Best Cruiser Bikes for Casual Riders

Last updated: August 25, 2020
BEST OVERALL
Ultralight, Durable, Powerful and Versatile
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BEST BUDGET
Affordable, Rugged, Versatile and Light
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BEST FOR MEN
Light, Comfortable, Practical and Modern
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BEST FOR WOMEN
Balanced, Reliable, Ergonomic and Durable
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BEST WITH BASKET
Stylish, Lots of Storage and Convenient
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Your guide

A cruiser bike isn’t a small investment. With proper care, they can last for years on end, so making the right decision is crucial.

If you’re in need of a replacement, upgrade, or simply looking to make your first purchase in this arena, take the time to clearly define what it is you’re after. In comparison to a few years ago, today cruiser bikes are much more varied, filling a plethora of different niches.

Shopping for bikes online is much easier than it used to be – but there’s still plenty of details that need to be checked, reviews that need to be read, and comparisons that have to be made. Fortunately, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to take care of that part of the process.

Cruiser Bikes: Top 5 Picks

Cruisers are a fantastic way to enjoy the beloved hobby of cycling in a relaxed, leisurely manner. Made to be durable, easy to maintain and ride, cruisers are still a relatively rare sight when compared to mountain bikes and road bikes.

Cruisers can’t compete with road and mountain bikes performance-wise, but this doesn’t change the fact that they are underappreciated. For those in need of a bike that’s geared towards casual riding or commuting, cruisers are a fantastic choice.

stylish black cruiser bike with basket

Newer models have also started incorporating modern, high-performance components, so the gap in performance between cruisers and road or mountain bikes is constantly shrinking.

Be that as it may, you still need to take a good, hard look at the product in question. Is it made from high-quality materials? Do the design and performance of the bike meet your criteria?

To help you make your choice, we’ve prepared a list of five great cruiser bikes. We factored in price, quality, performance, durability, and design.

These are well-made bikes, constructed from the highest quality materials – however, they all fill different niches. As for which one is the right one for you – that’s up to you.

1. Best Overall - Firmstrong CA-520

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 7 speeds
  • Wheel size → 26 inches
  • Weight capacity → 300 lbs
  • Weight → 43 lbs

Key Features:

  • Forward pedaling design
  • Aluminum frame
  • High arching design
  • Shimano Tourney derailleur

Firmstrong CA-520 7-Speed Cruiser Review

For our best overall pick, we’ve chosen a cruiser bike that truly means business. Firmstrong took no shortcuts in designing and building the CA-520, and it shows. The result of an uncompromising approach, the CA-520 is a fantastic all-rounder, combining speed, durability, comfort, great design, and high-quality materials into a single, high-value purchase.

If you’re after a top of the line cruiser bicycle, Firmstrong’s flagship product merits your attention – let’s take a closer look at the features that make this bike such a standout cruiser.

Cutting-Edge Materials, Innovative Design

The 17-inch long frame is entirely made out of aluminum, weighing in at just 43 lbs. The frame features a high arching top tube design, which places riders even further back and closer to the ground when compared with the traditional cruiser bike frame setup. The sloping top tube makes it much easier to get off the bike.

This type of seat positioning is very comfortable, and the pedals have been moved approximately 4 inches forward to accommodate the design. This means that even though you sit further back and lower than you usually would, you still have plenty of leg space. This is particularly important for taller riders. The CA-520 can accommodate riders from 5’4” to 6’4” tall.

The entire frame is treated with a rust-resistant coating. The padded dual-spring seat is quite large and comfortable, and the 25.5” wide chrome plated handlebars feature comfortable synthetic leather grips.

Both the seat and handlebar height and tilt can be adjusted to your liking, but the bike’s geometry is fantastic – the saddle position might seem strange at first, but it’s much more comfortable than a regular cruiser bike.

The CA-520 is durable, light, and well-made. But the truly impressive thing about it is the unparalleled level of comfort that it provides. Even the tallest riders won’t have trouble achieving full leg extension with the CA-520.

Top of the Line Performance

The CA-520’s large, 26-inch tires make it easy to gain a lot of momentum. The size of the tires, combined with the light weight of the aluminum frame makes it easy to accelerate and maintain speed.

