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Step-Through VS Step-Over Electric Bikes Explained

Bicycles have come a long way regarding design and functionality. Nowadays, there are multiple styles of bikes and bike frames to choose from. Two of the most common frame types are step-through and step-over bikes. So, what’s the difference between them?

Step-through bikes have lower frames and are great for casual riders, older individuals, and those with mobility concerns. Step-over bikes are the “standard” style bicycle frame that requires you to swing your leg over. Step-over frames are somewhat more rigid and sturdy.

Choosing an electric bike comes down to so many elements. You have to consider your commute, needs, budget, and more. But, one thing you definitely need to factor in is the frame type, as the frame design you use will heavily impact your overall riding experience. But don’t worry; we have all the details you need to know. Read on to find out the critical differences between step-through and step-over electric bikes!

What’s a Step-Through Bike?

Young man electric green bike bicycle by windmill farm

Step-through bikes have many names, including step-thru and STs. This bike design consists of a lower frame without a top tube or crossbar. This setup allows for easy mounting and dismounting.

Some popular variations are the mixte and cross frames. This frame type is also the famous starting point for foldable bike models.

What’s the Point of a Step-Through Bike?

The step-through bike frame design dates back as early as the 19th and 20th centuries. It was created with women and delivery men in mind, as back in this period women mostly wore skirts and dresses that made mounting typical bikes difficult. The step-through frame allowed women to ride bikes without too much hassle. It gained great popularity after that.

Delivery men also commonly used this type of bike. The easy mounting and dismounting allowed them to deliver packages and services with great ease. Although the step-through bike was originally seen as a “ladies” bike, that’s no longer the case!

The step-through bike has become a popular frame type for all sexes. This design makes an excellent bike for women, older individuals, comfort seekers, and less mobile riders. 

What’s a Step-Over Bike?

A step-over bike is considered a “traditional” bicycle frame, otherwise known as a “diamond” or “triangle.” The step-over frame design consists of two triangles; a rear triangle and a front triangle. This bike frame is very effective and hasn’t changed much throughout the years. You can find this frame on mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, and more.

Is a Step-Through or Step-Over Bike Better?

Step-through and step-over bikes serve different purposes. Both these frame types have advantages and disadvantages. Comparing these designs and declaring which is better is like comparing apples and oranges. Here are the pros and cons of each bike style, so you can make the best decision for your needs:

Pros of Step-Through Bikes

Ease of Access: The Step-through bike frame provides far higher accessibility. The low structure allows for much easier mounting and dismounting. This makes it a perfect frame for older riders, shorter cyclists, and riders with mobility issues.

Comfort: Step-through frame designs provide an incredibly comfortable riding experience. These bikes provide the most upright sitting position, allowing for a more leisurely riding style. The easy mounting and dismounting also will enable you to hop on and off on the busiest days.

Safety: Step-through frames don’t have a crossbar. The design allows you to quickly catch yourself if you fall or crash. Therefore, these bikes make a great choice for those of us who are a bit less graceful!

Good for Professionals: This bike frame is excellent for individuals commuting in professional attire or the generally clothing-conscious. Step-through frames are less likely to get your skirt or suit dirty, allowing you to commute in whatever attire necessary!

Cons of Step-Through Bikes

Heavier: Step-through bikes are much heftier than their step-over counterparts. The lack of a top bar in the frame design requires using thicker materials to maintain balance. This added weight can make them feel a bit more clunky to ride.

Bad for Rough Terrain: It is generally not advised to use a step-through bike when riding uphill or on more rough terrain. Going uphill with this frame type will feel unbalanced and wobbly. Therefore, this design is not a good replacement for mountain bikes.

Less Speed: The added weight from the frame does not lend itself to speedy travel. Step-through bikes are made with comfort in mind, not racing. Therefore, these bikes don’t make optimal replacements for professional cyclist-level bikes.

Lack of Accessories: The step-through frame does not allow for easy customization or accessory use. Tools like water bottle carriers and bags can be hard to find and may need to be mounted on odd areas of the frame.

Hard to Lock Up: Locking up and racking your step-through bike requires aftermarket top tube adapters. This added price and weight can be a nuisance for some riders.

Pros of Step-Over Bikes

Robust Design: The design of step-over frames is incredibly strong and efficient. From an engineering perspective, this bike has a near-flawless design. Thus they are extremely durable and long-lasting.

