Step-Through vs. Step-Over Bikes: Which is better?
January 19, 2023
Have you ever wondered where the design of a bike comes from? The design of bicycles dates all the way back to the 1800’s when bikes were first made out of wood and looked more like a contraption than a means of transportation. However, over the past 200 years, bicycle designs have changed quite a bit, with modern bicycles offering much more practical and recreational uses for its riders.
With the addition of step-through bikes, some riders have begun to question which bike is right for them and what the difference is between the two similarly designed bicycles.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the differences between step-through bikes and step-over bikes, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages, to help you better decide which one is right for you.
Keep reading to learn all there is to know about the difference between step-through and step-over bikes.
What is a Step-Through Bike?
Step-through bikes are the compromise between the low-step and the step-over frame, which we will discuss shortly. 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 curved 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.
What are the Advantages of a Step-Through Bike?
As previously mentioned, one of the most significant advantages of step-thru bikes is that they are extremely easy to get on and off. They are a fantastic option for riders that don't have a complete range of motion. Thus these ebikes are fantastic for older riders or riders who have a difficult time lifting their leg over a traditional bike frame.
Additionally, step-thru bikes are an excellent alternative for individuals carrying parcels or continuously find themselves in stop-and-go traffic. If you have a delivery ebike loaded up with several boxes and bags, a step-thru bike can be an excellent bike for riders who need to jump off the seat multiple times throughout the day.
Furthermore, step-through ebikes are excellent options for heavy adults due to their accessibility and ease of use. The low, step-through frame design allows for effortless mounting and dismounting, which can be especially helpful for individuals with limited mobility or excess weight. Additionally, the electric motor assistance can make pedaling more manageable, reducing the strain on joints and muscles, making it a comfortable and enjoyable option for heavy riders seeking an active lifestyle.
Step-through bikes are also great if you are commuting to work, and have to wear formal attire that may not be as flexible, this can include a mens suit or womens dress or skirt, allowing you to get on and off the bike with ease and without breaking a sweat.
What are the Disadvantages of a Step-Through Bike?
One of the downsides of step-thru bikes is that they are generally thicker than traditional bike frames. Because step-through bikes don't have the top bar securing the front and back of the frame together, they can be perceived as less sturdy than a conventional bike. For this reason they are often made from more durable materials, which means they will be slightly heavier. This ensures they are sturdy and safe to ride.
Traditional step-thru bikes were deemed insufficient for riders that prefer more speed, for this reason it was often not ideal for track cyclists. Since then, and with the invention of electric bikes, step through bikes are now just as fast as their counterpart. Aventon's step through models reach the same speeds as the traditional step-over models and depending on the ebike you choose, can go up to speeds of 28mph.
Additionally, they are not the preferred bicycle style if you are traveling through hilly terrain. When you are riding uphill, a lot of pressure is put on the bicycle frame, which can cause the frame to bend slightly. With step-thru bikes, this sensation can often feel quite wobbly when used on hills and, in some cases, could be rather dangerous. Still, step-through ebikes are sturdy enough for hills.
Step-through bikes can also be quite tricky to accessorize. Because of the style of its frame, step-thru bikes are not designed for attachments such as water bottle holders or mini-backpacks, which can be a drawback for some riders. As they have gained popularity, more accessories are being made for these models.
Finally, traveling with a step-thru bike can also be a challenge, as it requires a top tube bar adapter to be added to secure the bike to a vehicle hitch rack, otherwise many racks will not work with your step through bike.
What is a Step-Over Bike?
The most popular bicycle frame is the step-over frame, otherwise known as the diamond or triangle frame. This particular frame has changed very little over the years due to its simple and robust design.
Step-over frames are most commonly seen on city and road bikes, mountain bikes, high-end racing bikes, and hybrid bikes and provide riders with additional pedal power and a more balanced ride.
What are the Advantages of a Step-Over Bike?
Among the most significant benefits of step-over bicycles is their longevity. A bike can be a considerable purchase, which means you want your investment to last for a long time. With a step-over bike, you can be sure that your bike is made with tried and true geometry design and will last you for thousands of miles to come.
Additionally, step-over bicycles are also generally designed to be ridden through all sorts of terrains. Whether you like to ride up hills or take your bicycle off-road, a step-over bike is built for any kind of ride because of the sturdy frame geometry.
Furthermore, traditional step-over bikes are sometimes made with lightweight materials, because the frame design ensures its strength, which means not only will you be able to catch a lot of speed with your bike, but you will also go further on your ebike and exert far less energy while riding. This isn't necessarily an issue as both traditional and step-thru ebike designs can reach speeds up to 28mph, depending on the model you opt for.
What are the Disadvantages of a Step-Over Bike?
When it comes to choosing a step-over bike, one of the disadvantages it comes with is that although the frame is designed for all sorts of terrain, its frame is not meant for extreme riding conditions or heavier riders.
Step-over bikes are not often reinforced with the same materials as other bicycle styles, such as mountain bikes, which means they may not be able to withstand the high demands of extreme riders or larger riders.
If you would like your step-over bicycle to withstand some of these conditions, then you may need to consider spending additional money on customizing it to your specific needs. This is often the case with cycling enthusiasts, they will usually opt for a custom designed bike.
Additionally, step-over bikes are often designed for 90 percent street riding and 10 percent off-road riding. Because of this, you may need to purchase a specialized set of tires for your step-over bicycle if you plan on riding it in various conditions. Or, just make sure you are buying the right bike for the type of terrain you wish to tackle. There are many options out there, from track to mountain bikes. As ebikes gain more popularity, they are now being designed for these different types of riding styles and terrains. Aventon has a wide range of electric bikes for different riding styles, from general comfort cruising to work commuting and off roading. And, if you aren't sure which ebike is best for you, we encourage you to ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What is the main use of the ebike?
- What type of terrain will I be riding on most?
- What type of accommodations will I need to secure or store the ebike?
These can help you find the right ebike for your riding needs. And if you still aren't sure, an Aventon team member is happy to help!
There really isn’t a wrong answer when deciding whether to purchase a step-through or a step-over bicycle. While each one has unique characteristics, whichever style you choose is based on your riding style and preference. And once you do decide which frame is right for you, we are confident you will have a wonderful riding experience regardless, because bikes are fun! Beyond a bike being really fun to ride, they will also help you clear your head and get some exercise in the process.
We love bicycles here at Aventon, and we aim to rethink the way people ride their bikes. Whether you need a bicycle for your commute to work or simply want a bicycle to enjoy the outdoors, we believe that ebikes can and should be enjoyed at every stage of life. If you’re looking to purchase your next electric bicycle, look no further than Aventon's ebikes.
Contact us today to learn about how we can help you find an ebike that perfectly suits your lifestyle.
Read more: Step-Through Versus Traditional Bikes