If you’re reading step-through bike reviews, odds are you’ve been thinking about bike designs. It’s no surprise. Lots of people have taken to cycling as a way to get around and stay fit. The pandemic has made us wary of tightly packed commutes and gyms teeming with people. Cycling is a smart and cheap way to get out of both. In this post, I’ll look at what is a step-through bike, a brief history of these bikes, their benefits and how to choose, and the best step-through bikes in the market today.
What is a Step-Through Bike?
A step-through bike is designed without a crossbar. It makes mounting effortless – you step through, sit and ride. In a traditional bike, there’s a bar that runs from the saddle to the handlebars.
To get on it, you have to lift your leg over this bar and then sit on the saddle. All bikes were originally designed this way, but as more women started to ride, it became necessary to change the bicycle frame design.
You’ll occasionally see step-through bikes referred to as “step-thru” or “ST.”
A Brief History of the Step-Through Bike
These bikes first came to market in the late 1800s and early 1900s. By this time, lots of women had joined the workforce and needed bicycles to get to work and back home.
Back then, women wore dresses and skirts. The existing bike model forced them to raise a leg over the bar which was awkward in several ways.
It forced them to show more than they were comfortable with and sometimes dresses and skirts would rip. When they sat on the saddle the skirt would hang awkwardly over the crossbar.
The other problem was that women have shorter legs than men, and getting one leg over the crossbar was a challenge for many.
Before long bike designers had come up with the step-through bike and they were a hit. They gave women the freedom to cycle in comfort and with dignity. Even more importantly, they allowed women to participate in the workforce in greater numbers.
You can a detailed post about the evolution of the bicycle here.
Top 5 Best Step Through Bikes Reviews
What are the best step-through bikes? These bikes have come a long way since they were first invented. You can get excellent value for money by comparison shopping. To make it easy for you, I’ll do step-through bike reviews of 5 of the best of this type of bike.
This bike has been called a perfect engineering masterpiece, and with good reason. It is the best step-through bike for women on the market. It’s stylish and effortless to ride while offering maximum comfort. You can use it in summer to get around or to cruise around town and get a few chores done. Lots of people also buy it because it’s convenient and easy for commutes.
The EVRYjourney is an excellent choice if you are just beginning to cycle because it’s easy to maneuver. Your back remains upright as you cycle and the extra leg extension means you can go further before you tire.
This step-through bike is ideal for riders who are between 5ft and 6ft 2 inches tall and weigh around 250 pounds.
- It has a 17.5 inch step-through aluminum frame.
- You get 7 speeds and an external Shimano derailleur that can handle long and short commutes.
- It has an upright riding style with a foot-forward design to keep the rider comfortable.
- Excellent for flat terrains, with a front handbrake and rear coaster brake to enable easy stops.
- It curvy and stylish.
- Comes with a dual-spring saddle, matching fenders and rear rack.
- The 26 inch tires (1.95 inches wide) make for a cushioned and comfy ride.
The electric version of EVRYjourney has some pretty cool features too:
- A 500-watt rear hub motor for pedal assist that’s for full-electric mode.
- In full electric mode, the battery can last for between 18 and 40 miles when travelling at speeds up to 14MPH. If you’re using the pedal-assist mode the battery can go for between 20 and 60 miles.
Not sure which bike size to get? Check out Women’s Bike Size Chart
Any seasoned cyclist knows just how good Schwinn bikes are. If you’re not familiar with them, I wrote an in-depth post about Schwinn hybrid bikes that tells you pretty much what you need to know about these great bikes.
The Schwinn Mikko & Huron Beach Cruiser is no different; it’s a step-through bike that has exceptional features to ensure you get the most out of every ride.
It’s considered one of the best cruiser bikes for the beach and gets lots of 5-star reviews.
- It has a wide, dual-spring padded seat for rider comfort.
- Classic cruiser handlebars allow the user to ride upright.
- It has a 7-speed drivetrain which makes it perfect for small hills.
- It’s fitted with twist shifters to allow for easy gear change.
- This beach cruiser comes with an intuitive rear brake – you can cycle backwards to stop.
- This bike has a durable 29-inch frame.
- The 2.1 inch tires make it stable even for beginners.
The Schwinn Mikko & Huron Beach Cruiser comes in a variety of colors and is ideal for riders between 5ft 4in and 6ft 2in.
What’s not to like?
If you’re a beginner this may not be the best bike for you as the brakes require some handling.
This is another excellent Schwinn bike that almost always gets top reviews. You can use it to cycle to work or go for leisurely rides around your neighborhood. What makes this bike unique among step-through bikes is that it’s made to last and comes with excellent features.
- It has a frame designed for urban riding with a Schwinn suspension fork, alloy crank, back-sweep handlebar and city-rise adjustable stem.
- The 21-speed Shimano grip shifter and rear derailleur make it easier to cycle uphill.
- It has a rear rack for your items.
- It’s fitted with alloy linear pull brakes.
- The saddle is padded for maximum comfort.
What’s not to like?
Most people who buy this bike love it and get value for their money. However, you have to be quite tall – 5ft 10in and over – to make the most of it.
Whether you want to commute, cruise your neighborhood or go out a few times a week to buy groceries the Schwinn Wayfarer Adult Bike Hybrid Retro-Styled Cruiser is perfect. Built to keep the rider in an upright position, you can keep going for hours before your back and shoulders tire out.
While it looks a little like a 1970’s ride, it comes with features to help you cope with today’s cycling demands. Many people choose this bike because of its price; it’s cheaper than other bikes whose features aren’t nearly as good.
