Test ride: step-through- and mixte-framed bikes

I love my old step-through bicycle. I ride a 1950’s single-speed Glider with a back-pedal brake; made in England for Eatons. It’s reliable, comfortable and fast.

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A step-through frame is a type of bicycle frame with a low or absent top tube or cross bar. For a mixte frame, the top tube is replaced with two smaller tubes which run from the top of the head tube to the rear axle. The stand-over height is reduced while giving the frame more strength than a standard step-through style.

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There are many reasons to choose a step-through frame. With easier access on and off, they can be more comfortable and safer for any rider with restricted agility, and for those who make frequent stops and starts. The addition of skirt and chain guards will make the step-through frame an excellent choice for those who wish to wear longer items of clothing like skirts and long coats. Downsides: they may be heavier, and there are fewer spots for mounting accessories.

Earlier this week, on a lovely blustery autumn day, I test rode most of the step through and mixte bikes we carry. As with any bike, the riding experience is very personal. So instead of recommendations, I will just provide my impressions.

Simcoe Signature 7
(paired with Giro Reverb helmet)

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I enjoyed this bicycle a lot. It comes with a Shimano 7-speed Nexus internal gear hub, Brooks leather saddle, and matching fenders, back rack and chain guard. It is a bit heavy, but the ride is smooth and it’s easy on and off.

Electra Townie 7D
(paired with Nutcase Spirits in the Sky helmet)

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I love the flat-foot technology offered by the Townie. This was the first bike I’ve ridden with a grip shift instead of trigger shifters. It was weird at first, but I quickly felt the advantage of using your hands instead of your thumbs to shift. This bike has a 7-speed Shimano Revoshift.

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The Townie provides very upright riding which I also like.

Electra Townie with handle bar upgrade
(paired with Nutcase Rainbow Stripe helmet)

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Wow! I’m glad I rode this one after the 7D. The change to a more sweep-back handle bar made an amazing difference to an already comfortable bike. This model has a 21-speed Shimano Revoshift.

Apollo Nouveau WS
(paired with Nutcase Liquid Silver helmet)

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Another comfortable bicycle with upright position, smooth shifting (Shimano 7-speed Revoshift), and it comes with a basket and fenders.

Pashley Britannia
(paired with Nutcase Modern Argyle Matte hemet)

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I love the look and comfort of this bike; it is the closest in feel to the vintage bike I ride. It really is beautiful – hand-built in England, gorgeous colours, Brooks saddle, matching fenders and chain guard, wicker basket. The Sturmy Archer 5-speed hub requires the rider to ease off on pedalling while shifting, which is commonly referred to as clutching.

Brodie PAX
(paired with Bell Piston helmet)

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This bike was a smooth, fast ride and comes with 7-speed Shimano Nexus grip shift, fenders, and back rack. It wasn’t as upright as others and feels very sporty.

Soma Buena Vista
(paired with Giro Reverb helmet)

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This is a really fun bike. A more sporty, less upright ride, it’s a Shimano 21-speed with drum brakes, fenders, back rack, and light-up pedals. The shifting was really smooth.

Electra Loft 7D
(paired with Nutcase Dots helmet)

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This beautiful mixte has a nice upright riding position and comes with 7-speed Shimano Revoshift grip shift and matching fenders and chain guard.

Brodie Section 8
(paired with Nutcase Americana helmet)

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Like its step-through cousin the Brodie PAX, this mixte is sporty and fast. The Shimano 8-speed Nexus shifting is smooth and easy.

Opus Cervin
(paired with Bell Yellow helmet)

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Another nice ride with 24-speed Grip Shift Max, matching back rack and fenders.

Evo Oakhills 7
(paired with Nutcase Silver Sparkle helmet)

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A super low-to-the-ground step through. If getting on or off a bike is an issue, this is the bike for you. Shimano 7-speed Revoshift is smooth and easy. The sweeping handle bars are very sweeping.

Asama Shasta
(paired with Giro Sutton helmet)

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Riding this bike was like sitting at a moving desk, so upright!

Apollo Vintage 8
(paired with Giro Sutton Mips helmet)

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With 8-speed Shimano Claris shift, basket and fenders, this mixte is a smooth ride that handles well.

 

We have more new lines coming in next year, so there may be even more step-through choices. Plus, we can now electrify any bike we carry. Come in any time for a test ride!


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