What Is a Cruiser Bike?

Credits to: @lvnatikk

A cruiser bike is a long-forgotten treasure returning to the mainstream market. It is a bike suitable for every weather and for everyone!

Formerly known as a motobike, the cruiser bike mixes the function of a motorcycle in the frame of a bicycle. This bike’s lightweight frame and balloon tires make it suitable for any environment. It lets you wander around without the cumbersome size of an automobile. You can ride around the neighborhood and cruise around- hence the name.

The cruiser bike first gained popularity after the war. This is due in part to the cruiser bikes’ many accessories. Baskets and lights are a popular choice, among others. It lets owners have a fun ride without worrying much about the weight of their cargo. Convenience, along with being able to carry goods, can go a long way–the very reason mailmen used it in the past.

This bike has seen a recent spike in popularity since the ‘90s. Due to the cruiser being cheaper than other bikes, it was already a hit for those starting to learn. Riders found that a cruiser bike’s comfort is incomparable to other bikes.

What Is a Cruiser Bike Used for?

A cruiser bike helps you explore nearby areas, see the sights and carry goods like food. It’s also great for cardio!

Bikes are no stranger to being an alternative for traveling, and the cruiser bike is no exception. While automobiles can get you somewhere fast, there is nothing as great as a brisk pace of a bike. You can take in the sights better and see the wonders of your surroundings.

Their classic design is perfect for use on paved roads, so you can ride them almost everywhere. It also helps that they are pretty small and lightweight. They are also used in parks. It lets you be the driver and the passenger all at the same time. 

As we are all aware, there is nothing more important than our health. Cruiser bikes let you have a dose of cardio every time you ride around. The cruiser boasts a variety of everyday uses that you can’t find on any other bike.

In an age of online interactions, we stay at home most of the time. The well-needed cardio a bike provides is necessary to maintain our bodies. That said, it’s also used for everyday transactions that aren’t online. Buying groceries and bringing them home can become tedious after a while. We’re sure you’ll appreciate the holding capacity of a bike so you can get exercise while completing a chore.

The uses go far from only that. Through its various uses, a cruiser bike takes care not only of physical health but mental health too.

Who Should Use a Cruiser Bike?

Cruiser bikes are perfect for those who want to start to learn about cycling. It’s also perfect for tourists! Visiting a new place is always complicated. There are various customs you don’t know, one-way roads, confusing turns. A cruiser bike lets you bypass all those due to its small frame. You can go slow and learn the proper ways to get around a certain area.

Tourists enjoy riding a cruiser bike as it lets them not worry about shifting gears. Plus, you’ll feel the fresh air blowing past your face as you tour the grand vistas. It’s a small thing, but it’s one great benefit of not needing to switch gears.

The reason a cruiser bike is perfect for newbies is that it’s a standard bike. This means you don’t have to learn anything complicated. New cyclists also find it helpful that the cruiser bike is somewhat slower than other bikes. It provides freedom to ride slow and better practice cycling and the balance required to do so. 

This brings us to another great thing the cruiser boasts– its accessibility. It doesn’t have any complicated parts and is viable if you can ride any other kind of bike. You don’t need any new knowledge, just sit down and start moving!

Key Components of a Cruiser Bike

A sturdy steel frame, single-speed drivetrain separate a cruiser bike from its cycling peers. Its balloon tires provide some added safety for the riders as well.

1. Single Drivetrain

We’ve talked about the single-speed drivetrain before. Unlike with others, it is crucial to the cruiser’s identity. The reason why it was such a hit is because of this. Letting you only worry about cycling and not much else. You can better enjoy the activity with this.

2. Steel Construction

Another identifying factor of the cruiser is its steel construction. This ensures its longevity and that while a few bumps here and there won’t be too big of an issue. You see, this was one of the bicycle models that popularized the steel frame. Wear and tear are the main concerns, but its design was to ensure that these are never an issue. 

3. Weight Support

Another unspoken benefit of a steel frame is that it can better support the rider’s weight. Gone are the days when you would have to shift your weight around to balance the bike. This lets you have more freedom and have a laid-back experience. Steel also provides a sleek look that lets you show it off. It also allows for the styling of the bike. You can paint and repaint it at any time you wish.

4. Accessories/Components

Added accessories are always welcome as well. Letting you customize the bike’s look and its attachments is what made it famous. This is also one of the reasons why it’s rising again in popularity. Artistic expression is one hallmark of our current generation. Owning a bike you can customize will definitely be a hit. 

You can attach lights if you like to traverse even in the dark or wish to use your bike more often. Keep in mind to be more careful at night, though. 

5. Saddlebag

The saddlebag attachment lets you carry more load, and let you free up both your hands for a safer experience.

All that said, what highlights the cruiser bike’s safety is its balloon tires. It’s a bit on the heavy side which keeps the bike itself a bit slower than most. What it lacks in speed makes up for better grip. This means that you can make turns easier even at high speeds. If you’re a budding cyclist, then this is something to definitely consider. Keep in mind that safety is always a priority, and even an expert can always use any safety precautions. 

