A selection of mixtes proving that this versatile bike truly offers something for everyone.
The early years of bicycle design threw up dozens of frame layouts before settling on the familiar diamond and loop frames. Thanks to the fashions of the time, loop frames became known as women’s bikes because they accommodated skirts, while diamond frames were referred to as men’s bikes, at least in the English-speaking world.
In France, however, designers saw a need for a cycle with the lower standover height of the loop frame without compromising the rigidity and light weight offered by the diamond frame. They called it the mixte (pronounced meext), a nod to the mixed gender of its users as well
as the versatile nature of the design.
The mixte remains popular in Europe and Asia, but until recently has been something of a curiosity in Australia. There has been a resurgence of interest in mixtes in recent years, and today there are more mixte options than ever as people shrug off restrictions and look for the bike that best suits their needs. Lower step-through height, load-carrying capacity, sporty handling and stylish looks – the mixte frame can do it all. Here are a few
of the latest offerings.
Linus Mixte 8
California company Linus Bikes has become known for its decent build quality and stylish, Euro-inspired designs. The Mixte 8 is a modern take on the classic steel frame, with some nice touches such as matching painted mudguards, stainless steel fasteners, sealed front hubs and hand-stitched leather grips.
A Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal hub keeps gear changing easy and low-maintenance, alloy headset and flat bars resist the elements, and the tyres feature a reflective stripe for night-time visibility. The rear wheel is laced
with heavier 13-gauge stainless spokes to handle any extra weight on the optional rear rack.
Note: From 2019, Linus will instead offer the Mixte 7i.
Malvern Star Vogue 2
From sentimental Australian favourite Malvern Star comes the Vogue 2, a mixte with lightweight butted 6061 aluminium frame, combined with a lugged cromoly fork fitted with a steering stabiliser. A Shimano 8-speed internal hub provides the gearing, with Tektro brakes bringing it all to a halt. A sprung saddle and swept-back porteur bars provide comfort, while the double-walled deep-V rims are robust enough for city kerb-hopping – and for taking the extra weight from the substantial optional front and rear
racks. Other options include slender bamboo mudguards, large front bag, twin-leg kickstand and custom chain cover.
BeLiv 2 City
Liv is Giant’s women-specific brand. Featuring frame measurements designed to better fit women’s body geometry, the BeLiv 2 City has the potential to travel further than its name suggests. It features a light aluminium frame and fork, Tektro disc brakes, Shimano two-by-eight derailleur gearing and drop bars for a sporty ride position.
The double-walled rims wear puncture resistant tyres that are just as much at home on dirt and gravel as on the tarmac, and the integrated mounting points allow for easy fitting of accessories such as racks and kickstands. The bike comes fitted with a stand, mudguards and a small rear rack as standard, and is available in three sizes for the perfect fit.
Gazelle Van Stael
Royal Dutch Gazelle has been making sturdy, stylish city bikes for more than 120 years. Their Van Stael mixte has a traditional lugged steel frame weighing in at 14.2 kilograms, with sharp steering geometry and a short wheelbase giving a sporty feel.
A 7-speed internal hub, polished alloy guards, painted chain case and flat aluminium bars are all practical and low maintenance, with a Brooks saddle providing a comfortable perch. The Van Stael comes in four sizes and six colours, and can be fitted with optional front and rear carriers.
Creme Caferacer Lady Uno
Polish makers Creme have only been around since 2009 but their bikes hark back to the middle of last century. The Caferacer ticks all the classic design feature boxes: lugged steel frame and fork, polished rims, generous stainless steel guards and albatross handlebars. A useful front rack and lights are included, along with a kickstand. The rear hub can be 3-speed or 7-speed, and with cables for gears and rear brake routed discretely along the frame, its lines are clean and uncluttered.
Tokyobikes are built for urban transportation, their distinctive 650C wheels delivering manoeuvrability without compromising stability, resulting in a compact machine that is still comfortable to ride. The Bisou comes with a 7-speed Shimano derailleur with trigger shifter, and its cromoly steel frame has relaxed geometry and an upright seating position. It is available in three sizes to suit riders up to 185 centimetres tall, and is a relative lightweight at 12 kilograms. Tokyobike offers a range of accessories, including aluminium mudguards, front and rear racks, baskets, bags and bells.
Words Noel Probert