Cruiser bike for family recommendations

Discussion in 'Outdoor World' started by purr1n, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Need some cruiser bike recommendations. Simple gearing. A 3 speed (or 5 or 8) would be fine. $500 range. There seems to be a lot of brands (630, firmstrong, pure cycles, etc.), but sure of quality though. I have no idea and a quick glance seems they are more about branding that caters to hipsters.

    I am tending toward a "cruiser" from one of the more reputable brands like Specialized. Bought a Specialized little kids bike 10 years ago and it was the best thing ever, good components that still work, good bearings, etc.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    Why not release your inner BMX with a modern day cruiser size version? Remember the movie “Rad” ?

    I have a 2017 Redline PL26, and it’s a blast.

    18569838-F74C-4DF6-B4DA-6D9399E3D4C3.jpeg

    SE makes a few retro BMX style 26” and 29” models for a bit more $$$.

    86CD0F26-1862-4379-81D2-7D1CB3B26D98.jpeg

    However the single speed is not ideal, if dealing with a lot of hills.
     
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  3. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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  4. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    I liked my older Trek bikepath bike kind of knobby trail tires. which had a comfortable upright position and solid gears and brakes. Seat and fork had shocks but seat tended to get loose in the left / right plane. Served me well and still around when visitors come.

    Upgraded to a Specialized Sirrus, massive reduction in weight, fast as hell, and comfy. Still mostly upright but skinny tires. Great seat. Just an all around great bike. I put clip pedals on and it is great. You can find them used in your price range. I think new they are about $700+

    although these are a departure from a cruiser, I think both companies make decent cruiser models.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Hmm BMXey. Sounds like a better idea than a cruiser. Can hop curbs and do wheelies. Need a few gears tho because of hills.

    Electra Moto 8i seems interesting, kind of like a cruiser / BMX hybrid.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  6. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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  7. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Marv, point at a bike you like and I'll tell you if it's a piece of shit or good deal. Can go into as much or as little detail as you want. Been in the "industry" for about 25 years now. Or feel free to PM me.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    OK, here's a list, feel free to suggest higher line alternatives.*

    Specialized Riprock 24 $525
    Specialized Roll (standard) $535
    Specialized Alibi C $500
    Electra Super Moto 8i $949
    Marin Nicasio RC $899
    630 In the Barrel (7) $429

    (are those internal gear hubs any good?


    *I'm totally willing to pay more for a good shifter. The first thing I did when I rode single-track was toss the middle of the line shifters and get TOTL shifters, but kept dérailleurs until I killed them. This was another time where a really good mountain bike that could take punishment could be had for $1000.
     
  9. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Specialized Riprock 24: This is good value for money, I wouldn't spend much more unless the bike is getting ridden daily, or beat to shit on singletrack. When I sell kids bikes, I try to put things in the context that kids grow through different bike sizes/wheel sizes, and the parents should want to maximize how much fun the kid has on the bike, rather than endlessly needing to be fixed at a bike shop because the parents "undershopped" the bike. Kids can be hard on bikes, but, it's a good teachable moment: learn to respect nice things, and treat them with care, and they'll last longer and bring you more enjoyment. My shop has started a trade-in program where we partner with Bicycle Bluebook, so as your kid grows out of a mid-tier bike (which isn't a waste of money like a department store bike), you can get some value back on trade-in from of the bike after 2 years, and put it towards a new 26-er or 29-er.

    Specialized Roll: This is a good bike for riding to go get ice cream, or riding on the bike trails at a local park. If you're spending more than 60-90 minutes riding, you're probably going to want to go with the Alibi. My biggest gripe with the Roll is it uses an odd tire size: 650B (also called 27.5") is halfway between a 26" and 700C, or 29-er. It's a tire size that's gaining popularity, but a lot of bike shops might not have replacement tires in stock, if they don't carry a bike brand that has 650B bikes in the lineup. It's not a deal breaker, but just be cognizant of that when you get your first flat tire. Also, be sure to test ride the Roll and compare directly to the Alibi - some folks don't care for the "pedal-forward" comfort geometry. It makes it a good bit harder to pedal up steeper hills because the ride position isn't optimizing efficiency; it's optimizing relaxed-coasting-with-an-ice-cream-cone-in-your-hand-stability.

