Choosing the right beach cruiser tires.

If you are looking to replace a beach cruiser tire due to damage or to just upgrade the look and feel of your cruiser, this is a guide to help you find the right tires.

To start, make sure you know the right tire size and tire width:

Tire Size (aka Tire Diameter)

The first thing to do is determine the tire size, also known as the diameter of the tire. Standard beach cruiser tires are almost always 26”. For kids, teen bikes, some women’s bikes and some Chopper / Lowrider cruisers, the tires may be 20” or 24”.  Some cruisers may also sport the larger 29” tires.

To determine which one you need, here is what we recommend:

Go by what bike you have. Most times, cruisers will be referred to by their tire size. When you bought the bike, it would have been called a 26” beach cruiser or 24” beach cruiser. That size almost always refers to the tire size. 

Check to see what the manufacturer listed as the tire size. Generally, the bike description will have the tire size listed. You will find a description of something like - 26” x 2.125” or something similar. The first number is the tire size (we’ll talk about the second number down below). Note that some bikes, like stretch cruisers, may have two different-sized tires for the front and rear so be sure to check closely.

Check the current tires. You can also look at the current tires on your beach cruiser to determine the size. Look at the sidewall of the tire for numbers that state 26 x 2.125 or similar. Like above, the first number is the tire size. See the below image for reference for the ‘common tire width’ (and ignore the other numbers for now).

determine tire size and width sidewall

Note: The ISO tire size on the tire sidewall is another method for determining the size. The 'common tire size' is roughly the diameter of the entire tire. The ISO tire size is the diameter of the inside of the tire, which also matches the diameter of the wheel.

Measure the wheels. If none of those work, you can also measure the diameter of the wheels from the outside of the rim to the outside of the rim. (Remember the wheel is the metal rim and spokes that the tire mounts and not the tire itself). Below are the diameters of wheels and the equivalent tire sizes for the most common sizes:

Tire Size

Wheel size/dia. in mm (aka ISO)

Wheel size/diameter in inches


406 mm

16 in.


507 mm 

20 in.


559 mm

22 in.

26” (vintage)

590 mm 


29” / 700C

622 mm


VINTAGE BIKE NOTE: Some older cruisers may have a different 26” tire than what modern cruisers have. They are actually a larger 26” tire (by 1.25” on the inside diameter of the tire) and so standard cruiser tires won’t fit. To determine if you have a vintage 26” or a standard 26”, you need to either look at the width of your current tire listed on your tire, the ISO number on the sidewall of your current tires (see note above) or measure the wheels. The width for vintage wheels will always be a fraction like 1-⅜” vs a decimal like 1.75” of standard tires. For the ISO number, you’ll look for the number in parentheses on the sidewall. Vintage tires will have a 590 while standard tires will have a 559.

Tire Width

Once you determine the size, you can determine the width. Tire width is roughly the outside width of the tire itself when mounted on the wheel and inflated. We say roughly as manufacturers will vary in how close the width is to the actual listed measurement.

Most beach cruisers are between 1.75” and 2.125” in width with 2.125” being the most common width. Unlike the size, which has to fit your wheel, you have some options with the width. 

To determine your tire width, here is what we recommend:

Check to see what the manufacturer listed as the tire size. Like above for tire size, you can also check the original description of the bike to see what was listed. It is the second number of the size and width on the sidewall.

Check the current tires. Like above, you can check the sidewall of the tire. The common tire width will be the second number on the sidewall of the tire (i.e. 26 x 2.125). 

You can now find a tire width that fits one of those descriptions. Getting the same tire width is the safest bet.

However, sometimes people want to change the width or can’t find the width they want.

Some people may want to go narrower as those tires weigh less and tend to roll faster. They can also provide a more sporty look.

If you want to go narrower, you’d need to make sure your wheel can support that. The best way to do that is measure the inside of the rim of the tire and then see if your tire can accommodate that width. The tire should be between 1.5 and 2.3 times wider than the rim width. For example, if your internal rim width is 25 mm (1 in.) , then you could go between 1.75 and 2.25” width tires.

You may also go wider if you want a more comfortable ride, more grip on the road or just a different look. However, you need to make sure that wider tires can work on your beach cruiser. In general, it is difficult to install wider tires on cruisers. You are usually limited on the width of the frame at the tires as well as the rim width.

If you want to try, you’ll just need to measure the inside width of the frame on your current tire to see if there is enough room for a wide tire. Be sure to leave some space (½” or so pn either side to be safe) given the variations in tire widths out there. Also, be sure to take into account any clearance for fenders if installed. Lastly, check the tire to rim width compatibility as mentioned above.

Now that you’ve determined the size and width, you can start looking at other options:

Beach Cruiser Tread Type

The next thing to consider is the tire tread you want. Most beach cruisers have a low tread knob for riding on pavement and concrete that also provides some traction for sand and mud. Patterns may be brick tread, diamond tread, semi-slick and slick. Frankly, most of them work for cruisers so it may come down to the look you want. Here is quick overview of most of them:

Brick pattern. Provides a classic vintage look with reasonable speed and traction.

brick tread cruiser tire

Heavy Duty pattern. Also known as a Goodyear tread, it provides a more modern while providing a little more traction in sandier or wet conditions.

heavy duty goodyear beach cruiser tire tread

Knobby tires. Provides maximum traction but limited speed and more of a hybrid/mountain bike look.

knobby cruiser tire

Semi-slick. Rolls faster with limited traction. This can be small grooves or micro treads.

semi slick cruiser tire

Novelty. Fun patterns, like flames, that still provide traction.

flame tread cruiser tire


    Beach Cruiser Tire Color

    There are lots of colors to choose - black, white, red, blue, green and more - with beach cruiser tires, including combinations of different tread and sidewall colors. It is really up to you.

    There are different philosophies on color matching with the rest of your bike. You can match the tires to the saddle and bar tape or grips for a more matched look. Or you can get contrasting tires for a more fun or interesting look. Either way, beach cruiser tires aren’t too expensive so it is easy to try different things to get the look you want.

    Other Considerations

    There are a few other things to consider when buying cruiser tires:

    PSI: Most beach cruiser tires range from 35 to 65 PSI. The higher PSI, the firmer the tire when riding. 40 PSI is considered an ideal pressure for comfort and performance. However, that doesn’t mean you need to find a 40 PSI tire. You can also use a 65 PSI tire and still run it at 40 PSI without an issue. If you decided you want a firmer tire, you can always increase the PSI to the tire later.

    Reflective: Some cruisers have a reflective strip on the sidewall so you will be better seen at night. This is important for nighttime riding as cruisers don’t always have the safety reflectors or lighting that other bikes have.

    Bead Type: Almost all cruiser tires have wire beads so there isn’t much to think about. Folding beads are only found on road or mountain bike tires and aren’t necessary for cruiser tires.

    Weight: For beach cruisers, tire weight isn’t too important. The weight difference in comparison to the overall weight of the bike will be minimal.

    That’s an overview. Be sure to check out our wide selection of tires at Bikes Xpress.