The whitewall tires of the CA-520 are 2.125 inches wide, providing plenty of traction and smooth rolling. The Shimano Tourney 7-speed derailleur allows you to quickly and easily change gears.

The tires and gear system work well together, allowing you to make short work of various inclines and terrain types. Put simply, the CA-520 is extremely versatile as far as cruisers go.

The frame design also figures into the equation when it comes to performance. The low position of the seat makes for a lower center of gravity, and the upright riding position helps you retain stability on the road.

The 7-speed version of the CA-520 features both front and rear alloy V brakes that provide a huge amount of stopping power and control. Safety isn’t usually a concern with cruiser bikes – but the CA-520 can reach speeds up to 30mph, and at that point, braking has to be a priority. Luckily, the CA-520 can stop on a dime.

Made from the finest materials and featuring innovative design choices, Firmstrong’s CA-520 is a fantastic bike with no major flaws to speak of. It’s durable, adaptable, and quick, and easily outperforms all bikes in its price range.

Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Versatile performance
  • Storage space
  • Brakes have great stopping power
Cons
  • Requires some assembly
  • High price 

2. Best Budget - Firmstrong Urban

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 1 speed
  • Wheel size → 26 inches
  • Weight capacity → 300 lbs
  • Weight → 38 lbs

Key Features:

  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano rear derailleur
  • Back sweep handlebar
  • Linear pull brakes

Firmstrong Urban Single Speed Cruiser Review

If you’re after a simple, reliable product that gets the job done, there’s no need to break the bank. The market is full of great, affordable products perfect for those that are working in the confines of a tight budget.

Firmstrong’s Urban single speed cruiser is available for a very humble asking price, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality or durability to achieve that. It may not be able to outperform the other bikes on this list, but it might be just the right choice for you if you’re looking for a bike that is meant for casual riding.

Great Design, Solid Build Quality

The first notable thing about the Firmstrong Urban is the wheel size. It’s one of the rare bikes in its price range that features 26-inch wheels. These are mounted on a clean 19-inch steel frame that features no cables or unnecessary elements. Overall, the aesthetics of the bike are simple and minimalistic – with orange details that do a great job of complementing the black body of the bike.

Despite its steel construction and size, the Urban isn’t a heavy, clunky bike. Fully assembled, it weighs 38 pounds – just the right amount for its size. You won’t have any issues carrying it up a flight of stairs, but it also doesn’t sacrifice stability when riding.

The step-over frame places the rider in a relaxed, upright position. The oversized, dual-spring saddle is comfortable and has plenty of padding, while the swept-back 28.5-inch chrome-plated handlebar features a pair of ergonomic, high-density foam grips. All of these design elements come together to reduce the strain on your wrists, arms, and back.

Both the seat and handlebar feature adjustable height and tilt. Firmstrong’s Urban will fit most people between 5’4” and 6’2” tall. The bike also features a chain guard for added durability, as well as a steel kickstand.

The Urban is a simple, no-nonsense bike that forgoes any unnecessary elements. It’s unassuming, rugged, and comfortable.

Simple, Dependable Cruising

Firmstrong Urban’s single-speed model also takes an uncomplicated approach to performance. With only a single gear, it sacrifices versatility for simplicity. Normally, this would count as a disadvantage – but if you cycle on predictable routes without any steep inclines, a single gear is enough.

As per usual with single-gear cruisers, the Firmstrong Urban features a coaster brake. Coaster brakes work by pedaling backward. This system of braking might take a while to get used to, especially if you’ve never ridden a bike with a coaster brake before.

These brakes require a good amount of road awareness, as they lack both the reactivity and power of handbrakes. The KT coaster brake that the Urban is equipped with is solid, but with only a rear brake, extra care should be taken when coming to a stop.

Although 26-inch wheels help with acceleration, the Urban has a tough time maintaining speeds over 15mph – this, in turn, alleviates a lot of the problems that a coaster brake can present.

