Currently recognized as the posterchild of recreational and carefree cycling, the Beach Cruiser dominates any discussion geared around the comfortability and accessibility of modern bikes. However, as the origins of the cruiser date back nearly a century ago, so do the original motives for designing and manufacturing such a particular bike.
Lead by the efforts of Schwinn, the first cruisers were an immediate response to the economic crisis ongoing during the 1930s. Due to the great depression, bicycle sales plummeted drastically as they were seen more as a recreational luxury than a utilitarian necessity. Frank W. Schwinn’s response to the overturned market was the development of the B10E Motorbike, essentially a motorless version of a 1930’s motorcycle. Schwinn’s B10E showcased several distinctive features such as a heavy cantilevered frame with two top bars and thick ‘balloon’ tires giving the bike a more grand appearance than its sportier competitors. In addition to its hardened appearance and equally hardened resilience, the B10E was marketed at a more economical price than its competitors adding an affordability factor to its bucket of perks.
The cruiser bicycle reached its heyday during the mid-twentieth century as a result of the shifting social attitudes during the post-war baby boom. As profits grew within the cruiser bicycle market, trailing bicycle franchises began to invest finances into the production of their own cruiser cycle line. As competition grew within the market, companies such a Huffy, Columbia and Roadmaster began to experiment with the design and trinkets that came with their bikes. Companies furthered the success of their own line and the market as a whole by enticing consumers and investors with novelties such as AM-Radios, battery powered headlights and duck imitating horns.
With the introduction of sleeker imported sports roadsters, the beloved cruiser began its recede into the memories of the early 50s. As Americans became infatuated with European cycles and nimble multi-geared bicycles, cruisers became nothing more than a staple at local garage sales. Despite its overall decline in consumer popularity, the Cruiser still woo’d the hearts and souls of a certain niche. Having a wider surface area, the cruisers tires naturally performed well on flat land of all terrains, including sand. Realizing the reliability that these Cruisers offered the ‘beach bum’ demographic consisting of surfers and beach connoisseurs alike, remained loyal to these now dated, weighty bicycles. As the late 50s and early 60s brought the decline in cruiser popularity, the 70s brought a new name for the line of bikes; Larry Mcneely, the owner and dealer of Recycled Bikes in California rebranded the Cruiser Bicycle, cleverly referring to his newly refurbished Cruisers as the ‘Beach Cruiser’ we’ve come to know today.
Despite the Beach Cruisers dominant presence in bike shops and lines all over the world, their popularity has continued to stagnate since the beginning of the 21st century. Beach Cruisers, however, have leant themselves a new line of cycles, inspiring a wave of contemporary hybrid bikes recognized for their expressive frames and exalted for their much lighter build and much more efficient riding capacity. The Loco Cycle FG Cruiser® reinterprets almost 100 years of Cruiser design and engineering, birthing a new breed of bikes; having combined the efficiency of a modern fixie with the historic stylings of a beach cruiser. The FG Cruiser® performs as if it were a fixie with a body kit, or an overhauled beach cruiser.
Featured bike in photo: FG Cruiser® 26" Crush model
Featuring a lighter frame, a better drivetrain, thinner wheels and more aggressive handlebars the FG Cruiser® transcends its predecessors outperforming the traditional cruiser while still being more comfortable than the standard fixie. No longer, does a bike with ‘cruiser’ in its title have to be restrained to the boundaries of a beach boardwalk.