because, 1 size fit all, they were faster to dismount and they could carry a lot of extra equipment. I've never seen documentation on that but it makes sense.

Military bikes:

Early model, 1886


French machine gun bike, circa the Maginot Line


Italian Bicycle Corp,1939


Italian Bicycle Corp 1943, notice the happy faces. (mani in alto)

Peloton, Tour De France 1940


Dutch Army Musical Corp. You think you can handle a bike? Check these guys out!




Sorry for hijacking the thread. (not really, I've been waiting for years to out this info)

Mixte frames are less latterly flexible than step through designs plus generally a little lighter.

Bicycles are amazing machines. The average bike can support far more than 10 times it's weight. They're ants of the mechanical world ( ants can support more than 5000 times their body weight).

I put this Flickr album together for another forum years ago. It shows a number of mixte frames:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/282672...57624757110832

We sold Bertin and Gitane mixtes back in the 70's. French mixtes generally came in three frame sizes measured C to T: 50cm, 54cm and 57cm. The 57cm frames were not very common. Most mixtes had longer distances from the seat tube to the head tube (imaginary top tube distance) than standard "diamond" frames.

Funny thing, not many young women bought them back then. They wanted "boys" bikes (even though the stand over height was to high)!

Many of our mixte customers were older men with problems swinging their legs over the seat and top tube. Several times in the past few years I started considering a mixte - I aint too proud!

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Old 05-06-18, 08:29 AM
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Thanks all. I've begun building up first bikes for Granddaughters and have a Fuji Mixte nearly done for my oldest. This will be a big jump for her to 700c wheels and to offset it the low step over height of the Mixte/Step Through frame made a lot of sense to me as that first pedal push to start and ease of getting your foot down to stop keeps the confidence strong and makes all the rest fun. Then in another half dozen years, figure 8 year old to 14 year old, I can look for their first diamond frame bike, if the interest is still there. They live in France so vintage bikes from Japan may be cool if not different. The bike above will be the second project for a second Granddaughter. I have several Nishiki bikes so when I saw this complete and in what appears to be remarkable condition Nishiki I took the plunge. Now the fun of getting it boxed and shipped from one part of America to another where I live...oh, joy. It will be interesting to see what its serial number is, as I believe this is a pretty early bike and top of the line of the Mixtie/Step Through frames they made with nice double butted tubing (hard to find as a frame material in this style of bike)...again, have to wait and see.

verktyg, thanks for a great post, always something to learn about the history of bikes. Wonder after firing the machine gun how many sub-assemblies of the bike had to be re-tightened to avoid things falling apart???
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Old 05-06-18, 10:11 AM
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Mixte indicating a women's frame is largely incorrect as alluded to by @verktyg. It literally translate to mixed, two, dual and in some cases like bicycles universal. Some companies only made them and did not differentiate.
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Old 05-06-18, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
My question is which type of frame is this, a step through or a mixte? And what makes it one or the other? I know it is a lugged frame with double butted chrome molybdenum tubing. Given its ultimate use by a small light weight person I think in either form it will work well for them, perhaps with the addition of a triplizer. Thanks
"Mixte" does properly refer to bikes having no top tube, and a set of mid-stays that diverge from the head tube to each of the rear dropouts.

According to the JIS, that shape is classified as a "loop" type frame. (Note that they do not use the French spelling for "mixte", but the English word "mixed" which does not have quite the same unisex connotation that the French word does.)



The French classified frame shapes with their own names, as you might expect. Your frame shape does not appear in this partial list, but I have seen quite a few Italian frames with that shape, including from Cinelli.

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Old 05-07-18, 07:26 AM
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Thanks Ghrumpy I will copy and add your post to my file on this bike. Now I will have to look up Italian and Cinelli frames for this style of "Loop" frame as you've made me curious. Though as I think about it I am not surprised as I believe this is a a late 70s early 80s bike and Japan was both copying and improving on Italian components and frame design during this time period as the bike industry wars began.
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Old 05-07-18, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Thanks Ghrumpy I will copy and add your post to my file on this bike. Now I will have to look up Italian and Cinelli frames for this style of "Loop" frame as you've made me curious. Though as I think about it I am not surprised as I believe this is a a late 70s early 80s bike and Japan was both copying and improving on Italian components and frame design during this time period as the bike industry wars began.
Try looking up "Cinelli Riviera Donna" for starters. That was the model name.

