When researching bikes you'll quickly learn that prices and quality range widely.
Beach bikes are pretty easy to come across after the popularity boom of the past few years, and can be purchased at many bike shops and random stores. However Australians are learning after a couple of Summers that not all bikes are the same. The quality is a big problem and you need to know a bargain from a disaster.
Poor quality bikes really hinder your ride: they don't feel stable, parts come lose and wobble or fall off, replacing those parts or getting accessories can be difficult, and you'll notice the ride is far from smooth. Your friends will hear you coming cos you'll sound like the Tin Mna. It ain't a good look sunshine. Bikes in this category generally less than $250.
Next up you've got midrange beach bikes - usually priced somewhere between $300-500. Our Old Skool and Skull x Bones brands are classed as midrange. They're not much more expensive than a low-end bicycle, but the difference in quality is immense.
A middle range beach bike tends to stay aligned, rides smoothlyly, and the parts are good quality and assembled with care. You'll be able to find bike accessories and parts can be replaced or added with little expense and the sizing is pretty standard. For example, adding a baby seat will be no hassle, and you can rest assured the bike will be strong enough to rely on even with your most precious cargo.
We think these midrange beach cruisers are the most cost-effective. It will last a few seasons and any problems with parts can be overcome. Plus most people buy beach bikes for the sexy designs, and since fashion changes you'll probably want to switch up your bike every few years anyway.
The top quality beach cruisers are still cheaper than most mountain bike or other vintage bicycles. Where they differ from midrange cruisers is that every part of the bike is top quality. The materials used, the technologies employed, the manufacturing process...everything is geared up to ensure your bicycle won't need much maintenance.
Inexpensive bikes have a tendency to have misaligned wheels and friction within the parts. This results in problems with coasting and pedaling. The pedals don't move as smoothly, and there are often squeaks and groans when you brake. This should never occur with higher quality beach cruisers.
You might also notice better quality beach bikes are generally easier to ride - requiring little exertion on the pedals - which can save your knees and your joints.
The basic rule to make sure you buy a decent beach bike is: buy from a reputable place and research the brand. Price isn't everything, but if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.