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Any drawbacks with a women-style "step-through" frame?

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Any drawbacks with a women-style "step-through" frame?

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Old 01-05-10, 01:27 PM
  #51  
coolio
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Guy reviewing his step-through bike:

http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.com/2...at-ladies.html
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Old 01-05-10, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by coolio View Post
Guy reviewing his step-through bike:

http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.com/2...at-ladies.html
I saw cyclists of both genders riding bikes of this type when I went to Munich a few years ago. The bike racks outside apartment buildings and train stations were full of them and I went home thinking I'd like to have one. Then I couldn't find one, now they are becoming more common.
Have to say though, if he's ripping his pants throwing his leg over, it's entirely possible that he needs to go up a size.
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Old 01-05-10, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhodabike View Post
Have to say though, if he's ripping his pants throwing his leg over, it's entirely possible that he needs to go up a size.
Either that, or go down a size so they don't hang so low. Sagging jeans are so 1990's.
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Old 01-05-10, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by exarkuhn15 View Post
I'm a guy with long legs and I find myself wanting a step through frame.

Sometimes it can be difficult to swing that leg over the bike and the saddle.

First of all, I've got long legs, so my saddle is up pretty high - that's one obstacle to clear.

Add to that the fact that I've got large grocery panniers with a tall backpack sticking out, or a rear basket mounted on the rear rack - more things to swing your leg over.

And I don't wear lycra, so if I'm wearing shorts or pants, it's easy for those to get snagged on any of the things mentioned above.

I've actually started just high-stepping over the top tub a lot of the time anyway - that way I don't risk getting my pant leg caught on the back cargo and end up falling over. A mixte would be helpful in that regard....
this^ is why i would consider a mixte also. i used to think they were "girl" bikes, but i wouldn't mind one for my next commuter.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:58 AM
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I have English 3 speeds, and I have ridden/commuted on a woman's frame bike as well as diamond frames.

I found when I had lots of items and groceries (eg. 30+ lbs.) on the rear rack, the diamond frame seemed a little stiffer. Normally, this difference was not noticeable.

With a tall pile of items, it was easier to get on and off the woman's bicycle. Conversely, without a kickstand (it seemed to crimp the chain stays), it is easier to lean the diamond frame against a pole.
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Old 01-07-10, 11:39 AM
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didn't read through the entire thread, so not sure if it has already been mentioned. I think the only perceivable issue with them U-shaped frame is mounting it on a bike rack. regular racks are designed for diamond-shaped frames and therefore allow for better weight distribution.
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Old 01-07-10, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
didn't read through the entire thread, so not sure if it has already been mentioned. I think the only perceivable issue with them U-shaped frame is mounting it on a bike rack. regular racks are designed for diamond-shaped frames and therefore allow for better weight distribution.
If you are talking about racks as on cars, and such… My wife and I both have a couple of U-frame bikes we like to haul on the back of either of our Jeeps. We use a standard Schwinn receiver hitch mounted rack that holds three bikes.

What I do is lift the bicycle a little higher and slide one mount bar between the seat post and rear wheel, and attach the cradle/holder to the seat post. I place the bottom of the U-frame/down tube on top of the other bar and cradle/holder just behind the front wheel. Anchor it down at those two points and secure the front wheel so it doesn’t spin or flop around, and it’s very secure. It doesn’t seem to even swing back and forth as much as a diamond frame hanging from the top tube. For the second bike just mount it the opposite direction. Both bikes are at about 10 degree angle to the plain of the vehicle, but very stable. For my Mixte I do pretty much the same thing, but mount it below the twin top tubes and on the back side of the seat post.

Ps… it’s harder to describe in writing then it is to do in practice. I wish I had a picture of how they look when on the rack, but it’s 20F outside with a 4F wind chill, snowing and we have about eight inches of snow on the ground. So I guess a picture will have to wait.
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Old 01-07-10, 04:02 PM
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I don't like hanging racks anyway, but yes it is something to consider.

------

I find that I put my leg on the top tube from time to time. To steady the bike if I'm riding with no hands, if I am going to look behind me for longer than a glance, standing at stop lights. I think I will miss it if it's gone.
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Old 01-07-10, 10:36 PM
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There are all sorts of things that can go wrong when you don't have a diamond frame. Like some accessories might not fit. But most of these don't matter much or are surmountable.

