The 10 Best Beach Cruiser Bikes
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in June of 2016. If your idea of cycling around town tends toward the leisurely rather than the athletic, then one of these beach cruiser bikes might be perfect for you. They offer comfortable, upright riding positions and wide saddles, along with the classic design you will be familiar with. Of course, they are particularly well suited to oceanfront promenades with flat terrain and gentle turns. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 05, 2020:
For this update, we've added a couple of lower-priced, easy-riding models from two of the top brands in the industry: the no-frills SixThreeZero Around the Block and the tricked-out Huffy Panama Jack. Both are great values for people who don't need multiple gears.
We've also included two bikes with unconventional designs, including the Schwinn Twinn Classic Tandem, a top-ranked double-seater for two. The Schwinn Meridian Trike comes from the same well-known company and is perfect for people who don't like to pack light when they go to the beach.
The Fito Modena GT-2 has been taken off the list because it's no longer available, and the Huffy Nel Lusso Women's was replaced by the similar, yet superior, Huffy model that is mentioned above. Also gone: the Firmstrong Bruiser, because of under-par reviews, and the Schwinn Mikko Women's Step-Through, because its price grew too high.
December 18, 2019:
A beach cruiser is decidedly about style as much as it is about performance, and while the traditional teal color and step-through frame have become more associated with women's bikes over the years, men's cruisers have come along to upset the notion that these models are only for women. We've put together a good mix of both here. In particular, the Firmstrong Urban Man Alloy and the Fito Modena GT-2 boast sleek black frames and rugged builds, with the Urban Man Alloy replacing the Urban Man that was on our previous list. The Alloy model upgrades the frame material from steel to aluminum, cutting around a dozen pounds of weight to allow its single gear configuration to go faster with less effort.
We also found it necessary to replace the Raleigh Bikes Venture from our last ranking, both because of availability issues and because, while it is a step-through frame, it lacks some other features specific to the beach cruiser design, specifically in its handlebars, which were too short and too much akin to the bars you might see on a mountain or commuter bike. For serious commuters who want to take the same bike to the beach and the office, we have the SixThreeZero In The Barrel, which can be purchased with a 21-gear drivetrain capable of handling just about any grade of incline without overtaxing the rider. We also sent away the Diamondback Miz Della Cruz Youth, which proved to be little more than a nod in the direction of the cruiser design, and was a bit redundant to the existence of our kids bike lists.
Yolo Board Fat Tire Navy This option offers a compact 17.5-inch frame set on extra-wide tires designed to go just about anywhere. Its ride is exceptionally comfortable, which has allowed the company to supply rental chains in coastal areas all around the US. They also offer a line of electric bikes in the same style, but these get very expensive very quickly. yoloboard.com
What Do I Need to Consider Before Buying a Beach Cruiser Bike?
This is meant to keep a tire from popping in the event it passes over jagged rocks or shards of glass that are covered by the sand.
Assuming you are buying a beach cruiser for use along some type of coastal environment, the first thing you'll want to research is how well a specific bike might hold up against the elements. Beach cruiser bikes should have a weatherproof frame, along with rustproof rims, and a thick coat of paint.
A beach cruiser should weigh 40-60 lbs., which is heavier than an average bike, but ideal for holding up against a coastline wind. The tires should be thick with straight-line tread. This is meant to keep a tire from popping in the event it passes over jagged rocks or shards of glass that are covered by the sand.
A beach bike should feature standard cruiser handlebars, as opposed to the flat-cross handlebars that are found on mountain bikes. It's up to you whether you prefer handbrakes or cruiser-style foot brakes.
In terms of aesthetics, most beach bikes are painted a relaxed or neutral shade, perhaps an earth tone. Certain cruisers include classic features, like a wooden basket (or a tail rack) and a finger bell for alerting pedestrians to your presence along a promenade. It is worth checking to see if any model you're interested in has been built with front- and back-wheel fenders. These fenders keep wet sand from corroding the bike's frame, and they also keep the back of your clothes from accumulating dirt.
The Myriad Advantages To Owning a Beach Cruiser at The Shore
Beach cruiser bikes are custom-made for the wind drift and the sand of the shore. But anyone who lives at the shore can also attest to the fact that owning a beach cruiser can actually be more valuable than owning a car during the height of the season. Tourist towns attract a significant amount of traffic, most or all of which a person can avoid by running errands on a bike. What's more, the majority of barrier islands are condensed enough that a grocery or convenience store is generally located nearby.
But anyone who lives at the shore can also attest to the fact that owning a beach cruiser can actually be more valuable than owning a car during the height of the season.
A lot of shore towns are popular for their nightlife, and it's obviously more responsible to ride a beach cruiser, as opposed to a car, whenever heading to a bar. In addition to being safer, a beach cruiser is also easier to park. Keep in mind that a lot of tourist towns rely on metered parking, and owning a bike can allow you to avoid getting ticketed, or having to carry around change wherever you go.
If you live at the beach, owning a bike allows you to avoid having to deal with traffic on your commute to and from work, or the beach. It also allows you to avoid having to find a spot when every street is lined with vehicles, or having to clean the sand out of your car once a week.
Part of the allure of being at the shore involves having access to panoramic views along the beach and the bay. Owning a beach cruiser allows you to ride along a complete stretch of these areas, including the promenades, the inlets, the docks, and the esplanades, without ever getting tired, or being on your feet.
How The Modern Bicycle Came to Be
The first bicycle was invented by a German civil servant named Karl Drais during 1817. Drais called his invention a laufmaschine, which, literally translated, means a running machine. Drais's laufmaschine was comprised of two handlebars for steering, two wheels, a seat, and a wooden frame. A laufmaschine didn't feature any pedals. Its riders were meant to gather momentum by running alongside the bike before its wheels would allow them to coast.
By the 1860s a three-wheeled bike known as a trike had become wildly popular throughout Europe.
Drais' bike was eventually marketed as a velocipede, or a speed machine powered by foot. The velocipede became a social trend throughout France and Germany, where aristocrats would ride these bikes - as opposed to a more traditional horse - on their short trips into town, or work.
By the mid-1800s, velocipedes were being phased out. Several accidents had occurred as a result of the bike's heavy wooden design, combined with a lack of brakes. What's more, women were incapable of riding a velocipede whenever they were wearing a dress, and children were incapable of riding a velocipede because they were too short.
By the 1860s a three-wheeled bike known as a trike had become wildly popular throughout Europe. The trike had pedals and brakes, and its efficiency was such that it came to represent a major status symbol in Victorian England. Wealthy British women, in particular, preferred the trike because it was easy to operate and it featured a low-riding haunch.
The first foot-pedaled bicycle emerged by way of France during the 1870s. This bike was known as the boneshaker - a nod to how the bike's frame would rattle whenever passing over cobblestone roads. The boneshaker had a metal frame, and it was lighter and faster than any of its predecessors. The boneshaker also had a metal crank, along with a rudimentary set of brakes. It presented riders with an unprecedented level of control.
Around the end of the 19th century, manufacturers turned their focus toward safety, spurred forth by growing public concern; rubber tires were used for increasing shock absorption, handlebar-steering became more agile, and coaster brakes were introduced. Increased competition led to increased innovation, and the modern bicycle as we now know it began to take form.