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A bike unicorn for my wife!!!

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A bike unicorn for my wife!!!

Old 04-09-23, 02:42 PM
  #1  
wooljersey
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A bike unicorn for my wife!!!

As we get older, it has become harder and harder for my wife to mount her bike by raising her leg over the seat. She has been riding a titanium Seven Axiom with S&S couplers. So, our requirements for a new bike included being able to travel with it by air and being a performance and lightweight. That ruled out most commercially available step through or mixte bikes.

We spoke to several builders and flew out to the Philly Bike Expo. We finally decided on Zinn Cycles. Lennard Zinn, author of Zinn and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance is well known for building bikes for exceptionally tall riders. He had a used titanium step through complete bike for sale, so we knew that he could build one. We flew out to visit Zinn's shop in Colorado and tried the used bike we liked it but it didn't have S&S couplers and the hydraulic brakes would have made flying with the bike more difficult. So we had Zinn fit my wife for a brand new custom frame.

Before the frame was built, Zinn asked whether we would prefer Paragon Machine Works' Z-coupler system over the S&S couplers we had spec'd. I had talked to the Paragon guys at the Philly Bike Show and their system was impressive!

Originally we were going to go with SRAM 1x11 (cable actuated) like her old bike. After we got the frame and before I built it up, I convinced her to go with SRAM Force AXS 1x12!

This was my wife's 40th anniversary present and we plan to fly with it and ride in France late this summer! I was worried when I built the bike that the reach (effective top tube) was too short. Turns out that it was just the opposite, her old bike was too long. When she first rode it she said, "it felt like it was built just for me ..." and it was!

It definitely is a unicorn!!!

The Unicorn

Frankendrive, SRAM Force AXS wireless derailleur, Shimano 105 hubs, Shimano Ultegra cassette, SRAM Force flattop chain, SRAM Rival crank, Wolftooth chainring and blue wolftooth bolts

Z-couplers are almost invisible

Zinn 40th Anniversary Headbage coincidently it's our 40th anniversary!

Maiden voyage!
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Old 04-09-23, 04:08 PM
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terrymorse 
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Originally Posted by wooljersey
As we get older, it has become harder and harder for my wife to mount her bike by raising her leg over the seat.

It definitely is a unicorn!!!
Nice bike, albeit a bit odd.

I'm curious to know what makes it difficult for your wife to lift a leg over the saddle. I have a stiff left hip as a result of an old fracture, and I keep it flexible by stretching twice per day. If I don't stretch, it hurts when I lift my leg over the saddle.
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Old 04-10-23, 05:30 AM
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essiemyra
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It is nice you were able to find a way so your wife is able to continue riding!
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Old 04-10-23, 05:51 AM
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Cool bike and great story. I found and fixed up a 16 inch '97 Cannondale hybrid with the "killer v" design for a friend who need a small bike. That extra clearance made a huge difference for her in riding a bike. The design of your custom bike really does a nice job of improving clearance.

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Old 04-10-23, 06:08 AM
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Congratulations. Keep the wife; and buy her a new bike anytime she wants one. The idea is to keep riding and it sounds like you are committed to that rule.
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Old 04-10-23, 10:01 AM
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denaffen
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Lightweight, high quality step-throughs in general are about as rare as hen's teeth. That one is definitely a unicorn.
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Old 04-19-23, 07:15 AM
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Brilliant solution, well done. As I march to the 80s it gets harder and harder to get that leg over w/o lowering the bike on it's side. Good friend in in his 80s who can no longer ride got to where he had to lower his bike to the side so far the saddle was almost on the ground.
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Old 04-23-23, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

I'm curious to know what makes it difficult for your wife to lift a leg over the saddle. I have a stiff left hip as a result of an old fracture, and I keep it flexible by stretching twice per day. If I don't stretch, it hurts when I lift my leg over the saddle.
Before my hip replacement I couldn’t lift my leg over the top tube. I had to lay my bike on the ground, straddle it, and then pick it up between my legs.

Dan
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Old 05-14-23, 05:12 PM
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Polaris OBark
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Nice bike, albeit a bit odd.

I'm curious to know what makes it difficult for your wife to lift a leg over the saddle. I have a stiff left hip as a result of an old fracture, and I keep it flexible by stretching twice per day. If I don't stretch, it hurts when I lift my leg over the saddle.
Since this didn't yet get an answer from the OP, in my wife's case, it is degenerative arthritis. I recently built her up a nice titanium bike, but she has a lot of trouble getting a leg over the top tube, and can't swing one over the rear wheel and saddle (which is what I do).

It is a real problem, and she began to scratch up the top tube as a consequence. I bought a protector for the frame, but it looks kind of odd.

She probably will have hip replacement surgery soon. I don't know if that will help or make it even harder to mount the bike.

If I could have got her what is pictured, I would have.
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Old 05-17-23, 04:26 PM
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Congratulations on your unicorn. Nice stealth couplers.

Have fun in France!
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