Classic or Beach
Classic cruisers have wide, comfortable seats, upright handlebars and a sturdy frame that may come complete with the decorative "tank" meant to resemble a motorcycle gas tank. Also known as beach cruiser, traditional cruisers feature fat, whitewall tires, 26-inch wheels and often a pair of fenders. While cruisers are made to mimic the classic style, they feature modern upgrades, like a lightweight aluminum rather than a heavy metal frame.
Stretch cruisers, as the name implies, have a longer frame than the classic cruisers. The length is most evident in the stretch from the seat to the handlebars, making for a slightly reclined ride and laid-back feel.
Low-rider cruisers seat the rider a bit lower than their classic counterparts. Low-rider seats are often longer than the traditional cruiser and sometimes feature the once-popular banana seat. These cruisers are designed to mimic low-rider motorcycles.
Like the low rider, chopper cruisers are also fashioned after a motorcycle design. Chopper cruisers feature the same prominent front wheel found in chopper motorcycles, along with the same frame design. The front wheel angles out from the rest of frame, attached to the handlebars at about a 45-degree angle. The rest of the bicycle is low, ridden with arms outstretched and held at an upward angle. Chopper seats are often nestled into the frame, right above the rear wheel.
Although cruisers were traditionally made with only a single speed, some now have different gears. A number of cruisers come with up to three speeds while others will go as high as seven. The design of the bicycle remains the same as the traditional one-speed cruisers, but a gear-shifting mechanism is attached to the handlebar and the appropriate gears to the wheels.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.