History of Beach Cruiser Bikes-
Schwinn developed the Cruiser at a time when U.S. bicycle sales had declined sharply due to the Great Depression; adults purchased few bicycles, which were seen as luxury products intended largely for sport or recreation. In response, Schwinn conceived a sturdier, affordable bicycle designed for the more resilient youth market — originally marketing the Schwinn B-10E Motorbike — which resembled a motorcycle but carried no motor — in 1933. Schwinn adapted features from the Henderson and Excelsior motorcycles his company had built during the 1920s, including a heavy “cantilevered” frame with two top tubes and 2.125-inch wide “balloon” tires from Germany. The resulting bicycle could endure abuse that could damage other bicycles. Within two years, other bicycle manufacturer in the USA introduced competing balloon-tire bikes.
Cruisers were popular throughout the 1930s and 40s and gained greater postwar success. Their combination of substantial weight (some models weighing over 50 pounds), single speed mechanicals, and wide tires made the bicycles primarily suited to flat terrain — and were popular with paperboys and bicycle couriers.
Competing firms including Roadmaster, Columbia, Shelby, Monark, and Huffy used styling features and distinctive models to attract buyers — including a Donald Duck bike with quacking horn, 'cowboy' models named after Gene Autry or Hopalong Cassidy, and details such as fringed saddlebags, capgun holsters, springer fork suspensions, motorcycle-style horn tanks, and extensive chrome plating. The Huffy Radiobike featured a large integral AM radio.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, cruiser frames formed the basis of the newly-developed mountain bike.Cruisers’ comfort, style, and affordability (compared to mountain and racing bikes) have led to renewed popularity in recent years.
The late 1970s and early 1980s saw the emergence of interest in collecting old bicycles, and prices for balloon-tired classics climbed. A bicycle collecting community has developed, with newsletters and specialty shops focused on bicycle collectors. Cruisers’ comfort, style, and affordability (compared to mountain and racing bikes) have led to renewed popularity in recent years. In the mid-1990s, a series of reproductions of classic cruiser bikes hit the market. Schwinn started it off in 1995, when it reissued the Black Phantom to celebrate the company’s 100th birthday
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Time Remaining: 17d 3h 57m
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