Cruiser bike or beach cruiser is a pretty self-explanatory name for a certain type of bikes: they are designed for cruising. They are bicycles that ”usually combines balloon tires, an upright seating posture, a single-speed drivetrain, and straightforward steel construction with expressive styling.” as said on Wikipedia. Cruiser bicycles are a perfect choice for those who are looking for a chill ride on a paved road or pavement with no extra hustle and with ultimate comfort. The drivers stance on a cruiser bike is in upright position rather than leaning forward while battling the laws of physics on Tour de France. Be sure to scroll through the options we introduce you to in order to learn how to choose the best cruiser bike for your needs – and enjoy the ride filled with good vibrations!
Not sure you want to cruise? Check out our article about cheap fixed gear bikes too!
Best Cruiser Bikes for Men
Cruiser bikes are pretty much as unisex as bikes can get (thanks to the low seat position), but still there is the traditional division between “male” and “female” models. Hence we have also listed them separately and additionally we introduce some stunning examples which we categorize under “head turners” – simply meaning that wherever you cruise you will turn heads of the people you bypass.
Firmstrong Urban Man
Hailing from Hermosa Beach, California, the guys and gals at Firmstrong design affordable yet high quality beach cruiser bikes. Breathing the air of such inspiring neighborhood has certainly left its mark on the development work over at Firmstrong – just Google up Hermosa Beach and you can almost feel yourself riding around on a cruiser.
Urban is the all rounder cruiser from Firmstrong and it is available with multiple different specs in terms of sizing and gears for example – not to mention the wide array of different colors. They are shipped being 80% assembled meaning that you don’t need any particular skills or expertise before you can ride the bike. The only downside we could think of is the saddle that is not as fluffy as in some other cruisers, this is something to keep in mind if you are looking to maximize your comfiness. After all it is still a cruiser saddle and it is indeed very comfortable compared to your typical hard bike seats.
The other models (such as Urban Aluminum if you prefer your cruiser to be a bit lighter) are also worth checking, but the Urban is the go-to model which suits most tastes perfectly.
sixthreezero Around The Block
Sixthreezero is another bicycle company focusing solely on manufacturing cruiser bikes only. Their catalogue offers cruisers for pretty much every need in terms of size, gears, brakes and outlooks.
Just as with Firmstrong, the Around the Block could be described as the all rounder model of sixthreezero. Available in 1-speed (with pedal brake) and 7-speed (rear and front handbrakes) the model is available in two varieties. Unlike the Urban, Around the Block is only available in black.
All in all, they are pretty much identical in terms of quality and outlooks and as the Around the Block’s get shipped 85% assembled you won’t be facing any problems in that regard either. The biggest difference between these two bikes is the rear rack that is default equipment at this one. If you are looking to carry stuff or give rides to your friends then Around the Block is your obvious choice.
Fito Men’s Marina 2.0
This is of course totally a matter of personal preference, but Fito Marina 2.0 makes it to our list of all rounders due to it’s outstanding outlooks. All of the variants (1, 3 and 7 speeds) are available in a handful of different colors and each one of them has that something that separates Fito from the two above even if they are not the most popular manufacturer for whatever reason (probably because their website would be absolutely horrific even if we lived in the 90’s).
Overall the quality is well in line with the more popular bike makers and the only thing Fito lacks is the quality branding. Don’t be fooled by the lack of reviews, Marina 2.0 is a new, updated version of the original Marina.
The Head Turners
Columbia Superb 5 Star
Columbia Bicycles, “the maker of America’s first bicycle“, embrace their heritage with some of their cruiser bike models that could be mistaken for vintage bikes straight from the decades long gone.
Don’t get fooled by the almost antique looks of the Superb 5 Star – it is extremely well built and will not only give you the wow factor of its outlooks but also durability to last like any other great cruiser bike on the market. The only real downside we could think of is ironically… the looks. You see, it takes some character to ride a beauty like this as elegantly as is appropriate. Not everyone can pull it off.
