Share photos of adventure activities you engaged in!

Helpful Tips for Buying a Cruiser Bicycle

Cruiser bikes have been around since the early 1930s, and have since become a recreational necessity. Not exactly affordable, these comfortable and durable bikes must be bought after taking a few things into consideration.
Rohini Mohan
Always check the weight limitations of the cruiser bike before buying it.

Also known as beach cruisers, these bicycles were originally designed for using on the beach and its surrounding terrain. Its upright handle and balloon tires were perfect for riding on flat and smooth surfaces. These simplistic old-styled bikes also had faux gas tanks, a feature that continues to be retained in many of the new bikes being manufactured. As compared to other types of bicycles, cruisers are more durable, sturdier, and affordable.

The comfort and ease offered by beach bikes make them a hot favorite among beach goers and commuters who wish to stay active and run errands as well. If you plan on buying a cruiser bike for yourself, this write-up points out a few things you will need to bear in mind.

Bike Size
Firstly, you must decide whether you'd want to go in for a men/women's bike frame or one that is unisex. The reason the frame design matters is because the bike frames for men usually have straight-across top tubes, which may impede movement and prove uncomfortable for women. On the other hand, the step-through frame is more comfortable for women to ride and easier to dismount. You may also consider hybrid designs that have stretched frames with extended cranks, which allow the legs to stretch further and paddle comfortably.

Secondly, as compared to mountain and road bikes, cruiser bikes are sized differently. Unlike other bikes, cruisers are sized as per the diameter of the wheel, not by their frames. There are four basic wheel sizes available in most cruiser bicycles, which include 16", 20", 24", and 26". While size 26" is meant for adults and tall teenagers, there are bikes with 29" sized rims that are suitable for people who are as tall as 6' - 6'9".

Thirdly, every model of a cruiser bike comes in only one standard frame size. Therefore, you will not be able to find the same design and make of a cruiser bike, in a different size. Fortunately, since there is a huge variety to select from, you are bound to find a bike that looks and feels perfect.

Gearing and Brakes
You will also need to consider whether you'd prefer a cruiser bike with or without gears. The single-speed cruiser does not have any gears, and instead has a coaster brake/foot brake. These bikes are suitable for minimalistic and slow biking on smooth and flat terrain. On the other hand, many cruiser bikes are also equipped with both front and rear handbrakes, and a rear derailleur. Bikes with higher gear ratios offer more speed and resistance, thereby, making such cruiser bikes suitable for flat and even terrain. On the other hand, the resistance offered diminishes with every lowered gear, which makes it easier to peddle uphill without being too slow and ride against the wind. Multi-speed cruisers can be found with a range of speeds, which include three-, six-, or seven-speed shifters. The three-speed derailleur cruiser bikes are equipped with a rear internal gear hub. The three-speed bikes combine the utility of a coaster brake and more speed options.

The metal of the cruiser bike frame is of extreme importance. Frames made of steel are sturdy, but need more maintenance to protect it from rusting and peeling paint. The frame may start to show signs of aging if it's not protected from excess heat or moisture. Steel frames are also comparatively much heavier than those made of aluminum, thus, making it harder to lug the bike around. Consider the portability of a steel-framed bike, before buying one. Unless you have a lift in your building that is large enough to accommodate the bike, you may have to carry it up the stairs. In which case, an aluminum-framed bike would be a lot lighter and easier to carry.

Aluminum-framed bikes are comparatively more expensive than steel, because this metal is very light and makes riding less stressful. This frame also lasts longer and can go on for several years before showing any signs of wear and tear, is more or less maintenance-free, and is resistant to moisture and rust. Similarly, the frames made of metal alloy are more expensive because of the durability and weather resistance offered by these bike frames.

Unless you're actually testing the bike out before buying it from the store, you will need to make sure that the specifications about the bike saddle on the online store are accurate. The seat of a cruiser bike must be wide and padded with sufficient spring action. The reason the seat needs to be wide is because the upright-seated position of the rider puts a lot of weight on the seat and requires the sitting bones of the rider to be well-placed, with ample cushioning and a little extra outer space. Secondly, since a cruiser bike is intended for slow and leisurely biking, it does not require streamlined saddles that are meant for an aggressive biking posture and racing bicycles. If possible, try to go in for a seat that is equipped with a quick-release binder.

Front and Rear Fenders
Depending on your needs and intended use, go in for a cruiser bike that has fenders pre-installed. If you do not need them, you may remove them later on. However, it is always better to buy the cycle with these pieces so that you do not have to spend more in future. Most cruiser bikes come with fenders, as they help keep the sand, dust, or water from spraying on the rider. This is a huge advantage for those who plan to use their bike for commuting.

Cruiser bikes can cost anywhere from USD 90 - 600, and the price may rise further if it is custom-designed to include added or newer features. Therefore, decide on the type of bike you intend to own. The more simplistic the bike, the cleaner it will look and will have lesser features, thereby, making it more affordable. Go in for a bike that fits your budget and expectations. Secondly, select a bike that comes equipped with basic necessities, such as bottle holder, front and rear fenders, basket (optional), gears, and brakes.

Always insist that the warranty and assembly instructions be included with your bike. It is advisable to buy a preassembled bike, or get it assembled by a professional from the store you purchased the bike.