Today, I took my Raleigh Twenty (folding bike). I rode it to the train station and took it on the train to NYC. It's about 40 pounds, i.e. heavy, but holding it by the bottom of the U was pretty easy. Also, pushing it through the train, it felt like a smaller bike. Well, it is. I used the step through feature after thinking about this thread. I was habitually swinging my leg over the saddle, not thinking about it.
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Old 01-08-10, 12:04 AM
  #60  
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I spent Spring 09 in Holland. I spent a bit of time on a proper mixte (like the SOMA pictured), a horizontal top-tube (mens) crappy Batavus, a single top-tube step-through traditional Dutch bike, a Bakfiets (cargo/kid carrier long bike with front carrier), and my own Surly CrossCheck that I brought over. The bikes, except my own, were left for us by our landlord. Typical of Dutch bikes, they were working but in poor repair. I fixed them all up and rode them all. Except for the "mens" bike, my wife (she's 159 cm, I'm 183) could and did ride all of the bikes. The step-through eliminates the stand-over issue. As indicated, nowhere but in the US is a step-through a "woman's" bike.

The step-through were definitely "wobbly" with lots of torsion around the bottom bracket. They were also cheap bikes, sort of disposable in the Dutch fashion (you don't own a bike, you borrow it from the junkies as the saying goes) so maybe it wasn't really the geometry. The "mens" was the least squiggly though. The bakfiets was pretty stiff unloaded as you would expect of a 25kg bike, but would also suffer a bit with my two kids (35kg) in the front. The double top tube was definitely better than the single. None compared to my Surly, but I would love to have the Bakfiets back here in the states.

So does ride quality really matter? Do you put serious horsepower to the pedals? You know, Harley is an awful antiquated piece of crap, but if you mostly just look at it in the garage and ride to the icecream shop, it might be the right motorbike for you. Likewise, the Mixte encourages a certain relaxed style nice for errand running, getting off the saddle and standing at stops. It's easy to adjust so an out-of-town visitor can hop on.

I'd like to have one. I've got bike number 11 coming this weekend (a Davinci tandem) and though a mixte is not my next desire, it might be bike 15 or 16 after a Ti 29er and a big dummy and a couple of others. I'd put a basket on the front and a nice stout rack on the back, an IGH, a covered chain, some skirt guards and ride around down-town with my pretty wife sitting side-saddle on a book on the rack with her arm around my waist...
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Old 01-08-10, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCarney View Post
...I'd like to have one. I've got bike number 11 coming this weekend (a Davinci tandem) and though a mixte is not my next desire, it might be bike 15 or 16 after a Ti 29er and a big dummy and a couple of others...
Okay, I am definitely not letting my husband see this post.
I thought he was the king of bike acquisition, but he's not even in the running
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Old 01-08-10, 05:03 PM
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In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add one minor drawback-mushy rear brakes. On many of the step-throughs I build, the rear brake housing runs along the down tube, back up the seat tube, with one final bend before it enters the noodle. Seems like you can set these up with the pads already in contact with the rims and still be able to bottom out the lever. And when the system uses a noodle with one of those built in springs, it's worse. Imagine running a brake system using solid rubber levers, a thin bungee cord for a cable, and a foam peanut as a brake pad. Well, not quite that bad. It just takes more time and care to get it feeling more solid.
That being said, there are tons of people who benefit from this frame. Older people, people recovering from hip injury, short legged people, etc. Psychologically, I think many people feel more secure being able to see the ground from their perch, without that ominous top tube promising a offspring-free future.
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Old 01-09-10, 01:10 AM
  #63  
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I currently have a regular triangle "mens" type frame but I like to wear dresses and skirts so have been secretly wanting to get a woman's style frame again. I think I'm going to go for it. I just prefer not having to raise my leg high enough for the world to see my entire undergarments. The step through is much more comfortable.
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Old 01-09-10, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by vredstein View Post
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll add one minor drawback-mushy rear brakes. On many of the step-throughs I build, the rear brake housing runs along the down tube, back up the seat tube, with one final bend before it enters the noodle...
Yet another vote for the mixte? On mixtes the brake cable runs down the top tube and goes straight into the brake. The rear brake is somewhat less important for stopping power than the front brake, in my experience.
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Old 01-09-10, 10:38 AM
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It depends on the frame and the type of caliper. Sometimes, there is an opportunity to route the cable well. Sometimes, there isn't.
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Old 01-09-10, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
I currently have a regular triangle "mens" type frame but I like to wear dresses and skirts so have been secretly wanting to get a woman's style frame again. I think I'm going to go for it. I just prefer not having to raise my leg high enough for the world to see my entire undergarments. The step through is much more comfortable.
I know what you mean. I got more into biking when I got rid of the step through. At the time, I only thought of biking clothe or jeans and easier transporting the bike by hand which led me to buy 2 regular trangle frame bike. Now that spring will arive here in the Bay Area, I sort of miss that feeling of being more fashionable with skirts when I'm out and shopping. This sort of leading me back to where I started.....duh. Most likely I might get another step through and use it around town. If I have to carry it up any stair, I'm gonna try BarrackSi method, but since it will not be a work commute, in most cases I will not have to carry it anyway. Beside, imagine me walking up and down the Bart stair with Step through bike while wearing a dress.
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Old 01-09-10, 12:04 PM
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Can someone explain what "stiffness" of a frame means and how a mixte frame would have more of it than a step-through?
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Old 01-09-10, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jude View Post
Can someone explain what "stiffness" of a frame means and how a mixte frame would have more of it than a step-through?
Well that is a bit difficult, because it seems to be such a subjective thing… but I will try to explain my personal understanding of it and maybe others can agree or disagree.

