There are many bikes on the market today. 1-speed, 3-speed, 18 speed, 27-speed racing bikes, touring bikes, recumbents. And, there are also beach cruisers. Prices range from the sub-$100 range, to several thousand dollars, for a really nice full-dress EV-type bicycle. For some people, the bicycle is only the beginning of the purchase, and they aren’t happy until they have added all the custom parts they want. There are catalogs online that will let you customize to your heart’s content.
A beach cruiser, though, is pretty much a finished product when you buy it. You probably won’t add a lot of things such as lights or a sound system or anodized wheel nuts, or a racing chain, because there really just isn’t much need for it. You can, if you want to, but there isn’t a lot of need for modifications.
A beach cruiser is simplicity itself, with one forward gear, and a coaster brake, which is applied by pedaling slightly backwards. There are no lights, levers, or cables on the handle bars. It is a very clean design. The tires are slightly larger than normal, because it’s intended to be ridden in loose sand and gravel, and not sink in.
Considerations you should be making before buying a beach cruiser:
–Weight. Beach cruisers are pretty solidly built, so they weigh a bit more because of the heavy frame.
–Speed. A beach cruiser is just that, a cruiser. You aren’t entering Tour De France on a beach cruiser. If you want go-fast, you need to look at racing-type bicycles that were built for it. A laid-back riding style is most appropriate for a beach cruiser.
–Cost. You can probably buy a nice beach cruiser for somewhere around $200 to $300. More expensive models are available, and they come equipped with 3-speed internal gear hubs. This is a good investment, and as long as you don’t abuse the bicycle or leave it out in the rain, it can last for a long time with minimal maintenance.
–Durability. Unlike most bikes, except mountain bikes, a beach cruiser was built to withstand some bumps and bangs, driving off a curb, kind of thing. You don’t want to push your luck TOO hard with a beach cruiser, as it is a ‘hard tail’, meaning there is no suspension other than the frame itself. But, if you hit a rock, you probably won’t break your cruiser. The tires are fat, and the wheels are overbuilt, so you will be able to ride through ruts in the road and over small rocks and not have a problem.
–Fitness. As described above, this bike weighs a couple of pounds. That translates into more pedal effort for the rider, compared to some bicycles. You may want to go and do some walking and jogging to get ready for actually riding this bicycle at the beach, as pedal effort will only increase once you get into loose material. Luckily the gearing is fairly forgiving. If you DO find that the gearing is just too high, your local bicycle shop can help. They can also add a 3-speed hub for a fairly reasonable cost.
A Beach Cruiser is a blank slate, and you can customize and paint any way you want, decals, stickers, engraving, lights, sound, add carry racks, rubber rain fenders, or just leave it plain, and enjoy the simplicity and reliability of a single-speed bike. Keep your tires new, and your chain and your coaster brake adjusted, and your cruiser will take you far. Happy riding!