This isn't the cruiser bike's first rodeo. Cruisers, known for their fat tires, upright riding position and ease of navigation, first became popular following the Great Depression, when people were looking for a cheap and reliable mode of transportation. Originally designed by Schwinn in the early 1930s, these bikes became so hot in the 1950s that manufacturers got creative in coming up with new themed designs to attract potential buyers, like cowboy-decorated cruisers complete with "saddles" and models that included AM radios (remember, we're talking the '50s here).
The bikes enjoyed a renaissance in the 1970s when a Newport Beach bicycle shop owner revived the old versions with beachy designs. Now, "these once beach-only bikes are showing up in every house in America as leisure riding is back," says Warren Weaver, director of sales for Zane's Inc.
, a fulfillment company that specializes in customized bikes. As opposed to riding a racing bike and feeling the pressure to look like Lance Armstrong, "on a cruiser, you can wear what you want and go at an easy pace and be comfortable," he says.
The Electra Cruiser 1 has wide appeal in points-based programs, Weaver says, and is also fun as a prize for on-site events because of its unique look. "An item like this has real trophy value," and is a big conversation-starter, he says.
Another hot category with trophy value: anything golf. "Golf clubs, rangefinders and other golf accessories are very popular at the moment," says Kenneth Fishman, purchasing manager for Rymax Marketing Services
. What incentive winner wouldn't want to show off this Callaway XR 16 Driver on the links? Callaway partnered with Boeing to design this driver's aerodynamic head to have a lower drop and deeper center of gravity. Pair it with Callaway's equally high-tech new Soft Chrome Golf Balls: They utilize the golf manufacturer's proprietary Dual SoftFast Core, which combined with their four-piece construction, allows for faster speeds and reduced spin off the tee.