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Step-through touring/commuting bike for disabled wife

Old 03-14-24, 03:01 PM
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Step-through touring/commuting bike for disabled wife

Sadly, my wife recently sold her LHT that she LOVED because she had both of her hips replaced and struggles to swing her legs over the top tube. She still has a Breezer Uptown 8 with a step-through frame that she can still ride but its slow and only has 8 (internal) gears so it would not be great for touring. We would like to spend a fair bit of money to get her a high end touring/commuting bike that she can do everything with. I am not aware of any bikes that fit the bill. Ideally it would be something like a dutch bike but much lighter and sportier with dyno lights, chain case, and an internal hub but that might be too much to ask for an off the rack bike. Perfectly willing to consider a custom frame or build a bike from the frame up. Any ideas?
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Old 03-14-24, 04:54 PM
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It would not be cheap, but the smallest Nomad Mk III from Thorn comes in a step through frame version. Frame is designed to take a Rohloff.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/thorn-step-through-frames/

Thorn is in the UK. Their only retail outlet is SJS in the UK. But, they will ship a bike to USA.

That is NOT a sporty bike, it would be heavy because the Nomad series are built to carry loads.

If you buy one, be forewarned that you may pay a hefty duty charge. When I bought my Nomad Mk II frame from them 11 years ago, there was a bunch of other stuff in the box that pushed the value up, the duty fee was over $100. A complete bike would likely exceed that by quite a bit.

Any other new frames out there might not be capable of an IGH because almost everything now is through axle but I do not think any of the IGH are designed for that. I hear that a Rohloff can be installed on some through axle models, but I know nothing further on that.

Here is a crazy idea. Instead of a step through, get a Bike Friday or other folder, they are quite low.

Maybe used? Bianchi used to make a hybrid style mixte frame, I am sure others did too.

Good luck figuring this out.
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Old 03-14-24, 05:33 PM
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Cyclingabout has a list of step through touring bikes here.
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Old 03-14-24, 06:49 PM
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I'll follow this because a good friend will be getting a hip replacement this year sometime and this sort of bike will be a big help to her also.
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Old 03-15-24, 04:44 AM
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If anybody is at a marginal stage, where they can get a leg over the bike but just barely, the way I get on a bike might work better for them. I wrote up a post on that a few years ago, posted it here:
How to dismount a loaded tour bike?

I have two friends that had hip replacements. Both were avid bicyclists. One broke it in a fall, he was off of his feet for months and never got on a bike again. The other, his surgery was pre-planned and scheduled, I think he was back on his bike within a month or two after surgery. I suspect that a good physical therapist is key to this. And the patient actually doing their physical therapy.
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Old 03-15-24, 05:08 AM
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seems to me Rivendell makes a stepthru model

they do, more than one apparently
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Old 03-15-24, 06:01 AM
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I would look for a higher end Mixte. Soma makes one. Here are a few pictures of my wife's Raleigh.



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Old 03-15-24, 07:50 AM
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The Bike Friday New World Tourist (folding touring bike) has a very low bar that connects the bike together that can easily be stepped over. In fact, it is one of the things I really like about the bike!

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Old 03-15-24, 04:42 PM
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I was going to suggest a Bike Friday and I'm glad someone already has. And of course, the Mixtes linked above.
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Old 03-15-24, 05:34 PM
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Any folding 20” bike would be a good choice. I have a space-frame Moulton which is a wonderful touring machine, and a fast commuter. Its dual suspension system makes it smooth, the long wheelbase and geometry make it steady, and easy to mount racks and panniers. However, it isn’t an inexpensive bike.

I also have a Japanese Brompton clone which I bought for my wife. It’s as good as the genuine article (if not better), but one-third the price. Bromptons are hard to beat as commuters, and I am surprised to see that people have been using them as serious touring machines. My wife likes the Brompton because it’s small, easy to ride, and is accessorizable. The bike came with an external 5 speed cassette, which is lighter and easier to adjust and maintain than the internal hub versions.
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Old 03-16-24, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Sadly, my wife recently sold her LHT that she LOVED because she had both of her hips replaced and struggles to swing her legs over the top tube. She still has a Breezer Uptown 8 with a step-through frame that she can still ride but its slow and only has 8 (internal) gears so it would not be great for touring. We would like to spend a fair bit of money to get her a high end touring/commuting bike that she can do everything with. I am not aware of any bikes that fit the bill. Ideally it would be something like a dutch bike but much lighter and sportier with dyno lights, chain case, and an internal hub but that might be too much to ask for an off the rack bike. Perfectly willing to consider a custom frame or build a bike from the frame up. Any ideas?
I have a Surly Troll that can take a roholf, its no longer made and is a 26in wheeled bike. My wife has one also, an XS and the toptube is slanted down quite a bit. The 29er surly Ogre also has the same dropouts , so do you think these frames would be low enough to easily get a leg over?
The Rivendell frames have got to be really nice frames, not sure about an internal hub on them though.

