Step through or not?

Tangled Metal
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Step through or not?

Postby Tangled Metal » 30 Aug 2017, 9:39am

As a male I'm perhaps not meant to be here but I'm curious about what women think about step through and non-stop through bikes for women.

Which do you prefer?

Not being able to answer the question for obvious reasons (I'm male) I look at family and friends to see what they have. My first observation is that my partner brings her leg over the cross bar but I've always thrown the leg over the back of the bike. My partner has a men's MTB but it's top tube slopes a lot. My sister has an MTB with a top tube that doesn't slope much just like men's / unisex bikes. She's tall and leggy so she probably could manage a penny farthing for height.

All the other females go for step through or highly sloping. A few go for unisex if they're really into MTB or road cycling. If this is accurate observations then two camps, comfortable step through and serious performance.

Is this your view?

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simonineaston
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby simonineaston » 30 Aug 2017, 2:07pm

Speaking as a bloke, I wouldn't give up up my step-throughs for a Big Pig... (they being my Moultons and Brompton, which I own to the exclusion of all other makes.)
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pjclinch
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby pjclinch » 31 Aug 2017, 8:56am

simonineaston wrote:Speaking as a bloke, I wouldn't give up up my step-throughs for a Big Pig... (they being my Moultons and Brompton, which I own to the exclusion of all other makes.)


I also own a Moulton & Brom, and have never regretted them being step-through. They're just easier to get on and off with an option for in front or behind the saddle.
My 8 Freight has a lower-than-normal crossbar and that's just good design, as big loads in the back may mean swinging over the back of the saddle doesn't work.

The Moulton's space-frame makes it just as stiff as a "normal" bike but of course there is a cost issue there. Unless you're in to serious performance a high crossbar doesn't really serve much purpose though. The UK market is heavily biased towards sporting machinery if you compare it to, say, Dutch and Danish, so there's far more emphasis on performance at the expense of convenience. It's not coincidence that city hire schemes almost always have step-through frames.

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LollyKat
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby LollyKat » 31 Aug 2017, 9:39am

Speaking as a female I prefer to have a cross bar. I've tried step throughs but I could feel the energy loss as the bottom bracket moved while I pedalled, and they were generally too whippy or soggy to handle the heavy panniers I frequently carry. OTOH when I use my Brompton I do enjoy the ease of hopping on and off.

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simonineaston
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby simonineaston » 31 Aug 2017, 10:16am

LollyKat wrote:Speaking as a female I prefer to have a cross bar. I've tried step throughs but I could feel the energy loss as the bottom bracket moved while I pedalled, and they were generally too whippy or soggy to handle the heavy panniers I frequently carry. OTOH when I use my Brompton I do enjoy the ease of hopping on and off.

As pjclinch suggests, there's nothing as stiff as a Moulton space frame... Moulton's are so efficient and fast that they've been banned by the UCI 'cos they give the rider an unfair advantage! BTW, I like pj's profile piccie showing him astride the ultimate step-thru' ;-)
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pjclinch
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby pjclinch » 31 Aug 2017, 11:58am

simonineaston wrote:As pjclinch suggests, there's nothing as stiff as a Moulton space frame... Moulton's are so efficient and fast that they've been banned by the UCI 'cos they give the rider an unfair advantage!


I think Moultons were banned long before the space frames by way of the wee wheels. It's quite a bit easier to draft with wee wheels. However, for those of smaller stature (and statistically that's more the ladies than the chaps) it's much easier to make an uncompromised frame setup if you don't need to put 700c (or even 650b) wheels in it, so if you're small and don't need to worry about the racing regs from the Luddites of Lausanne then small wheelers do come in performance models and are worth looking in to.

As for "so fast"... well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Moultons are not slouches by any means, but all the cross spars in the frame won't do your aero any good, and up hills they're heavier than a current road bike and while the suspension makes them more efficient over the more knobbly roads (they introduced the sort of thing road bikes are starting to get for Belgian pavé about, oooh, 50 years ago) it tends to bob up hills and can't be locked out.
Moultons, like Broms, are "on size fits most". Not cheap, but you'd have to look pretty hard to find a general purpose do-most-stuff bike that's a clear win over a TSR. Reasonably fast, very comfortable (the suspension takes out sting the rigidity imparts), easy to pack away, carries loads okay, excellent handling.

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Flinders
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Flinders » 1 Sep 2017, 3:20pm

LollyKat wrote:Speaking as a female I prefer to have a cross bar. I've tried step throughs but I could feel the energy loss as the bottom bracket moved while I pedalled, and they were generally too whippy or soggy to handle the heavy panniers I frequently carry. OTOH when I use my Brompton I do enjoy the ease of hopping on and off.


