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Old 05-08-05, 12:19 PM   #1
alanbikehouston
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Beach Cruisers!

We live in a "high tech" world where it is assumed a "good" bike must have 24, or 27, or 30 speeds, and front suspension, and maybe seat suspension, or dual suspension. And "a good bike" must cost a lot of money. And it must get costly tune-ups and adjustments from a skilled tech.

So, it was refreshing to spend Friday afternoon riding an old-fashioned one-speed beach cruiser. I bought it for a friend who needs a simple, maintainance-free bike. I took it for a long "road test" to make sure it was in good shape, but I enjoyed the ride so much, I kept thinking, "well, let's go another couple miles".

The bike is a 2005 beach cruiser that looks much like a bike from 1935...a design that is seventy years "young". Big, fat tires to soak up the bumps. A coaster brake. The classic beach cruiser frame with long chain stays (lots of room for a rear rack and bags). A long wheelbase for a softer ride and stable steering. A big, plush saddle, big enough for an adult's bottom (unlike "racing" saddles).

But, the 2005 beach cruiser has some improvements: light, strong alloy rims, and stainless steel spokes to eliminate rust. Easy to pedal 54 inch gearing, compared with the hefty 70 inch gearing sometimes used for one speed bikes. And, a lighter weight of about thirty pounds, instead of the forty-five pounds of yesteryear. The best of the "old" cruisers, plus some "upgrades" make it a better bike than our grandfathers rode.

Over a couple hours of riding, I took the beach cruiser across dirt and sand filled construction sites, over some gravel roads, and through some neighborhoods with moderate hills that resemble a milder version of San Francisco. The fat tires gave plenty of stability when riding "off road" and on gravel. The 54 inch gearing worked well on climbs that lasted a hundred yards or so. The coaster brake worked smoothly and effectively.

The "upright" riding position enabled me to enjoy up the scenery...much more pleasant than sitting hunched over the bars on a road bike, staring at the front tires. No gears to shift, just pedal along at a pleasant, slow, relaxing pace. "Cruising" along is exactly what beach cruisers do best.

So, for $160, my friend has a comfortable, reliable bike that will give her ten or fifteen years of riding pleasure. Over the next fifteen years, that works out to a dollar a month...what else could provide so much relaxation and enjoyment for such a tiny price?

If you have the chance, spend a sunny Spring afternoon riding on a beach cruiser. There is no better way to get back to the days when a bike was an enjoyable, low cost, simple way to relax...beach cruisers are a "fun" alternative to our "high dollar", "high tech" fitness and racing machines. And, why shouldn't riding a bike be fun?

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 05-08-05 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 05-08-05, 01:01 PM   #2
schwinnbikelove
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You said it!

It surprises me how many people have never ridden a cruiser-I'd say they're missing out.
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Old 05-08-05, 01:08 PM   #3
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I think that these bikes are much underrated. Whae I was growing up, these were the predominant type of bike, and they still are the "real", or normal bikes to me. Althouge usually dismissed as only soutable for trips of a mile or two, they are better than one might think for long distance riding. When I was 13, I regularly took 16 mile round trips in hilly country with mine. there were some hills that I had to walk up, but most were ridable. In fact,I;ve recently rented a cruiser and child trailer at the beach and made 20 mile round trips towing my daughter in a trailer.


They quite often still can be found with proper chainguards and fenders. This makes them more practical for short distance daily transport that s $2,000 road bike.

Most cheap bikes have crummy, fragile components to make them resemble real mountain bikes or road bikes. In comparison, today's crusers seem built from quality parts. They serve as basic transportation for much of the world.

My bike is just as durable as a cruiser and goes much faster. However it didn't cost $160. You can't beat those things for value.

Paul
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Old 05-09-05, 11:02 AM   #4
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I enjoyed your comments on the beach cruiser! I feel the same and added one to my collection last month. I paid $89 for mine on Ebay. Got the blue "Sand Dollar":

http://www.gravitybikes.com/
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Old 05-13-05, 05:01 PM   #5
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Add some baskets and you have a great grovery machine too. My cruiser gets lots of miles in San Diego (PB) where cruisers are an art to many.

Long live the cruiser!
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Old 05-13-05, 07:32 PM   #6
James H Haury
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I rode a sucession of schwinn cruisers when i was growing up among them a typhoon and a old camelback frame.
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Old 06-02-05, 05:09 AM   #7
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I haven't exactly ridden a beach cruiser, but have ridden equally spartan Roadsters (which are standard issue bicycles in India, where I came from).

