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Step through vs. Step Over - Which Is Better?

Posted by Yina Liu on
Step through vs. Step Over - Which Is Better?

When you are looking to choose the right ebike for your needs, you will quickly begin to notice that there are two basic styles of frames on the market. These are step-through and step-over frames. You may wonder which of these frames is better, and the answer is that neither is inherently worse, however, both of these frames have their own advantages to offer, and different riders may have their own preference. Let’s take a look at what both of these frames have to offer and which may be better suited for your needs.

Step-Over Ebikes

A step-over frame, also known as a triangle or diamond frame, is one of the two basic frame designs you will see on ebikes and regular bicycles everywhere. This frame design can be distinguished by the large top bar that connects the front and rear of the frame. This is what gives the frame its name of step over because the bar requires riders to lift their leg over the bike to mount and dismount.

This simple design offers the frame an intrinsically strong design which makes it optimal for rough riding, and the positioning of the pedals on these models allows riders to put more power into pedaling. As a result, you will more often see this design on mountain bikes, high-performance racing bicycles, and other models designed for high performance.

Advantages of Step-Over Frames

  • Durability: Due to its geometry, a step-over frame is a more rugged design that will withstand greater shocks without suffering damage. As a result, a well-designed step-over frame may last for a long time.
  • Ideal for Off-Roading: As a result of their greater durability, a step-over frame makes a strong choice for mountain biking and other offroad activities. However, not every step-over frame may be durable enough to handle intense riding, so it is important to ensure that a bike is designed with this in mind before using it on tough terrain.
  • Lighter Materials: Because of their stronger frame design, step-over ebikes are often made with lighter materials. This means that they can offer higher speed and superior handling for maximum performance.

Disadvantages of Step-Over Frames

  • Reduced Material Strength: The geometry of a step-over frame is stronger, but as a result, many manufacturers are willing to use less or weaker materials in making them. This means that they may be more prone to certain types of damage, and many are not suited for offroad riding such as mountain biking. When purchasing an ebike for this purpose, it is important to ensure it is designed with offroad riding in mind.
  • Worse for Low Mobility Riders: These frames inherently require a rider to lift their leg up and over the frame to mount and dismount. For many riders, this could be difficult or even impossible to do.
  • Less Comfortable Ride: The pedal position of a step-over frame is generally further to the rear, meaning that riders must lean forward to pedal. This allows great power, but for most riders, this is a less natural and comfortable sitting position.

Step-Through Ebikes

Step-through ebikes are the second type of frame commonly seen on ebikes and regular bicycles. These are easily distinguished by their lack of a top bar allowing riders to easily pass their leg through the frame to mount and dismount. This makes it far superior for low-mobility riders and more comfortable for anyone.

This frame style is great for casual riders commuting to work and enjoying a ride in comfort just about anywhere. Advancements in materials and engineering mean that newer high-quality ebikes like the Espin Nesta can be used in just about any situation that a step-over frame could.

Advantages of Step-Through Frames

  • Better for Low Mobility Riders: A step-through frame offers riders the ability to pass their leg through the frame, making mounting and dismounting a breeze. This can allow those with limited mobility to use ebikes with this frame.
  • More Comfortable: The more forward positioning of the pedals means that the rider can take a more natural sitting position which is far more comfortable, particularly on long rides.
  • Allows for Folding: Due to the single bar connecting front and rear, this framework is great for folding models like the Espin Nesta. This allows a rider to bring their ebike with them anywhere.
  • Stronger Materials: Though this style of frame has a weaker geometry, it does include stronger materials or greater thickness to make up for it. This can allow it to withstand certain impacts or damage better than a step-over.

Disadvantages of Step-Through Frames 

Sometimes Heavier: Due to their weaker frame geometry, manufacturers will generally make step-through bikes out of a stronger or heavier material which generally equates to more weight.

Less Ideal for Off-Road Riding: Many step-through ebikes, particularly older models, may suffer damage to the frame from climbing on steep or hilly terrain. However, high-quality modern ebikes like the Espin Nesta have solved this issue and can be used on all your rides.

How To Choose the Right Frame for You?

So, which frame style is better? The answer is neither is inherently a better frame, but both may be suited to different riders. A step-through frame ebike like the Espin Nesta is more likely suited for casual riders, those commuting to work, traveling, or for general use. However, for those looking for high-intensity performance, a step-over frame might be the better choice. Consider what you will be using your ebike for to make the right choice.

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