Frame flex and stiffness as it pertains to performance is… (simplified) when you stand up, or mash on the pedals really hard the frame has to resist the Torque force, or Twisting of the Bottom Bracket, and Side to Side motion generated by the extra weight force being applied to the crank through the pedals. Movement of that type is considered wasted motion by many and therefore wastes energy that could be applied to the drive train to propel the bicycle forward.

It also has to do with ride quality and handling, which is far more subjective… in other words how well the bicycle frame absorbs bumps in the road, or how quickly it responds to rider input. Of course there are many different variables such as tires, wheels, and so on…

As far as a Mixte frame goes… some people don’t think a Mixte has any more “Stiffness” than a conventional step through frame. But, by the same token what type of Step Through frame are we comparing it to; a dropped top tube type, a loop type, a U-frame, a curved top tube type with or without braces between the tubes? So again it is somewhat subjective in my opinion.

My personal experience is “ I don’t feel anymore, or less frame flex on my Mixte than I ever felt on any of my other bikes, that were all diamond frames and of medium to good quality“. As a matter of fact the subjectively “Stiffest” bike I have ridden in quite some time, is the U-frame aluminum single speed bike I have with the almost teardrop shaped tubing. I don’t feel any flex in that frame at all. It is scary stiff, I sometimes fear it will snap at some point.

So for what it’s worth that is my opinion….
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Old 01-09-10, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCarney View Post
crappy Batavus
Wow!!! I don't think I have ever seen these two words so closely together. Why are Batavus crap again?
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Old 01-09-10, 02:50 PM
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If you've ever mounted a bike with a rear mounted child seat you would appreciate a step through frame.

I don't buy the argument that any top tube will do anything for bottom bracket flex. Lateral flex is different from lineal
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Old 01-09-10, 04:38 PM
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I just saw one of the new Electra Ticino mixtes in a local shop. It was the bottom of the line model, the 7D. Surprisingly light, even with the steel handlebars and stainless steel fenders. No idea if it's stiff or not, but the frame looks hefty.
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Old 01-11-10, 12:09 PM
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Step-Through Framed Bicycles

Perhaps a big number of the Japanese commuter bicycles are comonly step-through designed. Designed mostly for students, workers, and dads & moms doing errands and transport for kids. Among the models famous for these step-through bicycles are the Maruishi Frackers and Bridgestone bicycles with child carriers.

Bridgestone Raku-Raku - Front basket/child carrier with auto-adjust seat height.


Maruishi Frackers Como - Front baby carrier and rear child carrier.


Bridgestone - With OGK Rear Child Carrier


Sanyo Electric Bicycle Frame - Converted the frame to a regular bicycle by removing the electric motor and battery compartment. The long frame was suitable for mounting a child carrier.


National Alfit - Alloy framed with a front shock absorber

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Old 01-11-10, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Danw View Post
If you've ever mounted a bike with a rear mounted child seat you would appreciate a step through frame.

I don't buy the argument that any top tube will do anything for bottom bracket flex. Lateral flex is different from lineal
You're wrong, but thanks for playing.

Not that it's a big deal on a city bike, IMO. The only reason to prefer a stiff bike for utility purposes is that they are much better behaved when carrying cargo. Loading up a rear rack in particular will affect the handling of a bike, and if the bike is a bit floppy for the amount of weight back there, balance and steering get pretty awkward. You can really feel a heavy load twisting the frame back and forth.
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Old 01-11-10, 01:01 PM
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Your're Wrong. You've obviously never ridden with a kid (not cargo!) in the back like in pix 3-4 above. You'd appreciate the ability to load him/her up and quickly straddling the bike via the step through. Gotto go with Mr Danw on this one.

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
You're wrong, but thanks for playing.

Not that it's a big deal on a city bike, IMO. The only reason to prefer a stiff bike for utility purposes is that they are much better behaved when carrying cargo. Loading up a rear rack in particular will affect the handling of a bike, and if the bike is a bit floppy for the amount of weight back there, balance and steering get pretty awkward. You can really feel a heavy load twisting the frame back and forth.
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Old 01-12-10, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
Wow!!! I don't think I have ever seen these two words so closely together. Why are Batavus crap again?

Sorry, didn't mean to impugn Batavus, it was a crappy example of an otherwise fine make....

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