When I was getting my first bike (in my 20s), one shop I went to was trying to push me into getting a stepover. I couldn't see how the frame could be as strong, but they assured me it was. That just didn't seem logical to me. It looked like it would flex a lot more than a basic triangle would.
I took advice from a cyclist friend and they warned me not to get one, or, indeed, to buy from a shop that was shoving me into buying anything I was unsure about.
Being short legged, frame geometry means that even some crossbar bikes that fit me are a 'spongy' ride. I like a sharp ride. So I go for a crossbar and a stiff frame material.
Also, back when I got my first bike, step-through frames were not made in the same size range as crossbar ones- to get a frame small enough to fit me properly, I had to have a crossbar in any case.

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bovlomov
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby bovlomov » 3 Sep 2017, 10:04pm

I'll add to the male voices here.

I tried putting a child seat (and child) on my regular bike, but discovered that my usual method of getting on - from the back - was now obstructed. Trying to get my foot over the crossbar risked kicking the child and/or dropping the bike. I decided that this wouldn't be safe, especially in an emergency, so I bought a Raleigh mixte from one of our forum members. Without the child seat, it rides very much like my other bikes (all 40ish year olds with steel frames). I don't notice any loss of rigidity - apart from that of my male ego, as I have had to get used to riding a bike with 'Clubman Lady' written on the frame. I could have scratched off the 'y' but have chosen instead to embrace my feminine side.

Does anyone still make mixte frames?

Tangled Metal
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Sep 2017, 11:48am

I must be flexible because when I had our boy on the back in a child seat I still managed to throw my leg over the back to get on. Used to be flexible then took up martial arts for awhile so became more flexible. Lost a bit in the years since but I could still kick to head height for the average man. My sister used to do dance a lot so she's more flexible than me. Kind of a standing splits is the way I'd describe it.

Of course my new bike wasn't stable enough for a wriggling tot so I never had the seat on it again so leg over isn't a problem.

Curious about the responses. A lot more men than women replying, I think so based on my gender assumptions based on screen names. Are there such a large ratio of men to women on this forum?

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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Vorpal » 4 Sep 2017, 12:12pm

I haven't had a step through bike since I was about 11. I broke the frame of two, using (abusing) them as BMX bikes, and it made me leery of step through frames.

I can see that when I can longer get my leg over, I may want to invest in a step-through frame, but for now, I have several bikes with either horizontal or slightly sloped top tubes, and I am happy with that. The lowest top tube is on the tandem, which is good because I pretty much have to put my foot over the top tube on the tandem.
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Vorpal » 4 Sep 2017, 12:14pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Are there such a large ratio of men to women on this forum?

I think so. I mean we can't know for certain, but most of the active users identify themselves on here as men. On this thread, though, I'm the 3rd woman to respond. (I'm not sure that step through frames are necessarily a women's cycling interest, but I have not moved it).
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Sep 2017, 12:48pm

Hmmm! Why isn't it a women's matter? Most if not all step through bikes I've seen in the UK are ridden by women.

Personally I don't see folding bikes as step through. They effectively are but that's a kind of consequence of the type of bike not a choice of frame shape for ease of mounting. IMO step through bikes are a subset of normal varieties of bikes that are available with a lower or absent top tube to allow easier access. Once more common for men and women but falling out of favour for men and less in favour for women too I reckon.

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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Vorpal » 4 Sep 2017, 1:04pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Hmmm! Why isn't it a women's matter? Most if not all step through bikes I've seen in the UK are ridden by women.

While step through frames are traditionally women's frames, their usefulness is not limited to women. A step through frame is useful to anyone who struggles to get a leg over a saddle or top tube. If we recognised that and didn't refer to them as women's bikes, there might be more people who continued cycling even after mobility issues limited their other activities, or limited them from using a pedal cycle with a top tube.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Sep 2017, 2:00pm

My sexism has been exposed! :oops:

You are right there, good point well made.

BTW my grandad rode a step through all his life. In his day they all had them. A big, heavy, black bike with a built in front basket. Whereas fashions changed and men stopped cycling to work so much or they got modern bikes, he never did. Same bike he had in the 50s right up to IIRC the 90s. Used to get to the train station (work) and supermarket for a top up shop.

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pjclinch
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Re: Step through or not?

Postby pjclinch » 4 Sep 2017, 5:13pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Hmmm! Why isn't it a women's matter? Most if not all step through bikes I've seen in the UK are ridden by women.

Personally I don't see folding bikes as step through


What about Boris Bikes and their equivalents?
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