Frame geometry basics

  • Frames with a dropped or missing top tube (designed originally for use with skirts and dresses, thus termed the lady's frame) are now most commonly referred to as step-through or open frames. 
  • Boy or Men's frames as they were once called, are now commonly referred to as diamond frames or step-over frames.
  • Ride1Up terminology is (ST) Step-Through or (XR) Step-Over
  • There are benefits and practical differences to each, read more to find out


Example ST frames

  • Also known as "step through", "ST" or "open", these frames have some distinct advantages

    • Easier to mount and dismount
    • Best suited for riders with restricted mobility i.e. chronic knee, back, or hip pain.
    • Better design for carrying baggage/loaded rack as you do not need to lean the bike over to mount and ride
    • You could wear dresses or skirts while riding and reduce the risk of injury while crossing your leg over a top tube :)
  • These frames also have some disadvantages to consider

    • XR frame is theoretically more robust than the ST (note that this is only applicable with aggressive riding on intense terrain)
    • The ride may feel marginally "stiffer" due to the lower weight distribution of this frame style
    • The lack of a top tube requires thicker framing near the base of the downtube (more metal means slightly heavier >2lbs)
    • Difficult to mount on a traditional bike rack (this frame requires racks that support from the wheelbase instead of the top tube)


Example XR frames

  • Also referred to as "Cross Over", "XR" or "Diamond" - these frames have some distinct advantages

    • This frame is structurally stronger, though this is not an applicable metric when most riding is done on smooth surfaces
    • Some consider this frame to be "traditional" and more aesthetically pleasing
    • The ride may feel more responsive due to the higher center of gravity of the XR frame
    • This frame is usually slightly lighter than an ST frame of the same design (<2 lbs)
    • Most straightforward and most loadable frame for a variety of bike rack designs
  • These frames also have some disadvantages to consider

    • This frame style is more difficult to mount and dismount due to the top tube
    • Riders with knee, back, or hip pain may find this frame style difficult or impossible to mount and dismount
    • The increased stand over height of the XR frame may make this design less accessible for those of shorter stature.
    • You may have difficulty mounting this frame if you have luggage or a rear rack with panniers


If you are still wondering which frame style is best for you, please reach out to our support team with questions