If you’re one to appreciate all things retro, there is no better aesthetics for a bike than banana seat bikes. These bikes are few and even fewer on the roads, but the elongated style and high-rise saddle structure are second to none.
Banana seat bikes are named so because of the unique shape of the bike’s seat, long and much like a banana. Other than the seat, what was then called the sissy bar at the rear end of the bike, is what set these wheelie bikes apart in the 1960s.
Today, these bikes are a dream for collectors. Although they have been primarily designed for children back in the day, a few known brands still manufacture some of the best banana seat bikes. If you are willing to splash some cash in one of these classics, you may want to read about what’s great in the cycling business.
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- Best Banana Seat Bike Reviews
- Short History of Banana Seat Bikes
- Banana Seat Bike Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Banana Seat Bike Reviews
How many banana seat bikes do you see meandering about on your way home from the morning or evening stroll? If you can’t remember enough to count on your head, it is because these bikes are hardly available these days.
As rare as banana bikes are, there are a few reputable ones you need to keep an eye out for. Here are the Best Banana Seat Bike Reviews for ones that we’ve cherrypicked from the lot!
@bobbykimani Jordan airs out on a banana seat bike! #bmx #bananaseat #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #retro #coolera ♬ original sound – Bobby Kimani
Schwinn Classic Old School Krate Bike
There are no second thoughts when it comes to trusting Schwinn and its ability to design and manufacture the best bikes. From the sight of it, The Old School Krate is what the 1960s must have looked like.
You might say the bike is a child of the classic drag racers merged with rocket ships, and that is where it gets its vintage look from. The banana seat bike is a great fit for riders who are kids aged at least 6 years, but they are also meant to be used by adults. The Sting Ray frame coupled with springer form makes the bike structure as lightweight as you need a bike to be but also sports a well-balanced retro structure at the same time.
Additionally, the tires are a perfect 20 inches, with just one drivetrain speed. The bike, equipped with a sissy bar and lifted handlebars, also has a firm spring suspension and a saddle that is comparable to a bucket. Overall, the retro style is uncompromised in the quality and feel of this aluminum frame bike from Schwinn.
- Sting Ray look
- Springer fork
- Aluminum frame
- Single Speed Drive train
- 20-inch rear, 16-inch front wheel
- Classic banana seat
- Sissy bar shocks
- Lightweight frame
- Simple to assemble
- Can be used by kids and adults
- Stable suspension
- No rearview mirrors
KHS Hot Rod Banana Seat Retro Bike
Riders who have been a fan of this bike often vouch for the wobble-free rides this banana bike offers, thanks to the rigid suspension, in addition to the ball-bearing bracket.
The bike might need some time to get used to if you are willing to gift it to someone younger or more petite, but the steel frame bike is sure to last for years. There is also a coaster rear braking system to help you make unpreceded brakes in your wobblier ways.
Instead of a high rise, the handlebar is an ape hanger style, making them look even more classic. As we mentioned, the bike might not be as lightweight as most aluminum frames, and hence driving uphill with this bike has been a challenge for a few cyclists.
- Steel Cantilever Frame
- 20 inches wheel
- Ape Hanger Handlebar
- Single Speed Drive Train
- Coaster rear brakes
- Solid Suspension
- Long lasting frames
- Added security
- Wobble free ride
- Difficult to ride uphill
Wonder Wheels 20 Inch Women’s Girls Beach Cruiser
Although labeled a women’s and girl’s beach cruiser, we find Wonder Wheel’s banana seat bike one versatile option for shorter adults. This baby blue beauty is one of the most affordable ones on the list and can also be used by kids alike. The overall ride of this bike is closer to the ground, despite having broader wheels.
We might have to alert you that this has been designed for kids and women, and if you’re an adult not looking to draw attention with that pop of clue, this quality banana seat bike might not be for you.
What this does is make the banana bike quite a smooth ride even on gravel roads and turns coupled with top-notch hardware. Additionally, the single speed bike is equipped with coaster brakes and stainless-steel spokes.
Nevertheless, some people have complained about how it took them quite a lot of thinking and effort to get the bike assembled.
- Single Speed Drivetrain
- Coaster Brake
- Stainless steel Spoke
- Lowrider Structure
- Crank Allow rims
- 20-inch wheels
- Can be used by kids, short adults, women
- Stable ride
- Wobble free trip
- Aesthetic looks
- Difficult to assemble
- Not for an average adult
- Only comes in one color
Schwinn Krate Evo Classic Kids Bike
Schwinn has made their signature seal on banana seat bikes and to prove that further, the company loves to design demography specific bikes. This classic krate is different from Schwinn’s previously mentioned Orange Krate in the fashion that this one is particularly designed for kids aged 3 to 5.
Bigger and smaller kids can have their share of fun with the Smart Start technology. Kids who are just starting and looking to train can opt for this banana bike that includes a removable training bike and a rear coaster brake for easy stops.
The classic looks on this wheelie bike are further adorned by the bucket like saddle and Stingray structure. The bike’s stability is commendable thanks to the suspension fork and 16 inches wheel.
The overall frame of the banana bike is light enough to be driven on roads while the narrowed pedal design allows kids to cruise through roadsides as well. Since this single speed bike has an adjustable seat post, kids of varying heights can enjoy a ride outside.
