Biking

The 5 Best Beach Cruisers Reviewed – [2018]

These Best-of-Breed Beach Cruisers Bicycles Combine Quality, Function And Style

Beach cruiser bicycles, or “beach cruisers” as they are called, have a unique place in cycling.  Call it casual, leisurely or “laid-back” biking. These bikes are meant to provide the Cadillac-ride of bikes with wide, comfy handlebars and balloon tires that make for a smooth ride.

In this review we will look at the best beach cruisers in the marketplace based on customer feedback, reviews and overall sales volume. For more on how to choose from among the beach cruiser bicycles see out buyers guide, How To Choose The Best Beach Cruiser.

What Is The Best Beach Cruiser Bike?

The 5 Best Beach Cruisers Reviewed

  1. Schwinn Sanctuary
  2. Firmstrong Urban
  3. sixthreezero Around the Block
  4. Firmstrong Bruiser
  5. Huffy Nel Lusso

Best Beach Cruisers

 Schwinn SanctuaryFirmstrong Urbansixthreezero Around the Block
Wheel Size26" 26"26"
Gear Set7-speed rear derailleurSingle-speedSingle-speed
Special FeaturesFull fenders and rear cargo rack / alloy rimsOversized dual-spring saddle and balloon tiresRear rack for optional baskets and panniers
Customer Rating3.7 / 5.0 Stars4.1 / 5.0 Stars4.5 / 5.0

 The Best Beach Cruisers Reviews

#1 Schwinn Sanctuary

While most beach cruisers are either singlespeed or have 3 gears, the Schwinn Sanctuary has 7 gears to make it easy to ride on more diverse terrain. It also features classic beach bike styling with a classic color scheme and vintage style fenders. The Schwinn Sanctuary is available in a men’s version and women’s version.

Schwinn-Sanctuary-7-Speed-Cruiser-Bicycle handlebars

Built around a steel frame and fork, Schwinn have built a very comfortable bike to ride. Although steel is not the lightest material, the weight is offset by the light 26” alloy rims on the wheels. Wide tires roll easily both on and off road and any larger bumps mostly get absorbed by the two springs under the padded saddle.

You can make full use of the 7 gears to get speedily to your destination or click down a few to take it slow and cruise along the water’s edge. Be aware that the Shimano derailleur and SRAM grip shift are not of particularly good quality. Unless you are very particular about cleaning and maintenance,  you will probably find that shifting is not precise. It would be a good idea to learn how to adjust the derailleur to keep it working as best as possible. A rim brake on each wheel ensures that you can stop reliably. Although rim brakes create a more cluttered look on a beach cruiser, they do have more power than a coaster brake.

Schwinn-Sanctuary-7-Speed-Cruiser-Bicycle spring seat

If the weather turns bad, or you find puddles in your way, the vintage style fenders will keep spray off the paintwork and drivechain. Above the rear wheel you will find a rack to which you can attach panniers or strap on other luggage or objects. This is a very useful feature as it allows you to easily carry everything you need to the beach or even carry your groceries home.

The designers at Schwinn have made a very attractive looking beach cruiser. It is comfortable to ride and is just a bit more versatile than the average beach bike thanks to the wider range of gears and rack.

#2 Firmstrong Urban

For classic looks, reliability and value for money, you cannot beat the Firmstrong Urban. The curving aesthetics and white walled tires make the Urban stand out on any beach or promenade.

Constructed from bent steel tubing, the frame has an eye-catching curving design, complemented by the wide and curved handlebar. Both of these components play a role in the comfort of this beach cruiser. The steel frame has a slight flex to absorb any shocks that are not absorbed by the wide balloon tires.

Firmstrong-Single-Beach Cruiser-Bicycle rear wheel view

A wide grip on the handlebars puts you in an upright seated position when riding and you are supported by the wide padded saddle, the comfort of which is enhanced by the two springs that it sits on.

Singlespeed, 3-speed or 7-speed are your gear choices for the Firmstrong Urban. If you live in a mostly flat area and like to take things slow, cruising to the max, then go for singlespeed. If you like to get around town a bit faster, 3 gears will help you out, while a 7-speed beach cruiser will get you up and over undulating terrain.

On the singlespeed version, a coaster brake is fitted to slow you down. The geared versions of the Urban come with rim brakes to stop you from the higher speeds that you can reach.

Firmstrong bikes are a known brand in the beach cruiser world and the Urban is perfectly suited to your beach cruiser needs. It looks great, comes in a variety of colors and with the amount of gears that you need for your local area. There are also a Firmstrong Urban men’s version and women’s version available.


#3 sixthreezero Around the Block

This a high quality beach cruiser is perfect for casual riding and cruising as well as grocery shopping. sixthreezero focussed on building a beach cruiser with classic looks but modern features at an affordable price.

The frame has a pleasing curving design, much like the Firmstrong Urban. Similarly, steel is used for the frame to give a strong yet supple ride feel. You have a choice of gearing options. Singlespeed is available for those that love simplicity and cruising.

sixthreezero-Around-26-Inch-Single beach cruiser with rider

There are 3-speed, 7-speed and even 21-speed gear versions are also available if you need to deal with hills or want to ride around faster. 21 gears is probably too many for a beach cruiser and adds unnecessary weight. We recommend that you stick with 7 gears if your area has big hills, otherwise 3 is fine.

A coaster brake comes on the singlespeed version and the models with more gears come with rim brakes. This is to give you more stopping power from higher speeds.

A chain guard helps prevent any dirt from the chain ending up on your leg or clothes. It also prevents long skirts getting tangled in the chain. To help you carry your towel, snacks and anything else, there is a rack on the back. You can either strap items onto this or purchase panniers.

