With the rise in global temperature in the past decade, several people have opted for more environmentally friendly ways of commuting. People are now looking into options that are convenient while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. Automobiles largely use fossil fuels to transport people and goods from one place to another. Fossil fuels directly contribute to global warming and climate change; thus, many people are switching to more sustainable alternatives.
These alternatives include the likes of public transport and cycling. Bikes are a great way to keep in shape while also saving the environment. However, bikes have gone through many changes in the past few decades. We now have BMX bikes and mountain bikes for different competitions all over the world, but what if you just want to bike at your own pace for fun?
One of the most significant bikes among people nowadays for coasting is the cruiser bike. You may be asking yourself questions like, “What is a cruiser bike?,” “How does it work?” Read on as we answer that question and many more.
What Is a Cruiser Bike?
It is a bicycle first introduced in the 1930s that’s a little different than your normal bike. Cruiser bikes can be of two main types: they can be single-speed bikes, which means they don’t have multiple gears, and they are easy to use or can be multi-speed bikes with more gears. However, cruiser bikes are also unique in their design. They have a strong metallic framework for a body, and they use balloon tires instead of regular ones.
Cruiser bikes are very different from other bicycles types and are thus easier to identify. These bikes can be used regularly, but they’re more of a luxury than a utilitarian vehicle.
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How Does a Cruiser Bike Work?
A cruiser bike has very specific features that work together to create movement. The cruiser bike has a steel frame, balloon tires, curved handlebars, a single-speed driving train for pedaling, and coaster brakes.
In multi-speed cruiser bikes, the single-speed driving train would be replaced by gears. However, in this simple version, you create movement with the pedals that cause your bike to move forward, and this is how a cruiser bike works.
What is the Difference Between a Mountain Bike and a Cruiser Bike?
In adult bicycles, mountain bikes and cruiser bikes could not be more different from each other. They have different mechanisms, purposes, advantages, and disadvantages. They represent two extremes of cycling, which is why you may want to invest in both.
The most significant difference between the two is you can use a mountain bike when traveling on rough terrain at high speeds. As the name suggests, a cruiser bike is for cruising, and this is why it does better on flatlands. Mountain bikes also have tires and gears that help to facilitate the biker in conquering difficult terrain. On the other hand, manufacturers have designed cruisers for city roads that don’t ascend or descend.
You can use mountain bikes to travel miles and miles, whereas cruiser bikes are meant for shopping on piers and outdoor malls and enclaves. Other differences between the two are listed in the table below:
|Mountain Bike||Cruiser Bike|
|Can take tremendous stress||Heavy, non-suspension frame|
|Very light||Curled handlebars|
|Dual Suspension frame||Mostly single-speed|
|Treads are from a quarter inch up to one inch||Treads are not wider than a quarter-inch|
|More expensive||More cost-efficient|
Are Cruiser Bikes Good for Commuting?
The purpose of cruiser bikes is to coast. Most cruiser bikes are single-speed, but some can have up to three gears. Manufacturers have not designed cruiser bikes for ascending, descending, or any strenuous cycling. So, the question of whether this bike is good for commuting or not is very subjective.
Most cyclists don’t believe that a cruiser bike is good for commuting; however, the ideal bike for you could depend on your commute. So, the factors you should consider before you use a cruiser bike for commute are as follows:
Cruiser bikes are like hybrid bikes except most cruiser bikes aren’t electric-powered. Due to this reason, these bikes don’t perform well for long distances. The rider is likely to get fatigued and have a greater workout than they wanted. If the distance to your destination is short, you can use a cruiser bike.
As mentioned before, manufacturers designed cruiser bikes for flatter lands. Thus, if your commute involves many ups and downs along with rough terrains. If it involves hillsides and gravelly lanes, you may want to not pick a cruiser bike and go for something more durable.