If you have bought this for one kid, the younger one wouldn’t have to stand by for buying another as they can also use this banana bike alike.
If you are planning to give this to your kid, you might want to help them assemble it as well.
- Smartstart technology included
- 16 inches wheel
- Rear Pedal Brakes
- Rigid Suspension Fork
- Detachable training wheels
- Great for beginner kids
- Safe and secured
- Incredible suspension stability
- Lightweight frame
- Difficult to assemble
Schwinn Hazel Kids Bike
Schwinn Hazel Kids Bike is another one from Schwinn that caught our attention, that too for great reasons. The color, to begin with, is one that depicts the classic banana bikes of the books. The mink and pink combination ride have been designed for kids who are about 5 feet tall.
Anyone from age 6 and above, including petite and lightweight adults, can also ride on this bike. What we love about this banana bike is its make and model, with incredibly lightweight frames and pedals, as well as cranks, designed to be located up front. This, usually narrower, structure of a banana seat bike helps kids pedal on the sidewalks and narrower roads as well.
Generally, you would have to give away a bike when your child grows older. With changeable seat post height and slack sleek tube angle, you can help your kid make the bike suit their height and size. Since kids might be new to the sport of cycling, the rear brakes stop the bike as soon as you pedal it backward.
However, we do wish Schwinn included training wheels and more color options for kids who do not prefer riding on bright mint bikes.
- Safe for kids
- Versatile bike
- Great for casual riding
- Can be used for children of all heights
- Commendable braking system
- Affordable price range
- No training wheels included
- Only one color option
Short History of Banana Seat Bikes
In the 1960s, Banana seat bikes were originally a remodeled version of chopper motorcycles and were made to be ridden by children. The Schwinn Sting-Ray, are the ones who created a revolution in the cycling words in the year 1963 with their popular wheelie bike.
High riser, spidey bike, and dragster are a few terms to name a few that marks the banana bikes being a popular checklist item in all American kids list of things they want. What the banana seat symbolizes is the free spirit of children, the beach vibes, and the cool attitude of children back in the day.
Originally, the characteristic design of the banana seat bikes included high ride seat posts, elongated and ape handlebars, and of course the signature sissy bar style.
Related reading: Types of Bikes – Bicycle Type Guide
Banana Seat Bike Buying Guide
Banana Seat Bikes are few in the market to choose from. Unlike road or mountain bicycles, you possibly do not have hundreds of choices to get you confused.
With that said, you would still need to keep a few factors in mind before investing in one. After all, these retro bikes have a heavy price tag devoted to their frame.
Banana Seat Bikes usually have the most iconic and signature handlebar design. Unlike modern types, these bikes sport a slightly elongated, ape hanger style which most defines the retro style of banana bikes even in the newer models. If you’re not fond of the ape hanger style of handlebars, banana seat rides are probably not for you.
You’d still be able to opt for high-ride handlebars that allow baskets to be hung without hassle. Ram horn handlebar with loops has also been taken into consideration for some models, although it is yet to be executed.
All banana seat bikes are single-speed drive trains. For adults and cyclists looking for speed, this could be a turn-away point.
Yet, you may want to remember that these models are still designed to be mainly used by children. For gears, some come with Shimano gears while others sport an extra trainer wheel that can be detached quite easily.
You can also consider looking for banana seat bikes that have the provision of bicycle baskets, streamers, and fenders.
Since Banana seat bikes are meant to be for children the braking system is usually coaster pedal brakes. Coaster brakes are different from hand brakes equipped in adult bicycles and it is included in banana seat bikes with beginners in mind.
In coaster brakes, the system is attached to the hub of the rear wheel. To apply the brake, the rider must pedal in reverse. This system allows children to concentrate on the road and keep their hands on the handlebar constantly.
You may keep in mind that coaster brakes that come with banana brakes can take some time to learn. If a kid is riding the cycle, they might have to be extra vigilant to map out when to stop and when to start.
A lot of people give banana seat bikes a thought because of the springer fork suspension that comes with them. The leading link fork allows the suspension to be more rigid and firm. Since they are mounted externally, the rear end is attached to the triple clamp. In newer models, you would also find long forks that do not have suspension.
The shape of the seats is elongated, some are broader than others. If you want your kid to use a banana seat bike over the years, look for seat posts that can be adjusted. If you are shopping for a banana seat, we recommend looking for seats that are covered with weatherproof fabric such as vinyl.
Since it’s the wheelie bike, sissy bars are almost complementary, however, you could keep an eye out for thick padding on the seats.
Read more: Best Banana Seat Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
When were banana seat bikes popular?
Banana Seat bikes were most popular during the late 1960s to 70s as Schwinn brought out the first banana seat model, Sting-Ray, in 1963. Back then, it was one of the top-selling bicycles.
Fun, retro, casual, and free-spirited. If these words were to define one bike among all, it would be banana seat bikes made for both adults and children.
Originally designed for kids, banana seat bikes have gained popularity among people who love the retro look in their vehicles. With companies like Schwinn still designing banana seat bikes, these rare gems are an aesthetic find, and with the right frames and suspensions, wheelie bikes are as good as any causal bike.
Our attempt in reviewing the best banana seat bikes includes wheelie bikes that are suited for adults, children, shorter adults as well as women.