Vintage Cruiser Bicycles
Vintage cruiser bicycles is a term given to a popular style of bicycle made in the United States from the early 1930s until the 1950s.
History of Vintage Cruiser Bicycles
Cruiser bicycles are noted for their durability and heavy weight and combined balloon tires, an upright seating position and a simple steel construction.
The American bicycle manufacturer Schwinn developed the cruiser during the Great Depression when bicycle sales plummeted. The original cruiser bicycle was the 1933 Schwinn B-10E Motorbike, which became highly marketable for children in their teens as the bicycle resembled a motorbike yet had no motor.
In 1934, Schwinn developed what is often credited as the archetypal cruiser bicycle, the Aero Cycle. Although the model featured no mechanical developments from the original B-10E, the Aero Cycle defined the cruiser look. Its streamlined frame, battery-powered headlight and faux gas tank became the staple of modern cruiser bicycle design.
Over the next decade, the bicycle market was highly competitive, with a number of firms such as Huffy, Monark, Shelby, Columbia and Roadmaster all manufacturing a range of cruiser bicycles, many of which imitated the Schwinn design.
Guide for collecting Vintage Cruiser Bicycles
Cruiser bicycles from this period are still widely available and have become increasingly popular for bicycle collectors since the 1970s. Furthermore, due to the bicycles sturdiness, many vintage cruiser bicycles are still bought with a view to use, instead of being a collectible. Prices for vintage cruisers have steadily increased and this is perhaps the most common niche of bike collecting.
As bicycle firms competed against each other, a number of distinctive models with stylised features were produced in order to attract buyers and it is these that are highly sought after by collectors.
Vintage cruiser bicycles are regularly sold on eBay for highly competitive prices. However, whenever possible it is recommended that collectors are able to visit and inspect the model to verify that it has not been renovated.
Collectors should be aware that buying cruiser bicycles is predominantly a U.S. market and so therefore buyers from Britain and Europe would also need to add shipping to their budget.
The range of cruiser bicycles is very broad and due to their durable build their quality invariably remains quite high. However, collectors can expect to pay prices higher for cruiser bicycles that have retained their original elements. Models that still possess their faux gas tank and original chain guard are particularly collectable and can fetch up to $500.
Notable vintage cruiser models include the Schwinn American, the Schwinn Spitfire, the Columbia Rambler and the Spiegel Airman and can be purchased on eBay between $150 and $300. Depending on the condition of the model, it is recommended to seek professional advice if repairs need to be made as any below average adjustments could compromise the key features of the model. Spare parts and reputable repair shops are often sourced and shared by enthusiasts on specialist websites such as Bikeforums.net.
Notable Sales of Vintage Cruiser Bicycles
In January 2012 a vintage 1959 Schwinn Corvette, complete with its original faux gas tank, was sold for $800.
An early-1960s ladies Schwinn Hollwood beach cruiser was sold on eBay for $75 in January 2012.
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