what size frame does she fit?
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Old 03-16-24, 11:54 PM
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Why not something like this.

https://www.icetrikes.co/e-assist
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Old 03-17-24, 12:07 AM
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Cube makes all their commuting and touring bikes in step through models
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Old 03-17-24, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Sadly, my wife recently sold her LHT that she LOVED because she had both of her hips replaced and struggles to swing her legs over the top tube. .... Any ideas?
My wife just had her first hip replaced in December and I really don't want her to kiss her titanium Sage Barlow goodbye. She is having better luck leaning the bike and straddling the top tube. (I can't seem to get on a bike that way.) Another suggestion is a dropper post, which can at least make the leg swing a bit easier.

If all else fails, I would suggest a custom frame builder, who can exactly address her specific needs.
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Old 03-17-24, 03:37 AM
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I'm in the Mixte crowd. It's a great step over design and high endframes are made by Soma and Rivendell. Here are mine, and they are a lot faster than they look.

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Old 03-17-24, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
We would like to spend a fair bit of money to get her a high-end touring/commuting bike that she can do everything with. I am not aware of any bikes that fit the bill. Ideally, it would be something like a Dutch bike but much lighter and sportier with dyno lights, chaincase, and an internal hub...Any ideas?
Yeah, this wish list has Alex Moulton SST Alfine 11 written all over it. Request it from the factory with a SON hub.
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Old 03-17-24, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
...the way I get on a bike might work better for them.
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Old 03-17-24, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Yeah, this wish list has Alex Moulton SST Alfine 11 written all over it. Request it from the factory with a SON hub.
it will have to be zepp to decide on this, interesting bike but I would be concerned about the touring carrying capability and the 26 inch low gear, not low enough for me snd I have two good hips and probably younger than his wife.
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Old 03-17-24, 12:46 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and sorry for the long wait for my reply. I spoke at length with her about the many options (Thanks again!) you all provided us with. Here is where we are at and I would love further input.

We tried many times to find a way for her to get on the LHT without success and she became very self conscious about getting on/off as it would make her feel disabled having to mount in such a funny way. For these same reasons she seems pretty against a folding bike or bike with 20" wheels. She also says that an internally geared hub is not essential (makes things easier and cheaper) but dyno lights/fenders etc are a MUST have.

Right now, we are looking at the two different Thorn Raven bikes that have step through frames. One looks a lot more "upright" than the other and she prefers a sporty body posture.

This is the upright one:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/th...-used/?geoc=US

This is the more extended version:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/th...-used/?geoc=US

I am worried, since she can not test these out, that the longer version of the frame also has a higher step-over height and might be trouble some for her to get on/off. Any thoughts?

She also likes the Soma Buenavista which is a lot cheaper and looks like a pretty standard mixte frame but I am again worried about the step over height and I can not seem to find a shop near us who has one built that she can try. https://www.modernbike.com/product-2...4aAmq8EALw_wcB

Anyone know of a place in the USA that sells Konga-Miyata?

We also like the VO low-Kicker! https://velo-orange.com/collections/...lyvalent-mk5-1

Thank you again for your help and ideas!

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
It would not be cheap, but the smallest Nomad Mk III from Thorn comes in a step through frame version. Frame is designed to take a Rohloff.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/thorn-step-through-frames/

Thorn is in the UK. Their only retail outlet is SJS in the UK. But, they will ship a bike to USA.

That is NOT a sporty bike, it would be heavy because the Nomad series are built to carry loads.

If you buy one, be forewarned that you may pay a hefty duty charge. When I bought my Nomad Mk II frame from them 11 years ago, there was a bunch of other stuff in the box that pushed the value up, the duty fee was over $100. A complete bike would likely exceed that by quite a bit.

Any other new frames out there might not be capable of an IGH because almost everything now is through axle but I do not think any of the IGH are designed for that. I hear that a Rohloff can be installed on some through axle models, but I know nothing further on that.

Here is a crazy idea. Instead of a step through, get a Bike Friday or other folder, they are quite low.