With a beach cruiser, I'm still worried about the lack of gearing. Doesn't it hurt when going uphill? Back in the old country, we didn't have much of a choice, as derailers were rare, but these days I would be hesitant to trade my 24-speed because it makes climbing so less painful.
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Old 10-13-05, 09:04 PM   #8
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I know some snobs consider beach cruisers as oversized toys or "not real bikes", but I adore mine. It's perfectly suited for what I bought it for- leisure rides around town. It's fun to ride and gets me where I need to go. Three cheers for cruisers
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Old 10-14-05, 01:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
We live in a "high tech" world where it is assumed a "good" bike must have 24, or 27, or 30 speeds, and front suspension, and maybe seat suspension, or dual suspension. And "a good bike" must cost a lot of money. And it must get costly tune-ups and adjustments from a skilled tech.
I'm of the opinion that only a few, very snobby roadies and MTB doofs think this. I would love to have a cruiser around, but living in an apartment, I'm pretty space-limited and already have three bikes. I'm not sure I would categorize a cruiser as long-distance machine (I'd rather go 15mph when I've got someplace to be, sorry), but I would love a cruiser to run around the corner when I'm not in the mood to mess with my commuter or MTB, and I'd have HUGE baskets mounted front and rear. It makes locking easier and I'm not sure theives want to mess with them.
I'm understand simplicty, but I love all 27 of my gears.
Adam
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Old 10-14-05, 01:21 AM   #10
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Of course I have a cruiser
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Old 10-14-05, 06:49 AM   #11
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I make a living renting beach crusiers to vactioners. Most end up loving them. Many serious cyclists love the change of pace. I have one for myself to ride when I don't want to think too much.
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Old 10-14-05, 11:51 AM   #12
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Hubby and I rented a couple, complete with baskets, while in Hilton Head this summer (maybe from DieselDan? ). We loved them. I didn't prepare for the chafing though. Not fun when you plan to spend the second half of the day in salt water. But the rides (and things we discovered along the way) were worth the temporary sting!
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Old 10-15-05, 07:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walk28
Hubby and I rented a couple, complete with baskets, while in Hilton Head this summer (maybe from DieselDan? ). We loved them. I didn't prepare for the chafing though. Not fun when you plan to spend the second half of the day in salt water. But the rides (and things we discovered along the way) were worth the temporary sting!
If you were staying at a certian Marriott Resort on the North End of the Island.... maybe.
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Old 10-15-05, 07:49 PM   #14
alanbikehouston
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I had a chance to visit my friend, and her beach cruiser last week. She lives in a neighborhood of steep hills and winding roads. I borrowed her beach cruiser and rode around the neighborhood. Two blocks of hard work, standing on the pedals, working my way to the top of a steep hill. Then, three or four blocks of coasting downhill...then the work began all over again.

Riding around that hilly neighborhood on a twenty pound bike with 27 speeds might be easier, but it could not possibly be more fun.
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Old 10-15-05, 10:24 PM   #15
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Hills in Houston? Or have you moved?
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Old 10-18-05, 10:08 PM   #16
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We purchased a pair of Electra cruisers a few months ago. She got Rosie, I got the Jester. Both have 3 speed hubs and springs on the seats. Mine even has a springer front end. They're a worthy addition to any bike collection. They're also the only bikes we keep in the house.
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Old 10-19-05, 01:06 AM   #17
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I used to cruise a Jamis beach cruiser when I lived n Ft Walton Beach Florida. Spent up to 8 hours a day on it. It was a needed mode of transport in the warm months. There'd be so many tourist a the beaches, driving was impossible. Good to ride to work and the cruise the beaches.
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Old 11-03-05, 02:53 PM   #18
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My old worksman cruiser got me to class thru 4+ years of college and endless hours of cruising the boardwalk. I still own a cruiser along with my roadie and mtn bike. The last cruiser was picked up one year at the end of beach tourist season when the bike rentals sell their bikes for $25.
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Old 11-04-05, 06:15 PM   #19
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I love my cruiser - a bike so pretty it inspired me to start riding for the first time in over 25 years. My husband and I both have 2 of the most outrageous bikes in all of Moab - a bike town unlike any other.
I did opt for the 3 speed and a springer fork. I added a big basket and my husband added a phantom style rack and a couple of bags to carry stuff.
we would ride them on 95% of our errands, but we can't do some of the big hills around town in our current shape. we are looking at raleigh gruv2.0's for the gearing, but I doubt I will ever be so absolutely smitten as I am with my beautiful fat tire cruiser.

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Old 11-06-05, 06:54 PM   #20
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I have an old Raliegh Tourister (28" wheels) with a three speed hub that I just love.. The big wheels and long wheel base make it a pure pleasure to ride.. It has been years since I have ridden however and now that I am retired I am thinking of taking it back up.. Not being able to buy a new Tourister I have been looking at the "Cruisers" and they look great.. I noticed some of them have a 7 speed hub... Anyone have any experiance with these ?...
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Old 11-06-05, 07:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmoabgal
[snip]I did opt for the 3 speed and a springer fork.
Hmmm. Springs under the seat, and springer front end. Sounds like full suspension to me! So you're not so different from all the other bikes around. Perhaps the missus and myself will join you two for a ride on our cruisers when we move to Utah. How far is Moab from the SLC area?
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Old 11-11-05, 06:05 PM   #22
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I have a road bike, a roadiish hybrid and a Townie3. The son's mountain bike and the wife's mountain bikiish comfort bike fit me well enough to borrow them whenever I want.

I use all five of these bikes from time to time, but I use the Townie3 more than any of the other four bikes.
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Old 11-11-05, 07:30 PM   #23
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I haven't ridden on a cruiser but they look like nice local transportation bikes.
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Old 11-11-05, 10:12 PM   #24
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Yes, my cruiser is quite cooshy and very comfy. It even has fuzzy/furry leopard print grips and seat.

We would love ride when your in town - and the more we ride, the more adventure we seek.

Moab is about 3.5 hours and 200 miles south/east via US-6 to i-70 to US-191. The scenery is beautiful the whole way down. If you'd like to know the "scenic route" then spur off on UT-10 to just north of Castledale. Then take the drive through Buckhorn draw - that's where I am riding my bike in the above pic.

My husband and I produce guide books for the local travel bureaus on an area called the San Rafael Swell - a geologic wonderland bigger than Connecticut. Full of Native American Rock Art sites, lots of cowboy history, some sweet single track routes and vast amounts of honest to goodness wilderness.

here is a link to a brief version of our guide book - it is a 3.5 Mb download. It only covers the northern swell. If anyone wants more - just drop me a line and I'll post more.

http://www.sanrafaelcastlecountry.co...ebDownload.pdf
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Old 11-16-05, 07:37 AM   #25
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Simplicity .... you are in the right path
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