How to Choose: Beach Cruiser vs. Hybrid Commuter Bike | Mighty Biker

Shopping an ever-growing market of makes, models, and varieties can often be difficult when buying a bike. Fear not; we’re going to be walking through the variables of both Cruiser vs. Hybrid Bikes, helping you discover the right choice for your needs. Shall we begin?

BEACH CRUISER VS A HYBRID COMMUTER BIKE: WHICH BIKE IS A BETTER FIT FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE?

QUICK SUMMARY: Everything you need to know about Cruiser & Hybrid Bikes

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Shopping an ever-growing market of makes, models, and varieties can often be difficult when buying a bike. Fear not; we’re going to be walking through the variables of both Cruiser vs. Hybrid Bikes, helping you discover the right choice for your needs. Shall we begin?

We’d like to consider the following factors during this article while reading to help you ultimately decide on what you truly want out of your bike. 

– What intentions do you have whist using your bike? – What activities would you be performing on your bike? 

Firstly, let’s understand a bit more about these bikes and how they came to be. After all, these are two very similar bikes to own when it comes to it – beginning with the Cruiser Bikes.

A Brief History of Cruiser Vs. Hybrid Bikes


From their iconic silhouette, this easy, layback design will transport you back to the simple times of the 1930s. They were designed as an affordable alternative to the (at the time) expensive sport alternatives. Cruisers are otherwise known as a beach cruiser, combining balloon tires and upright seating posture, gaining popularity among casual bicycle enthusiasts and holidaymakers due to their heavyweight tending to keep them slow. This makes the cruisers ideal for paved roads and moderate distances. 

Going back to their origin, first manufactured by Schwinn. At the time, bikes were seen as a luxury product used mainly for recreation. When the bikes were released, it was reported that U.S. bicycle sales had taken a significant turn due to the great depressions. Marketing there designs to the youth market in the era, selling the dream of the motorbike aesthetic the Cruiser resembled. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the bike reached its peak. Brands and competitors to Schwinn released new stylish features, including details, fringed saddlebags, and even Donald Duck character designs. 

Fast forward to today, they’re the pinnacle of comfortable riding – perfect for a trip to the local cafe or a drive along the beach. Still recommended for easy riders who are looking for comfort combined with an aesthetic ideal for casual riding. Now, let’s take a look at those Hybrid Bikes. 

Ahead of the 1980s touring bikes, utility bikes, and road touring bikes were the three prominent bicycles available on the market. Sadly, although well-suited to smooth surfaces, these were not well adapted for off-road conditions. This led to the invention of the Mountain Bike, making it possible to ride off-road due to the advanced suspension, ideal for jumps and bumpy terrain. It wasn’t long after this that Hybrid Bikes began circulating, a mix of a road bike and a mountain bike, resulting in a bike fit for general-purpose riders over various terrain. 

Cruiser vs. Hybrid Bike: Pros and Cons

Now we understand a bit more about these bikes’ origins, let’s delve a little deeper, understanding a bit more about the parts and pieces to make up these bikes. 

Comfort 

First, let’s look into the factors that contribute to a more comfortable bike ride. As with a lot of pros and cons, these will result in personal preference. As for the cruiser, this bike, in particular, has been designed to offer the utmost comfort for its rider. Their iconic curved handlebars provide a sense of relaxed riding, allowing you to ride without straining your arms forward and maintain a straight posture. Slightly alternate in the hybrid’s handles, which still provides a comfortable ride, but allows the rider to lean further forward when on enduring off-road routes. Both offer the same beneficial comfortable padded seat, ideal for casual riding. While it’s worth mentioning that, the cruiser indeed features a better, wider saddle. 

Tires 

Since the hybrid still offers off-road riding, they have a slight variation on the tires to the cruisers’ design. Hybrid tires provide the thickness, to handle off-road paths – yet do not support more intense mountain biking. But, they still offer smooth sailing on regular pathed streets. On the other hand, cruisers have bigger thicker tires, designed to roll over debris without disturbing the rider, or getting punctures. However, they can’t handle off-road or dirt pathways. 

