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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 11-16-16, 09:05 AM   #1
birdermom
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Choosing cruiser

Hope this isn't repetitive..got good advice on another topic forum geared to my age but wanted to do one here for type..
Planning on getting cruiser for myself and husband..
Budget..<300 (each)
Comfort top priority
Least maintenance possible
Single speed?
I will be riding often...husband less often, will be bikes to determine if we are really going to use so please no suggestions for higher priced bikes. Also due to where we live not a lot of possibility for Craigslist...just too far to travel to view..etc. Thanks
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Old 11-16-16, 10:06 AM   #2
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Where do you live?

What is the terrain like?
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Old 11-16-16, 10:16 AM   #3
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Live in south Va...Will be riding on hardpacked dirt road/trails...some lightly graveled...asphalt country roads...sidewalks/etc at beach. There are some hills but not a lot. It was suggested to get gears but with the price increase and maintenance, I don't know if this is necessary. I do other outdoor activities so I probably can make a few hills or do what I use to do...get off..walk the hill...lol
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Old 11-16-16, 10:19 AM   #4
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Is the Firmstrong Urban a place to start? If I get a less popular color...199...
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Old 11-16-16, 10:58 AM   #5
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Live in south Va...Will be riding on hardpacked dirt road/trails...some lightly graveled...asphalt country roads...sidewalks/etc at beach. There are some hills but not a lot. It was suggested to get gears but with the price increase and maintenance, I don't know if this is necessary. I do other outdoor activities so I probably can make a few hills or do what I use to do...get off..walk the hill...lol
Yep, I would definitely feel comfortable with a Firmstrong as a starter bike. It fits the bill perfectly. It appears that all twelve color choices are $199.00, and there are some really cool choices.

I am a BIG proponent of single speed bikes and it sounds like you have the right attitude for a single speed too. Don't forget, just because it's a single speed doesn't mean that gear ratio can't be changed to best suit your terrain/riding/legs/lungs/heart. And on a bike with a coaster brake like the Urban, replacing the rear sprocket is super simple and super cheap. The part is under $5.00 and it's a five minute job. Having the right gear ratio for your physical condition and terrain will make you very happy. Having the wrong ratio will make riding an unpleasant chore.

Don't forget to adjust the saddle to the proper height. Lots of folks run them too low in an effort to maintain a comfy upright sitting position in relationship with the handlebar. This is doing your legs and KNEES a disservice. Even though it's a cruiser, you still want proper leg extension for efficient muscle use and knee health.

If you find yourself experiencing hand or wrist pain do not dismay. There are a zillion (yes a zillion ) different cruiser handle bars available with many different amounts of rise and varying pullback/sweep angles at super low prices. It's important that your hands and wrists are in just the right spot to make you comfy, or you'll put off riding the bike. Fortunately, swapping out the bars is another super cheap and super easy task.

If you have more questions, come back here and we'll do what we can to help you source products and services if your Hubby isn't a wrench kinda guy.

Welcome to the forum and enjoy your bike.

Last edited by SquidPuppet; 11-16-16 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 11-16-16, 11:28 AM   #6
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Online...some assembly required..or store..assemble? Maybe extra would be better assembled?
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Old 11-16-16, 11:30 AM   #7
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Also...rear ratio...where can I learn more about that and how I determine "mine"?
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Old 11-16-16, 11:31 AM   #8
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Gear..not rear...
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Old 11-16-16, 11:55 AM   #9
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For the past 8 months ive been researching my next cruiser. Coincidence this may be but right now the firmstrong urban mens 3 speed is what I am going to purchase. I plan on doing this for xmas or soon after. Living where I do we wont see pavement or ground for months lol.

3 years ago I bought a walmart beach cruiser because I got a job cleaning a bar six doors up from my house literally. When I bought the bike i had no other expectations other than it getting me six doors up from my house lol. It has held up tremendously, ive gone 400 miles along the erie canal and other local spots since ive purchased it and i will never get rid of it.

Last year I decided I wanted to get a better quality bike for around the home and take the one above to my camp and use that there.

