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Recommendations (for my wife)

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!

Recommendations (for my wife)

Old 07-08-19, 10:52 AM
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Smile Recommendations (for my wife)

Hello all,

Looking to buy a cruiser for my wife.

- $200-300 range
- I very much prefer that it have hand brakes (feels safer to me)
- added bonus if it comes with a front basket & back rack (but I know I can just add those later)
- cute colors are also a bonus - yellow, baby blue, etc.

It would only get light, leisurely use. There's a paved bike trail by our house, and it's about a 3-mile ride to the local riverwalk, shops & eateries. She's about 5'4", 120lbs if it matters. I've looked at several brands/models, but I'm curious to hear your input. Some that I've seen include:
- Reid Ladies' Classic 7-Speed
- Schwinn Perla
- Schwinn S7

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Old 07-08-19, 12:48 PM
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Look on Craigslist first. Used women's cruisers are abundant and cheap, (and often very clean). Look for an Electra or Sun.. They are built with better materials than neo-schwinn
With handbrakes, the Electra Townie or Cruiser7 are very common. That's my $.02
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Old 07-14-19, 02:03 PM
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Second craigslist. That's where to go for sub $500 bikes.
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Old 07-18-19, 01:54 AM
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If you are willing to consider something vintage, the Schwinn COLLEGIATE five speed Women's models from 1970 through 1978 are superb.
Beginner adult. Best low price road bike - Cycling -Biking, bicycles for exercise and recreation - Page 2 - City-Data Forum







Typical Ladies Step Through COLLEGIATE 5 speed Color Choices by YEAR Model:
1970 sky blue / campus green / sierra brown
1971 sky blue / campus green / sierra brown / burgandy
1972 kool lemon / campus green / sierra brown
1973 kool lemon / campus green / sierra brown
1974 kool lemon / opaque blue / sunset orange
1975 lime green / flamboyant red / yellow
1976 lime green / flamboyant red
1977 lime green / sky blue
1978 sky blue / flamboyant red