By the way, I just noticed the "Bell Saw" type frame in the JIS pictures and wondered WTH did they get that name from. Then I saw the French version which is the "Berceau." Bell Saw is simply the Japanese transliteration of Berceau (which means "cradle.")
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Old 05-07-18, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post

verktyg, thanks for a great post, always something to learn about the history of bikes. Wonder after firing the machine gun how many sub-assemblies of the bike had to be re-tightened to avoid things falling apart???
Nothing about that looks like a realistically deployable weapon system. "A nice idea, but..."
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Old 05-08-18, 07:50 AM
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From a 1960s Cinelli to a late 70s early 80s Nishiki I think it's clear where Nishiki drew its design from. Negotiating with the LBS in Kansas to get the Nishiki shipped to the Northwest wish me luck. Thanks Ghrumpy.
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Old 07-10-18, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post


From a 1960s Cinelli to a late 70s early 80s Nishiki I think it's clear where Nishiki drew its design from. Negotiating with the LBS in Kansas to get the Nishiki shipped to the Northwest wish me luck. Thanks Ghrumpy.

That is one lovely bicycle! I have a mixte and step through. I cannot step through the mixte/have fallen trying to. Took the rack off the mixte/put on the step through-no problems. Both ride equally well....just can't step through a mixte-guess Im too short. I do not find an abundance of step throughs anywhere.
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Old 07-11-18, 07:56 AM
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juls lovely step through, as you say finding a vintage one is a search. What make is yours? Beautiful chrome lugs on the head tube.and looks to be a triple?
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Old 07-11-18, 06:34 PM
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How is "Mixte" pronounced?

Mixtee.....OR.......Mixt ?
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Old 07-11-18, 11:20 PM
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Old 08-29-18, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
juls lovely step through, as you say finding a vintage one is a search. What make is yours? Beautiful chrome lugs on the head tube.and looks to be a triple?
It is a 1972 Maino. 2x5
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Old 08-29-18, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RosyRambler View Post
How is "Mixte" pronounced?

Mixtee.....OR.......Mixt ?
I do believe it is pronounced "meext".
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Old 08-29-18, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for feedback and lovely bike, funny thing that got a quoted email as just this morning I started looking at the restoration, still two years away to allow Grand Daughter to grow. But today I will talk to builder friend on chain rings, and spindle length to make this a triple.II have a 42T triplizer and a 26T small chain ring. I would like to have a 46T,42T, 26T front chain rings to go with the 34T 5 speed freewheel. But will the Sun Tour V Compe front derailleur swing a 20 tooth gap, from what I've found its good for 18T. Grand daughter lives in hilly river valley terrain with some steep climbs to get to home, the 26 x 34 will be a blessing.
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Old 05-19-19, 03:21 PM
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Mixte, mix or mixed, all for the same design configuration. Pronounced as mixt. Always made of steel and only used for a sport or racing bike, randoneur and these days also for single speed/fixies. The original design comes from France and the bikes were very popular in the late senenties and the eighties. Have a great revival last years due to the attractive design and very ridgit and stiff construction comparing to aluminium modern style frames. Also seen as unisex bikes.
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Old 05-19-19, 03:35 PM
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Then there is the Faux Mixte

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Old 05-19-19, 04:31 PM
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Beautyfull one! The step height is according to a mixte, french users style, doesn't need to be a double bar as a lot of people think. ( Iam new here, still can't post pics)
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Old 05-19-19, 04:46 PM
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Nice short article on mixte frames from 2012 - https://momentummag.com/mixte-vintag...sh-city-bikes/
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Old 05-19-19, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RosyRambler View Post
How is "Mixte" pronounced?

Mixtee.....OR.......Mixt ?
I've always heard it pronounced mixtee. It may be a regional thing. If you look up the definition, you'll find both pronunciations cited as correct, depending on which dictionary...
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Old 05-20-19, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Then there is the Faux Mixte
According to that French chart, that would be a "Sport", non?
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Old 05-20-19, 06:47 AM
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Back to the original question, "step-through" is a generic term used for all ladies' frame styles, while "mixte" is a specific style of step-through frame. Therefore, all mixte frames are step-through frames, but all not step-through frames are mixte.
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