So I can say I have done my research here is what Ive found:

Giant which is made in the USA is a premium brand. They specialize in road bikes but do have the "simple" line in both single and 3 speed. $330. for the single speed, $485 for the 3 speed. The primary difference is the 3 speed has more bling on it, fenders, rear rack, front basket etc.....I decided Giant isnt for me because they really are not a cruiser bike company.

I checked Felt bikes. Very expensive and their models did not appeal to me. To much "bling" and again, they sell road/mountain bikes primarily. They did have a nice range however in mens and womens.

I also took a look at twothreezero (Or whatever they call themselves). I got the same reaction as Felt...blahhhh...kinda expensive

But Firmstrong here is the link:
Customizer | Firmstrong Bikes

They pretty much are a cruiser line...

Ive pretty much decided on the 3 speed mens urban. Im still playing around with the color scheme. the link above should show the red one with chrome fenders...The cost will be what the basic Giant single is so I will get more for the dollar.

I did compare specs on the above brands and a few others. Pretty much at this level most specs = ....

This thread sort of makes me want to buy it online right now lol....But I know weather wise whats in store for me lol...Hope this helps

Last edited by EnjoyinTheRide; 11-16-16 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-16-16, 12:09 PM   #10
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It does help...great thoughts..advice..on here..Very appreciated. The shop I am visiting has Sun..Raleigh..and Electra also in budget...any thoughts research on those brands? The shop doesn't sell Firmstrong but still leaning that direction for both of us...still undecided on speed...but single right now.
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Old 11-16-16, 12:33 PM   #11
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I did look at electra again it didnt grab me......I didnt see too many cruisers in Raleigh brands...As far as my lbs they dont have firmstrong either. But ive seen how they ship them and they are easy to setup yourself....they come 85 % assembled.... So I have no problem ordering it online and having them ship to me.

As far as the speeds go its a personal choice with little repocution on each end....I was going to stay with a single speed but I already have one and I figured If I did travel with a bike not knowing the terrain that would be a benefit.
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Old 11-16-16, 01:54 PM   #12
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Also...rear ratio...where can I learn more about that and how I determine "mine"?

You can read more at this site. But you can only determine yours by riding your new bike and making changes based on how it feels. It may be too difficult for hills or headwinds (Too high a ratio) or it may be too easy and you find yourself easily spinning like mad but not going fast enough (too low a ratio). It's a trial and error process.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gain.html
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Old 11-16-16, 02:10 PM   #13
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It does help...great thoughts..advice..on here..Very appreciated. The shop I am visiting has Sun..Raleigh..and Electra also in budget...any thoughts research on those brands? The shop doesn't sell Firmstrong but still leaning that direction for both of us...still undecided on speed...but single right now.

If the Electra is in budget and suits your tastes appearance wise, they are good bikes. I am serious when I say I've never heard someone bad mouthing them, only praise.

*** NOTICE the Electra utilizes a "Crank Forward" design. The pedals are much farther forward than a standard cruiser. Some people love this, and some people find it awkward, unnatural, uncomfortable feeling. Test ride one if you can.

When you are at the LBS ask them what they would charge to assemble a Firmstrong and go over everything to make sure it's all adjusted and functioning properly. Some shops are happy to help people with bikes they have purchased on line.

I prefer traditional old fashioned frames, reminiscent of the balloon tire Schwinns of the 1930s-1970s myself. They look "Proper" to me. Here is my Camelback Straight Bar Schwinn and my Cantilever Scwhinn.




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Old 11-16-16, 02:38 PM   #14
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What about Schwinn? See lots out there very reasonable.
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Old 11-16-16, 03:57 PM   #15
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What about Schwinn? See lots out there very reasonable.
They will be OK too. Most of these bikes have frames and forks that are welded together in China out of basic lower grade steel or aluminum, so many are very similar in quality. the thing to watch for is the quality of the components that the bike is built up with and the company's willingness to stand behind their product.
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Old 11-18-16, 07:07 PM   #16
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Also...rear ratio...where can I learn more about that and how I determine "mine"?
Sometimes the sites get overly technical for newbies. So just to sort of simplify it, mark a tooth on the front sprocket or also known as a chainring, then count the teeth. Many cruisers have 44 teeth up front.

