Beach or no beach, these cruisers are a great way to commute or have a relaxing ride. With classy looks and superior comfort the best cruiser bikes balance out usefulness and looks. After miles and miles of testing these bikes, we found out why the Firmstrong Urban Man Beach Cruiser is one of the bestselling three-speed cruiser bikes. But more importantly, we found the Critical Cycles Chatham Men's Cruiser Bike, a better-priced bike that was easily comparable in nearly every way.
Firmstrong builds one of the best cruiser bikes, and they have a fantastic selection of colors. The Firmstrong Urban Man Beach Cruiser is pricey considering the features and performance. With testing and surveying hundreds of beach cruiser riders, we found the 3 speed Critical Cycles Chatham Men's Beach Cruiser to be an irresistible alternative at a much better price. However, if you have your heart set on a specific color, and if you are willing to pay more, you may want to look at the Firmstrong selection.
The price of the Critical Cycles Chatham Men's Cruiser Bike was very surprising in light of its performance being on par with higher end cruiser bikes. It sports nearly the same or similar specs as the Firmstrong in construction, size, handlebars, hub & gear, brakes, and saddle. The wider tire on the Critical Cruiser is the most obvious advantage over the Firmstrong Cruiser. If you are thoughtful on how you spend your cash and looking for the best cruiser bike for the money, you will love the Chatham.
The Firmstrong only has one size which is a 26in steel frame. Unlike other bikes, the size of a beach cruiser is less specific to the rider and is more limiting for smaller riders. The Firmstrong Beach Cruiser will fit men 5'5 and up.
Just like the Firmstrong, the Critical Cycle only comes in a 26in frame. This is the best beach cruiser size because it will comfortably fit men who are 5'5 and up.
Having a few gears on your beach cruiser is important for being able to tackle different inclines. With 3 gears in a Nexus Shimano internal hub the Frimstrong gives a good range for comfortable pedaling on the inclines, or faster speeds on flat straightaways.
Critical Cycle also offers the 3 gears along with a Sturmey Archer internal hub. Both cruisers have internal hubs that protect your drivetrain from the wear and tear of exposure, increase reliability, and extend the life of the drivetrain.
Firmstrong equips their beach cruiser with rear coaster brakes. This braking system allows for the bike to coast without pedaling, and to brake by backpedaling. It also requires no cables so it looks nice and clean.
All of the best beach cruisers have rear coaster brakes, and the Critical Cycles beach cruiser is no exception. You get the same clean look as the Firmstrong and simple braking for excellent control over the cruiser.
With a wide selection of 13 colors the Firmstrong has a great color range. A downside is that more color options often mean smaller production runs which increase the final costs of the bike.
The Critical Cycles offers 3 different options for colors. The best beach cruiser color in our opinion is the traditional matte black which they offer. Beyond that the Firmstrong has far more color options.
The Firmstrong Urban Man Beach Cruiser comes with alloy rims wrapped in wide whitewall 2.125-inch tires which will create a smoother ride with less bumps and vibrations.
The Critical Cycles Chatham Beach Cruiser has double-wall alloy rims with 2.25 inch Wanda tires which are wider than the Firmstrong tires. Wider tires on a beach cruiser supports a more stable shock resistant ride.
Firmstrong included the classic ultra comfortable Cruiser Handlebars which will position your body in a more upright posture.
Very similar to the classic cruisers, Critical Cycles opted for the Swingback Handlebars that have a cleaner horizontal angle to them. Both allow for a relaxed and comfortable ride.
The oversized seat on the Firmstrong has double coil springs to smooth the ride out and provide good seat tension for an upright riding posture.
Beach Cruisers need to be comfortable for long stretches. The well padded extra wide seat for the Critical Cycles Chatham performed equal to the Firmstrong in our long distance riding.
The best cruiser bikes for women are not that different than the mens. The biggest difference is a smaller frame called a "step through" that is designed to allow for easier standover. Firmstrong makes an Urban Ladys Beach Cruiser and we were not surprised to find it as one of the bestselling three-speed cruiser bikes for women. Like before, we found the Critical Cycles made a competing model called the Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser Bike, which is a better-priced bike that was stood up to the Firmstrong in nearly every way.
Firmstrong consistently builds one of the best cruiser bikes for men & women, and like the men's cruiser they offer a wider selection of beautiful colors. The Firmstrong Urban Lady's Beach Cruiser is priced higher than expected based on performance alone. Our testing and research for the best cruiser bikes uncovered the 3 speed Critical Cycles Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser to be a fantastic alternative at a much better price. However, like the men's bike, if you are willing to pay more for a particular color have a look at the Firmstrong selection.
With performance similar to the Firmstrong, the Critical Cycles Chatham Women's Cruiser Bike was priced surprisingly low. It's loaded with nearly the same or comparable specs as the Firmstrong in construction, handlebars, hub & gear, brakes, and saddle. The wider tire on the Critical Cycles Cruiser is the most distinct advantage over the Firmstrong. If you are cash conscious and looking for the best cruiser bike for the money, you will love the Critical Cycles Chatham Women's Cruiser Bike.
The Firmstrong comes in a 24 and 26 inch dutch style step through frame. The step through frame makes getting on and off the cruiser much easier.
The Critical Cycles Chatham comes in a 26-inch frame, and just like the Firmstrong, the Critical Cycle has a step through frame that makes getting on and off much easier, but also lowers the standover height.
Beach cruisers often need to traverse long distances that include hills and slopes. The Firmstrong has 3 gears in a Shimano internal hub to provide easy pedaling on the inclines and higher speeds on the flats.
Also offering 3 gears the Critical Cycles uses a Sturmey Archer internal hub. Both cruisers have internal hubs to protect the drivetrain from wear and tear that happens from exposure. This design increases reliability and extends the life of the drivetrain.
Firmstrong Urban Lady comes equipped with rear coaster brakes. You can coast without pedaling, and brake by backpedaling. This braking system is cableless, which looks real clean.
Keeping up with the Firmstrong, the Critical Cycles Cruiser also has rear coaster brakes. Clean looks and simple backpedaling to brake provides excellent control.
The Firmstrong has a few more color options at 6 total. Having 2 sizes and 6 colors often means smaller production runs which can increase the bikes overall cost.
The Critical Cycles offers 3 different options for colors including Coral, Sand and Sky Blue. All three very beachy colors that are well balanced with the seat, rims and grip colors.
The Firmstrong Urban Lady Beach Cruiser sports alloy rims and wide whitewall 2.125-inch tires to create a smooth ride by absorbing bumps along the way.
The Critical Cycles Chatham Women's Beach Cruiser has double-wall alloy rims wrapped in slightly wider 2.25 inch Wanda tires. These wider tires on the Critical Cycles will create absorb even more of the bumps in the ride.
Firmstrong uses Cruiser Handlebars which will position your body in a more upright posture. Slightly more flared out to the sides than the Critical Cycles bars.
Very similar to the classic cruisers, Critical Cycles uses a bar called the Swingback that have straighter lines and angles to them. Both allow for good posture and a comfortable long ride.
The Firmstrong Urban Lady Beach Crusier uses double coil springs under the seat to create a calm ride and just enough support for an upright riding posture.
Critical Cycles makes their seat extra wide and with cushy padding. Both seats are equally comfortable for long distance rides.