Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

Step throughs

Old 08-07-18, 01:14 PM
  #26  
hotbike
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Diameter of the Bike's Down Tube is much greater than your average Road Bike's Down Tube Diameter.
There are some very successful Step Through Frames, which gain their strength through the use of Over-Sized Metal Tubing. May be "Ovalized" as well. See Picture.
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Old 08-08-18, 12:50 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by MJH View Post
I’ve searched for Calvin Bicycles & found nothing. What brand Bike is it? Or am I missing something?
Manufactured by Biria in Germany. Rear hub is a Schweinfurt manufactured Sachs 3 speed/coaster. Original tires are Finnish Nokians 47 x 622mm. The saddle was replaced by me with a 40+ YO British Wright W66.

Bought it new in 2001 in Germany for my 17YO daughter, for about 400€ from the local Opel Car Dealer who had a side business of bicycles sales/repair. She selected it because she liked the color; she chose wisely.

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Old 08-08-18, 01:38 PM
  #28  
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Step through frames are a big help on a utility bike where the bike might be loaded like HotBike's. The problem with the older "women's" frames is that the y have skinny tubes, the mid tube may not have lateral tubes that extend to the rear drop outs. This will result in a frame that will flex or even bend with heavier men and more aggressive riding.

My wife has a Raleigh and Aluminum frame with a single fat down tube. When I ride it, it feels pretty solid.

Virtually all of the bike share bikes are step through frames and most have one fat down tube. As these get more commonplace, I think we'll see more men riding step through frames.

In fact, one other force is at work and that is that many men in my neighborhood cannot afford to buy a new bike. They use their bikes to get to work and get around. And they buy or find what they can get. Many of them are on "Women's" bikes. My neighbor across the street included. He rides a woman's mountain bike.
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Old 04-26-19, 11:22 PM
  #29  
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So what's the tallest step-through bike currently on the market on the US? I'd like to get one, but I'm about 5'11" and haven't found one big enough.
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Old 04-28-19, 10:30 AM
  #30  
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Cool options

Bike Friday.. It's low frame tube is essentially a step through. as a fold to travel bike made in Oregon,

they are sized to the customer .. [I own 2]



Portland Oregon is a place where shops import Dutch Oma (grandma) bikes ..

I'd see if any other cities on the East coast do similar .... College towns like Chapel Hill?







.....

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Old 05-06-19, 05:38 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Step thru = girl's bike. Real men don't want to be seen riding those.
Real men don’t want to kick the toddler in the face. I ride a “girls bike” around town. It’s a big heavy steel cross frame. My son always rode to school on the back rack. It gets loaded up in the front and back. It would be pretty tough to mount and dismount if it wasn’t a “girls bike”.

I know your joking about the girls bike thing. I’m just trying to point out why they make sense.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:45 AM
  #32  
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Hmm ... Yuba? Step thru... Bike Friday? Step thru. Benno Carry on? Step thru. Most all dedicated utility/cargo bikes I see are either step thru or "female" mountain bike styled sloped top tube...and for good reason. Speaking of non bakfeits of course. Now we have game changer bikes like Circe Morpheus.... But even the city and rail friendly Orbea Katu has a step thru.
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Old 05-06-19, 11:31 AM
  #33  
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Big Loaded Panniers

I must use a step-through because of the large load in my rear panniers. Two spare tires
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Old 05-23-19, 07:34 PM
  #34  
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Honestly, we went to mixte's many years ago to avoid the oopses... Remember those old fashioned 27" French stepthru 'kool' bikes that even came with luggage rack eyelets. Never noticed them flexing; I'm small. My current one with a 1985 steel frame is stiff, rather light, very maneuverable and cruises right along even with the panniers and porteur. Odd enough not to attract quick snatchers too.

However as surfaces continue to decay and off road capabilities become more useful, we are now looking at those newer low straight tube 26" mountain bike frames for a more sturdy 'suv'. Are they 'ladies' bikes? Maybe 'step overs' is a better term? Yeah... "STEP OVERS". Wait, what was I thinking...