All of these 1970 - 1978 Collegiates have a SCHWINN Only (37 x 597) 26 x 1 3/8 tire that ONLY Kenda makes today (KENDA K23) You can buy it in blackwall variety or gumwall variety, or in a whitewall version. These tires are available from major online bike shops for about $20 total shipped.
The Collegiate women's model is available in three frame sizes.
The Collegiate has very pretty Chrome fenders. The Suburban has 27" wheel (32 x 622) and painted fenders.
You want to limit your selection to 1970 and later BECAUSE of the 32 teeth low gear on the rear wheel (model J freewheel) and Shimano derailleur!!!!
versus the 28 rear and 46 front Low gear(1st gear) of the 1964-1969 models with French made derailleur and freewheel. YOU WANT THE JAPANESE MADE FREEWHEEL and JAPANESE made derailleur.....thus YOU WANT 1970 and later.
The wheels are the same for all years 1964- 1978 of the Collegiate....same exact TIRE however the Rims through year 1972 have a Raised Bump in the center (S5 westrick style) and the 1973 and later (S6 endrick style) that is smooth in the center...........................ALL are Schwinn chrome rims. It is only a visual difference.
BOTH REQUIRE THE 37 x 597mm KENDA k23 Schwinn 26 x 1 3/8 TIRE !!!
These bicycles have an extremely smooth ride thanks to these tires! The factory tourist Schwinn spring seat on these seventies era Collegiates is the best one that Schwinn ever fitted to any tourist bicycle. It is better than the seat than the more expensive seat that came on the Suburban.
These bicycles are simple. You have a one pieceCRANK, 28 TPI (thread count) that takes #64 caged bearings.
Phil Cohen at Chain Reaction in Evans, GA carries these locally and he sells them for $2 each. I buy them locally from Chain Reaction. You have sellers on ebay that sell them for more than twice that.
I will say that often you will not need to do anything except open the hanger set (bottom bracket) and remove the crank and bearings, and then simply soak the old bearings that you remove in a half of a beer can/coke can( 12oz-355 aluminum can cut in half) full of gasoline for a an hour, maybe a little longer.. You then fish the cleaned-up bearings out and lay them on a small piece of aluminum foil so they don't pick up any dirt/debris...... I typically keep the old bearings in the same configuration as they were removed......thus I use two different coke cans to individually clean them so I can keep them segregated and labeled either Right(chainguard side) or Left . THE ORIGINAL SCHWINN bearings are of incredibly high quality IF THEY ARE NOT MAKING ANY NOISE or HAVEN'T BEEN RUN WITHOUT GREASE etc or Not Enough Fresh Grease.
Now if you're wanting to know where you can get NEW REPRODUCTION bearings/cups/nuts/lock washer etc, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the $13.95 free shipping set from Wonderlake bicycles see on the bay#162984574982.
You can also scavenge these from any old Schwinn parts bike.
So simple, remove the chainguard........remove the Left side pedal with a 15mm wrench.....left side has left side thread which goes opposite way of normal, The Only other TOOLS that you'll need is A LARGE ADJUSTABLE CRESCENT WRENCH to Loosen the NUT..............and a flat head screwdriver to turn the slotted ring.
You don't need any other tools..........................TO REMOVE THE CHAIN FROM THE CRANK.............first get the bike into 5th gear (chain on the smallest rear sprocket) and then with your hand, nudge the derailleur forward to slacken the chain so you can remove the chain from the front crank (SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE BIKE in 5th gear before YOU BEGIN.....)
Here are a couple of idiots on youtube muddling through such a proceedure......screwdriver works better than the paint can opener thingy....and YOU SHOULD REMOVE THE LEFT PEDAL, There is no need to remove the right pedal unless you are replacing the pedals.
These Collegiate five speed bicycles are heavy but they ride like a Rolls Royce. You won't likely find a better cruiser anywhere at any price.
These bicycles are inexpensive. You may have to search around until you locate one locally or close enough to you, but it will be worth the wait.
Wait until you find one that looks cosmetically presentable or better than that. Sure you could repaint and install repro decals etc but why bother when there are thousands of these bikes out there. The Schwinn chrome cleans up relatively easily but you should try to find something without rust and without damage.
No more than $100 for a nice example unless you really find a perfect one in the size and color and you don't wish to search any longer.
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Old 07-18-19, 03:02 AM
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The Large adjustable Crescent wrench that you need for the hanger set (bottom bracket) of the One Piece "American style"/Ashtabula Forged Crank will also be needed when you service the Schwinn's headset. You'll need this adjustable Crescent Wrench and a pair of Channel-Lock style pliers. You might also need a scrap piece of wood and a small hammer ---OR-- a rubber mallet to possibly nudge the handlebars/stem out after unscrewing everything and loosening the securing wedge thingy... The Bearings are also of the caged variety of these Schwinns so it is very simple. Again, if the bearings don't need replacement....YOU CAN SIMPLY SOAK THEM in gasoline to Clean them ( DO THIS OUTDOORS ONLY!!) It won't take maybe an hour........fish them out.....lay them on aluminum foil so they don't get any dirt on them..............................just like you do for the crank bearings......YOU THEN slather them completely with quality grease from the auto parts store/boat trailer-boat supply store/tractor supply etc......... YOU GET GREASE INTO THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.........then re-install the Front Fork in the same manner as it was disassembled....................obviously you want to grease the headset-stem and the races(bearing cups)...................
A smart twelve year old with a basic working knowledge of how to use a wrench and channel lock pliers could easily change or re-grease the Schwinn headset...

Brake pad replacement, and brake cable replacement(IF NEEDED) should be easy enough too. YOUTUBE should have a few good tutorials there.
One these ancient Schwinn 5 speeds, IF YOUR BICYCLE RIDER is left handed, and would like to have a LEFT SIDE stem shifter....................you can take the Schwinn Twin-Stik assembly from a 10 speed like the Varsity/continental...etc and proceed to mount the Twin-stik in place of the one that the 5 speed has.
Simply install the 5 speed shifter cable on the LEFT side instead of the Right side.....a LEFTY might like that........a right handed person would hate that but a LEFTY might like it. I have seen a LEFTY with such a set-up.

Don't forget that the traditional forged Schwinn stem offers a good amount of possible height range adjustment.
The aluminum alloy stem that the Continental and Super-Sport had can interchange IF FROM THE SAME ERA..........1966 & Later Schwinn stems are unique in that they have smaller diameter because the head tube was thicker walled/stronger.......
1965 and earlier Schwinn and 1966 and Later Schwinn bicycles are different.
There will not be any problems finding parts for either type as millions were produced.
You do want to be aware of this if you're working with a mixture of parts and frames of pre 1966 and 1966 later Schwinns.
GOOGLE can help you on the specifics. Prior topics on this exist in past threads here on bikeforums and on the c.a.b.e. as well as in sheldon brown's information.
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Old 07-18-19, 12:39 PM
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I just got my first bike as an adult and my criteria was basically the same as yours. I ended up getting an Electra Cruiser 7 in French blue. Super comfortable ride and super cute, too!
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Old 07-31-19, 12:10 AM
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My wife wants a cruiser too. Never considered one until her interest in one.

Last edited by raffivegas; 07-31-19 at 10:38 AM. Reason: worded better.
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