Step Through vs. Step Over: Which Bike Frame is Right for You?
June 30, 2023
If you’re new to cycling, or have recently taken it up again after years of absence, it can be intimidating and overwhelming to learn about all the bike types and their use cases. Like everything else, bikes have changed quite a bit over the years, and electric bikes are a great example of this evolution.
Frame styles have also changed to better align with the different types of riding disciplines. For example, road bikes now have aerodynamic, endurance, and triathlon frame styles. Mountain bikes have different geometries for cross country, trail, and downhill types of riding. The same applies to ebikes, so more people have access to this wonderful technology.
In this blog we’ll be talking about:
- What Is a Step-Through Frame?
- Step-Through Frame History
- Advantages of a Step-Through Frame
- Which Electric Bike Frame Is Best?
What Is A Step-Through Frame?
A step-through frame is much like a step over frame but without the top tube. This allows riders to easily slip-in to the saddle without having to lift their leg up and over the bike to get on. If you do decide to purchase one of Aventon’s electric bike models, you’ll have to choose which frame style works best for you, traditional frame or step-through.
Step-through bikes offer riders the most upright riding position and will also be the easiest for riders to mount and dismount by simply stepping through the open frame. Step-thru bicycles are ideal for fun, casual rides, or your everyday commute to and from work and provide comfort and style with every ride.
Step-through Frame History
When bikes first became more popular and had wider usage before cars were mainstream and affordable, women were basically required to wear traditional dresses and long skirts, which made it harder to ride on a traditional bike frame. Those dresses and long skirts were impossible to wear when riding a bike with a horizontal top tube. The step-through frame allowed women to ride on bikes easily and ride them safely.
This is why step-through bikes became popular with women and came to become known as the preferred ride for women. It has nothing to do with women's bodies or men's bodies—the bicycle was designed solely because women were required to wear dresses at the time bicycles became popular.
Let’s think about this for a second. Back then, women weren’t allowed to wear pants like men, so the step-through frame style was invented to accommodate them riding with dresses. It then became a liberating tool for women to enjoy more freedoms.
According to Susan B. Anthony, a women's right activist who helped secure voting rights for women, the bicycle helped further women’s rights in the United States. She's quoted as saying, "I think that the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than any other thing in the world. I rejoice each time I see a woman riding by on a bicycle. It creates for her a feeling of self-reliance, and of independence, the moment she gets in the seat."
Advantages Of A Step-Through Frame
You might be wondering, if the laws have changed, then why are there still step-through bikes? The simple answer is that step-through bikes are practical, useful, and functional. As you might remember from earlier in the blog, they were also ideal for transporting and delivering goods with ease. This is still true, step-through bikes are simply more convenient for people to get on and off a bike.
There are many advantages to step-through ebikes but here are the main ones:
Ease Of Use
This is probably the biggest advantage of a bike with a step-through frame. It’s the main reason why they're still used today by many riders. They're a great option for riders who don't have a full range of motion or limited motion. This is especially true if you are an older rider or if you have a disability. If you have difficulty lifting your leg over a horizontal top tube, a step-through frame is perfect for you.
It is also a great option for those who've had knee or hip surgery, giving them a great way to stay active. For riders with limited ranges of motions, it's literally the difference between being able to bike and not being able to bike and not riding a bike. This is the reason for choosing a step-through bike model, it gives everyone a chance to ride a bike, and we love that!
If you've got your bike rack loaded up with cargo such as bags, boxes and the like, a step-through electric bike can be a great advantage to hop off the seat and put your feet steadily on the ground without worrying about the top tube getting in the way.
No Dress Code
Yes, they really are a better option for riders wearing dresses and long skirts. That's what they were originally made for, and if you're in a long, flowing dress during the summer, a step-through bike is that way to go to allow you to enjoy riding in any attire. Perfect for high court judges! (Okay, we’re joking here, but you get the point.)
You might notice that a lot of electric bikes in bike share programs have step-through frames. There's a good reason for that. It’s because many of the riders who use these bike share programs are in urban hubs with riders using these electric bikes in skirts or dresses or other restrictive business attire.
Which Electric Bike Frame Is Best?
Regardless of frame style and geometry, the basic parts of a bike frame are all very similar, the only difference being the missing top tube for step-through frames. Most Aventon ebikes come in either step-over or step-through frames and adhere to certain use cases.
Now you can see why newcomers to the cycling community can have a tough time navigating through the wealth of information about different bike geometry and their intended uses. One of the most common questions we receive about our ebikes is “which ebike model is best for me?”. We’ve created this helpful comparison page about our ebikes that will help you decide.
Final Words Before We Roll
As you can see, the old way of thinking that step-through bikes are just for women is outdated, and unfortunately many people are still misinformed about this. The historical reason for the difference between men’s and women's electric bikes was based on antiquated social norms and restrictive clothing. They’re definitely not based on any sort of logic related to a man or woman's body shape.
In fact, most bike manufacturers these days don’t have specific bike models for men vs. women.Essentially, if the bike fits, is comfortable and suits your needs then it's the right bike for you. Aventon offers step-through options to allow people of all ages and physicalities to ride a bike, and regardless of gender! Whatever bike frame style is most comfortable for you, we’re here for it.
Check out our dealer locator to find a step-over or step-through ebike nearest you!