Maybe used? Bianchi used to make a hybrid style mixte frame, I am sure others did too.

Good luck figuring this out.

Last edited by zeppinger; 03-17-24 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 03-17-24, 01:04 PM
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Old 03-17-24, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and sorry for the long wait for my reply. I spoke at length with her about the many options (Thanks again!) you all provided us with. Here is where we are at and I would love further input.

We tried many times to find a way for her to get on the LHT without success and she became very self conscious about getting on/off as it would make her feel disabled having to mount in such a funny way. For these same reasons she seems pretty against a folding bike or bike with 20" wheels. She also says that an internally geared hub is not essential (makes things easier and cheaper) but dyno lights/fenders etc are a MUST have.

Right now, we are looking at the two different Thorn Raven bikes that have step through frames. One looks a lot more "upright" than the other and she prefers a sporty body posture.

This is the upright one:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/th...-used/?geoc=US

This is the more extended version:
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/th...-used/?geoc=US

I am worried, since she can not test these out, that the longer version of the frame also has a higher step-over height and might be trouble some for her to get on/off. Any thoughts?

...
Unfortunately, you say you already sold the LHT. If you still had it, you could get detailed measurements off of it, how high the saddle was above the bottom bracket, crank arm length, how much higher or lower the bars are compared to the saddle, how far forward of the saddle is the handlebar where she gripped it, etc.

If you had that info, you could pass that on to SJS and they could advise you on the Ravens, The Raven Tour is slightly different model than the other one, but I have never owned one of the Raven series so I do not know any more detail.

One of those bikes lacks the dynohub.

The one that has a dynohub has a really ancient headlamp. I would suggest replacing the headlamp with a better one.

These are not light bikes, you should ask their weight.

The Raven Tour is quite old, the yellow decal on the Rohloff hub means that it is over a decade old. An old Rohloff however is not really bad, they last pretty much forever if you do your annual oil changes, just letting you know it is not very new. Newer ones have etched hub information, not a decal. If you buy the one with the decal, do not remove the decal, that includes the serial number.

If she would have trouble with step over height on one of the Thorns, I have to ask, does she have enough flexibility to pedal a normal crankarm length that is 165mm long. Shorter crank arms can be found but they are not common.

All of the Raven series of models were 26 inch wheels. That will limit choices of tires in the future, as the bike industry wanted to shift to different tire sizes. 26 inch will be around forever, but a lot of good tires are no longer sold in that size.
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Old 03-17-24, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
...interesting bike but I would be concerned about the touring carrying capability
You're just messing with us, right?




and the 26-inch low gear, not low enough for me and I have two good hips and probably younger than his wife.
********************

39T chainwheel fits on the crankset, 20T sprocket fits on the hub: Sheldon's gear calculator says 19 g.i. low.
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Old 03-17-24, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
You're just messing with us, right?



39T chainwheel fits on the crankset, 20T sprocket fits on the hub: Sheldon's gear calculator says 19 g.i. low.
That's pretty cool, looking at the images of it on the website, I never would have thought that frame could do this. I'm impressed. Is it noodly feeling?
On the website with the page showing the specs, the igh version chart showed 26- (I think) 94 g.i.
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Old 03-18-24, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
Is it noodly feeling?
CrMo space frame. VERY stiff.

On the website with the page showing the specs, the igh version chart showed 26- (I think) 94 g.i.
Yep. These bikes are built to order, and the factory will accommodate some level of personal preference. For serious IGH touring, go Rohloff - but no idea if the factory would build an SST that way.


I didn't think our OP would go for a Moulton. You kinda have to know you want a Moulton before you want one. Anyway, one of Dr. Moulton's main design elements was the open frame, which our OP was after.
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Old 03-18-24, 11:31 AM
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Without having clicked on every single link, I'll toss my hat in the ring for a Soma Buena Vista. Truly as modern of a mixte you are going to find. There are both rim and disc brake models and the sliding axle plates support a variety of standards combinations from OEM Rohloff, thru-axle, flat, and IS mount disk brakes in just about any combination you can think of if you know where to look.

I am so much pleased as punch with my Buena Vista built up as a road bike that I was inspired to build up another mixte from scratch configured with OEM Rohloff/flat mount sliders & the same Tange/IRD dropouts the Buena Vista uses. I accomplished this with Paragon Machine Works slider plates and Andrew Sutton Solutions IS to flat mount adaptors....Whatever. The point is the Buena Vista is a very versatile bike that can be configured in just about any way you want.

It would be hard to go wrong with the Soma.

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