Then do the same on the rear.

Once you've ridden the bike and get a feel for it and your riding style, Squid is on point that it's important to realize you can customize it pretty easily to fit your style. But you have to figure out what that style is. Are you riding for pleasure and slow-ish speeds or are you riding for fitness (speeds and spinning)? Once you figure that out then you can make changes up or down depending on your end goal.

I have a 44 up front and have experimented with 16, 17, 18, &19's on the back. For my style, being very aggressive and primarily for fitness, I like 44/17.

Many cruisers new will come with a 44/18,19 or 20 on the back. Again, once you start riding you'll fairly quickly identify what you like and what you don't like. Like Squid said, if you're spinning and feeling like you're not going anywhere, then the rear cog is too large and you'd probably like to step down a tooth or 2. 1 or 2 teeth changes are huge so it doesn't take much. If you're pushing too hard for too long maybe moving to a larger cog in the rear a tooth or 2 will work better for you by making it easier to pedal.

One caveat, if you go larger your chain will get shorter, if you go smaller, your chain will get longer so in the process you may have to adjust. Taking out a chain link or 2 is easy if you know what you're doing or are willing to learn. Adding is easy but the links you're adding should be fairly close in use (ie: new chain, new links).

Also of note when you're riding and figuring out how much resistance you want, it's important that the bike is well maintained. Minimally keep the chain lubed and keep the tires pumped up. Beyond that if the bearings in the rims and/or crank are not adjusted properly they can add to the resistance but usually that is fairly rare on a new bike.

Like Squid said the rear cogs are pretty inexpensive <$5 so have fun figuring out what you like. Once you nail it you'll find you can't wait to get back on it! That's the objective, personalize it and go ride the hell out of it!

Good luck.
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Old 11-18-16, 07:37 PM   #17
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Thanks so much. This explanation is easy to understand.
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Old 11-22-16, 07:07 PM   #18
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Squiddy is right on the button, as usual. I'm a big fan of Electra because I believe the best warranty is the one you don't have to use, I've only ever seen one with a problem.
hat being said, Don't buy a Giant because it's made in USA, because it's not, Buy it because you like it, if you don't, don't.
Giant is the biggest manufacturer of bicycles in the world and they manufacture for a shedload of different brands, so even if you don't buy a Giant, you may end up with one. They are a Taiwanese company and do 90% of their manufacturing and assembly in China.
As for Firmstrong, I've always thought of them to be overpriced for what you get. Mind you I'm not saying they are bad bikes so don't think that.
All of that leads me to Bikes Direct. They sell a nice cruiser that at first glance appears to be from the same factory as the 3G cruisers. bikesdirect.com
Shipping is free and there isn't any tax when you buy from them online.
And, they have a video showing how easy assembly is.
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Old 11-23-16, 07:01 AM   #19
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Live in south Va...Will be riding on hardpacked dirt road/trails...some lightly graveled...asphalt country roads...sidewalks/etc at beach. There are some hills but not a lot. It was suggested to get gears but with the price increase and maintenance, ...
If gears are of interest, my friend's company is closing out their stock on some three-speed models:

https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...riorityclassic

The closeout price is right on your budget at $299. They are not cruiser-bikes per se, but are simple bikes meant for casual riding.
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Old 11-23-16, 09:49 AM   #20
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If gears are of interest, my friend's company is closing out their stock on some three-speed models:

https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...riorityclassic

The closeout price is right on your budget at $299. They are not cruiser-bikes per se, but are simple bikes meant for casual riding.
None left in my size of step through....
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Old 03-15-17, 10:15 AM   #21
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I assume you're in the Hampton Roads region of VA like myself, I have three Electra Cruiser 1 bikes that have been perfect for this area. Picked up all three from Conte's for about $700 in a package deal.


I like riding it more than my mountain bike some times and have personally ridden my Cruiser 15 miles just without too much trouble and I'm 52.

Last edited by jsinnard; 03-15-17 at 10:34 AM.
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