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Old 08-09-09, 04:18 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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Can someone explain...

Can someone explain beach cruisers to me? Why would anyone want to ride one of these?

This weekend I was at Ft. Stevens State Park with my family and my daughter and I decided to rent a couple of bikes to cruise around the paths there. We dropped by the KOA across the street and they rented us a couple of bikes for $6 per hour -- seemed like a good deal. Then we get down to the shed to pick them up and all they have are these god-awful two-ton beach cruisers.

OK, they actually only weighed about 50 pounds, but for a single speed bike that's nothing to sneeze at, especially for an 80-pound rider!

The guy at the rental shed told us they used to have some other kind of bike, but people kept getting stuck in the sand so they switched to these. Based on that comment, I couldn't talk my daughter out of taking them to the beach to test this idea. Of course, she had to push it up even the slightest of hills on the way to the beach -- I'm a decently strong rider, and it would have been hard for me (like I said, these things weighed a ton and I'm guessing the gear was around 48-18). Then we get to the sand and, of course, neither one of us can even get them to move in the soft stuff (no surprise there) and we don't feel like lugging these beasts through 100 yards of sand just to see if we can get them to roll on the wet, packed sand.

So all of this makes me wonder, why would anyone want a bike like this? What is its intended use?
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Old 08-09-09, 04:20 PM   #2
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I think they are better down by the surf on the packed sand.
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Old 08-09-09, 07:58 PM   #3
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Well simply put beach cruisers are stable when there is sand on the pavement and you are going slowly. Beach cruisers were designed with beach MUPs in mind. Most weekends those MUPs are packed with people walking, skateboards, kids running and people lugging their coolers and equipment to the beach from their car. The beach cruiser can move in these conditions much better than most bikes I own even my MTB. My MYB will work but it costs a lot more to maintain than the average beach cruiser and salt air will kill your average rental bike at the beach. What would most people rather replace?
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Old 08-09-09, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
So all of this makes me wonder, why would anyone want a bike like this? What is its intended use?
"Modern" beach cruisers are a revival of the balloon-tire bikes that originated in the '30's and '40's- the fatter tires came about as an imitation of motorcycle tires of the era.

As its name implies, it's a "cruiser", not a "racer". It's not supposed to go fast.

FWIW: I'll be out at Fort Stevens next weekend, but I'll be riding a faster bike. It's time for the Recumbent Retreat!
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Old 08-10-09, 04:53 AM   #5
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50lb - They are rentals, the people renting them did not drop $2000 per bike to collect $6 ever few days.

The other performance issues were probably lack of maintenance. $6 is pretty slim.
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Old 08-10-09, 08:11 AM   #6
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From a transatlantic viewpoint, there seems to be a certain amount of nostalgia in the USA for this type of bicycle. Presumably because today's older adults rode them as children. From a fleet point of view, though, much better to rent a 50lb behemoth you can service with a hammer and screwdriver than the latest Waterford. When you hire out a bike, you want it to come back.
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Old 08-10-09, 08:49 AM   #7
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Obviously there are a few bikes between the 50 pound cruiser and the $2000/Waterford level that rental places could choose from.

I wasn't expecting much for $6, and I didn't expect to go fast. I guess my main question was why someone other than a rental place near the beach would buy one of these. You know, I see people who are new to bicycling buying or at least considering this type of bike, and I just don't understand it. It seems like some segment of the bike industry is actually trying to discourage people from getting into bicycling. (I'm looking at you Kent/Pacific.)

But what I'm hearing is that for slow rolling on flat crowded MUPs this is actually a good choice. Yes?
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Old 08-10-09, 09:13 AM   #8
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it's the ultimate beater bike. Built like a tank to survive abuse and easy to work on If the need should arise.
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Old 08-10-09, 03:25 PM   #9
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Sort of off topic, but I hate it when people ride beach cruisers on the sidewalks in the city. They're so wide and slow and give off this air of "I'm chillaxin' so get out of my way!"
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