Cruiser bikes are a popular choice for casual cyclists, as they offer the combination of a comfortable ride and an attractive frame. Many cyclists who have opted for a cruiser bike use it casually for long durations such as going to work or cross-country riding. This is when the tyres can really make a big difference, as they are the point of contact between the cyclist and the ground. The tyres will optimise the speed performance of the bike, and create a comfortable riding experience. Therefore, it’s worth looking for custom bike parts to suit the particular style of riding.
A number of significant advances in technology mean that the cyclist can now find tyres that improve speed, that have a tread that can battle heavy snowfall, and that are more durable. So when the cyclist has worn out the tread of the current set of tyres, or if they are unhappy with the set that came with their cruiser bike, it’s well worth exploring the different options that are available to customise a cruiser bike with. There are a lot of affordable tyre upgrade options that have some surprising benefits.
What are the Best Cruiser Bike Tyres?
Cruiser bicycles use retro-looking heavy metal frames and wide high rise handlebars, which together with a low seat make a nice leisurely and upright ride. They are not designed for optimal speed, as they put the rider’s comfort first by forcing users to sit upright, taking pressure off the cyclist’s back. This has made them a popular choice in bicycle commuter countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands, where cycling everywhere is a standard way of life. A study of bike use in Amsterdam showed that the average person uses their bike more than a car.
These bikes are chosen by regular users because a cruiser bike’s tyres distribute weight evenly. They also have several gears and a chain guard for ease of use when cycling at different gradients. There is normally a rear rack over the back wheel of the bike, which allows cyclists to move fairly heavy weight around with them. Often in the Netherlands, it’s possible to see people sitting on these racks, with the rider pushing them at the front. This illustrates how comfortably these bikes can carry large loads without putting too much strain on the cyclist.
Cruiser Bicycle Tyre Widths and Treads
The width of the tyre should depend on the type of riding that the cyclist wishes to do and the size of the rims. Ideally, the tyres should be around double the size of the rims. The user can purchase wider bike tyre sets that are designed for mountain biking, or other forms of off-road biking, which will make riding easier in muddy or snowy weather. These will also provide better endurance for hard-wearing conditions and often will have better in built puncture resistance technology. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that bulky cruiser bike frames are primarily intended for use on the roads, so it’s best to keep harder off-road cycling to a minimum where possible.
The hardness of road surfaces such as gravel, concrete, and asphalt mean that the same grip can be gained from a smooth tread pattern as would be gained from a heavy grip one. This is because nothing will be able to penetrate these surfaces, making a wider contact surface area better suited to these conditions. Road tyres are typically 23mm wide with minimal treads in order to ensure optimal speed while keeping usability on hard road surfaces as high as possible. If the cyclist is planning to spend some time off-road as well as using their bike for everyday commuting, then there are some all round performance wider hybrid tyres available. These can give the user a bigger tread, better puncture resistance, and stronger grip, but will not be as fast as a normal road tyre.
Rolling Resistance and Cruiser Bike Performance
When cycling on roads and using a tyre with a lower rolling resistance, the cyclist will gain more speed for less effort. This is because the resistance level is the measure of friction caused between the tyres and the ground. A lower level of resistance on the tyre will mean that the cyclist won’t waste as much energy to get the same level of speed as they would using a tyre with a higher rolling resistance. Lower rolling resistance for cruiser bikes therefore is achieved through the following tyre attributes:
- Higher tyre pressure: The road tyre set will come with instructions for what the best pressure is for lowering the rolling resistance. The higher the pressure range, the faster the tyres. Be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended tyre pressure, as this can lead to the tyres unexpectedly bursting.
- Engineered rubber compounds: Some manufacturers have designed their own rubber compounds to improve on the resistance of materials that are traditionally used in tyres. This option will be typically found in higher range tyres.
- Lower tread: Bike tyres are unable to grip roads more effectively with thicker tread. So to shed unnecessary weight tread, density should be kept to a minimum. More tyre contact with the road will also mean that there will be a wider surface area of grip.
- Wheel diameter: Larger sized wheels are proven to have better rolling resistance than smaller ones.
Clincher vs Tubular Tyres
There are two different types of tyres that are used by cyclists. These are tubular and clincher tyres. Tubular tyres are the choice of professionals because they outperform clinchers when it comes to fast speeds due to their lower rolling resistance, and they are more aerodynamic. However, punctures are more difficult to change and they are also more expensive. This type of wheel does not puncture as often as a clincher however, so the risk of having to change your tyre is lower.
Clinchers tyres are available in a wider price range and are more suited to a wider range of conditions. Clinchers are most commonly used by professionals in training sessions and the wider population for more general use. Although these tyres are usually heavier and are not considered to be as fast as tubulars, they are cheaper, more readily available, and more straightforward to change.
Tubulars are a specialist choice because the difference that their lower rolling resistance makes only really impacts the top class of racing cyclists. So, clinchers are far more suitable for cruiser bikes, but tubular tyres could make a slight performance improvement.
How to Buy Cruiser Bike Tyres on eBay
When you are buying bike tyres on eBay you will want to purchase them in relatively new condition to ensure that the tread is not too worn. There is a wide selection of suitable tyres available through the online auction site’s bid on or Buy It Now options, depending on what option the seller has selected. To ensure a smooth transaction, check that the buyer has a good reputation on the site by checking that they have a positive rating from previous purchasers.
To find the appropriate tyres for your bike remember to check the size of your bike rims and think about what situations you will be using them in. There is no point in buying hybrid bike tyres if you are going to use your cruiser exclusively for getting to and from work, as you will be sacrificing a better grip and therefore have to pedal harder to achieve the same results as with a road bike tyre.
Once you have the relevant information together, you can either search for the type of tyre that you want, or you can drill down through the various categories that are available.
When searching, use the keywords of the tyre that you are after. For instance, searching for a ‘road tyre’ will bring you back a broad set of results that include items suitable for motorbikes and cars. But if you search for a ‘road bicycle tyre’ this should adequately narrow your search results. Alternatively, visit the categories section and select the sports category from there you can view items for cycling and then select Bike Parks and then Tyres & Wheels. Within this section there is an area that is dedicated to Cruiser/ Lowrider bicycles, and within this is a category for the appropriate Tyres/Tube Sets.
Cruiser bicycles are a great choice for people who are looking for a ride that they can enjoy and a frame that will handle heavy weights on the road with ease. Tyres are an important part of the riding experience, as they will determine how much energy and control the cyclist will need when peddling their bike at varying distances, surfaces, and gradients. When looking for new tyres for a cruiser, it is therefore a good idea to consider what surfaces they will be riding on and whether they will have a need for greater speed. Once the cyclist has determined this, they can find the perfect set of tyres for their cruiser to optimise their overall riding performance and riding experience.