- 7-speed Shimano rear derailleur with SRAM shifters allows for easy gear change.
- The tires are built for comfort.
- It has a V-Brake for precise and quick stops.
- It has a nice-looking, retro fender.
- It’s made of a stylish steel retro frame and fork and you can ride in an upright position.
- Stay clean with fenders to keep off mud and water.
- The alloy rings are durable and lightweight.
- It has a rear carrier for your personal items and a few groceries.
What’s not to like?
Most people who buy this bike are happy with it, but of course there’s the assembly issue. You receive the parts and put the bike together yourself.
This bike also receives some complaints about the saddle. Some cyclists feel it can be better but there are lots who are happy with it.
This step-through bike has a chic look but is a hardy city commuter. The Retrospec Beaumont-7 Seven Speed has bikes for both men and women. This one is particularly designed for ladies as it has a low swooping frame.
It comes with enough power to take you over different terrain types, and the steel structure makes it strong and long-lasting.
- The low-swooping frame makes it ideal for working women – you can mount and dismount in ease when wearing a dress or skirt.
- It has a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain and Revoshift twist shifters to give you ultimate control.
- You get front and rear Linear Pull Brakes that allow you to stop at short notice with ease.
- Tires are made to grip the ground regardless of terrain.
- This is one of the few bikes that comes almost completely assembled.
- Extras include a rack, bell, kickstand, red rear reflector and fenders.
- It comes it small, medium and large.
Is there anything that’s not to like?
If you have to go over very steep terrain this bike may not be a good choice. Other than that, it’s an excellent way to get around.
Check out Schwinn GTX 3 Review
Who Uses Step-Through Bikes?
These bikes are no longer just for women. They are common among the elderly, short people, people who’ve suffered leg injuries, those with mobility issues, delivery people who need to get on and off their bikes frequently and anyone who thinks they are more comfortable.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Step-Through Bikes
Why should you buy a step-through bike instead of a step-over bike? These bikes remain extremely popular even among avid cyclists. Very quickly, let’s go through the pros and cons of step-through bikes.
Advantages of Step-Through Bikes
- We’ve already talked about the fact that these bikes are easy to mount and dismount, which happens to be their biggest advantage. This is especially important for those who have a limited range of motion.
- These bikes are the preferred choice for anyone who carried heavy packages. They can get on and off a weighty bike without having to worry about tackling the crossbar.
- Many electric bikes come with a step-through frame. The reason for this? They are widely used in cities by users who have to wear business attire and don’t want to mess it up stepping over a crossbar.
Are there any disadvantages to step-through bikes?
There are some things you ought to know before you buy. They are not major obstacles and shouldn’t stop you from purchasing a step-through bike, but they are worth knowing anyway.
- The first is that these bikes tend to be heavier in construction than traditional bikes. The reason for this is worth getting into. When you brake on a conventional bike, you tend to use your thighs to clutch the crossbar and come to a stop without toppling over. A step-over bike doesn’t have a crossbar, so there’s no additional control if you want to come to a quick stop. To compensate for this, manufacturers use heavier components. On the plus side, these components make these bikes more durable.
- If you love cycling in hilly areas and on rough roads some models are perfectly adapted for these conditions.
- You have to skip accessories if you buy a step-through bike – there isn’t much room for them. Customizing these bikes tends to be quite expensive; prepare to be set back a few hundred dollars.
- To use the rack you need a top-tube bar adapter.
You may have read step-through bike reviews that say that these bikes are slower. Unless you plan to take part in the Tour de France or a similarly demanding race, these bikes are fast enough for the average cyclist. Some affordable models can go as fast as 30MPH.
How to Choose the Best Step-Through Bike
There are lots of these types of bikes available in the market. How do you choose the right step-through bicycle for your needs? Here’s what you need to take into account:
- Comfort – look at what others have to say about how comfortable a bike is before you splurge. The rider must be able to stay upright as it stops the back and shoulders from straining.
- Brakes – look at the type of brakes the bike has. Is it able to stop on short notice multiple times during your commute? Are the brakes easy to work? Are they long-lasting?
- Rack or no rack – most of these bikes are designed with a rack. The rack may not look very classy on your step-through bike, but you’ll need it to put personal items and groceries.
- Frame – frame matters because it determines how long a bike lasts. Also check that the frame you choose is appropriate for your height.
- Gears – these help you shift through steep terrain with ease so think about where you’ll be riding and then deciding how many gears are ideal.
- Suspension – this is what keeps your bike stable and you comfortable when you’re riding over bumpy roads and paths. It makes sense to pay more and get a high-quality suspension system.
- Seat – this is especially important for women and for those who cycle for long distances. The seat should be adequately padded and comfortable to sit on for at least an hour. Some bikes offer an extra seat if you pay a little more; they are worth considering.
- Assembly – this is especially challenging for those who don’t enjoy DIY. Unfortunately, if you buy a bike online you can expect to do some assembly if not all of it. This shouldn’t discourage you; find a bike shop near you and pay them a few dollars to put everything together.
Conclusion on Best Step-Through Bike Reviews
The step-through bike reviews I’ve covered here are not in-depth and don’t go into technical specs but they give you a fair idea of what the bike is about and what you can expect. All the bikes I’ve covered here are excellent. They are made by some of the best bike manufacturers in the world, so you can expect top performance from any you choose.
However, I encourage you to do even more research to determine whether the bike you have in mind is ideal for your specific needs.