a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

11,719 Let’s learn about mixtes!

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If you’ve been following along, then you probably know that my bike happens to be a mixte style bicycle that is a step-through frame. Step-through frames are typically thought of as girl’s bikes. And plus, since I happen to be a girl (god, I hope you knew that already) with a step-through frame, I’m only perpetuating this idea of a step-through frame being a girl’s style bicycle.

Just bear with me here.

So, in an effort to educate people (or at least, the few people who may read this wacky little blog), let’s learn a little bit about these step-through frames. If you check out this handy little wikipedia article and scroll down a bit, then you will see the header: Mixte. You can read through the text there (it’s not long), but check out this part about the word mixte:

A direct appropriation of the French word meaning "mixed" or "unisex"…

AHA… so this whole mixte thing is supposed to be for both men and women. It wasn’t originally created to be a woman-specific frame, but the lower top tube has traditionally made it more popular with women (hello, skirts) and probably older folks who aren’t as limber as they used to be.

(By the way, some people refer to any step-through bike as a mixte, but for me, I’m quite rigid in the idea that a mixte bike must have the classic two skinny top tubes that connect from the head tube to the rear axle. If it doesn’t have the two skinny top tubes, then it’s just a step-through and not a mixte. I know, I am so picky.)

But anyway, I just thought I’d mention this because a lot of people seem to stereotype the mixte frame as a women’s bike and it’s a bit frowned upon for men to ride them (it makes them into girlie-men) and that bothers me. I think a mixte frame is super cute and everyone should feel free to ride one if they can find one in their size.

I should also mention that all this mixte-riding equality is also hampered by the odd fact that mixtes tend to come in smaller sizes. Finding a frame larger than, say, 56cm is difficult, but not impossible. Most of the frames listed on Craigslist seem to be on the very small end, approximately 48cm – 52cm.

This is again complicated by the fact that it’s difficult to measure the seat tube of a mixte. Typically, seat tubes are measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top tube. Since mixte frames don’t have a horizontal top tube, I think most people measure to the top of the seat tube, but maybe some people don’t do this and sorta estimate where a top tube would hit if the frame was a diamond frame.

So yeah… maybe you now know more about a mixte frame than you ever cared to know.

Anyway, I’m a girl and I love my bike, but you already knew that.

Hot and sunny

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Written by Reese

October 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Posted in just life

One Response

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  1. One other detail is that (and I’m presently too busy to dig up an actual reference) they found that both genders saw a reduction in injuries while on mixte or step-through frames. Which is kinda why mountain bikes always have the top tube sloping at least somewhat downwards.

    As far as I’m concerned, the mixte frame exudes structural integrity in ways that a traditional women’s bike never did. Triangles FTW!

    I just like having the additional water bottle cage… 😛

    Wirehead

    October 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm


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