No fenders come installed, but you can easily add some to prevent road or beach spray landing on you.

sixthreezero produce the Around the Block beach cruiser in a men’s version and a women’s version.


#4 Firmstrong Bruiser

If you are looking for a high quality beach cruiser with some extra cool, the Firmstrong Bruiser is just the ticket. You get Firmstrong’s standard high quality paired with a more aggressive styling than the average beach bike.

If it had a motor, the Bruiser wouldn’t look out of place in the middle of a biker gang. However, the hard exterior hides a soft ride feel.

Firmstrong-Bruiser- best beach Cruiser-Bicycle

The steel frame is two inches longer than a standard frame, which puts the rider in a stretched out position. Extra wide handlebars add to the carefree feel of the Bruiser by slowing down the steering.

The lazy ride characteristics are perfect for beach cruising. Don’t forget that the slower you go, the more time passersby have to admire your ride!

Wide balloon tires roll easily over rough terrain. You have choice of singlespeed with a coaster bike for the most dedicated cruisers, or 3-speed with a coaster and rim brake. If you need even more gears, there is also a 7-speed model with two rim brakes.

All of this comes in various frame and rim color options to suit your style. Whatever your style is, it will be greatly enhanced by the bruiser!


#5 Huffy Nel Lusso

The Huffy Nel Lusso is cheaper than the average beach cruiser but makes no compromises on quality or performance.

The first thing that you notice about the Nel Lusso is the stunning appearance. This is a pretty beach cruiser that complements your style and brightens even the sunniest of summer days. The steel frame has pleasing curves and the components are color matched or complement the rest of the bike. Of particular note are the stylish white balloon tires.

Huffy-Lusso-Womens-Cruiser-beach cruiser bike

Singles speed is your only option. This keeps the Nel Lusso simple and your cruising speed in check. No gear shifters means no clutter on the handlebar and all you need to do is get on and pedal. When you need to stop, a coaster brake slows you down with confidence.

Finishing off the Nel Lusso is a rack for carrying your beach bag. You can even fit panniers to this rack, making it a more versatile bike for grocery shopping or getting to the office.

A chain guard stops your clothes getting tangled in the chain or oil rubbing off. Out the front of the bike is a basket and there is even a cup holder mounted on the handlebar.

The Nel Lusso could be the ultimate beach cruiser to boost your summer vibes. See the owner’s manual here.


How To Choose The Best Beach Cruiser Bike

Beach cruiser bikes represent the ultimate cool in two wheeled transport to and from the beach. Although the name suggests that it is just a beach bicycle, a beach cruiser is also a great choice for riding around town or to and from work.

Two city bikes on the beach in the morning

The best beach cruiser bikes are built to look good and be comfortable to ride. As the focus is on comfort, beach cruisers are generally quite heavy and slower than other bikes. This is not a disadvantage, as the comfort and ease at which you can roll through the streets will make you want to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Beach cruisers tend to be very affordable bicycles. Weight and speed are not major concerns to beach cruiser manufacturers, so cheaper materials can be used. If you do not need to race around town or want a bike to take on leisurely rides, then a cheap beach cruiser is all you need.

Knowing what to look when purchasing a beach cruiser bike is not so obvious, so we have written this buyer’s guide for you.


Frame Material

Steel, alloy or aluminum are the most common materials used for a beach cruiser frame. Aluminum is the lightest but is stiffer and more expensive than steel, which flexes a small amount, giving a comfortable ride. The best beach cruiser frames tend to have classic stretched out styling.

Gears

Most beach cruisers are singlespeed or 3 speed. A singlespeed beach cruiser bike is simple to ride because all you have to do is get on and pedal. You do not need to worry about shifting gears and there are no complicated mechanisms to keep clean and maintained.

beach cruiser rear gears

However, if you find yourself going uphill, you may find that the gear is too hard to pedal. Likewise, when going downhill, you may not be able to pedal up to the speed you would like. A 3 speed beach cruiser gives you more options and some beach cruisers have even more gears. A beach cruiser with gears is more versatile if you live in a hilly area.

Brakes

Coaster brakes are common on beach cruiser bikes. To stop, you just pedal backwards. You may find beach cruisers with rim brakes fitted. There may be one front rim brake in addition to the rear coaster brake, or a rim brake at the front and rear. Either way, you need to be able to trust your brakes to stop you reliably each time.

Tires

Beach cruiser tires are wide for comfort. Although wider tires weigh more and make it harder for you to accelerate, speed is not your priority on a beach cruiser. The large volume of balloon tires absorbs small bumps, giving you the feeling that you are floating through the streets.

beach bike cruiser tires

Beach cruiser tires are usually up to 2.4 inches wide. Tires come in a variety of compounds. Soft compounds have more grip and puncture easier in comparison to harder compounds that roll faster. Some tires have extra puncture protection to give you more peace of mind when you accidentally ride through broken glass on the street.

Seat

Another beach cruiser part that enhances your comfort is the seat. Look for a wide seat that will support you in the upright riding position. Some seats have springs underneath them to absorb bumps and give you an even smoother ride.

Fenders

A beach cruiser fitted with fenders will last longer. Fenders stop salty water getting sprayed all over the frame and gears, which over time will corrode them.

Aesthetics

This is a question that comes down to individual opinion and only you can answer. Does the beach cruiser look good? Is it something that will make you feel great when riding around town? You want you beach cruiser to look cool, so do not compromise!

beach cruiser bikes on a scenic beach scene

 

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R. L. Moore "El Tigre"

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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