Hey though, maybe women's bikes are also thus less likely targeted for theft.?

Be well.
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Old 06-15-19, 09:54 AM
  #35  
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I started this thread almost a year ago and I am happy to report that I have just completed the build of a step through of my own. I built up a commuter bike at the beginning of the year because I did not have anything suitable for commuting on among all my bikes. However I selected a diamond frame because I couldn't find a suitable step through frame, which are really difficult to get hold of. I was happy on the diamond framed bike...until we had an issue with our car in March. It's a good car but an older one, and German so relatively expensive maintenance is a fact of ownership. This issue looked like it might be very expensive so it gave me cause to consider our transportation options, which included sticking with this car, getting a new car, or an electric one, but in the end we decided that we would do a 3 month experiment of living without a car.

What I quickly found was that my panniers just would not cut it on their own as I needed to carry more things to make shopping convenient. I looked at front racks but the bike had carbon forks with no rack mounts, so I put a large basket on the back. The basket has been fantastic. It swallows large items (cartons of milk, boxes of cat food, etc) easily and provides handy overspill if I buy too much for my panniers. But I now had a problem because swinging my leg around behind the seat and over the basket became very difficult, especially as I prefer to commute in my work trousers. I briefly experimented with other methods of mounting but none of them was easy. Consequently I decided a change of frame was necessary to support my new lifestyle.

I was lucky enough to find a cheap Cube step-through frame in a big enough size for me (I'm 6'3"). It fits tyres up to 700x2.1", which is great because I love fat tyres (I have a Surly ICT too). It didn't come with a fork but I managed to source a steel one designed for a rigid mountain bike. I have built several wheels but I decided instead to get some professionally built as they will no doubt be (and are) better built than anything I could manage. It has Ryde Andra 321 rims and a Son dynamo - I thought this was a sensible investment as I'm going to be relying on this bike all year round. It is the most practical bike I've ever owned. It's far from the fastest but I don't care about that. It's still fun to ride and I love loading it up and carrying things. I think a trailer is the next thing on the agenda. Anyway, this is it....

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Old 06-17-19, 12:30 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
So what's the tallest step-through bike currently on the market on the US? I'd like to get one, but I'm about 5'11" and haven't found one big enough.
Get a Soma Buena Vista frame. Goes up to 62cm.

https://www.somafab.com/archives/pro...disc-frame-set
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Old 06-18-19, 02:38 PM
  #37  
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I still have a mid 80s Gazelle. 60cm frame, 700c tires, 3 speed internal hub with coaster brake. Heavy as a tank because almost everything is made of steel including the fenders. This is great city bike. However when heavily loaded the step through frame flexes quite a bit more than a regular diamond frame. But I still like. I just don't ride it often enough.

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Old 06-29-19, 10:23 PM
  #38  
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The ancient Electro-Forged Schwinn STEP-THROUGH, five speed Collegiate of the 1970 - 1977 era and the five speed Suburban of the 1970-1977 are fantastic bicycles in the Women's (STEP-THROUGH) frames. They have SHIMANO gearing (Model J) Freewheel and SHIMANO rear derailleur ( GT-100 from 1970 thru 1973, and GT-120 from 1974 - 1977 .....both of these are Shimano built for Schwinn.................the 1970 five speed Collegiates/five speed SUBURBANS were the first Schwinn models to feature Shimano stuff instead of Huret.)
Yes, These SCHWINN Collegiates and Suburban FIVE SPEEDS are heavy at close to 39 pounds.
That isn't a huge deal for something utilitarian. The original equipment saddles(seats) on those bikes probably weigh four pounds but the work well and the coil springs really ride nice.
These bikes are among the most durable bicycles ever made.
THE MODEL J FREEWHEEL gives you 32, 26, 21, 17, 14 on the rear wheel --AND--- you have just a single 46 TEETH FRONT CHAIN Crankwheel
.............The reason that I recommend ONLY the 1970 thru 1977 COLLEGIATE five speeds rather than any of the earlier 1964 thru 1969 Collegiate five speeds IS BECAUSE THE EARLIER (sixties era) COLLEGIATE FIVE SPEEDS HAVE THE MODEL F gears which only have the lowest gear of 28teeth at the rear vs the 32teeth of the 1970-1977 Model J gears. The earlier sixties era Collegiate also has the Huret Alvit for SCHWINN rear derailleur which is undesireable compared to the Shimano built for Schwinn rear derailleurs. Other than those issues, the 1964-1969 Collegiate Five Speed is Excellent too.
THESE ELECTRO-FORGED STEP THROUGH STEEL FRAMES DO NOT EXHIBIT THE FLEXING THAT YOU MIGHT NOTICE WITH LIGHTER AND MORE MODERN FRAMES. I WOULD SAY THESE ARE AS STIFF AND STABLE AS ANY MIXTE FRAME.