The 2.125-inch wide Kenda tires feature a slightly knobby tread pattern that allows them to handle a fair amount of sand or dirt. The tires also feature a decent amount of white wall, giving them a good amount of durability.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Durable
  • Perfect weight
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Coaster brake
  • Lack of versatility 

3. Best for Men - Retrospec Chatham

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 7 speeds
  • Wheel size → 26 inches
  • Weight capacity → 250 lbs
  • Weight → 37 lbs

Key Features:

  • Durable steel frame
  • Grip twist shifters
  • Double-walled rims
  • Wide Wanda tires

Retrospec Chatham Beach Cruiser Review

Beach cruisers are by far the most popular type of cruiser bike on the market today. Geared towards predictable, consistent terrain, beach cruisers are a great way to enjoy the outdoors while having fun.

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a cruiser that wasn’t designed with the beach in mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that – but a premium cruiser has to be able to handle a wider variety of challenges.

Retrospec’s Chatham beach cruiser is a well-made, durable bike that can handle relaxing rides on the shoreline just as well as urban riding and commuting. A versatile, powerful bike, the Chatham pushes the envelope, offering an unprecedented level of performance for its asking price.

Materials, Durability, and Design

The Chatham is robust and durable, even by cruiser bike standards. The hand-built step-over frame is made from nigh-indestructible high-tensile steel but weighs just 37 lbs. It offers a great combination of durability and weight – the Chatham is one of the lighter cruisers available, despite its steel construction.

The steel frame works well in tandem with the wide Wanda tires, providing a decent amount of shock absorption. Double-walled rims provide added protection and puncture resistance. The pedals are light, made from a hard plastic material with a durable boron steel axel. Put simply, the Chatham can take quite a beating, without it affecting performance whatsoever.

The wide cruiser saddle and high placement of the handlebar promote a comfortable, upright position while riding. This reduces the strain on your back, making long rides much easier.

The handlebar is set high, and protrudes outwards, allowing for a great mix of stability, control, and comfort. The soft foam handlebar grips do a great job of reducing wrist strain.

Well-designed and made from the highest quality materials, the Chatham ensures an enjoyable, comfortable riding experience. It’s a no-nonsense bike – extremely durable and sturdy, it guarantees smooth cruising, day in and day out. It’s elegant, with no obtrusive tubing or unnecessary bulkiness in the frame.

Premium Performance

Now that we’ve established the Chatham’s durability, the question remains – what kind of performance does that durability guarantee? You’ll be happy to hear that this was obviously one of the biggest priorities in the bike’s design.

This model of the Chatham comes equipped with a 7-speed Shimano tourney derailleur, as well as a RevoShift grip shifter. Shimano is a world-class brand, renowned for precision and durability.

The shifting is smooth, and the 7-speed options allow you to use the Chatham in a much wider selection of areas when compared to a regular cruiser bike. There’s also something to be said for the amount of effort and strain that is reduced by using a 7-speed bike – the Chatham is much better suited to longer commutes.

The thick, 26-inch tires provide a fantastic balance of grip and acceleration. This is one fast cruiser bike, and maintaining high speeds is a breeze. The tread pattern works wonders with pavement and dirt, and the amount of traction that it provides allows you to easily retain control of the bike, even at high speeds.

To counteract the speed of the bike, the Chatham features handlebar-integrated Promax alloy v-caliper brakes. Unlike the 1-speed and 3-speed models, the 7-speed Chatham has both front and rear brakes, allowing you to decelerate in a more controlled fashion. The brakes have a lot of stopping power and are responsive enough to ensure safe riding.

Pros
  • Light steel frame
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile drivetrain
  • Great brakes
Cons
  • Average seat padding
  • Average handling on rough terrain

4. Best For Women - Sixthreezero

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 7 speeds
  • Wheel size → 26 inches
  • Weight capacity → 300 lbs
  • Weight → 34 pounds

Key Features:

  • 7-speed Shimano hub
  • Rear rack
  • Foam grips on the handlebar
  • Cushioned dual-spring saddle

Sixthreezero Around the Block Review

A well-made cruiser bike is a great way to get about. Simple, convenient, and comfortable, cruiser bikes are the best choice for leisurely, everyday riding.

