The best kids’ cruiser bike
If you're looking for a way to get your kids to enjoy the great outdoors, a kids' cruiser bike is an excellent option.
Cruiser bikes are designed for casual riding, either to a friend's house or down the boardwalk. While they have a simple, sometimes throwback design, they're stable and durable, so they'll last until your kid outgrows them. As they're designed for leisure riding, kids' cruiser bikes often have baskets or rear racks to hold snacks and accessories while they're on the go.
Ready to invest in a kids' cruiser bike? Keep reading our buying guide, which includes a few reviews of our favorites at the end. Our top choice from Firmstrong has an oversized seat, offering a comfortable, cushioned ride.
Considerations when choosing kids' cruiser bikes
Finding the right size cruiser bike means kids are safe as well as comfortable. Height affects the frame and wheel sizes. Kids up to three feet tall, for example, do best with a 10" frame and 16" wheels; kids up to 6 feet tall will likely need an 18" frame and 26" wheels. As you can imagine, there are plenty of sizes in between as well.
The vast majority of kids' cruiser bikes are one speed, as they're intended for pleasure riding. It's worth considering a cruiser bike with more than one speed, however, if your area has uneven terrain or quite a few hills.
Kids need to remain seated when riding their cruiser bikes, which is why most seats tend to be wider with extra cushioning. For maximum comfort, look for models with seat adjustability features or ones with advanced spring systems.
The handlebars should provide an ergonomic, slip-free grip. Some bikes feature molded grips on handlebars, whereas others are covered in rubber and scored to achieve a nonslip design. Regardless, this often-overlooked feature is an important one, as it improves steering and control.
Generally speaking, kids' cruiser bikes will have wider tires for better shock absorption. This thicker design is also ideal for novice riders, as it helps them maintain balance as they master riding technique.
One-speed cruiser bikes will have coaster brakes, in which braking is achieved with backpedaling. Multispeed bikes, however, will come with hand brakes.
Let's face it: kids get dirty when they play outside, and riding a bike is no exception. That's why most kids' cruiser bikes are outfitted with fenders to deter water and mud. This means kids can ride over puddles and soft ground without ending up completely covered in it.
Because kids' cruiser bikes are intended for casual pleasure riding, it's no surprise that many come with accessories or attachments. Front baskets are by far the most popular, however you'll come across panniers, coolers, drink holders, or rear racks. In the event the bike doesn't come with these, you can purchase them separately and attach them yourself.
Budget-friendly kids' cruiser bikes cost around $100, but for those built to last, expect to spend closer to $200. These are better suited for older kids, and will feature better construction. If you're looking for a feature-driven multispeed model, expect to spend well over $200.
Q. How hard is it to attach training wheels to a kids' cruiser bike?
A. It's pretty straightforward, especially if you watch a video tutorial to walk you through it. With that said, the design of some kids' cruiser bikes can make installation somewhat challenging. In this case, you'll either need to make slight modifications, or bring it to a bike shop to handle it instead.
Q. How do I clean my kids' cruiser bike?
A. Your best bet is to use soft sponges or rags to clean and wipe down painted areas. An abrasive scrubber brush, on the other hand, is ideal to clean spokes. While it's tempting to simply hose it down, the water pressure can damage various parts of the bike.
Kids' cruiser bikes we recommend
Best of the best: Firmstrong's Urban Girl Single-Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
Our take: Throwback style in a pink finish with a very comfy seat.
What we like: Oversize dual-spring seat for added comfort. Fits wide height range for girls between 3'2" and 4'4".
What we dislike: Some modifications may be necessary when adding training wheels.
Best bang for your buck: Kent's 24" La Jolla Cruiser Bike
Our take: Step-through frame design in a classic, sturdy bike.
What we like: Affordable option for kids ages 12 and up. Adjustments are easy, and the front basket is convenient for day trips.
What we dislike: You'll need to assemble the bike, though it's pretty straightforward.
Choice 3: Huffy's Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike
Our take: Fun tropical-inspired design for kids ages 5 to 9.
What we like: Fine detail with decorative accents and safety features. Comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
What we dislike: At the top of the price range.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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