Biking is a popular and versatile activity for getting exercise, being outdoors, and exploring your surroundings. Bikes range in size, style, and shape depending on the terrain and purpose they’re designed for, and prices vary accordingly. Cruiser bikes are considered to be the most comfortable style of bike to use for leisurely and recreational rides around town or at the beach.
If you’re in the market for a cruiser bike, have some specific criteria in mind to know what exactly you’re looking for. Comfort, functionality, and aesthetics are all factors to consider when shopping for a new or used cruiser bike.
Do some research on what’s available on the market and ask other knowledgeable bike enthusiasts or check Bike Smarts website to supplement your bike smarts for making an informed decision. This will help you distill information and tips from all the sources available to you online.
To get you started, here are 5 things to consider that will help guide you in your quest for the ideal cruising bike.
Cruiser bikes are generally designed for simplicity and comfort, and for shorter, urban commutes. If you have any back pain or other physical issues that will impact your comfort while riding, focus on the size and cushioning of the bike seat, and try different kinds to find out what best suits your posture and frame.
A comfortable seat is one of the most important features to consider when looking for a bike of any kind, not just a cruiser bike. The handlebars on the cruiser bike should also be comfortable and proportionate to the frame. The handlebars tend to be more curved on cruisers than most other bike styles. Check the distance between the seat and the handlebars to see if it works with the way you ride most comfortably.
Cruiser bikes are intended to be ridden in an upright position, instead of learned forward and hunched over, so try out a few different ones to see which fits your physical frame best.
2. Extra features and accessories
You can customize your cruiser bike based on your needs and preferences. There are many add-ons and accessories to choose from. If you plan on using your bike for running errands around town, consider getting saddle bags or attachable baskets to make toting things easier and more convenient.
If visibility is an issue, mirrors, lights and lamps are inexpensive additions for the sake of safety and peace of mind. And don’t forget to get the appropriate safety gear for biking, such as a helmet, arm and knee pads if you plan on biking more rigorously, and reflective gear for any night time rides you may feel like taking.
Decide what features and accessories will provide the most comfortable and enjoyable riding experience for your specific purposes.
3. Gender-specific options
Cruising bikes are often made differently based on gender, to maximize comfort for male and female physiques. Men’s bikes are designed with larger, taller frames with more masculine details such as matte colors, chrome, and thicker frames. Designs geared towards women are lighter in frame and detail.
Some designs are more neutral and unisex, so compare and decide what speaks more to your taste by browsing your options. You shouldn’t feel compelled to purchase a bike that’s marketed specifically towards your gender. Some women might prefer the look and feel of a masculine cruiser, and vice versa. It’s a matter of personal taste and definition of comfort.
4. Size and weight
Compared to other bikes, cruisers are built on the heavier side. But you’ll want a bike that isn’t too heavy or cumbersome for you to maneuver and occasionally lift. The height should be just right for you as well, not too low or too high for you to be able to mount and dismount easily. Be particular about the frame size of the bike you’re interested in, and make sure it’s the right fit for long-term use.
5. Location and terrain
Take into account the landscape and the geography of the area where you plan on riding. If there are more hills than flat surfaces, having more gear settings will allow for adjustment in speed and physical effort. The more gears there are, the more expensive the bike will be, but for some it’s worth the extra cost.
Tires should also be factored into your choice of bike. Most cruisers are designed with wide-set balloon tires, similar to those used on mountain bikes but with less tread. Wide tires are best suited for shorter, slower rides and they can absorb more shock, which allows for smoother riding.
Wider tires are especially good for biking on sandy beaches and rougher terrain like gravel. You should also consider any natural elements that can impact your bike and the terrains you plan on riding on, such as proximity to water and exposure to rain. Depending on where you live, you might want to invest in a frame made of a water-tolerant material like aluminum, which is resistant to rust, if you plan on doing a lot of heavy outdoor riding or you don’t have a garage or other storage area to keep your cruiser bike.
Whether this is your first cruiser bike or you’re a seasoned cruiser and you’re looking to update your wheels, having a specific idea in mind about what you’re looking for will facilitate your search. It’s always a good idea to take a bike for a test run when possible to make sure it feels as good as it looks. Try out different bikes to compare how they feel on the road.
A cruiser bike should be conducive to leisure and measure up to all your expectations for aesthetic appeal and casual comfort. It’s an investment in having fun while being safe, and enjoying yourself while on relaxed excursions or errands around town. You’ll find that modern technology has enhanced the experience of laid-back bike cruising with a diversity of options and advanced features. Check out your options and get ready to ride.