Firmstrong Urban Man Deluxe
The deluxe edition of Firmstrong Urban is the epitome of a low rider. Low seat position (thanks to the 13-inch frame), high and wide handlebars with rubber grips and the extended frame which measures almost double of a regular cruiser combine into a chopper-like beauty. Urban Deluxe is available in three colors: matte black with red rims (in the photo above), regular black and chrome. Maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds gives some hint of the sturdiness of the steel frame and enables even the bigger men to cruise their bike like a boss.
Ships 80% assembled just like the regular Urban.
The Liberator from Columbia Bicycles is just… well, we think the photo tells it all.
Best Cruiser Bikes for Women
Firmstrong Urban Lady
Just as its male counterpart Firmstrong Urban Lady is available in large variety of different colors and with different specs to match all needs. The only notable difference is the shape (step-thru) and size of the frame, otherwise it delivers the same quality as the male Urban does.
There are plenty of other models available (such as the lighter Urban Lady Aluminum) but Urban Lady made it to our list due to its suitability as an all rounder for most tastes and needs.
Once again our choice is the most versatile option from the manufacturer. You can choose from 1-speed, 3-speed and 7-speed versions and from multiple colors. Combine this with great built-in quality and beautiful design and you have the sixthreezero Women’s Cruiser. EVRYjourney is another great alternative from them, but it being only available as a 7-speed model our pick was rather obvious.
Comes 85% assembled.
Critical Cycles Chatham Women
Critical Cycles make affordable fixies, city bikes and of course cruiser bikes. The Chatham Women is the budget choice on our list – nothing too fancy, but it’s a good bike overall and provides excellent value for your buck while still sporting that classic look of a cruiser.
Choosing Your Beach Cruiser
The same rules which apply to choosing any type of a bicycle apply when choosing a cruiser bike (except for the part in which you choose the bike type which suits your needs, as you have most likely done that already if you are reading this article). So yes, if you want to climb hills or ride a bike with maximum speed get a mountain bike or touring bike instead.
Bicycle price ranges are usually divided into three groups: entry level ($0-$500), mid level ($500-$1,000) and upper level ($1,000+), but most beach cruisers range from around $200 to $500, as there is no need for extra fancy parts on bikes which are optimal for leisurely speed of 5-7 mph. Nonetheless, the old saying ”you get what you pay for” applies to cruiser bikes too – with really cheap ones you get budget parts which means lower age span and most likely problems sooner rather than later. But with beach cruisers you don’t need to go over-the-top unless you really want to, as these bikes are meant for – surprise, surprise – cruising, not driving as fast as your legs possibly can. Generally speaking you will save a lot of nerves and struggle if you have a budget of at least $200, not to mention that saving from essential parts such as brakes could literally cost you your life.
Size and Fit
A proper fit is hands down the most emphasized factor when it comes to picking a bicycle, but it is not that important with comfort bikes. Don’t get me wrong: it is important but compared to road bicycles, for example, on which you push your body to its limits for multiple hours in a row… not so much. Yes, buying a totally wrong sized beach cruiser will ultimately result in a sore back and joints but with the cruising and comfiness aspects in mind you are relatively safe when you just follow general guidelines and common sense.
Being usually steel constructed cruisers tend to weight a lot (bicyclewise), but then again if you have set your mind on getting one you probably knew this already. Hence getting the most lightweight two-wheeler on the market is not probably your top priority but it’s always good to keep an eye on it.
Gears and Brakes
If you want to climb hills you are better off with at least some gears. The relaxed seating position combined with just one gear makes cruiser bikes far from ideal from hill climbing, but with gears it is a bit more bearable. Most cruisers have coaster brakes meaning that you can brake by pedaling backwards but some have hand brakes on them. Choose whichever you think would suit you the best. Personally speaking cruiser bikes are all about dem looks and I would not want hand brakes and additional brake wires ruining it. If you want a bike with all the derailleur hassle you are better off looking for some other types of bicycles.