    Specialized Alibi: This is a straight up Townie bike. Great for going to get ice cream, but efficient enough that if you wanted to ride to work (less than 10 miles), or the grocery store, the bike won't be holding you back. It has a much wider gear range than the Roll, so faster down hills, easier up hills. This bike is a bit like VW Golf Sportwagon (not the AllTrack, though).

    Electra Super Moto: This bike is sweet. It doesn't have comfort geometry, so it's going to feel more sporty than the Specialized Roll. The Nexus internal planetary hub is pretty bombproof, BUT, most mechanics aren't going to want to fix one if it goes south, rather, just replace the whole rear wheel for $350, or re-lace a new hub into the rim for $200. I'll reiterate, tho, that the Nexus stuff is really durable under normal riding conditions. The other upside on the Super Moto is it's running hydro disc brakes - these are a pretty significant step up from the rim brakes on the Roll or Alibi. Possible downside on the Moto is it, too, is running 650B tires. Also, now that Trek bought out Electra, warranty/QC stuff has gotten better. I don't hesitate recommending them now - 10 years ago, I wouldn't have.

    Marin Nicasio RC: This bike is like a VW AllTrack but with the 2.0T from the GTI stuffed under the hood, or the 1.8T with a mild tune. It's got a little more performance oriented geometry than either the Alibi or the Super Moto so it's going to ride a little "snappier". Worth the extra coin for three reasons: Better brakes than most bikes at it's price point (Shimano rather than Tektro); better/lighter wheels; and, I prefer the thumb shifter to the grip shifter on the Electra. The blue colorway is pretty nice looking, too. This bike is also running 650Bs, so just be aware. Marin is a good second tier brand, and generally they manage to spec their bikes with a little more care than the bigger brands like Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. But, from the retailer's perspective, the margins are smaller on Marin bikes.

    SixThreeZero: BigFatNope - this is barely a step up from a department store bike.

    One broad reality in the industry is that if the bike is coming from/assembled in China, it's mostly junk - if it's coming from Taiwan, it's probably not junk.

    Lastly, one can nit pick parts spec between models all day long, but what's more important is how the bike fits you. If you don't like how the bike rides (geometry), or find the bike uncomfortable (fit), it doesn't matter what parts are on the bike because you probably not going to ride it enough for the quality of the front derailleur to make any difference.
     
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  10. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I'm far from a bike expert, but I'm really happy with the 27.5 "plus" wheel size on my new mountain bike. The 2.8 or 3 inch wide tires are a nice compromise between my old 26er and a true fat bike with the 4 inch boots (which are hugely popular around here), and the rolling diameter is very close to a 29er with narrower tires. My bike was available in either 27.5+ or 29" configurations (in fact you can theoretically switch between them, at considerable cost) and I liked the + bike better. It's worth test riding both if you can to see which you prefer, they are quite different.

    Also, this is my first bike I'm running tubeless (with sealant), and if you hate flats like I do that is certainly an option worth considering. Saved me changing a tube on the trail once already this spring.
     
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  11. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    My gripe with 650B is more industry-wide. Most folks shopping entry-level "neighborhood" bikes (comfort hybrid, fitness hybrid, townie hybrid) don't need to be able to run either 650B, 27.5+ or 29er. It's like thinking that making a Samsung HTIB with a tube circuit is a "valuable" market distinction. The bike manufacturers love the idea because you can build one frameset and, by putting 3 different wheelsets on it, sell to three different customers. And, because forced obsolescence is the way the bike industry "innovates". Don't get me started on hub spacing, or bottom bracket standards.
     
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  12. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Can you elaborate on hub spacing and bottom bracket standards?
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Thank you sir. It looks like the Marin is out. I suddenly realized now that it has more of a road bike geometry. The Roll might be too relaxed.

