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Beach Cruisers Do you love balloon tires and fenders? Do you love riding the simplicity of a single gear and coaster brakes or a single gear cluster? Do you love the classic curves in the tubing of a cruiser that takes you back to the 1950's and 1960's, stylistically? Here's your home! Welcome to the Beach Cruisers and Cruisers forum!

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Old 10-11-16, 07:34 PM   #1
mrshanno
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Crank forward comfort brand recommendations

Hi

My wife is looking for a comfort bike (like a beach cruiser) where she sits more upright and has a comfortable seat. She also wants hand brakes instead of coaster brakes and is indifferent on gearing. We live in a very flat area, relatively short rides just for recreation. It's a salty area so I'd like aluminum and alloy materials where possible. Wheel fenders would be nice.

For her I was thinking maybe a 7speed...any thoughts on the following brands? Sun Cruz 7, Sixthreezero evryjourney (would have to put together or take to a bike shop), Electra townie 7d (little pricier than some others), momentum iwant park (seat looks a little skinny), Fuji Barnaby 7, Phat Cycles del rey, Raleigh retroglide 7 (is this a crank forward like others?)

As for myself, a 3 speed internal hub with a coaster brake might do.

Thanks for any advice or other suggestions you may have
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Old 10-12-16, 09:58 AM   #2
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Go test ride them all , if they are in your favorite bike shop, nearby.

The shop you buy the bike from will add mudguards and other accessory parts at point of sale..

Typically a 10% discount and fitting them on is offered..





'/,
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Old 10-12-16, 10:16 AM   #3
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I suggest test rides first. Some people (myself included) find the crank forward layout uncomfortable on unnatural feeling.

I think those are all decent bikes.

If your wife is indifferent about gearing, your area is flat, and the rides will be short recreational putts, why a seven speed? Just get single speeds for both of you.
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Old 10-13-16, 08:47 AM   #4
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I had a townie for a bit, but let it go. I'm more the opposite. my main bikes are stretch cruisers. even more crank forward than most of the brands you listed. actually more semi-recumbent.


they may give different bikes the same name, but I think the Raleigh retroglide is a regular cruiser style frame. the one I had was, and the only other one I've seen was also (both men's models though).
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Old 10-13-16, 09:48 AM   #5
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The Electra Townies look nice.

I just snagged a Giant Revive for a project, which is another bike that you might consider, if you can find a good used one.
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Old 10-14-16, 09:38 AM   #6
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Thanks all, I appreciate the input
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Old 10-14-16, 04:09 PM   #7
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I recently got a Townie and am quite pleased with the comfort of it.
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Old 10-26-16, 04:53 AM   #8
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I love my Townie 7D. I'm on my second one in two years...long story.

I mostly ride a flat trail near the house. Having the additional gears comes in handy when I need them on some of the streets near the area as well. My longer rides are usually about 30 miles but I regularly ride between 8 and 15 miles when I can find time in the evenings.

Yes, they are a little pricey, but I feel it's well worth it. If you have a chance to test ride one, do it. I tried out a Specialized and a Giant before getting the Electra. The other two were nice but there was just something about the Townie.
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Old 10-26-16, 05:52 PM   #9
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Long Time Electra Townie User

I'm a big fan of the Electra townie. Haven't tried any of the other brand's equivalents. Haven't really had a desire to.

Once you test ride a couple I recommend watching craigslist. I have found that many people purchase cruisers ride them a few times and then they stay in the garage for years until they post them for sale. You can get some great deals on a like new bike.

My first townie a 21d I scored for $100 and ended up riding it for close to 2,000 miles. I ended up selling to to buy a brand new 21d two years ago. Maintance on everything needed was going to be the cost of a new bike anyway and on the new townie sold that year I liked the rigid front fork (vs suspension) and also liked the internal cable routing and trigger shifters vs grip shifters. REI's anniversary sale sells them at 20% off if wait until March.

I also got a 3i step through frame for $200 off CL. It's my wife's bike, but I actually prefer the step-through frame for short rides with lots of getting on/off or meandering on the bike paths with my kids. Wife's next bike will be a 7d. She doesn't like kick back breaks and would a lower gear range. Plus I am more comfortable with maintaining/fixing flats on bikes with derailleurs.

The step through frame is slightly smaller (less distance between seat post/head tube) at least comparing my two bikes.

I used to ride road bikes, but hurt my wrists and the townie has been perfect for me. I have a narrower 1.75", higher pressure touring tires now to help improve performance. I regularly commute on it 12 miles and 1,000 feet of gain one way. My longest ride on the townie has been 60 miles with a couple thousand feet of climbing.

I have all non-townie branded fenders, racks, etc. So know there are other options if you don't like electras options for accessories.

