It may be tempting at times to just head over to the big box department store and purchase one of those super-cheap bikes that at least kind of looks the part, even if it does offer a crappy ride, and eventually fall apart after a few months with any kind of consistent use.
If you’re looking to buy a cruiser bike, this may be even more tempting. After all, cruiser bikes don’t have shocks, they aren’t ultra-lightweight road bikes, nor are they anywhere near a BMX bike that needs to be able to stand up to lots of abuse.
Well, just know that you don’t have to spend all that much more to get the best cruiser bike with gears that is actually comfortable, durable, and very fun to ride.
Critical Cycle’s Chatham Beach Cruiser offers everything you want out of a true, authentic cruiser, and for an extremely low price that really isn’t all that much more than what you’d pay at one of those stores.
The Chatham makes quality cruisers accessible to most everyone, and without ignoring any of the main features or components that every cruiser needs.
INTRODUCING THE CRITICAL CYCLES CHATHAM MEN’S BEACH CRUISER
FRAME: High-Tensile Strength Steel
TIRES: Wanda, 26x2.25"
EXTRA FEATURES: Wide range of available colors, handlebars are higher for a more comfortable upright riding position
With cruisers, the recipe for success is simple; it needs to ride smooth, pedal easily, be comfortable, and look good. The Chatham meets all the marks, and has its own sense of style as well.
The frame design is one of its more unique aspects. Critical Cycles went with a more simplified version of a cruiser frame, eliminating some of the extra tubes you’ll see on other models. This gives it a fresh, clean aesthetic, and also cuts down on the weight too.
In fact, the Chatham is one of the lightest cruisers you’ll ever ride. The solid steel construction, combined with the trimming of excess material, allows the Chatham to keep a weight of about 37 pounds, which is just about perfect for a cruiser.
You still have the added weight needed to keep the bike stable and upright, but not too much as to make it difficult or burdensome to lift and carry when the need arises. This gives is an added sense of mobility and versatility in a way.
The drivetrain of the Chatham is very efficient, and gives you plenty of acceleration from a standstill.
Getting up to a higher speed is effortless, and very easy to coast along. If you’re needing a little more, there are 3-speed and 7-speed versions available as well.
The multi speed versions of the Chatham give the bike more versatility if you’re in an area with a lot of variance in terrain, or a lot of hills. The 3-speed is a great compromise, but the 7-speed will turn the Chatham into a capable commuter you can depend on daily for longer rides.
Coaster brakes are used with the single speed version, and a single hand brake for the 3-speed that operates a caliper brake in the rear. The 7-speed version gives you hand brake for both the front and back, allowing for more controlled braking when needed.
The Chatham’s Wanda tires are the ideal cruiser tires, measuring 26 x 2.25 inches. The understated tread pattern gives you better grip on both pavement and dirt, and the thick profile of the tires gives the bike some much needed shock absorption as well.
Double-walled rims make the wheelset very strong and durable, while also protecting the tubes within the tire from being poked or punctured from the spokes over time.
The handlebars on the Chatham are one of its more unique aspects. They sit a little higher than other handlebars, and have a sort of BMX look and feel to them.
Rather than the half-circle curve found on man cruisers, the Chatham's handlebars protrude upwards and out, offering a wider grip that allows for more precise control, while ensuring the standard cruiser comfort.
The styling and design of the Chatham helps to set it apart as well.
The bike is available in several different frame colors, some that are solid, and some that have two-tone paint jobs. The rim colors change for each one as well, giving each bike its own style unto itself.
The Chatham is a formidable cruiser that appeals to a wide range of riders, especially with all of the different designs. Its unique features and low weight make it one of the best cruisers around, especially when considering the price point.
We are impressed with just about everything on this bike. The lighter weight is definitely appreciated, and contributes to the smooth, swift feel the bike has. This really does make it more ideal for beaches, where you can’t always ride the bike and may need to carry it.
Even if you never go near a beach with the Chatham, you’ll still like the low weight.
The styling is impressive too. We love all the different color schemes, and the various wall colors on the tires is a very nice touch. The Chatham can please anyone’s tastes, whether you prefer a more understated design, or like bold, attention-grabbing colors.
The option to get the same bike in multiple speed configurations is always good too. Oh, and the bike includes a kickstand, which you don’t always see.
For whatever reason, Critical Cycles kind of missed the mark on the saddle. It’s not uncomfortable or anything, it's just not nearly as plush as the saddles found on similar cruisers around the same price range.
If you really want to have the most comfortable version of the Chatham, we’d recommend getting a new saddle when you purchase it.
When ordering from Amazon, you can also pay an extra fee to have the bike fully assembled, although it’s not too hard to do it yourself if you have basic bike and tool knowledge.
The Critical Cycles Chatham manages to combine reliable performance with some unique styling and design features as well, and it does all of this while keeping the price lower than a lot of other cruisers that are similar in quality.
This is one of the best values you can get in terms of cruiser bikes. The unique styling and color options makes this one the the best purchases you can make if you’re in the market for a cruiser.