Lightweight: The efficient design of the step-over frame allows for the use of lightweight materials in production. The lightweight design adds to the riding experience and portability of these bikes.

Can Handle Hills: The triangle style frame of step-through bikes makes them perfect for rough hilly terrain.

Integrated Batteries: Step-over or “diamond” style frames allow for the use of integrated batteries. This design gives e-bikes a far sleeker look, reminiscent of traditional bicycles.

Cons of Step-Over Bikes

They can’t handle extremes: Although step-over frames are more robust, they aren’t good in extreme conditions. These bikes are best suited for medium to lightweight riders and aren’t ideal for handling more extreme terrain.

Not a Mountain Bike: Step-over bikes are not replacements for mountain bikes. Mountain bikes have a more durable and sturdy design compared to these bikes.

Expensive Customization: Step-over frames can be pricey to customize. If you plan to use this bike for off-roading purposes, you’ll definitely need to invest in different tires. These expenses can add up over time.

Not suited for all riders: The step-over frame requires you to swing your legs over it to mount. This design is not suited for the less agile or older population.

Step-Through Bike Recommendations

Now that you’re caught up on the differences between step-through and step-over bikes, it’s time to look at some model examples. Here are some step-through bikes to consider if you’re looking to make a purchase.

Two step-through bikes you can compare are the ANCHEER City Bike (on Amazon) and the Heybike Cityscape Electric Bike (Also on Amazon). Both of these bikes are at the same price point but have different pros and cons.

The ANCHEER City Bike

The ANCHEER City Bike has a smaller motor size at 250watts. This will give you a little less power and versatility. However, it has a 6-gear Shimano system, which will provide you with tremendous help when climbing hills and riding on rough terrain.

This model is suited for nearly any rider as it can handle up to 330lbs. The three riding modes and 35-mile range will get you from point A to B with ease.

The Heybike’s Cityscape E-Bike

Heybike’s Cityscape is another great option. This model has a 350watt motor, making it a bit more powerful and efficient. It also boasts a longer range of 40 miles, allowing you to travel a bit further.

The Cityscape furthermore has a 7-speed Shimano system, allowing for more options. However, this bike doesn’t have the best stock brakes installed.

What’s the verdict between these two? We’d recommend the Cityscape over ANCHEER’s 250watt City Bike. With the Cityscape, you’ll have a stronger motor and extended range. On top of that, you’ll have all the extra bells and whistles, like the included rack. You will be paying a bit extra for this model, but we’d say it’s well worth it!

Step-Over Bike Recommendations

Electric bicycle in the sun

Now let’s look at a few good step-over bike examples!

The eAhora XC100

If you’re reaching for a step-over bike, look no further than the XC100 by eAhora (on Amazon). We’ve recommended this bike multiple times because it’s that good! This model comes in around $900 making it extremely affordable for anyone looking for a step-over style frame. The 350watt motor and 48volt battery offers excellent power, speed, and range.

The 48volt battery is removable, adding accessibility. With pedal assistance, you can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge, with a max speed of 22 mph. The Shimano 7 speed shifter ensures accurate and smooth shifting during every commute.

To top it off, the intelligent energy regeneration technology charges the battery up to 20% while you ride. So, the XC100 is a great entry-level model to consider!

The eAhora AM100 Plus Electric Mountain Bike

Another model to consider is the eAhora AM100 Plus Electric Mountain Bike (on amazon). Be warned; this bike has a higher price tag than our other recommendations. However, it’s well worth it. This bike totes a maximum range of 80 miles on a single charge. The higher price tag also gets you a 500watt motor, providing more speed.

On top of that, the AM100 is perfect for mountain biking. This type of bike can open a wide variety of different biking courses to you. Trails, hills, rough terrain, and weather will be more manageable with the AM100. So, for $1,600, this bike is well worth it!

Both of these bikes are significant purchases depending on your budget. If you can afford a bit extra, go for the AM100. But if you’re a little strapped for cash and a bit impatient, the XC100 will do you just fine.

Remember, because step-through and step-over bikes serve different functions, neither is inherently better than the other.

If you want something more casual with added accessibility, go for a step-through. If you’re looking for more speed and wanna tackle rougher terrain, go for a step-over. Both styles will be enjoyable to ride and bring joy to your life!