If it's dead flat where you are, I'd keep it simple though and get a single speed. Less to worry about. They do make a townie "one", but where I am I never see them in stores. I did see that I can order one with my frequent flier miles the other day, for 90,000 miles!
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Old 10-27-16, 08:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mrshanno View Post
Hi

My wife is looking for a comfort bike (like a beach cruiser) where she sits more upright and has a comfortable seat. She also wants hand brakes instead of coaster brakes and is indifferent on gearing. We live in a very flat area, relatively short rides just for recreation. It's a salty area so I'd like aluminum and alloy materials where possible. Wheel fenders would be nice.
Salt water will corrode both steel and aluminum.

Another cheaper brand to look at is Day6. But I don't recommend it.

There is several common problems with almost all of the comfort/flat-foot bikes from most companies.
1) they still use a regular bicycle seat, and the bicycle seat pain is usually the main complaint people have. So you're not really going to get away from that if you buy a bike that still uses the same kind of seat.
2) they don't offer different frame sizes, so the bicycles never really fit properly for most riders. The frame is either too small or too large for them, and "adjusting the seat and handlebars" is not the same thing.
3) they simply don't have efficient riding positions, and this makes them rather tiring to pedal--even over short rides on flat ground.

The best crank-forward bikes is the ones from Rans - RANS Bikes
They use a special flat seat, that does not require padded shorts to ride. The whole bike geometry is designed around that seat. There is much less hand pressure and neck strain, but these bikes can still be pedaled long distances well. Plus they offer different frame sizes: the Fusion is a "middle" size, the Fusion ST is a smaller-size, and the Sequoia is the large-size frame. The Zenetic comes in a normal and a small frame size.

They aren't cheap: the cheaper ones have frameset prices of around $1300. That's direct-sale however. A dealer might be able to cut the price a bit for you. The dealer can build the bikes for you, and it may be cheaper to just buy a whole new (cheaper) bike and swap all the parts over and leave the frame than it would be to order all the parts you need separately.

If you want casual riding, then spend the money to build bikes up on framesets, and spend the money for Nexus or Alfine 8-speed hubs. The Nexus is the normal $200 version, and the Alfine is a slightly-improved version for about $20 more. Either is good.

Internal-gear hubs are much much much much much much much much much much nicer for casual riding, and US people are too dumb to pay for them, so in most US bike shops you will never ever see a new bike with an internal-gear hub sitting on the sales floor. You have to order the hub and have them build a wheel on it.
A Nexus 8-speed hub costs $200 and normal gears cost $60.
That's the reason.
With an internal-gear hub, you can easily change gears up or down, any time you aren't pedaling hard, and even when you are totally stopped. That doesn't sound like much, but for casual riding it is wonderful.

And if you noticed--all the other cheaper bikes mentioned here?,,,,,,,, they all have the cheap style gears.
The RANS bicycle company was sold recently to a new owner.
When the previous guy owned it, the Citi model was available with an internal-gear hub (as a "city-style" bike should have!) but now it isn't. That's not a big loss tho, because there's a ~$700 difference between the price of a RANS frame and a whole RANS bike. You can buy a brand-new parts-donor bike at the bike shop for less than $500, and still have the $200 you need for the Nexus/Alfine hub.

Once you get used to a RANS bike, you will never want the other style bikes again.
Once you get used to an internal-gear hub, you won't ever want the other style gears again.
But if you want something really better, you gotta pay for it.
You can't make any of the other cheaper bikes work as well as a RANS bike will, and you can't make external gears work as nicely as the Nexus/Alfine hub will.

There is also a forum for RANS bikes, intotheride.com or something like that.
Discussion of any similar bikes is allowed.
If you browse much, you will see that the RANS bikes do not have the problems that all the other cheaper bikes have.

I don't make any money from RANS selling bikes, but I have had a RANS Fusion for about ten years now.
I bought it because I've had recumbent bikes for about 15 years, and people on recumbent bike forums kept saying how comfortable the RANS crank-forward bikes were--and how well they still rode.
They are expensive, but there isn't anything else like them.
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Old 10-27-16, 04:23 PM   #11
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"And if you noticed--all the other cheaper bikes mentioned here?,,,,,,,, they all have the cheap style gears".-Doug5150

Hi MrsHanno, just remember, Electra bikes (Townie) too are available with internal gears, not just the Rans.
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Old 01-18-17, 12:15 PM   #12
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Salt water will corrode both steel and aluminum.

Internal-gear hubs are much much much much much much much much much much nicer for casual riding, and US people are too dumb to pay for them, so in most US bike shops you will never ever see a new bike with an internal-gear hub sitting on the sales floor. You have to order the hub and have them build a wheel on it.
If you go to any bike shop in any resort town up and down the east coast you'll see cruiser's with internal hub on the sales floor. Not a a hypothesis, but a fact. I would guess the same would be said for the rest of the country's resort areas, but I haven't seen them myself.

The reason you probably don't see them elsewhere as much is because they're an inferior product for the majority of road bikes due to their weight and general incompatibility with road oriented group sets.

