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Step through bikes - future proofing

(69 Posts)
NotMeNoNo Tue 21-Apr-20 17:21:53

I'm in the process of getting a bike through the Cycle to work scheme.

I was on the point of getting a Specialized hybrid but the Covid situation has put things on pause. I've been doing some more cycling on my old bike (a unisex one) whilst in lockdown. It occurred to me, I'm 50 now, hope to still be riding to work for 15 years. I might be glad of a step through frame when I'm even less flexible than I am now. Also for riding around town with a lot of stopping and starting as opposed to performance riding, it's much easier to get on and off with a lowered bar especially with panniers on.

Am I over thinking or should I narrow my search to the small range of step through hybrids?

WelcomeToTheMountaintop Tue 21-Apr-20 17:58:55

Step,through bikes are heavy for what they are. And 15 years is a long time.

I think I’d go with a unisex frame, and sell it to buy a step.through when and if the time comes.

NotMeNoNo Tue 21-Apr-20 18:28:32

Its more the ergonomics of getting on and off which I'm noticing already around town. How much extra weight would it typically be on bikes from the same range?

WelcomeToTheMountaintop Tue 21-Apr-20 22:38:27

I found the weight noticeable, though if you are already thinking it will be easier with a step through, then go for it.

Weight is a big issue to me as i used to have to lug my bike up steps to get it in the store. So i always notice the weight If you will never have to lift it, then it might be more sensible to buy a bike you will use, and won’t have concerns hopping on and off. (This is probably really important if you are doing lots of little journeys, shop —to —shop, which I never do)

I’ve got to admit, I fell deeply in love with a Dutch granny bike on a recent trip to Amsterdam. If I could have got it on the coach, I’d have bought it.

WelcomeToTheMountaintop Tue 21-Apr-20 22:41:19

It was like this one, and it was beautiful.

And so easy to ride.

NotMeNoNo Tue 21-Apr-20 22:59:11

I was honestly thinking of the drop tube variant of a sporty hybrid so I doubt theres much in it, rather than a full on Dutch bike. If I have to wait any longer i am going to get swayed by baskets, leather saddles and colour co ordinated skirt guards, its a risk grin

TimeForCableTies Tue 21-Apr-20 23:01:06

Get a step through! I cycle in town and its much better for getting on and off frequently. Wouldn't go back to the other sort. Mine is light enough, i can lift it up steps, make sure you compare the weights of them.

NotMeNoNo Tue 21-Apr-20 23:01:36

Most of my commute is flat but the last half mile is a severe hill climb, so need a reasonably light bike. No stairs though!

LexCake Tue 21-Apr-20 23:04:59

I have a Ridgeback Avenida which is step through and I love it. Other things I love are its hub gears - really low maintenance but you don’t see them much. Also, plastic cover over chain - no need to consider what you’re wearing (eg skirt or flappy trousers). It’s aluminium so not too heavy. Thoroughly recommend.

TheMandalorian Tue 21-Apr-20 23:07:45

You might want to consider an e-bike.
Just throwing that in their.
Pashleys are very popular

TheMandalorian Tue 21-Apr-20 23:08:27

(Sorry autocorrect)

NotMeNoNo Tue 21-Apr-20 23:47:31

Thank you, looking up Ridgeback now!

Knittingnanny Tue 21-Apr-20 23:52:10

My latest bike is a low step through bought it about 4 years ago when I was 59. Very glad I did as I’m not so flexible as I was. It’s just a big standards Halfords ladies bike

Knittingnanny Tue 21-Apr-20 23:56:27

This one, Etienne
Discontinued now but similar ones are in store

NewName2020 Wed 22-Apr-20 00:02:48

Pendleton Somerby or a Raleigh classic like Willow, Fern or Sherwood?

chocolatespiders Wed 22-Apr-20 00:06:56

I would really like to get a bike and have been looking at Dawes Mirage.
The ridgeback looks lovely.
Interested to hear people opinions on the Dawes.

