Retro Bike and Beach Cruiser Bike Buying Guide

Retro bike and beach cruisers embody fun, freedom and convenience, with features like full length mudguards and chainguards so you can ride them in ordinary clothes. They’re bullet-proof bikes that you can just jump on and roll to the pub for an afternoon with mates, check for waves at the beach or cruise to the shops. Nothing else matters when the sun is shining and you’re looking this good! But what are you looking for in a retro bike or a beach cruiser?

Check out our retro bike and beach cruiser bike buying guide and you'll be able to find a fantastic bike to suit your lifestyle! The main things to look for in a retro or cruiser style bike are the frame style, the main accessories, components such as gears, brakes and wheels and finally the colour.

Frame Style

Beach cruisers generally feature a laidback geometry, wide handlebars and fat, 26” tyres. Looking closer, some designs will feature a double or triple top-tube for a classic style. Cruisers are generally constructed from steel, which is tough and inexpensive.


The main accessories that you should look for on any retro style bike or beach cruiser are the mudguards, chainguard, and kickstands. Full length mudguards mean that water left on the road after rain isn’t a problem. You’ll stay dry. The chainguard also prevents your trouser legs brushing against the chain and getting a smudge of oil. A kickstand is a simple accessory that means you don’t need to lean your bike up against a wall or post; being able to stop anywhere extends the convenience of your bike. Prop it, don’t drop it, and jump into the surf over summer.


With brakes, always look for ‘dual pivot caliper brakes’ or ‘v-brake’ in your handbrakes. These modern styles of brake are far more reliable, powerful and safe than traditional calipers brakes. The ‘dual pivot caliper brakes’ look a little more traditional, but the ‘v-brakes’ can also be found on high quality retro style bikes intended for regular use. Some singlespeed retro bikes and cruisers will feature a coaster brake, or back-pedal brake, instead of a rear hand-brake. This is great for laid back riding, makes for cleaner lines and keeps things simple.


When it comes to gears, a singlespeed is a nice, easy option that’s very low maintenance, and is very in keeping with the character of these laidback, retro bikes. Going to a 7-speeds or similar is great if you need to tackle any hills or headwinds. Wheels With retro and cruiser bikes, they’re almost always 26-inch wheels, like those found on mountain bikes. The truth is that beach cruisers had them first! They’re wide, tough wheels great for mixed terrain. A big footprint gives heaps of comfort and control. With your tyres, a classic look like whitewall or cream coloured tyres is a great way to go, especially with a modern, puncture resistant tyre to avoid any flats! Always look for alloy double-wall rims, which are much stronger and lighter than old style single-wall rims.


Often the most important part of your decision is colour. Matte black is traditional and tough. White is luxurious, more beauty than bruiser. Retro orange is a classic 70’s colour, looking just at home next your kombi van as it does cruising to a cafe. No matter what style and colour you go for, choosing a good quality retro or beach cruiser style bike with modern components means a comfortable and classic bike. If you’d like some more information, give us a call or come into one of our stores for a warm welcome and friendly advice. In the meantime, check out our full range of retro and cruiser bikes here.