Michael’s recent acquisition of a Rivendell Betty Foy has piqued my interest in mixte frames. For the uninitiated, mixte frames provide the increased standover clearance of step-through frames while maintaining much of the strength of traditional diamond frames. Mixte frames are distinguished from other step-through designs by the fact that the top tube(s) runs straight from the head tube to the rear drop outs, effectively creating three sets of rear stays. Mixte frames are sometimes classified as “women’s bikes”, but this is a misnomer as can be evidenced by Rivendell’s Yves Gomez men’s mixte.
Mixte is a French word meaning “mixed” or “unisex”. The proper pronunciation is “MEExt”, though “MIX-ty” is more common in the U.S.