Since the early 1930s when they appeared on the scene, cruiser bikes have become a recreational must-have. Also referred to as beach cruisers, they were originally designed for use on beaches and the surrounding terrain. The balloon tires and upright handle made them ideal for riding on both smooth and flat surfaces.
They also featured fake gas tanks, a trend that has persisted to the present day. Before buying a new cruiser bike, you may want to consider the following factors.
1. Cruiser Bike Designs
Some cruiser bikes are specifically designed for women, and others for men. There are, however, unisex designs that can be used by either gender. So, before you head over to the bikes shop, you will need to decide which type of cruiser bike you want to buy. Men cruiser bikes feature straight-across top tubes that are not comfortable for women as they interfere with movement.
The step-through frame is more ideal for women since it’s easier to dismount. Another design that may appeal to you is the hybrid one, which features stretched frames and extended cranks that allow you to stretch your legs for a more comfortable cycling.
2. Cruiser Bike Sizes
Cruiser bikes come in different sizes. Unlike other types of bikes, which are sized by their frames, cruiser bikes are sized according to their wheels’ diameter. They come in four different wheel sizes. These are 16, 20, 24 and 26 inches. The larger size is designed for adults and tall teenagers. There are a few 29-inch bikes that are specifically built for exceptionally tall people (6 to 6.9 feet tall).
3. Cruiser Bike Gears and Brakes
Another decision you will need to make is whether you want a cruiser bike with or without gears. The single-speed cruiser features a coaster or footer brake instead of gears. Its minimalist design is suitable for riding on a flat and smooth terrain. Most cruiser bikes are, however, equipped with front and rear handbrakes. Those with higher gear ratios are faster and ideal for riding on a flat terrain. They also have a higher resistance, which, however, diminishes with lowered gear bikes, making it easier to cycle uphill and against the wind.
4. Cruiser Bike Frame
Steel frames are sturdy, although they need to be properly maintained and serviced to keep them from rusting or the paint peeling off. Left unprotected from moisture and excess heat, the frame quickly deteriorates. Steel frames are however heavier than aluminum frames. This makes lugging the bike around a much difficult task. When buying a cruiser bike, you will need to consider its weight, which makes aluminum bikes a good choice. However, the latter is more pricey than steel frames, although they last longer. They are also cheaper to maintain and are resistant to rust and moisture. Alloy frames are also a favourite choice due to their durability and resistance to the vagaries of the weather. Nonetheless, they are a bit expensive as well.
5. The Seat
You want to be sure that the seat of your cruiser bike is as comfortable as possible. Ideally, it should be wide and padded to provide adequate spring action. This is because the seat takes a lot of pressure when you are seated upright. Proper cushioning is, therefore, necessary to provide a comfortable riding experience. Ideally, a seat with a quick release binder is preferable.
6. Front and Rear Fenders
Cruiser bikes with pre-installed fenders are highly recommended. In any case, if you later decide you no longer need them, you can always remove them. Fenders keep dust, sand and water from splashing on you as you ride, an important consideration if you intend to use your cruiser bike for commuting.
7. Cost Considerations
You get to decide how much you want to pay for your new cruiser bike. There are options for low to high budgets of between US$90 to US$600. The cost may even go up depending on whether you want your bike customized. However, as long as your new bike features a bottle holder, basket, front and rear fenders, gears, and brakes, you are good to go.
The preference for cruiser bikes is perhaps due to the fact that they are sturdier, more durable, and affordable compared to other bike types. They are therefore a favourite among commuters, beach goers and others who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they run their daily errands.