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Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not
so loaded up with "comfort" features and heavy low-end parts that she
can't pedal it up the hills of Seattle. I've looked, and the only step-
through bikes I've found are pretty heavy and clunky. We'd be willing
to spend the money for the right bike if it exists. Here's an example
of the right bike, except it's custom made: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/betty.htm

Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
one she can test ride.
post #2 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 6:08 pm, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:
> Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
> low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not
> so loaded up with "comfort" features and heavy low-end parts that she
> can't pedal it up the hills of Seattle. I've looked, and the only step-
> through bikes I've found are pretty heavy and clunky. We'd be willing
> to spend the money for the right bike if it exists. Here's an example
> of the right bike, except it's custom made:http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/betty.htm
>
> Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
> one she can test ride.


Here's the closest thing I know of:

http://www.fietsgigant.com/assortime...k=stadsfietsen

For a test ride, you might have to take a trip to Holland.

Perhaps your wife could benefit from electric assist? I bet the good
fellows at Electric Vehicles Northwest in Fremont could set you up
with a test ride on something like a step-through Estelle bike or an
eZee Sprint:

http://www.electricvehiclesnw.com/im...Sprint1000.jpg
http://www.estelle.de/bilder/tour_28.jpg

Chalo
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 4:47 pm, Chalo <chalo.col...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Aug 11, 6:08 pm, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:
>
> > Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
> > low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not
> > so loaded up with "comfort" features and heavy low-end parts that she
> > can't pedal it up the hills of Seattle. I've looked, and the only step-
> > through bikes I've found are pretty heavy and clunky. We'd be willing
> > to spend the money for the right bike if it exists. Here's an example
> > of the right bike, except it's custom made:http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/betty.htm

>
> > Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
> > one she can test ride.

>
> Here's the closest thing I know of:
>
> http://www.fietsgigant.com/assortime...hp?id=3318&rub...
>
> For a test ride, you might have to take a trip to Holland.
>
> Perhaps your wife could benefit from electric assist? I bet the good
> fellows at Electric Vehicles Northwest in Fremont could set you up
> with a test ride on something like a step-through Estelle bike or an
> eZee Sprint:
>
> http://www.electricvehiclesnw.com/im...er/tour_28.jpg
>
> Chalo


Thanks. That bike is over 33 pounds. It looks and weighs the same as a
number of "comfort bikes" on the market in the U.S. today. I was
hoping to find something in the 20-25 pound range.

She may need an electric assist, but I'd never get her to agree to
it. :>)
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 6:09 pm, Gary Young <garyyou...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 11 Aug 2007 17:38:57 -0700, caseydoug3 wrote:
> > On Aug 11, 4:47 pm, Chalo <chalo.col...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> On Aug 11, 6:08 pm, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:

>
> >> > Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
> >> > low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not
> >> > so loaded up with "comfort" features and heavy low-end parts that she
> >> > can't pedal it up the hills of Seattle. I've looked, and the only step-
> >> > through bikes I've found are pretty heavy and clunky. We'd be willing
> >> > to spend the money for the right bike if it exists. Here's an example
> >> > of the right bike, except it's custom made:http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/betty.htm

>
> >> > Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
> >> > one she can test ride.

>
> >> Here's the closest thing I know of:

>
> >>http://www.fietsgigant.com/assortime...hp?id=3318&rub...

>
> >> For a test ride, you might have to take a trip to Holland.

>
> >> Perhaps your wife could benefit from electric assist? I bet the good
> >> fellows at Electric Vehicles Northwest in Fremont could set you up
> >> with a test ride on something like a step-through Estelle bike or an
> >> eZee Sprint:

>
> >>http://www.electricvehiclesnw.com/im...nt1000.jpghttp...

>
> >> Chalo

>
> > Thanks. That bike is over 33 pounds. It looks and weighs the same as a
> > number of "comfort bikes" on the market in the U.S. today. I was
> > hoping to find something in the 20-25 pound range.

>
> > She may need an electric assist, but I'd never get her to agree to
> > it. :>)

>
> How about a folding bike? Most have have a low top tube. Bike Friday and
> Dahon (and probably other manufacturers) have light-weight models in your
> weight range.
>
> http://dahon.com/index.htm
>
> http://www.bikefriday.com/- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -


I'll take a look. A friend has a Bike Friday recumbent, which he likes
a lot. They apparently custom build each bike, which means you can
specify lighter components. Test riding would probably not be
available, of course.

These comments are confirming what I was seeing in my research. There
is apparently not much market for upright or step-through bikes that
are more high end, i.e., carbon fiber frames and lighter parts. (I
said something like this in an earlier post, but I must have hit the
wrong send button -- sorry). Maybe she will have to settle for a
hybrid bike or a heavier bike, or learn to get her leg over the seat.
post #5 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 7:38 pm, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:
> On Aug 11, 4:47 pm, Chalo <chalo.col...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > On Aug 11, 6:08 pm, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:

>
> > > Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
> > > low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not
> > > so loaded up with "comfort" features and heavy low-end parts that she
> > > can't pedal it up the hills of Seattle. I've looked, and the only step-
> > > through bikes I've found are pretty heavy and clunky. We'd be willing
> > > to spend the money for the right bike if it exists. Here's an example
> > > of the right bike, except it's custom made:http://www.sheldonbrown.com/rinard/betty.htm

>
> > > Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
> > > one she can test ride.

