Bikes are a great way to navigate beaches and beach communities. They allow riders to explore areas that couldn't otherwise be reached on foot, and in busy beach neighborhoods, bikes eliminate the hassle of parking. But pedaling over sand, especially with a beach tote in hand, isn't easy. That's where beach cruisers come in. Their fat tires make it simple to ride in damp, sandy conditions, and their design allows bicyclists to sit comfortably upright and take in the sights. Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review looks at how these cruisers stack up against other options.
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What Is the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser?
Firmstrong manufactures more than 30 different styles of cruisers for men, women, and children. The cruisers are designed in Hermosa Beach, California, the epicenter of beach cruising. Like most classic cruisers, the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser has fat, white-wall tires and a sleek frame that features a simple design. Our Firmstrong Beach cruiser review found that by allowing riders to sit upright, these bikes ease back discomfort. Although they're great for beach biking, Firmstrong cruisers also work well for weekend jaunts to the farmers' market, leisurely rides around town, or even as a commuter bike.
Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review found that these bikes have a number of design specifications that set them apart from other bicycles.
What Material Is a Firmstrong Beach Cruiser's Frame Made of?
Firmstrong cruiser frames are made out of steel, which is a durable material that's also heavier than the aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber many other bike frames are made out of. Some riders find bikes with steel frames more difficult to lift up onto bike racks. Steel-framed bikes are also more prone to rusting if left in wet conditions. Their clear benefit is that steel-framed bikes absorb more shock and are less bumpy than lighter-weight aluminum bikes.
How Difficult Are Firmstrong Cruisers to Maintain?
Classic beach cruisers like the ones Firmstrong makes are designed with simplicity in mind. Although multi-speed models are available, most cruisers have just one speed and a basic brake system that involves reversing the direction of the pedal. Because they often lack multi-speed gear mechanisms and sophisticated braking systems, our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review found that these bikes are much easier to maintain.
What's the Wheel Size on a Firmstrong Cruiser?
Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser Review found that these bikes come with wheels that are either 24 or 26 inches in diameter. A rider's height will ultimately decides which size bike, and bike wheel, is best. Wheels that are 26 inches in diameter work well for adults who are at least five feet tall. Riders who are between four and five feet tall — usually teens and small adults — will be better served by a 24-inch bike tire.
How Many Different Styles of Cruisers Are There?
Classic cruisers position the rider in an upright position with high handlebars that can be gripped without the need to lean forward over the front of the bike. But other styles of cruisers — low-ride cruisers and stretch cruisers — position the rider so they are sitting lower and further back on the bike, similar to the way motorcycles are ridden. Firmstrong makes all three types of cruisers.
How Fast Can I Go on a Firmstrong Beach Cruiser?
Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review found that these bikes can be ridden anywhere from three to 15 miles per hour.
Can I Use a Firmstrong Beach Cruiser to Commute?
Although they were initially designed for use on sandy shores and paths, the ease and comfort with which beach cruisers can be ridden make them a viable option for those looking for a commuter bike. Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review found that the company's multi-speed bikes may be better options for commuting. Firmstrong's multi-speed beach cruisers, available in three- and 21-speeds, have smoother treads that are better suited for urban environments. They also have handbrakes, which offer additional safety when braking in congested areas or on hills.
Beach cruisers range in price from $175 to $350, and the Firmstrong cruiser comes in on the upper half of that range. Firmstrong bikes are sold by specialty bike retailers, on the company's website, and from online marketplaces like Amazon.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products that are available on the market to see how they compare.
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Like most traditional beach cruisers, the Firmstrong cruiser is a minimalist bike without a lot of extra features. The bike has coaster brakes, allowing you to brake by pedaling in reverse. This bike doesn't have fenders, but it does have a guard that protects pant cuffs from getting caught in the chain. This cruiser is easy to get going from a stop.
Some users said that assembling this bike was difficult and time-consuming. For an additional fee, you can order the bike pre-assembled.
The Firmstrong Beach Cruiser offers a comfortable, stable ride on an oversized seat with dual springs. The handlebars are wide, allowing riders to easily place their hands and arms on the foam grips. This bike comfortably accommodates men ranging from 5-feet 4-inches in stature to 6-feet 2-inches. It has a 300-pound weight limit.
The Firmstrong Beach Cruiser has a steel frame and 26-inch aluminum wheels with white-wall balloon tires. The knobby treads on the tires are ideal for riding over sand and dirt roads. This bike is available in single-speed, three-speed, and 21-speed models. The multi-speed versions of this bike have handbrakes and tires with smoother treads that are more conducive to city riding.