    So much as changed now since the 90s and 00s when I was more active. I just see straight forks now with rake angle to get the desired trail. Hydraulic brakes, gears in the hub, and 27.5 wheels (which actually sounds super appealing to me). The Super Moto 8i does look kind of cool, but I can't find anything about it's standard size, and the first thing I would do is get rid of that twist shifter of death.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I still have my bike tools (used to buy frames and build them up). Do you know how many fricking BB tools I have? And that was 15 years ago.
     
  15. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    I have a 2009 Swobo Folsom, it's a blast. I love doing coaster brake tricks. It's scary going down steep hills though.
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Rolling hills around my neighborhood, so I definitely need more than 1 or 3 gears.

    Looks like the Electra Moto 8i only comes in one size, which is a little too big for me at 17.5" (took a bit of research on the Trek's dealer's part since they didn't have it in stock.) It's too bad. I was sold on the internal gears in the rear wheel hub - although I would have probably replaced the stupid twist shifter.

    Since I was at the Trek dealer, I took a look at the Roscoe 6 priced just over $1k. The next size down from 17.5" was 15.5" which seemed to be a good fit for me (actually a bit too small, but would perfect for my wife or daughter who have longer legs and the same inseam as me, or very soon). The Roscoe has the 27.5 wheels with the fat tires. 1x chainring, so no front derailleur BS. Nice big metal tubes, actually a bit unnerving when viewed from the top how wide the top tube looks along with the super wide handlebars.

    [​IMG]

    So it looks like it's back to mountain bikes again, especially with the suspension fork. I wasn't too impressed with the components, with the coil spring shocks and mid-line Shimano M6000 shifters, which I knew didn't give me confidence, and in turn, wouldn't give my daughter confidence either. (This is why she asked for a single speed in the first place, after experiencing crappy components on bikes.)

    So I came home and started thinking. The brands came back to me. I've owned one Schwinn and two Trek road bikes (two from frames I purchased from others and then built up), and two MTBs: a Specialized Hardrock, and then a GT Avalanche. For cruising around town and single-track, my favorite was definitely the Avalanche. In the 90s, a roommate had a GT Zaskar that I loved, so the Avalanche was the next best thing. I tossed the POS LX rear shifter and replaced it with an XTR, so I was ready to go on the trails north of Wilder State Ranch to the west of Santa Cruz. Oh, those were good times.

    Anyway, lo and behold, all these brands and models still exist. The Rockhopper Pro 1x looked interesting but at $1300 - you get what you pay for - good parts. I noticed GT still had the Avalanche hardtail (and apparently with the same geometry) with 27.5" wheels, with the Expert version having a 1x chainring and better components. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a place in the world that had it in stock.

    However, I did find a 2018 GT Pantera Elite (1x11) in S size on semi-clearance so I placed an order for it.

    [​IMG]

    Some minor differences in geometry, namely slightly longer wheelbase, but same seat tube and head tube angle and the same offset as the Avalanche. Funny how things come full circle. I might have to install a shorter stem for wife and daughter, but we'll see how it goes. They might have longer arms than me too.

    I did wish the Electra Super Moti 8i came in a smaller size. The 17.5" frame might have been OK, but the standover height seemed a bit high for the seat tube length. Anyway, thanks for all of the suggestions offered. I think in the end, I just couldn't go for a lazy cruiser, also considering that my wife's previous bike was a Rockhopper. The MTB geometry is a good compromise where I can still pass the rich old dudes in their $6500 space-aged road bikes and fancy biking pants (it is Calabasas ya' know) while not having the punishing ride of road bikes.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  17. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Good choice. You can't go wrong with a GT, they make great bikes. My last bike was a 2001 GT Outpost and with regular maintenance I rode it pretty much daily up until last year. The technology has come a long way in that time though and I really wanted disc brakes and bigger tires so last summer I bought a Trek Fuel EX 5. Hopefully I can get 15 + years of use out of it as well.

    I still have the GT - with some skinny studded tires it is my dedicated winter bike now. I expect it will keep on going for some time yet.
     
  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    +1 for GT. For about 10 years I rode a 1995 Zaskar LE. I loved that bike.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    And holy crap. They have electronic shifters / derailleurs for bicycles now? Haha. Please don't tell me they can also work in automatic transmission mode.
     
  20. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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    Sorry.
    There are a couple other small companies that have also done this.
     
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