What’s a Lowrider Bike?

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Lowrider bikes are extravagant and flashy, with high handlebars, wider tires, and a relaxed riding position. They feature apehanger handlebars, banana seats, sissy bars, and a springer fork. Lowriders are not designed for high-performance cycling but for cruising with style. The trend started in the 1960s with the Schwinn Stingray and has become a hobby for kids and adults alike.

Bikes come in all styles and sizes, but few other bikes are as extravagant, flashy, and full of character as a lowrider bike. Based on similarly styled cars and motorcycles, a lowrider motorcycle is similar in appearance to many chopper motorcycles; the lowrider bike often features high handlebars, a long wheelbase, wider tires and a more relaxed riding position. The lowrider bicycle is not designed for high-performance cycling or racing; rather, its purpose is to commute with flash or just cruise around the neighborhood on a fun and inventive bike.

The important features of the lowrider motorbike are similar to those of the lowrider cars and chopper motorbikes. Apehanger handlebars – long handlebars that place the hands at or higher than eye level – and banana seats are typical modifications made to lowrider bikes. Sissy bars, wider whitewall tires and a high number of straight pull spokes in the wheels are other notable features on a lowrider bike. A low riding position is, of course, desirable and the cause of most modifications.

Perhaps one of the most notable and quirky features of the lowrider bike is the springer fork. Modeled after motorcycle springer forks, the lowrider bike fork works in much the same way and adds a unique look to the front end of the bike. The springer fork is typically positioned at a higher rake – or angle to the ground – making a relaxed riding position easier but sacrificing a significant amount of steering control. Just like most lowrider bike components, the springer fork is often chromed or gold plated. Combined with the chrome fenders on the front and rear of the bike, the springer fork adds flare and comfort to the ride quality of the lowrider bike.

Popular today especially in urban areas, the lowrider bicycle started appearing as early as the 1960s with the popularity of the Schwinn Stingray. For kids not old enough to customize their own car or motorcycle, the Stingray allowed kids to add flare to their ride, and the lowrider bicycle was born. Hobbyists took charge as the practice began to fade; but in the decades since, customizing the popular and increasingly rare Schwinn Stingray and other bikes into a lowrider bike has become a hobboutique among kids and adults alike.

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