Beach cruiser bicycles hark back to a simpler time, a time before being the fastest and the strongest and the best is the only thing that matters. Back to a time when simple enjoyment of a bike ride was the important thing, when getting there was what mattered, not how fast you could go or how quick the trip.
Don’t be fooled. The attraction of the cruiser beach bike is not purely a matter of nostalgia. There are very practical reasons for choosing a men’s or women’s cruiser bike (if you like gender choices – there are several unisex styles to choose from).
Why Choose A Cruiser Bike?
While you are not likely to ever use a beach bike as the cycle of choice for day long rides through the country or for multi-day cruises, it might well be the first choice for an enjoyable day at the beach or a day of cruising around town or running a few errands.
The primary attraction of the custom beach cruiser is that it is perhaps the most comfortable of bikes to ride. The upright seating position is the most natural – riding one for time won’t leave the rider with a sore back or tired shoulders the way the forward leaning position of the typical road bike will.
Though most cruiser bikes have only a single gear and little shock absorbing ability, it is not uncommon to see them with shock absorbers and gears. Though it will never be an easy task to push a beach bike up a hill, the addition of gears can make the challenge slightly less daunting.
The cruise bike was never designed for that though. Its strength is its durability, its simplicity, its comfort. And its style. The cruiser has style that no other bike can touch.
A Bit Of Beach Bike Cruiser History
Beach cruisers look like nothing so much as they look like your grandma’s old bike, or the one you can imagine your grandpa learning to ride – his dad pushing him down a dirt road in the country.
There’s a reason for that – cruiser bicycles were developed in the 1930’s as a durable bicycle styled after some of the most well-known motorcycles of the day. They were the most popular bicycles sold in the United States through the 1950’s.
Then came the 1960’s and the British invasion. Lighter bikes with taller tires and 3 speeds, they were easier to ride and more stylish than the clunky old “cruiser” bike.
At the same time, the kids took to new models that once again took styling cues from the motorcycles of the day – especially the custom cycles being put out by motorcycle shops on the west coast. The so-called banana bikes were long and low and high “ape hanger” handle bars. These small bikes were maneuverable (they leant themselves to wheelies) and would later morph into the BMX bikes you see on the street and in competitions today.
Also, with the continued development of gearing technology through the 70’s, bicycles with very tall and skinny tires modeled on racing bikes became very popular. Ten, twelve, fifteen and even 18 speed bicycles became the normal purchase for riders who had no idea how to put that many speeds to effective use.
The Beach Cruiser Hangs On
The cruiser bike never went away. There was one place where the wide tires were a definite advantage and where the heavy weight mattered less. The cruiser bicycle became the beach cruiser, able to easily maneuver along the sandy surface of the shoreline. Used cruiser bikes became popular with beach bums and surfers.
Then in California a new activity became popular – racing in and around the mountainous terrain. Racing downhill over rough and rocky terrain was not something that the racing bikes of the day could handle, so eventually the racers gravitated towards the old trusty beach bicycle. The cruisers were designed to take a beating and when lightened a bit and with a bit of creative engineering to attach multiple gearing, they became the preferred racer of the day.
And the mountain bike was born.
The Beach Cruiser Bike Today
With the return to a culture that placed more emphasis on individuality and a slower paced lifestyle, the beach cruiser bicycle had a bit of a resurgence. Both baby boomers who remembered the bikes of their youth with nostalgic fondness and with increased enjoyment of the comfort and stability of the more solid styling of the cruiser, and the youth attracted to the styling and color choices, helped fuel the beach cruiser’s new lease on life.
Newer technology was able to reduce the weight somewhat and the addition of gearing made the remaining weight less of an issue. No longer was there as much emphasis on putting in hard miles over hilly terrain. Now there was an appreciation of more leisurely rides that focused on enjoyment of the day and appreciation of the beauty of the environment.
Beach cruisers with gears are now the attractive choice of today’s discerning consumer. The style of the bicycle lends itself to numerous styling options and the niche is somewhat protected from the downward pricing pressures that are the enemy of quality.
Want a pink cruiser bike? A yellow beach cruiser? A beach cruiser with a basket or a 7 speed beach cruiser? No problem. 24, 26, or 29″ models are available. Even a purple model can be had. Or aluminum.
The point is that as with everything these days, you can find the cruiser you want at a price you can afford, or at least justify. The variety and beauty of the modern cruise bike truly can’t be matched by any other style of bike on the market today.
If you want a high performing bike that will give you years of pleasure, on the beach or off, beach bike cruisers might be the choice for you.
The Best Place To Buy Your Beach Bicycle
Is there really any question? When it comes to selection, price and customer service there really is no comparison. Amazon wins hands down in almost every case. Unless there is a professional bike dealer very close to you who is willing to price match and has an unimpeachable guarantee/return policy why would you bother?
And if you have Amazon Prime, even better. Order today and have it in a two days with free shipping. You will likely be riding your new cruiser before you could even schedule a time to go out and look for a bicycle locally.