The first cruiser bikes gained popularity in the 1930s, but they were soon outshone by lighter and more agile opponents from Europe. Dubbed as the “Beach Cruiser” in 1976, these bikes regained their popularity in the late 1990s where they became famous for their beautiful design and comfortable ride.
The Beach Cruiser has distinct features like balloon tires, single speed gears, an upright sitting position, are usually made with steel, and painted in beautiful colors and designs. Because of its wide seat, it is very attractive to riders who give priority to comfort over speed and performance.
In selecting the right size of a Beach Cruiser, the process can be challenging because the frame’s geometry and style vary greatly. Since riding these bikes are mainly for recreation and comfort, there is neither a correct nor ideal riding posture because each rider has different types of comfort that are suited to them.
These bikes are created on the frame size, as opposed to both Mountain and Road Bikes which have a variety of frame sizes per model. Cruisers usually have a single size for each model, and bike companies create other models in different sizes.
This kind of style makes it difficult for buyers to find the right match of size and color that they desire, but it is good that companies try to make the decision-making process easier by making a wide range of color options available.
Beach Cruisers are measured in two ways. The first and most common sizing is determined by the wheel size, and this measurement is procured by measuring the outside diameter of the tire.
There are a few wheel sizes available, specifically 16”, 20”, 24”, and 26”. Most adults have a 26” diameter tire, and a 16” wheel will fit most children from 2 to 5 years old. The second way to measure a Cruiser is through measuring the frame size from the crank housing to the seat clamp.
This type of measurement is not universal and also greatly varies, depending on the manufacturer, but the common measurements are 19” for men’s bikes and 17” for women’s bikes.
One you have figured out what size of the wheel is right for you, the next factor to consider is the riding position. Since Beach Cruisers are mainly used for leisurely rides, efficiency does not play a big factor in the decision-making process. Comfort is a very personal decision and is very much subjective to the rider.
The following are the available options in positioning and posture while riding a cruiser bike: a stretched frame with relaxed riding with legs kicked forward; an upright classic riding position with straight up and down back; a stretched frame with straight up and down back; a standard frame with upright, great riding posture; a long frame with forward pedaling and relaxed ride with great posture.
When you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to head to a shop and see which bike actually fits you. Here are the steps to ensure that you know what bike size is perfect for you:
Find the right bicycle frame that will match your height. The 16” wheel will fit most children from ages 2 to 5, a 20” wheel mostly for four to 10-year-olds, 24” wheel fits 8-year-olds to grown adults, but the most common size for adults is a 26” wheel. Adults who stand over 6 feet may require a customized, extended frame.
Stand on mounting position and put your left foot on the floor while placing your other foot on the pedal.
Hold the handlebars and transfer your body’s weight backward ‘til you are completely seated. Let your left leg support your body’s weight.
Place the right pedal in the lowermost position by rotating it with your right foot. In this position, your right leg ought to be quite straight with the knee in a slight bending position.
If your leg is still greatly bent, adjust the seat upwards until your leg is quite straight with a slight bend. If your leg is too straight, adjust the seat in a lower position.
The seats can usually be adjusted by adjusting the seat post bracket either by hand or by a wrench.
Rotate the left pedal to the bottom position by placing your right foot on the floor and using your left foot to rotate the pedal. Be mindful of the left knee to maintain a slight bending position to ensure correct height.
Correct the height of the handlebars. You can raise them or lower them until your hands are around the chest level when resting on the handlebars. This will allow proper posture and a correct riding position.