But if you’re after something more, be it performance, versatility, or durability, you need to look at higher-end models. Our top pick in this category is one such bike – Sixthreezero’s Around the Block. It offers an experience that far exceeds that of baseline cruiser bikes – in every aspect.

We’ve chosen the 26-inch and 7-speed model because of its impressive performance. But that’s just one area where this bike shines – let’s take a closer look at the entire package.

High-Quality Materials, Great Design

The Around the Block features a classic, simple step-over design. The frame is made out of high-tensile steel and is designed to last a lifetime. At 34 pounds, the bike isn’t heavy at all, considering it is made out of steel.

The plush dual-spring saddle is quite wide and comfortable, and the swept-back handlebar makes for comfortable riding. The handlebar is wider than average, making it much more accessible. The height and tilt of the handlebar can also be adjusted rather easily.

The twistgrip shifters are quick and responsive, and the foam grips are very comfortable. The grips are also blacked-out, making them a bit more scratch-resistant.

The light, aluminum wheels are 2.125 inches wide, allowing for a smooth, cushioned ride. This meshes well with several other design elements – the weight of the steel frame, upright riding position and low center of gravity guarantee stability, while the saddle and handlebar do a great job of reducing wrist and arm fatigue.

The bike also features a rear rack, and the tires are white-walled, further accentuating the vintage look of the bike.

All things considered, this bike delivers a reliable, relaxing, and comfortable riding experience, requiring little to no upkeep or maintenance. It’s well thought out and built to last – deserving high marks for both design and build quality.

Top Of The Line Performance

So, what about performance? This isn’t your ordinary cruiser – and quite a few of the Around the Block’s components make it stand out.

The Shimano 7-speed derailleur shifts smoothly, allowing you to choose just the right amount of resistance. With this added amount of versatility, it’s much easier to deal with inclines or longer commutes.

To balance out the 7-speed options, the Around the Block features front and rear v-caliper handbrakes. They offer a lot of smooth, precise stopping power, and are much easier to use and control in comparison with coaster brakes.

The large, 32-spoke aluminum wheels are very durable and light and work fantastically in tandem with the large, 26-inch tires. The semi-slick tires and wider than average, and the waffle-tread that they use ensures a cushioned ride, with more than enough grip for gravel, tarmac, pavement, dirt roads, and similar terrain.

Versatile, adaptable, and comfortable, the Around the Block is a fantastic choice, particularly for longer sessions. It’s a joy to ride and offers a very high level of performance – particularly when you factor in the very humble price tag.

Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Great tires
  • High-quality Shimano derailleur
  • Strong frame
Cons
  • Bad assembly instructions
  • Pedals tend to produce a clicking sound

5. Best With Basket - Huffy Panama Jack

Specifications:

  • Gearing → 6 speeds
  • Wheel size → 26 inches
  • Weight capacity → 250 lbs
  • Weight → 48 lbs

Key Features:

  • Perfect fit aluminum frame
  • Handlebar bag
  • Lightweight alloy linear-pull brakes
  • High-quality Shimano shifter

Huffy Panama Jack Review

Cruiser bikes are generally geared toward relaxing rides at a moderate pace, but high-end models are nothing to scoff at.

Huffy’s Panama Jack is sort of unusual for a cruiser bike. It doesn’t have a single-speed drivetrain and makes use of linear-pull brakes.

But it’s precisely these features that make it such a great choice. This bike offers great performance as far as cruisers go – and it comes with a handy basket and plenty of useful accessories to boot.

Design, Comfort, and Style

Huffy’s Panama Jack is a fashionable bike. The solid black frame and orange beach graphics and details on the chainguard will turn heads. But the Panama Jack is much more than a pretty face.

The bike features a step-over frame design, and the seating position lends itself to an upright, relaxing posture. But this isn’t your typical cruiser bike frame – Huffy’s trademark Perfect Fit frames position you slightly further back and lower than usual.

Even when compared to an average, already-comfortable cruiser, the Panama Jack Shines. The frame design even allows for full leg extension.

At the same time, the raised sweptback handlebar design helps reduce wrist and arm fatigue, and the soft, cork-like grips are very comfortable.

