Upright handlebars, large and comfortable seats, coaster brakes, pedal-forward designs and balloon tires are some of the characteristics of beach cruiser bicycles. Beach cruiser bicycles are usually single-speed bikes, but three-speed, six-speed and seven-speed models are also available. This style of bicycle has a long, cantilevered frame typically manufactured from sturdy, heavy steel or aluminum. Traditionally, beach cruiser bicycles were designed to resemble motorcycles, with some designs having simulated gas tanks and chrome fenders.
Beach cruiser bicycles are designed for casual riding in comfort, which begins with extra-wide balloon tires. Original Schwinn beach cruisers hit the market in the early 1930s and incorporated 2.125-inch balloon tires imported from Germany that could absorb abuse on rough surfaces. By the mid-1930s, competing models were released by other U.S. bicycle manufacturers.
The raised handlebars and large cushioned seats make the beach cruiser comfortable to sit upright on and ride for extended periods at a leisurely pace. The pedal-forward design allows the rider to sit on the bicycle like a chair or stool with his feet resting on the ground. The coaster brakes give the rider easy control over the bicycle's speed by simply pushing the pedals backwards and adjusting the pressure to engage the brakes.