>
> > Here's the closest thing I know of:

>
> >http://www.fietsgigant.com/assortime...hp?id=3318&rub...

>
> > For a test ride, you might have to take a trip to Holland.

>
> > Perhaps your wife could benefit from electric assist? I bet the good
> > fellows at Electric Vehicles Northwest in Fremont could set you up
> > with a test ride on something like a step-through Estelle bike or an
> > eZee Sprint:

>
> >http://www.electricvehiclesnw.com/im...nt1000.jpghttp...

>
> > Chalo

>
> Thanks. That bike is over 33 pounds. It looks and weighs the same as a
> number of "comfort bikes" on the market in the U.S. today. I was
> hoping to find something in the 20-25 pound range.


It's equipped with fenders, full chaincase, skirt guard, luggage rack,
lighting, and even a water bottle and cage. That stuff is in the
picture because it comes with the bike. With the convenience features
removed, you'll find that it's a lot lighter than a bike of comparable
weight that doesn't come equipped with all those things.

Because of the unbraced nature of a step-through frame, it takes a lot
more material to provide the necessary level of rigidity. This will
vary according to the material's strength and adaptability to
different shapes, of course, but all else equal I bet the ratio of the
weight of a step-through frame to an equivalently built diamond frame
is about 2:1.

I think you may also be underestimating the degree to which a 5-10
pound difference will give your wife the ability to tackle any terrain
or conditions that she wouldn't be able to take on anyway. Of course
a lighter bike is incrementally easier to climb hills with, but the
main benefit of a lightweight bike might not be how much easier it is
for your wife to ride, but just in how much it makes her want to ride
it.

It's probably not a bad idea to simply find an aluminum step-through
frame, of any pedigree, and build it up with racing MTB and road bike
parts. You could even consider getting a value-priced or secondhand
racy bike, and swap all the relevant parts over to a step-through
frame. That might be your best opportunity to get into the weight
bracket of interest without tracking down Damon Rinard to make you a
custom frame.

> She may need an electric assist, but I'd never get her to agree to
> it. :>)


Tell her all the cool kids are doing it. It's incredibly fun, and a
great way to reduce car trips and get some exercise even when you're
insufficiently motivated for a ride.

Chalo
post #6 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

Angle Lake Cyclery in Seattle should have some Moultons that fit her
needs.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 10:27 pm, velodancer <commerc...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Angle Lake Cyclery in Seattle should have some Moultons that fit her
> needs.


I bought my recumbent from Dale. He's great. In fact, this whole quest
started when my wife decided she hadn't ridden her own recumbent in
several years, so maybe it's time to change bikes. Of course that one
is probably 45 pounds!
post #8 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

caseydoug3@gmail.com wrote:
> Because of arthritis and other problems, my wife needs a bike with a
> low, step-through frame and a fairly upright seating posture, but not

[snip]
>
> Can anyone recommend a make and model that comes close? It has to be
> one she can test ride.
>

Have you considered a Breezer Uptown 8?

bob prohaska
post #9 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 11, 7:10 pm, Chalo <chalo.col...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Because of the unbraced nature of a step-through frame, it takes a lot
> more material to provide the necessary level of rigidity. This will
> vary according to the material's strength and adaptability to
> different shapes, of course, but all else equal I bet the ratio of the
> weight of a step-through frame to an equivalently built diamond frame
> is about 2:1.
>
> I think you may also be underestimating the degree to which a 5-10
> pound difference will give your wife the ability to tackle any terrain
> or conditions that she wouldn't be able to take on anyway. Of course
> a lighter bike is incrementally easier to climb hills with, but the
> main benefit of a lightweight bike might not be how much easier it is
> for your wife to ride, but just in how much it makes her want to ride
> it.
>
> It's probably not a bad idea to simply find an aluminum step-through
> frame, of any pedigree, and build it up with racing MTB and road bike
> parts. You could even consider getting a value-priced or secondhand
> racy bike, and swap all the relevant parts over to a step-through
> frame. That might be your best opportunity to get into the weight
> bracket of interest without tracking down Damon Rinard to make you a
> custom frame.


I agree that the difference in weight is not
likely to be a large increment. IMO a bigger
issue is that hybrid, "comfort" etc bikes of
moderate price tend to come with cheesy and
fairly heavy suspension forks and seatposts.
These sap some power, feel squidgy, and aren't
really necessary for riding on the road unless
they alleviate some type of chronic/severe
pain, like wrist problems or whatever.

Also, stupid heavy tires, but the OP probably
has that figured out.