It's not an issue of intelligence. I assure you.
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Old 01-18-17, 12:33 PM   #13
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My LBS has lots of Electra's with internal hubs.
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Old 01-18-17, 01:58 PM   #14
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Crank Forwards

I sold the Sun/Sunseeker crank forward in my bike shop and it was a great seller. I mostly sold the 7-speed version, but there are other models including a single speed and iGH 3.

The fat tire IGH roller brake Townies are very nice, as are the 21-speed versions. Electra is by far the best selling brand of crank forward. They also have cruisers with the crank forward riding position.

Giant has the Liv Suede step thru and the Momentum iRide. I haven't seen the iWant Park, but I have recently purchased a Momentum iNeed Street for my wife. It has been an excellent bike. These are great value bikes. The Park is advertised at $360 on the website.

Bob
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Old 01-18-17, 08:46 PM   #15
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Hi MrsHanno, just remember, Electra bikes (Townie) too are available with internal gears, not just the Rans.
...Yea, but it's only got one frame size, so it doesn't fit a lot (most?) people very well....

This is a very common problem with the cheaper cruiser-style bikes. A lack of proper frame size ranges. And there's no way to fix it yourself; just putting tall handlebars and a long seatpost on doesn't work right.

Quote:
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...The reason you probably don't see them (IGHs) elsewhere as much is because they're an inferior product for the majority of road bikes due to their weight and general incompatibility with road oriented group sets.

It's not an issue of intelligence. I assure you.
I said casual riders looking for a comfortable bicycle--not TdF racer-wannabees. The customers looking for crank-forward bikes do not want a conventional drop-bar road bike.

Non-riders buy bikes with external gears and that usually ends up being their #2 complaint--after the usual #1 complaint of uncomfortable saddles.
(-And if you don't think clunky gears are a common complaint, then explain why pretty much all bikes that have external gears all use indexed shifters now...)
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Old 01-19-17, 09:48 AM   #16
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...Yea, but it's only got one frame size, so it doesn't fit a lot (most?) people very well....

This is a very common problem with the cheaper cruiser-style bikes. A lack of proper frame size ranges. And there's no way to fix it yourself; just putting tall handlebars and a long seatpost on doesn't work right.


I said casual riders looking for a comfortable bicycle--not TdF racer-wannabees. The customers looking for crank-forward bikes do not want a conventional drop-bar road bike.

Non-riders buy bikes with external gears and that usually ends up being their #2 complaint--after the usual #1 complaint of uncomfortable saddles.
(-And if you don't think clunky gears are a common complaint, then explain why pretty much all bikes that have external gears all use indexed shifters now...)
Actually, what you did was make a gross generalization that was inaccurate, and at the same time insulted Americans.

Own it and move on.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:31 AM   #17
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Actually, what you did was make a gross generalization that was inaccurate, and at the same time insulted Americans.

Own it and move on.
He's American.
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Old 01-19-17, 10:36 AM   #18
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He's American.
You're point?
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Old 01-19-17, 10:46 AM   #19
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You're point?

It's self deprecating. "We are too dumb...".

No harm, no foul. Nothing to "own".
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Old 01-19-17, 10:50 AM   #20
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It's self deprecating. "We are too dumb...".

No harm, no foul. Nothing to "own".
You're opinion.

Mine is that this would be a better place if we stayed away from that kind of banter.

My point's clearly stated. I won't be coming back to this thread.
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Old 01-19-17, 11:04 AM   #21
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You're point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by slebo3213 View Post
You're opinion.

Mine is that this would be a better place if we stayed away from that kind of banter.

My point's clearly stated. I won't be coming back to this thread.

YOUR, not YOU'RE.

Get MY point?
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Old 01-19-17, 11:19 AM   #22
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You're opinion.

Mine is that this would be a better place if we stayed away from that kind of banter.

My point's clearly stated. I won't be coming back to this thread.
No, it's not an opinion. It's a fact. He included himself in the "dumb" group. Fact.

Lighten up. His comment wasn't mean spirited.
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Old 01-19-17, 02:59 PM   #23
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...Yea, but it's only got one frame size, so it doesn't fit a lot (most?) people very well....

This is a very common problem with the cheaper cruiser-style bikes. A lack of proper frame size ranges. And there's no way to fix it yourself; just putting tall handlebars and a long seatpost on doesn't work right.
The Townie actually comes in a regular, or a tall frame.
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Old 01-20-17, 06:10 PM   #24
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Rans makes a variety of models. + recumbents..

http://www.ransbikes.com/
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Old 01-21-17, 12:20 PM   #25
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We have a crank forward, '05 Giant Suede, from back in the day when they weren't overbuilt. A very fine ride. I like to ride it time to time because you get a great upper quad and core work-out. Now my wife rides an Electra 20d Mixte, and she absolutely loves that bike. Aluminum. Good for cruising sub-16mph. It comes in 7d as well:

Ticino 7D | Electra Bikes
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