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Cruiser Bikes

The cruiser style dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, and was extremely popular in the United States during the 1950s. Although its popularity tapered off after that, the cruiser style of bike has enjoyed a significant resurgence in recent decades. Their classic retro style, reliability and durability, comfortable ride, and relatively cheap price (compared with modern mountain bikes and road bikes) continues to make cruiser bikes very popular.

classic cruiser bike

classic cruiser bike

Cruiser bikes, sometimes referred to as beach cruiser bikes or comfort bikes, focus on comfort and styling above all else. Think wide balloon tires, a wide and cushy saddle, an upright riding posture, classic expressive styling, and cruising the boardwalk at the beach. Cruisers will often have old-fashioned coaster brakes and a smaller number of gears than urban bikes or street bikes. A bike that fits most of these criteria but has more gears might be considered a comfort bike rather than strictly a cruiser.

Traditionally, cruiser bikes were made out of steel but some modern versions may have aluminum frames. Bikes with steel frames are considerably heavier than bikes with aluminum frames of course, but steel frames are considered to be more durable and extra weight in a cruiser bike is generally not thought to be a significant disadvantage since the cruiser style isn’t really intended for hilly terrain.

Among the cruiser bikes that have multiple gears, some use derailleurs for gear shifting and some use internally-geared hubs. There are advantages and disadvantages of both types of gearing. If a derailleur breaks, it’s almost certainly cheaper to replace than replacing a hub. However, internally-geared hubs are arguably low-maintenance compared to conventional cassette and derailleur systems. Personally, I prefer the clean look of internally-geared hubs, especially on cruiser bikes, because the original cruisers were single-speed bikes and I find that a derailleur hanging off the back detracts from the classic styling. 🙂

In order to find the best price for any of the bikes in our recommended bike tables below, just click the name of the bike. That should open a pop-up window with additional information. (If clicking the name of the bike doesn’t open a pop-up window, please submit a comment on the Contact Us page telling us which page and which bike and we’ll get it fixed ASAP. Thanks!). In the pop-up window, click on the Comparison tab to see recommended retailers and their current prices. Please refer to Cheap Bikes’ Price Categories for a more detailed explanation of what the number of dollar signs means.

The Best Cruiser Bikes ($ Very Cheap Bikes)

Product NameNumber of GearsType of GearingWheel SizeFront Suspension TravelPrice
Electra Cruiser 11N/A26"none$269
Electra Cruiser 1 Women's Bike1N/A26"none$269
Electra Townie 7D7rear derailleur26"none$479
Electra Townie 7D Step-Through Women's Bike7rear derailleur26"none$479

The Best Cruiser Bikes ($$ Cheap Bikes)

Product NameNumber of GearsType of GearingWheel SizeFront Suspension TravelPrice
Electra Townie 21D21front & rear derailleurs26"none$549
Electra Townie 21D Step-Through Women's Bike21front & rear derailleurs26"none$549
Electra Sugar Skulls 3i Women's Bike3internally-geared hub26"none$699
Electra Wild Flower 3i Women's Bike3internally-geared hub26"none$749

The Best Cruiser Bikes ($$$ Moderately Cheap Bikes)

Product NameNumber of GearsType of GearingWheel SizeFront Suspension TravelPrice
Electra Tiger Shark 3i3internally-geared hub26"none$849
Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i8internally-geared hub700cnone$1299

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