Cruiser bikes are very simple and very durable, making them ideal for casual beach rides.
For some cyclists, the aggressively forward riding position of traditional road bikes can be uncomfortable and difficult. The racing-inspired geometry of road bikes just isn't for everyone. For these riders, comfort and cruiser bikes make sense as alternatives because they provide many of the features and experience of other road bicycles with a more upright, comfortable position. The differences between comfort and cruiser bicycles make each of them suitable for a specific type of rider.
Get to Know Cruiser Bikes
A cruiser bicycle is a heavy, durable and extremely stylish ride. Often referred to as a beach cruiser, these bikes were initially popular before the 1950s and have seen a resurgence. Most cruiser bicycles are made from steel or aluminum, and they feature a very upright riding position with long handlebars and a long wheelbase. The tires are usually wide for stability and flotation on uneven terrain like sand and gravel, and the frames are often embossed with purely aesthetic metalwork. Cruiser bikes are almost always single-speed.
Go for Comfort
Comfort bikes are similar to hybrid bicycles, which combine traits from mountain bikes and road bikes to provide a versatile upright bike. Comfort bikes are usually designed on a mountain biking-type frame, and often feature a suspension fork or seatpost. Comfort bikes are designed with an upright riding position and feature heavy-duty road tires on 26-inch wheels for traction and lower road vibration. Comfort bikes often feature wider, more comfortable saddles than traditional bikes to protect the rider.
Compare the Two
While the cruiser bike is definitely the more aesthetic bike, the additional capabilities of the comfort bike provided by the use of suspension and extra gearing can make it more functional for many riders. However, both bikes are designed with the comfort of the rider in mind using an upright position and larger tires. Cruiser bikes are simpler and require less maintenance and often feature internal hubs to avoid maintenance on the chain altogether, and their durability is very high. Comfort bikes require more care but will out-perform cruiser bikes on hills, rough terrain and higher speeds.
Make Your Choice
When choosing between a comfort or cruiser bike, consider the conditions you expect to ride in and the distance of your average ride. In areas with hills, the comfort bike stands as the superior choice because of its ability to downshift for uphill riding. Longer commutes also favor the comfort bike, since the suspension and traditional frame will be more suited to higher speeds and longer distances. However, for many casual riders and mild riding conditions, the cruiser bike's simplicity and durability make it a better choice. The aesthetic appeal is also an added bonus.