Gear Systems 

Although not necessarily the best for speed, Cruisers do often have at least on gear. When they offer a single-gear, these often are referred to as single-speed bikes. However, other designs do have 3-7 gears, offering more leverage when going up and down hills. While with Hybrids, they can have anything from several to more gear settings available. They are allowing more effortless movement at various speeds and gradients. 

Despite assisting with mixed terrain, it’s often argued that gearless bikes offer a much more comfortable ride for two reasons. Firstly, allowing the rider to focus on enjoying the ride rather than continually shifting gear. Secondly, single-speed bikes are very low maintenance bikes due to having less moving parts. 

Speed 

Whether you’re looking for a quick journey or a leisurely ride along the river can be an ultimate deciding factor between these two designs. Due to the heavyweight, that we will come to the following post; cruisers are not a fast bike. They are mostly known for their leisurely qualities; these bikes traditionally don’t have breaks; instead, they offer coaster breaks – having the user slightly pedal backward to bring the bike to a halt. It’s that or putting your feet to the floor and manual stopping it yourself, which at certain speeds comes to the rider’s risk. 

In short, hybrid bikes are not as fast as your typical road bike, due to their larger tires and upright rider position. But, they’re most certainly faster than that of the cruiser design. After all, one of the benefits that riders wanted from the hybrid was to improve speed while price outcome, maintaining comfort. Plus, they’ve got breaks to keep you steady. 

Weight + Materials

As mentioned before, Cruisers do have a much heavy body. Cruisers offer a far bulkier frame to other typical bikes, making in notoriously difficult to ride uphill. Often manufactured from Steel, this does allow for an incredibly durable design. Combined with the factors of the breaks we previously discussed, depending on the rider’s intentions, it can lead to an enjoyable or agonizing ride. As for the Hybrid bike, offering a lightweight alternative to the comfortable ride of the Cruiser and allowing ease with off-road dirt tracks, as well as a more comfortable commute when the variation of up and downhill travel. 

Price 

When it comes to the cost of both these products, as with most brands will have a significant implication in the outcome of the price. However, practically with a hybrid, you’re getting more material than you would typically with the cruiser due to the breaks, gears, and other factoring parts. Every prominent manufacture makes something between the $400-$450 range. It’s all about shopping the market for a Hybrid that offers the ideal package for the right price for yourself. Whereas, for a cruiser, since you’d be missing out on the additional features, you’d be paying anything from $200-$250 for this bike. 

Comfort Bikes Vs. Cruisers

Not to throw further confusion into the mix. If you’re still thinking that both these bikes are just missing that special something that’s helping you make your mind up. Well, you can also purchase a comfort bike. In short, these are best suited for leisurely, slow rides along pathed tracks. It’s a recommended design for those experiencing lower back pain, as it allows to user to sit in an ergonomic position, equating in pain-free riding. Unlike Cruiser bikes, they’ve got straight handlebars and brakes – giving it further similarities with the hybrid alternative while also focusing on comfort and leisure activities. 

In conclusion, it’s the utmost importance to consider your needs when considering purchasing your next ride. In short, both bikes offer comfort at the route of their design. So, if you’re looking for a ride that’s not going to leave you in pain or have difficulties with your current bike, you’ve made the right choice. When it comes to the cruiser, you’ll be getting a highly aesthetically pleasing ride, ideal for a leisurely Sunday ride along by the sea. Another advantage would be the price of these products shouldn’t set you back more than $200. However, it’s not up to the capabilities of taking you long distances, uphills, or off-road (dirt tracks) without leading to an uncomfortable ride or potentially damaging your cycle. It’s also a product that’ll require little to no maintenance when leading a busy lifestyle. On the other hand, hybrids, while being less aesthetically pleasing than the Cruiser, they do offer far many other functions to enjoy this design daily. Giving the additional capabilities and product quality, you’d be paying a slight advance on the Cruiser at around $400. While it may be harder to maintain, it allows more comfortable uphill travel, functioning breaks, but remaining comfortable for the rider’s journey.

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