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Step-thru vs. step-over eBikes: how to choose

Step-thru vs. step-over eBikes: how to choose

January 17, 2022 | Justin Christopher

EBikes are commonly offered in two frame styles - traditional “double diamond” (step-over) and step-through (sometimes called “low step”). Each of these two designs has some key pros and cons you should consider before purchasing. 

Step-over eBikes (also called "top tube" eBikes)

The traditional (or “step over”) frame design with a top tube and double-diamond frame design has historically been the standard type of bicycle frame:

  • This design is very strong and stiff, so it’s ideal for bigger, heavier, and more aggressive riders who may find a step-through too flexible.
  • It offers a classic style for the rider who wants a certain “look”. 
  • Standover height is important, the rider must be able to comfortably stand over the top tube when stopping and starting, so multiple frame sizes are usually offered on a single model. 

Step-through eBikes

Although some riders associate the step-through eBike design with “women”, this view is outdated. The so-called “girls” frame design is ridden by everyone these days, and even outsells the more traditional design for many makes and models. 

Step-through (low-step) frames have key pros and cons:

  • The step-through design eliminates the need to swing a leg over the saddle, making step-through designs ideal for riders with poor flexibility or balance concerns.
  • Standover height is much lower. As a result, step-over eBikes might come in fewer frame size options, or even only a single size choice. Sometimes this allows friends or family members of different heights to share a single eBike, which wouldn’t be possible on the traditional step-over style. 
  • While step-through eBikes may not have the same strength and stiffness as traditional step-over models, in practice, they are plenty stiff and strong for all but the most demanding riders.