Cruiser bikes have balloon tires that don’t catch speed quite as well as other tires. Their treads don’t support speed, and if your commute takes a lot of time, you shouldn’t go for a cruiser bike. Additionally, if your workplace needs you to be on time, a cruiser bike isn’t most reliable as the balloon tires don’t support high-speed.
Types of Cruiser Bikes
You may think that cruiser bikes are all the same. However, with the advancement in technology, you now have five types of cruiser bikes from which you can choose if you decide to buy one.
1. Classic or Beach Cruiser Bikes
These are the bikes that have been around for decades. They have a heavy metal frame and unisex design on the top tube. You can use these bikes when shopping on a pier and they often come with a basket for you to keep your belongings.
These bikes often use 26 to 29 inches wide tires, providing the rider with a better sense of stability. This feature also makes these bikes easier to ride. A cruiser bike has a single-speed chain that’s protected in the metallic casing. The handlebars in this design are also reachable so that the driver doesn’t have to bend over to steer, giving them more stability.
2. Stretch Cruiser Bikes
These are a more elongated design. The frame is often longer and closer to the ground. Since the bike has a longer frame, the rider can sit further back and relax. However, the frame’s length often interferes with the bike’s steering ability.
Stretch cruiser bikes are great for long, laidback rides on sidewalks and roads with less traffic and fewer obstacles.
People often prefer stretch cruiser bikes due to the unique leisurely style they offer and the chill vibe they emulate. You can customize a stretch cruiser bike in any way you like.
3. Low Rider
Low-rider bikes are more involved with being aesthetically pleasing than being functional. As the name suggests, low riders are very close to the ground, allowing the rider to recline to a great extent. These bikes have a very unique look and are often customized to amplify their differences and set them apart. Low riders have whitewall tires that are less than 26 inches wide, huge banana seats, and pronounced fenders on the front end and rear end.
Low rider bikes pay homage to low rider cars that are culturally significant on the West Coast stateside. However, you can customize these bikes to be as functional as they are pretty. So, you could still choose them for casual riding as long as you’re ready to be a spectacle.
4. Chopper Cruiser Biker
Similar to low riders, manufacturers were inspired by the chopper motorcycle and built the chopper cruiser bike. You can think of these bikes as a marriage between low rider cruiser bikes and chopper-style motorcycles.
These features result in long metallic poles that protrude from the front to which short handlebars are attached placed in an ape hanger-style that’s mostly associated with chopper-style motorbikes.
This cruise bike type is not for longer duration travels and even though it can be made comfortable, comfort is not its purpose. It’s a very unique item to own, but you should only buy it if you have a more functional option on the back burner.
5. Multi-Speed Cruiser Bikes
As mentioned earlier, cruiser bikes mostly occur in a single-speed form. However, they are easily customizable so multi-speed cruiser bikes can exist in any of the other varieties of cruiser bikes. They are often found in classic and beach cruiser bikes. Multi-speed cruisers increase the options drivers have in terms of gears, thus making the bike a little more diverse in its applications and usage.
These bikes are usually available in 3-speed versions with control to shift between gears near the handlebar. They use derailleurs and rear cassettes so the rider can switch between speeds. Multi-speed bikes make riding easy for bikers as they can easily shift their gears, depending on the speed they wish to ride on.
Multi-speed cruisers provide the comfort of cruiser bikes along with different options for speed. These features ensure riders can overcome some of the speed and terrain limitations that regular cruisers bikes have while also being comfortable. Thus, multi-speed cruiser bikes are better for when you want to get some actual work done.
Read What Is a Single Speed bike
What Are the Benefits of a Cruiser Bike?
Cruiser bikes have been around for a very long time, and they have their benefits. We have listed some of these benefits below:
1. They are more cost-efficient than cars
If you live in a bike-friendly city, buying a bike will likely save you thousands of dollars. Most cruiser bikes have a price range of $300 to $,1500; this is very cheap compared to even the most inexpensive of used cars.
2. They will keep you healthy
Not only are cruiser bikes cheap, but cycling is also a great way to burn some calories. Using bikes, especially cruiser bikes, that are often single-speed will help you get into shape and keep your heart rate stable.
