Bike finder: Which lightweight step-through hybrid should I buy?

Two step-through hybrid bikes, a black one from Trek on the left, a grey one from Islabikes on the right
Trek Fx 3 Disc Stagger (left) and Islabikes Jimi (right)
Cycling UK member Victoria Lloyd-Gent was looking for a versatile hybrid for commuting, nursery drop-off and the occasional cycle tour with the little ones. Our experts provided her with some options

Lightweight step-through hybrid

Victoria Lloyd-Gent has taken a selfie. She is wearing a blue cycle helmet, a red cycling jersey and yellow gilet and a grey buff. She has long hair and is smiling at the camera

For: Victoria Lloyd-Gent, age 49, from Durham.
Bike needs: Commuting to work, including nursery drop-off (child seat). Trips to local shops, etc. Recreational riding, occasionally using a bike trailer. Holidays/cycle touring.
Must haves: Step-through frame. Robust. Lightweight. Pannier rack. Space to attach child seat. Space to fix front panniers/basket if rear rack used for child seat.
Budget: £1,000.

Matt Lamy says

Because you mentioned you’re planning to load the bike up with a bit of kit – and other more precious cargo – I’ve decided to prioritise two of your requirements: rack mounts and braking performance. There are plenty of step-through frames out there, but relatively few of them have both front rack mounts and disc brakes.

In terms of global brands, Trek is the best place to start. If you want to use almost all your budget, there is the Dual Sport 2 Equipped Stagger Gen 5 (£925) with rear rack included, front rack mounting points, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and a mid-range Shimano 2×9 groupset. This bike certainly looks robust but possibly a little too much so for your needs.

The Trek FX 3 Disc Stagger (£975) is another option that fulfils all the important criteria while being a little lighter and more sporty – and it comes with better Shimano Deore gears and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, albeit for a £50 upcharge.

Marin also has a couple of interesting options. The Kentfield ST 2 (£685) is a trendy step-through with a Microshift drivetrain – which is actually not bad at all – and Clarks mechanical discs. Or there’s the Fairfax ST 2 (£665), which prioritises quiet competence rather than classy looks, and has decent Shimano gears and Tektro hydraulic discs.

Finally, GT has the Transeo Sport Step-Through (£500), with probably the prettiest frame of our shortlist here, an entry-level Shimano Tourney drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes. Despite being only half your budget, it should suit your needs rather well.

Trek Fx 3 Disc Stagger £975

Trek FX3 Disc Stagger, a black hybrid bike on a white background

Dan Joyce says

Most step-through bikes seem to be made for purchasers prioritising price over weight, so they’re generally cheap and heavy – albeit robust. The Kona Coco (£849) and Cannondale Treadwell EQ Remixte (£950) are two relatively lightweight town bikes that meet most of your requirements. The Cannondale even comes with a front rack.

For not much more, however, the Cube Travel (£999) is better equipped for everyday journeys and has a gear range more suited to a trailer, a child seat, and touring. There’s a step-through ‘trapeze’ option, as well as the diamond frame one we tested previously.

Its rear rack is rated for 25kg, which is enough for a child seat. The only downside is that, at over 15kg, it’s no lightweight.

If low weight is of paramount importance, I’d suggest the Islabikes Jimi (£799), which tips the scales at 9.9kg. Swap the knobbly tyres for a pair of 50-622 or 55-622 Schwalbe Big Apples (from £26.99).

Add some SKS Bluemels Style 28" 65 mudguards (£55), a rear rack that’s capable of supporting a child seat, such as Blackburn’s EX-1 (£55), and a front basket – Topeak’s Front Basket for E-bikes (£43) is a quick-release one that will carry up to 5kg. You could carry additional luggage in cargo cages fitted to the Jimi’s fork.

The Jimi comes with a 26t chainring and an 11-40t cassette, giving a 19-67in range. That low bottom gear will come in handy for hauling loads – or a toddler. Top gear is also low but that might not be a problem for the riding you describe. If it is, swap (or get your local shop to swap) the 26t chainring for a 32t.

Islabikes Jimi £799

Islabikes Jimi, a grey hybrid bike on a white background

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