NotMeNoNo Wed 22-Apr-20 07:10:42

Dawes are great bikes, that looks good.

okiedokieme Wed 22-Apr-20 07:17:38

Most brands sell a step through (women's) option and I haven't noticed them be heavier. I much prefer a step through and I fitted a basket for my bag.

yukka Wed 22-Apr-20 07:45:24

Have a look at charge....

This will last you a long long time. You can get a range of pannier bags that hook onto the back rather than adding weight to a basket on the bars (which impacts balance and steer)

8 speed gears - great for the hills, but lovely big cadence for cruising the flats.

I have one about 5 yrs old, it's still like new. Keep it serviced if you're using every day and if it gets left outside in the wet.

Bimbleberries Wed 22-Apr-20 10:10:19

The Ridgeback avenida looks good - but how many gears? It seems to come in 6, 8, 21 versions. The 21 speed is priced in between the 6 and the 8 - any idea why? What does the 8-speed one have that makes it more expensive/better in other ways?

I live somewhere very flat, and would mostly cycle in the city, with occasional trips on paths (usually paved, sometimes bumpy, in the countryside, not lots of hills), so I wouldn't think I'd need lots of gears, though I'm not very fit, either! I have a bike (think it's a mountain bike) but hardly use it as I find it heavy, and wobbly (I have rear panniers) - my balance isn't great.

Would 6 or 8 gears be enough? I like the step through idea as I find it hard to get my leg over even on my women's bike, when the paniers are full, but those frames seem less rigid, and if I already find bikes wobbly, would this make it worse?

The hybrid bikes were recommended to me for what I need, but I read they have no suspension, wonder if that matters? I don't cycle much now but trying to a bit more in the future. I have a gel saddle to make it a bit more comfortable. Would I notice lack of suspension in something like a Ridgeback? I have no idea if my current bike has it or not - it's a very cheap mountain (I think) bike that I bought as a student and have kept ever since, feels quite heavy to me.

I would also like a small front basket to keep my handbag in, as I don't like not being able to see panniers as I go.

I liked the puncture proof tyres that the Ridgeback ones seemed to come with, and very low step through.


NotMeNoNo Wed 22-Apr-20 10:42:18

@Yukka, the Charge is spot on for my budget (up to £700 including accessories).

I don't think the wicker basket/Pashley bike look is really me but I just want an urban practical bike with a bit of style. Ideally I would like to ride in mostly normal clothes and not need to mess around showering and changing at work, as well as use it for errands etc locally. I'm budgeting to have mudgards, carrier etc fitted.

@Bimbleberries my mountain bike is more wobbly/twitchy than my old hybrids (neither of which were expensive), it's to do with the short proportions I think. I'm a confident cyclist but still have to take care in sudden manoeveres. It's far happier off road.

I didn't feel the lack of front suspension until we started going to trail parks and those intentionally bumpy blue routes, I don't think you need it at all for paths.

I think we are both looking for a "normal" hybrid: city ready, not extremely sporty or retro looking, stable ride but good gears and lightweight.
Have you looked at the Liv Alight? I've test ridden that and it's really nice.

Also can anyone comment on whether disc brakes are worth it or a maintenance liability?

NotMeNoNo Wed 22-Apr-20 10:44:37


AnotherEmma Wed 22-Apr-20 10:57:25

I have a step-through hybrid and it's great. It's a Specialized one but I bought it years ago and it's not sold any more. I had a rear basket on it (which I prefer to a front basket or panniers) which is not an issue with the step through frame. I have a child seat on there now which makes the step through frame even more useful.

It's still a light, fast bike with the step through frame. You just have to choose carefully. The Dutch style bikes might look good but they're very heavy to ride.

Knittingnanny Wed 22-Apr-20 11:03:50

I’ve had a basket fitted back and front on mine ( and have lined them with matching fabric!)

Knittingnanny Wed 22-Apr-20 11:05:03

I did try one of those big Dutch styles before current bike but sold it after 3 weeks, too heavy and not enough gears for even a gentle sloping hill

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