3. You’re going to save time
Cruiser bikes let you ride around without worrying about traffic. You will no longer get stuck in traffic while commuting to and from work. This extra time means you can spend more time doing things you want to do, like sleeping in and catching up on your favorite show.
4. You can avoid public transportation
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are avoiding public spaces, and this includes the public transportation system. You can be safe and healthy while running all your errands. Additionally, you can do things in your own time without having to wait for or catch a bus.
5. You are going to save the environment
Cruiser bikes don’t use fuels; thus, they don’t release any noxious gases that would harm the environment and add to climate change. You’re not just saving the environment by riding a bike; drivers are also exposed to many harmful gases that cyclists don’t have to worry about like carbon monoxide and sulfur oxides.
6. Cruisers are easy to use
Cruisers are great for beginners and easy to use. Most of them are single-speed bikes, thus you don’t have to learn any special maneuvers to ride these bikes easily.
7. They are aesthetically pleasing
One of the best parts about cruisers is that they are easily customizable, meaning you can add or remove any feature as per your personal preference. These bikes come in different colors and models. You can use add-ons, like baskets, fenders, and special handlebars to reflect your personality.
8. They are fun and relaxing
Cruiser bikes don’t accelerate quickly, thus they remove the racing aspect from cycling. This feature means you can ride your bike in a leisurely manner, experiencing the world around you at your own pace. You can feel the wind in your hair and get your work done while witnessing the beauty of landscapes simultaneously.
9. They come with a community
People who ride cruiser bikes like low-riders and choppers often form clubs so they can put their cool bikes on display much like motorcycle enthusiasts do so with their Harley-Davidsons.
Drawbacks of Cruiser Bikes
Cruiser bikes are a prominent investment; however, they have their drawbacks. Cruisers are a relatively old model of bikes. They have been around since the 1930s and have only in the past decade come back into the cycling scene. Some of the drawbacks to these bikes are as follows:
1. They are very heavy
Bikes should be easy to carry around and park. However, cruiser bikes generally have a robust and heavy metallic frame that increases the bike’s weight overall. The heavy frame makes handling and lugging around the bike difficult. Handling the bike’s weight may make you tired easily.
2. They don’t accelerate swiftly
Cruiser bikes aren’t like BMX or geared bikes that you can use to take on your friends in a race. The heaviness of the cruiser bikes makes accelerating them difficult, meaning they’re not the best if you want to get to places quicker. Say, if you’re late for a movie, your cruiser bike will likely tire you out instead of getting you to the cinema on time.
However, just because cruiser bikes don’t accelerate very well doesn’t mean they’re slow. Many cruiser bikes can travel at high speeds with the added benefit of being comfortable.
3. They are difficult to handle
Cruiser bikes are generally large and heavy, and, due to these properties, they are hard to handle. They may not present such a difficulty when there’s plenty of space to maneuver. However, if you’re thinking of riding these bikes in places where there’s limited space, like small galleys and alleyways, reconsider; riding this bike may not be the best choice for such a trip as you are likely to fall.
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Cruiser bikes are a relatively old technology that has been reintroduced in the modern world and done quite well. These bikes bring an element of fun and romanticism to cycling that’s reminiscent of the past. These bikes can be a huge fashion statement while also being functional and letting you get your work done.
We have tried to answer the question, ‘what is a cruiser bike?’ for you while giving you an idea of the different cruiser bikes varieties generally available for purchase. These bikes are mainly cost-efficient; however, they can be tough to carry around all the time.
Cruiser bikes are stunning as a vacation vehicle because they let you cruise down the streets when you’re in the mood for sightseeing. Thus, you should be aware of the reason behind your purchase of a bicycle; it will help you pick the one that’s ideal for you. If you want to bike as a hobby, a cool cruiser bike may be the best option for you. They’re exceedingly comfortable and great for beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to cycle.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.