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What Is a Beach Cruiser?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 17, 2024
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A beach cruiser is a type of bicycle that has wide, low handles, an upright seat, and wide tires. Though the bikes tend to have only one speed, and are not equipped to handle rough terrain, they can be very comfortable to ride, particularly for riding on the beach — hence, the name "beach cruiser".

The beach cruiser is modeled after the traditional bikes seen all over America from the 1930s until the 1950s, and has become a trend in recent years, though the modern version is more lightweight than the bikes of the early days. The first cruiser was made by the Schwinn bicycle brand, which still sells many cruisers today, along with a wide range of mountain bikes.

The beach cruiser is especially popular in Southern California, particularly in areas like Santa Monica and Venice Beach. It can be found in a wide array of colors and styles, and has a retro appeal to consumers who like the bike's old-fashioned style. The cruiser is typically relatively inexpensive, and ranges in price from around $130 US Dollars (USD) for a basic cruiser, to $500 (USD) for the most luxurious models.

Today's beach cruisers are popular among numerous groups of people, though they are more commonly purchased by women than men. Because of the cruiser's nostalgia value, it has become a trend among many people of the Baby Boomer generation, who value comfort above speed. It is also common to see many young people, particularly surfers, riding this type of bicycle.

Today, there are several social clubs around the United States for people who ride cruisers. In Los Angeles, a biking club called Cruz with Us is made up of people who ride cruisers around the city to various bars on a certain Saturday night each month.

Because of the beach cruiser's resurgence in popularity in modern times, many people are devoted to restoring old cruisers from the 1950s or earlier. New cruisers are also being built and sold all the time, both by major brands like Schwinn and by small, boutique bike shops.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon281374 — On Jul 23, 2012

Yes, I remember Recycle Cycle. It was next to the Frog House Surfboard shop in Newport Beach, Ca.

By anon127090 — On Nov 15, 2010

I think an excellent beach cruiser is the one which is stylish, comfortable and is available at an affordable price.

By anon44672 — On Sep 09, 2009

I got a Micargi Tahiti and it does fit on my bike rack.

By anon38146 — On Jul 24, 2009

I have a woman's Micargi Tahiti model Beach Cruiser. Can I put it on a typical bike rack or do I have to buy a special type?

By lmwater — On May 10, 2007

I thought I would make note to the history of the Beach Cruiser story.

The Beach Cruiser was started in Newport Beach at Recycled Cycles in 1973. It all started when the owner of the bike shop ME was selling bikes and felt that the current bikes did not fit the need of the local beach community. I saw the younger kids graduating from bmx to lightweight 10 speeds. I felt most rides were local. I brought out my 1953 paperboy bike and restored it. That's it Comfort, Durability and Nostalgic I tagged it "California Beach Cruiser" the L.A. times came out and did a interest story and it went A.P. wire THE REST IS HISTORY. I still have the original proto-type.

Best Regards Larry Mc Neely

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