Re: [CR]Woman's frame (not mixte) lightweights?

Example: Production Builders

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 09:57:20 -0600
From: "Mitch Harris" <>
To: Schmid <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Woman's frame (not mixte) lightweights?
In-Reply-To: <000001c7bfb4$4d7fd430$0758a8c0@Twinhead>
References: <>
cc: Mark Stonich

On 7/6/07, Schmid <> wrote:
> I recently sold some womens frames since nobody around me wanted to ride
> the complete bikes. So I decided to part them out. In measuring i found
> out that they are relatively long. As an example a 51 frame had a 57cm
> toptube-length. My conclusion was that they made the seat tube shorter
> for use of a longer seatpost in order to obtain a shorter and therefore
> stiffer rear triangle to compensate for the loss of stiffness due to the
> lowered toptube. I might be wrong here since I am not a geometry expert.
> My girlfriends always prefers mens frames for better handling qualities
> and a stiffer ride. Whenever I tried to ride a womens bike it felt
> sloopy and not stable.

I have the same impression on even on a higher-end mixte--when I compare my wife's 531 mixte to her '83 Batavus SL road bike or her RB-1. (Has changed to white fenders since these photos were taken)

> I think it does not make sense to alter the well
> constructed mens diamond frame setup in a race bike just to make it
> easier to mount the bike without having to lift your leg over the
> saddle.

Agree completely. When I have to test ride her mixte after working on it it's much easier for me to put my leg over the back of the seat in the usual way. If I try to lift my foot over the lower top tubes I invariably bump the tubes awkwardly. I'm sure that's just not being used to it, but I really doubt the advantage of the step through if it's as high as a mixte. Mixte's or other womens' frames with much lower step-through frames are a different matter. I've seen very elegant rolling dismounts in britain where a woman can step through the frame and put her foot on the ground, hardly lifting her knee at all--must me very useful in a skirt.

> It makes some sense in city or touring bikes when women ride
> with a skirt but I have never seen a woman ride a race bike with a
> skirt. My impression is also that those bikes were mostly bought by men
> for ther wives in order to get them into riding but then those bikes are
> never ridden. All women I know who ride seriously ride mens frames.....

Lots of women really love riding womens' framed bikes, though. My wife has a couple very nice diamond framed road bikes that she uses for ordinary road riding, but she loves mixtes for their style and class as she sees it, and she's had several for town riding/commuting/light touring. Where ever she rides her '82 Raleigh 531 mixte other women come up to her to admire the bike, asking "why can't we find bike like this anymore?", and saying "I'd start riding again if I could find a bike like this." She keeps one of her other mixtes as a guest bike just for this reason. May be that it's different in Germany, but here the attraction to mixtes in particular, and to other classic womans' framed bikes is driven by womens' interests and choices, even if those same women also have diamond framed road bikes too.

It's also true in Paris, as of last year anyway. I saw many many (young) women riding vintage mixtes wearing business clothes: skirts, dresses, nice slacks. From observation and a few conversations, it seemed that the most sought-out bike for women there was an older mixte since these old mixtes weren't just whatever was in the garage being pressed into service, but had been chosen after careful shopping. The other vintage vehical of choice for the young Parisian woman seemed to be the Austin Mini. Must be some connection.

Mitch Harris
Little Rock Canyon, Utah