Popular styles of French women's bicycle frames

Mixte is one of many styles of women’s bike frame!

My old friend, inspiration, and mentor* Sheldon Brown, states that a “Mixte” is a ladies’ style of bike characterized by twin top tubes that extend all the way to the rear dropouts. He further states that there is a variant with a single top tube and the extra set of stays. He says if it don’t have three sets of stays, it ain’t no mixte.

I have always been leery of this interesting pedantic fact, because:

    • Sheldon presents the definition with no supporting evidence
    • In French, “Mixte” means “co-ed” in the old-fashioned sense, which seems appropriate for all step-through frames
    • Really, who cares?

His main point was “don’t use the word mixte to refer to any old ladies’ frame bike,” because it’s a specific style.” I generally skirted** the issue: I tried not to make any embarrassing gaffes, but didn’t correct people on the internet.

Cut to the big mixte news this week on the iBOB list:  Greg Reiche posted a link to a C. S. Hiroshi page about creating a ladies bicyle, specifically a “Sport.” One of the pictures showed a publication from FNCRM (Fédération Nationale du Commerce et de la Réparation du Cycle et Motocycle), a French bicycle and motorcycle trade group. Another image was of a page of that publication, showing some of the different styles of step-through frames.

I’ve redrawn the graphic here. Don’t sue me, bro. Popular styles of French women's bicycle frames Mixte – Twin tubes from the upper head lug all the way to the rear dropouts. Hot.
Sport – A single top tube, with a third set of stays. Also hot. Rivendell and J.P. Weigle style. Sheldon calls this a kind of Mixte.
Berceau – Bendy twin top tubes, for more standover height. Lots of potential, but I’ve never seen a truly sexy implementation of this style.
Jumele – Twin top tubes, with NO third set of stays. I have never seen this style of bike. Doofy.
Anglais – Second top tube, no extra stays. Angelina’s Steyr was this style. Workmanlike.
Col de Cygne – Swoopy top tube, with supporting struts to the down tube. Nice, but tend to look heavy.
Double Col de Cygne – Swoopy top tube, and down tube, with struts.  Trying too hard?

I propose that Americans call the “Sport” style “Mixte Sport.” Other bike nerds know what you’re talking about, and it clarifies Sheldon’s postion. 

Of bikes that have passed through my house, apparently the Steyr was a “style Anglais,” while the Belleville is a true mixte. The couple Suburbans Angelina had were… variations on the Anglais?

 

* Internet-style. He may or may not have recognized me on the street. ** See what I did there?

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philip

UI/UX Designer, bike nerd, artist.

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