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The Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser is a classic cruiser with a sleek and simple design, 26-inch wheels, and high handlebars that allow riders to sit comfortably upright. Like many other beach cruisers, the Chatham has a steel frame that some may find heavy, and the spare design doesn't include a lot of extra bells and whistles. But this bike, which is available in single-speed, three-speed, and seven-speed models, is comfortable to ride and easy to pedal while exploring beach towns and sandy roads.
This bike has wide handlebars with foam grips. Coaster brakes make it easy to stop by pedaling backward. This bike offers a simple design that comes without fenders or a carrying rack.
Assembly of the Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser requires time as well as basic tools. The job can be done in less than an hour.
The Retrospec Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser is comfortable and easy to ride. This frame of this bike has a step-through design — an opening in the frame between the seat and the front wheel — that makes it easy to mount and stand over while stopped. An extra-wide seat with a faux leather look and extra-wide pedals make this bike comfortable and easy to ride. This bike has a 200-pound weight limit.
This bike is available in single-speed, three-speed, and seven-speed models. The multi-speed models have a drivetrain that is precise and long-lasting. The double-walled wheels on this bike are durable and flat-resistant, meaning you can spend more time riding and less time on bike repairs and maintenance.
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Firmstrong's Bruiser Man Seven Speed Beach Cruiser has many of the same amenities that the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser offers, but with a more masculine look and additional speeds. It's also great for larger men. The 19-inch extended frame offers additional space between the rider and the handlebars. Still, this bike is a classic cruiser with features like balloon tires, an oversized seat, and high handlebars. Think of it as a beach cruiser for dudes. In addition to the seven-speed model, this bike comes in single-speed, three-speed, and 21-speed models.
The Firmstrong Bruiser comes with many of the features that are commonly found on beach cruisers, including high handlebars with comfortable handle grips, a sleek and streamlined design, and coaster brakes that make it possible to stop by pedaling in reverse.
The Firmstrong Bruiser Man Seven Speed Beach Cruiser comes partially assembled. For an extra fee, you can order this bike fully assembled.
The Bruiser has a number of features that build-in comfort, including an oversized seat. Firmstrong says this bike is best suited for men who are between 5-foot 4-inches and 6-foot 4-inches in stature. This bike has a 300-pound weight limit.
This cruiser has a heavy steel frame with a thick top tube that gives this bike a beefier and more masculine look. The 26-inch wheels come with balloon tires that have a tread that's mild enough to be suitable for both beach and urban riding.
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If you love Jimmy Buffett, chances are you'll love the Margaritaville Coast Is Clear Women's Beach Cruiser. This bike features the Margaritaville logo on the frame and has a parrot emblazoned on the steel chain guard. This bike also comes with palm-patterned fenders and a plastic parrot that is attached to the handlebars and doubles as a horn. Aside from the heavily themed design of this cruiser, this is a comfortable and easy-to-ride seven-speed bike.
The Margaritaville Coast Is Clear Women's Beach Cruiser is not as traditional as the other cruisers we've evaluated as part of our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser Review. As a result, this bike comes with a larger range of amenities, including a removable cup holder and a wire mesh basket. The most notable features on this bike are the Maragaritaville-themed decorative elements.
This bike requires some assembly, but it can be ordered fully assembled for an additional fee.
High-rise handlebars, a padded seat, and an easy-to-mount step-through frame makes this a comfortable bike to ride. This bike has a 250-pound weight limit.
This bike has an aluminum frame that is lighter than some of the other bikes we've reviewed, but it also absorbs less shock and results in a bumpier ride. This is a seven-speed bike, and the gear shift is easy to operate. This bike has fenders, whitewall tires, and a braking mechanism that can be controlled from the handles.
Firmstrong Beach Cruiser Review: Conclusion
If you're looking for a comfortable bike for cruising beach paths, the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser is a great option to consider. This bike is a classic cruiser that offers many of the amenities that are traditionally found on these types of bikes, including whitewall balloon tires, an oversized seat, and high handlebars that allow the rider to sit comfortably upright. It's also easy to pedal even when riding on sand.
There are some drawbacks. Our Firmstrong Beach Cruiser review found the steel frame of this bike to be heavy, especially if you need to lift it onto a bike rack. And some users have complained that the reflectors on this bike aren't large enough.
Overall, the Firmstrong Beach Cruiser is a great option for those who are looking for a traditional beach bike.
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