Different Types of Cruiser Bikes

Credits to: @peecho

From the Classic to the Low Rider, cruiser bikes have a lot of variety. There is even a Multi-Speed variant for connoisseurs.

Classic

This is the original line of cruisers, and they are definitely what a cruiser bike used to look like and still hold up. This design retains the heavy tires that the cruiser bike is famous for. 

The bike’s 26 to 29-inch tires are a definite classic. These are intentionally wide to keep the stability over long rides and through many uses. The seat is low enough that you feel as though you are sitting at home. This lets you enjoy the views you come across a little better. There can also be springs on this seat to have better shock absorptions. This is useful for those pesky bumps.

The Classic is best used for beach trips. Because of this, the bike itself is usually found sporting beach looks. Remember, you can still add accessories to this, so you can add a light or reflector at your discretion.

Since its use for beaches, fenders are a helpful feature included as well. This shields your back from wet spots you come across and keeps you dry. 

Chopper

One more on the stylish side, a chopper looks more like a motorcycle than a bike. It is so named due to its similar look to chopper motorcycles. 

It is heavily customizable, and the wheels can be either large or small, depending on your taste. There isn’t a standard wheel size for this cruiser, so it’s much more customizable. Its drivetrain sits farther than the other cruisers. These have seats that are above the frame due to their longer than standard drivetrain.

Though this cruiser looks stylish, it doesn’t sacrifice comfort for its sake. It’s actually the most comfortable of the cruiser line. That said, it does sacrifice some of its speed. This is more for casual rides than anything else.

Stretch

As mentioned, a cruiser’s stylish look is always a pleasure to have. The stretch is no stranger to this. It is a more extended Classic that provides the same function. Due to its longer frame, the seat often sits lower than the others. This lets the rider sit back much further than the others, making it comfortable for long rides. 

Its elongated appearance also holds its own iconic look. Nothing looks more relaxing than riding an extended bike and sitting as though you were on a couch. 

These bikes can still fit many accessories like their peers. A longer frame means a more oversized bag should you choose to add one. Lights are the most common addition to this kind of cruiser due to their compatibility with long rides. You wouldn’t want to risk riding a long way only for the dark to hit and be unable to see past your bike.

Its tires are smaller than the classic’s 26 inches. Due to its longer frame, the wheel needs to support more weight, thus having more spokes. 

Because of its relaxed look, this is much more prone to accessories. A fender is the most important, so you can always stay protected and clean the long bike.

Low Rider

Much like the Chopper, the Low Rider is more stylish than its counterparts. Though the two are often debated, which looks flashier, each has its own identity. The Low Rider derives its name from its lower seat, letting the rider nearer to the ground. This lets the driver sit lower than any other cruiser, even reclined, as though they are lying down.

These cruisers rose into the scene due to the popularity of lowrider cars. They portray the same aesthetic as other lowrider cars. This happens to be the most popular cruiser due to its very stylish look.

Their tires, like the Stretch, are smaller than 26 inches and fitted with fenders as well. Keeping your clothes and bike clean is a priority for cruiser bikes.

These are used for casual rides. Letting you traverse moderate amounts of distance. Riders of these bikes also have a vast community, which usually organize trips using them.

Multi-Speed

Multi-Speed cruisers may sound like they are diverging too far from cruisers. Due to the modernization of many parts, it was inevitable that the cruiser would adapt too. These can range from any other type. You can have a multi-speed classic if you want to.

This type is usually preferable for riders who want to have the feel of a cruiser. The multi-speed lets riders use it for longer rides than usual due to its better handling. 

Multi-speed may not be ideal for beginners as learning this cruiser is complicated.

Is There a Difference Between a Cruiser and a Mountain Bike?

Cruiser bikes are the inspiration for mountain bikes. A cruiser is best for paved roads, while mountain bikes are for harsher terrain.

At first glance, it may seem that these two bikes are alike. They both sport stylish looks and comfortable seats tailored to riders. Usually, the similarities stop there.

Cruiser bikes excel on paved roads and are much easier to handle than mountain bikes. What the mountain bike can do on rough roads, the cruiser can do better on paved roads. They are both used by enthusiasts to traverse different terrain.

Mountain bikes are ideal for rocky terrain. This is due to their thinner wheels and larger frames. To ensure the safety of riders in rough terrain, they are also fitted with more extensive and more springs. Mountain bikes are almost always multi-speed for climbing use.

Initially, though, cruisers aren’t seen climbing mountains. Riders found it too fragile when climbing mountains, so they had to make changes to it. This was how mountain bikes originated. 

Likewise, cruiser bikes are fitted with thinner wheels to improve downhill performance. Riders also found that installing multi-speed drivetrains made it easier to handle. Cruiser bikes in the past were cheap, so mountaineers bought them for the frames. After that is when they put in parts that make it better for mountains.

Change has come to both bikes, in stark and unique differences. Cruiser bikes maintained their expertise at operating on paved roads. This is because of its balloon tires and single-speed drivetrains. This makes them better for casual and new bikers. 

Should a rider decide, mountain bikes have much thinner wheels and more suspensions. This makes them a bit less comfortable on paved roads and casual riding. What it lacks in comfort, it definitely makes up for in climbing up and down different terrain.  

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