Ben
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 12, 6:06 am, cmcanulty <cmcanu...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I think if you can find an old mixte frame bike there are some mid
> range quality ones. I had a great Univega Mixte, lightweight and
> strength and efficiency nearer to a man's frame than a regular women's
> frame. I kick myself for ever selling mine.


Is this what you mean:

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik/393352217.html (first hit on
Google)

Now that's a pretty bike!

It might hard for her to "step through" that frame to mount, and the
seating posture is not particularly upright, but I believe that's the
kind of compromise she will end up making. Many of the hybrid women's
bikes have a top tube that high. Thanks.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 12, 9:02 am, "OldGirl" <oldg...@rr.com> wrote:
> If I wanted a light weight step through I'd probably start with an older
> mixte frame - they are easy to find on Ebay or craigslist.
>
> I'd spend most of my money on wheels - get a good set of lightweight wheels
> and use something like a Schwalbe Kojak tire, relatively light but wide.
> Use reasonably good modern mid range components like Shimano 105, for
> example. Get a carbon fiber fork, carbon fiber seat post, maybe even carbon
> fiber handlebars. You'd easily end up with a bike between 20-25 lbs. It
> would cost you under $2000.


I wish I had the skill or confidence to do that, but I have never
built a bike before. With so many parts of various sizes, I can't
count on building it up and having it fit properly. Fit appears to be
pretty important in this case.
post #12 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 12, 1:58 am, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:

> mentioned here -- we have some pretty good stores in the area. We will
> probably also take a look at the Moulton just for the fun of it. They
> are expensive bikes, but I did say I was prepared to pay more (and the


You could look for a used AM series and build it up as you wish. That
could help both the cost and weight issues. The 17 inch Moultons have
lower step throughs than some of the 20 inch ones (I'm still hitting
my foot on my APB close to 10 years after my AM was stolen).
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 12, 2:35 pm, velodancer <commerc...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Aug 12, 1:58 am, caseydo...@gmail.com wrote:
>
> > mentioned here -- we have some pretty good stores in the area. We will
> > probably also take a look at the Moulton just for the fun of it. They
> > are expensive bikes, but I did say I was prepared to pay more (and the

>
> You could look for a used AM series and build it up as you wish. That
> could help both the cost and weight issues. The 17 inch Moultons have
> lower step throughs than some of the 20 inch ones (I'm still hitting
> my foot on my APB close to 10 years after my AM was stolen).


The Moulton is looking better and better, particularly since we have a
relationship with Dale at Angle Lake. (We bought our recumbents there.
When my Vision had a problem that he couldn't fix, he gave me his,
even though my bike was long out of warranty and the company had gone
out of business). He does occasionally have used bikes there. I'm
still not sure I want to build it up myself.
post #14 of 27

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

A Muzi wrote:
> ...
> http://www.yellowjersey.org/wfdopen.html ...


"I would too"?

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
“the bacteria people tuned in-as to bioengineering at the correct wave
Point” - gene daniels

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

Re: Any Lightweight Step-Through Bikes?

On Aug 13, 9:22 am, "OldGirl" <oldg...@rr.com> wrote:
> You can have your bike shop do the build up. It isn't that expensive. Tell
> them what you want to do and buy parts from them other than the frame. Bike
> shops do this kind of thing a lot.
>
> <caseydo...@gmail.com> wrote in message
>
> news:1186954337.187841.206470@l22g2000prc.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
> > On Aug 12, 9:02 am, "OldGirl" <oldg...@rr.com> wrote:
> >> If I wanted a light weight step through I'd probably start with an older
> >> mixte frame - they are easy to find on Ebay or craigslist.

>
> >> I'd spend most of my money on wheels - get a good set of lightweight
> >> wheels
> >> and use something like a Schwalbe Kojak tire, relatively light but wide.
> >> Use reasonably good modern mid range components like Shimano 105, for
> >> example. Get a carbon fiber fork, carbon fiber seat post, maybe even
> >> carbon
> >> fiber handlebars. You'd easily end up with a bike between 20-25 lbs. It
> >> would cost you under $2000.

>
> > I wish I had the skill or confidence to do that, but I have never
> > built a bike before. With so many parts of various sizes, I can't
> > count on building it up and having it fit properly. Fit appears to be
> > pretty important in this case.- Hide quoted text -

>
> - Show quoted text -


My wife test rode another bike yesterday, a Bianchi Boardwalk hybrid,
and another problem cropped up: it really bothered her wrists, which
have had carpel tunnel problems. This was also the case with some of
the Trek hybrids she tried, although getting a longer stem seemed to
help, at least on a short ride. I just don't think it makes sense for
her to buy a bike unless she can first give it a good long test ride.

The shop in town that handles the Breezer Uptown 8 also rents them.
Maybe we can try a longer ride with that style bike. They run around
33 pounds. It is a very upright bike with a low step through frame. I
suspect, however, that more than the weight that makes these "comfort"
bikes inappropriate for longer rides. All that suspension, soft tires,
etc. must absorb some energy.
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