It is worth giving these a look over.
The Collegiate did carry on for a couple of years after 1977, but I must refer you to the SCHWINN DATA BOOK of 1975-1979 and SCHWINN DATA BOOK of 1970-1974 etc , as well as the Schwinn Catalogs of each year model. THE SUBURBAN five speed adopted the FFS in the 1978 year model and thus is not something that you would typically want. The FFS does function Okay but the general weirdness of it, is not something that most non-Schwinn people will like.

You can find COLLEGIATE five speeds and SUBURBAN five Speeds for very little money ( typically around $30 to $75) in rideable condition if you look in certain areas/cities. For example places like Asheville NC and also the major cities in North Carolina like Raleigh, and Charlotte.
You can also find them in Atlanta Georgia. These bicycles tend to be in excellent condition and are typically owned by folks between 60 and 75 years old.
The Ashtabula (American style ONE-PIECE crank) is a marvel of simplicity and durability and should never be swapped out for a 3 piece unit because 2 additional pounds means nothing on this type of bicycle. These bikes also came in at least three frame sizes in WOMEN's frame (step-through) typically, 19 inch, 21 inch, and 17 inch (measured from center of crank on BB to the seat post clamp)..........
The only real difference between a SUB. and COLLEG. is the 630mm -27" wheel with 32mm tire of SUBURBAN versus the 597mm -26" wheel with 37mm KENDA tire of the COLLEGIATE. The other difference is that the SUBURBAN has a tubular front fork (same one that the Continental has)........the Collegiate has the Ashtabula BLADE Fork that the Varsity has.
The COLLEGIATE typically came in tourist handlebars in the Step-through frame BUT starting in about 1974, or maybe 1975, a Women's COLLEGIATE Sport was offered that had the racing handlebars and rat traps like a Varsity with no fenders. The regular Collegiate Women's model continued to be offered with Tourist(NorthRoad bars) handlebars.
I urge you to read up on these bicycles and review the COLORS and frame size offerings for each year model from 1970 through 1977.

Another thing to know:
How to determine what year SCHWINN you might be looking at:
THE SECOND LETTER determines the year (you'll find this on the head tube near the Schwinn badge from 1970-1977)
F=1970
G=1971
H=1972
J=1973
K=1974
L=1975
M=1976
N=1977
(you will notice that the the letter I is not used because it resembles a number one......ditto the letter O is not used for '78, as it goes from N to P...)


Now that you know the 2nd Letter is the YEAR of Manufacture..................The first letter is the Month of Production.....A= jan, B= Feb, C= March.......etc...



They are quality bikes. They ride really smooth and stable. Heavy, well heck yes but that isn't so bad on this type of cruising bicycle.
The COLLEGIATE in particular with its 597mm wheel and 37mm tire width is a fantastic ride. KENDA is the only manufacturer of this particular Schwinn only 597mm -26 inch tire...............they make it in the blackwall, the gumwall, and the whitewall varieties. You can buy it from major online bike shops for less than $20.
The Suburban has the 27" wheel (630mm) and many tires are available. I run the Michelin Protek 630mm x 32mm (27 x 1 1/4 ) tires on one of my SUBURBAN five speeds that have had the fenders removed. I different 630mm x 32mm (27 x 1 1/4) on my Suburbans with fenders in place.

