Choosing the Right
Comfort or Cruiser Bikes
There are those that ride because of their competitive nature, and for these types of people a racing road bike or a professional mountain bike are probably more appropriate. But for most people, riding their bike is more about a little bit of exercise and an enjoyable ride on a Sunday afternoon. The latter definition certainly describes how I’d see myself, anyway. I love getting out on a Sunday afternoon for a nice bike ride and sometimes I do this with my wife, but most of the time it’s just a solitary ride and some great exercise.
If you’re like me and you ride a bike simply for a little fun and exercise, you may be best to consider a comfort or cruiser bike. These types of bikes are designed to provide a comfortable ride and are great for the family that wants to spend a little time together. The key features on these bikes focus on your comfort by providing you with things such as well-padded seats, flat handlebars, and, quite often, some convenient storage space for groceries or picnic baskets.
A Little Bit of Storage
Comfort and cruiser bikes are, as their name suggests, about a laid-back pace and convenience. These are the types of bikes you want to take for a ride on the boardwalk or for a picnic in the country. If this describes the type of bike you’re looking for, you’re probably also looking for a bike that has some storage capacity; the best bikes in this category come equipped with the rear storage racks for a convenient place to store that picnic basket.
The question is, what makes a good storage rack? You should be looking for one that is wide enough to handle a decent payload and strong enough to take some weight without bending. Some bikes even come equipped with an extra front storage rack or basket, although this is not as common as the rear rack.
Built for Comfort
If you’re riding a comfort bike you’re obviously interested in the comfort features on the bike. These aren’t the types of bikes on which you’ll be doing a lot of hill-climbing or quick paced road-racing which might require you to do a lot of standing up on the pedals. On this type of bike most of your time will be spent in a seated position, which means comfort is of primary importance.
You’ll want a nice, comfortable set of handlebars that can be easily reached from the seat without bending over and, perhaps most importantly, you’ll want a well-padded seat. It’s best to look for a seat that’s nice and wide with lots of padding and, if you can find one, it’s also great to have a seat with springs underneath for extra cushioning. These springs act as a shock absorber that soaks up the impact from the road below you so that you can have a nice, comfortable ride.
Fenders and Guards
One more thing that you’ll want to look for on a comfort or cruiser bike are features that are designed to protect your clothing. These bikes aren’t ones that most people ride with bicycle shorts and racing gear – in fact it’s far more likely you’ll be riding one of these bikes with your normal, everyday clothing on. With that in mind you’ll want to make sure it comes equipped with both front and rear fenders. These simple pieces of equipment are designed to absorb dirt and other materials thrown up from your tires so that you don’t have to worry about getting your clothes dirty. If you’re really worried about keeping your clothes clean you might also want to consider taking things a step further and looking for a bike with a chain guard. There’s nothing worse than getting some nice grease on your pant legs from your chain, and a chain guard blocks any contact between your clothing and the chain.
Ultimately It’s about a Comfortable Ride
In this article we’ve mostly talked about the convenience items that comfort and cruiser bikes include. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have more technical components such as brakes and gears, but in most cases these include basic parts and not the sophisticated components you’d find on mountain bikes or racing bikes. For this type of bike all you need to know is that they work properly and are made by reliable manufacturers – as long as that’s true you should have years of enjoyment from a comfort or cruiser bike.