The overall design helps you retain control while riding, reduces exertion, and allows you to maintain a good overview of the road. The Panama Jack allows you to consistently enjoy smooth, relaxing rides.

The seat of the bike is quite wide, and a dual-spring system ensures maximum comfort. The seats have a good amount of padding – just make sure to screw and bolt everything tightly, as the seat is one of the parts that require assembly.

Versatility, Utility, and Accessories

Comfort is par for the course with cruiser bikes. But performance and versatility are the areas where the Panama Jack truly excels. To make things even better, the bike is chock-full of useful accessories.

The first and most important thing to note is the drivetrain. The Panama Jack features a six-speed Shimano TZ-31 drivetrain. This allows for a lot of versatility, allowing you to better meet the challenges of inclines or different terrain types. The shifting is smooth, and in this regard, the Panama Jack goes well above and beyond what is expected.

The lightweight aluminum used in the frame’s construction, together with the large 26-inch wheels allows you to more easily gain momentum and retain speed. You won’t be breaking any records – this is a cruiser bike, after all, but it noticeably faster than your regular cruiser.

So, what about braking? Your average, run-of-the-mill cruiser uses coaster brakes. This isn’t ideal – coaster brakes are, to be perfectly frank, sub-par and much more trouble than they’re worth.

Thankfully, high-end models such as the Panama Jack have begun to incorporate handbrakes. The 26-inch 6-speed model of the Panama Jack features lightweight alloy linear-pull brakes. Combined with machined alloy wheel rims, the brakes offer plenty of smooth stopping power.

All in all, Panama Jack offers impressive, unexpected levels of performance. We would be remiss not to mention the handy accessories that the bike is equipped with. After all, it is our top pick in the category “best with basket”.

The bike features a roomy basket at the front and a rear rack that can support up to 20 lbs of weight. Combined, they offer plenty of storage space for long commutes, bike accessories, beachside picnics, grocery runs, or just lugging your necessities around.

Both the front and rear wheels are equipped with fenders, and a convenient drink holder is placed on the handlebar. The front fork even has a bottle opener.

A stylish, comfortable, high-performance cruiser with plenty of storage space and a lot of useful accessories, the Panama Jack offers everything you could want in a cruiser bike – and then some.

Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Versatile performance
  • Storage space
  • Brakes have great stopping power
Cons
  • Requires some assembly
  • High price 

Cruiser Bikes: Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cruiser Bikes Fast?

In general, cruiser bikes aren’t terribly fast. They prioritize comfort and durability above speed. An average cruiser bike can achieve speeds of around 15 miles per hour. However, some high-end models have a much higher top speed - but as a rule of thumb, cruisers are not among the fastest bicycle types.

Are Cruiser Bikescan Cruiser Bikes Be Used for Commuting? Fast?

Absolutely! Cruiser bikes and commuter bikes have a significant overlap. In general, they are geared toward the same type of terrain, with cruiser bikes prioritizing comfort and storage space, while traditional commuters are slightly faster. If your commuting route is short and doesn’t have any steep inclines, a cruiser bike can be a fantastic choice for commuting.

How Well Do Cruiser Bikes Perform Offroad?

Cruiser bikes weren’t made with offroad conditions in mind, but the answer varies. With the appropriate amount of gears and a good pair of tires, a cruiser bike can deal with light trails and dirt, but they weren’t designed to deal with uneven and rough terrain.

Are Cruiser Bikes Heavy?

Cruiser bikes weigh more than road and mountain bikes. The weight and frame geometry of cruiser bikes provides comfortable, stable riding, but the heavier weight is a part of that tradeoff.

Cruisers aren’t terribly heavy on average but are still heavier than your average bike. However, this is alleviated by the fact that the weight is usually pretty evenly distributed throughout the bike.

Can Cruiser Bikes Go Uphill?

Cruiser bike models that have multiple gears can provide decent performance when going uphill. The weight of the bike will always mean that it will struggle with large, steep hills, but with the appropriate gears and a less challenging incline, cruiser bikes can do quite a decent job of going uphill.

Best Cruiser Bikes for Casual Riders in 2020: Top 5 Picks — Bike Hacks