These ancient bicycles deserve a look. They are incredibly inexpensive. They are durable workhorses that are very comfortable to ride. It is possible to upgrade to alloy wheelset but you don't gain much unless you wish to go a liitle faster and have good braking when wet. Other than that, you don't gain much because if your aim is for lightweight and quick, it is simply better to seek something other than an electro-forged Schwinn. Try one these ancient electro-forged Step-throughs and you may realize that they are better than you might think. Most people detest them because they are Women's frames and that they are Schwinns, but I love these Women's (step-through) five speeds in the Tourist variety in the larger frame sizes. Most Schwinn people use them as parts bikes and part out and junk them. I personally think the step-through in the Schwinn electroforged frame variety (continental/varsity/suburban/collegiate etc) are the best ones for Tourist use.
OLD GUYS can easily mount and get off of them. The ONLY FUNCTIONAL DOWNSIDE IS THAT THEY CAN BE A PAIN TO PUT ON A TYPICAL AUTOMOBILE BIKE RACK BECAUSE OF BEING A STEP-THROUGH FRAME, but if you have a pickup or a suv, or old station wagon etc.....you can place the bike inside the car. I can place two vintage step-thru Vintage SCHWINN collegiates into the back of my Honda Fit. They are stacked on top of each other with bicycle box cardboard or an old rug as protection for the car............obviously the rear seats are folded flat............... LOADING one is simple, the second one is harder simply because of the near 40 pound weight of the bike, but it can be done within two minutes and in less than 45 seconds with two strong folks...
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Old 07-04-19, 05:46 PM
  #39  
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Making a bike more comfortable is something I think one thinks about only as you get older. Fenders, kickstand, comfortable upright position, step thru are all things I never even remotely thought of in my early days. Even a small basket to carry small items. They are huge things tho for comfort and ease.

Having had many mountain bikes and really prefer that base for a bike, brakes, tires, gearing , the change to upright gets tricky. Straight bars change to sweptback bars, stems are shorter and more upright, and since the bars are wider and wraparound some the cables are too short and need to be changed. All needed tho to really get to that comfy place in my book.
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Old 07-06-19, 11:11 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
The COLLEGIATE in particular with its 597mm wheel and 37mm tire width is a fantastic ride.

These ancient bicycles deserve a look. They are incredibly inexpensive. They are durable workhorses that are very comfortable to ride.

The ONLY FUNCTIONAL DOWNSIDE IS THAT THEY CAN BE A PAIN TO PUT ON A TYPICAL AUTOMOBILE BIKE RACK BECAUSE OF BEING A STEP-THROUGH FRAME,
My wife has been very happy with this 5 speed Collegiate that I picked up at a local garage sale about 13 years ago for about $10 or $15. It needed no repairs or maintenance. I added the bell and front bag.

I carry adult step thru frame bike on a regular rear rack on my compact cars with the use of regular rubber straps looped around the bike frame and pulling the bike up to the horizontal bar and attach the hooks of the straps to various parts of the rack that will suspend the bike from the horizontal bar of the rack frame and not allow the bike to sway fore and aft, rather than have the bike frame resting on top of the horizontal bar. It takes longer to type than actually load the Collegiate or my other step thru bikes.
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Schwinn Collegiate 5Speed.jpg (1.17 MB, 29 views)
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Old 07-07-19, 02:52 AM
  #41  
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Looks like it may be a 1979 Emerald Green COLLEGIATE.
It has the "you can shift without pedalling"- Shimano Front Freewheeling System.
These worked well and eliminated the confusion about how to shift gears for anyone who was new to bicycling.
The so called serious bikers of the day made fun of it, just as they had been doing to everything electroforged from the Windy City, but they (serious bikers) would later benefit from the Shimano index shifting which evolved partially because Shimano had developed the FFS earlier.
The Shimano FFS was a good product for a lot of riders.
That is a great looking Emerald Green Collegiate. Schwinn got that color combination absolutely perfect with the late day graphics,....it is a beautiful bike!
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