I’ll start off by saying, most Walmart bikes are junk. All over the internet, you can find complaints about cheap components, bad performance, and improperly built bikes. There are plenty of reasons to avoid them. With this being said, I don’t think Walmart bikes are always a bad buy. In this article, I review the OP Roller beach cruiser. I’ll explain what’s good and what’s not so good about this $99 Walmart bicycle.
When I moved to Huntington Beach, California around 2010, the first thing I bought was a beach cruiser. I was on a tight budget so my options were pretty limited. After looking at a few rusted out old junkers, I went to the nearest Walmart to take a look. I ended up buying the Ocean Pacific Roller beach cruiser for $99.
9 years later, the bike is still going strong. The only things I’ve done in terms of maintenance has bee replacing the tube and oiled the chain. I’ve ridden the hell out of this bike for nearly a decade and it’s still holding up shockingly well.
A bit of info about Ocean Pacific (OP)
OP started in Southern California as a surfboard brand in the 60s. Over the next 40 years, the company changed hands multiple times. They branched out into beach apparel and accessories and were quite successful for a time. The popularity of the brand faded during the 90s. The current owner, Iconix Brand Group signed a direct to retail contract with Walmart in 2007. The OP Roller beach cruiser was sold during that time. The company is currently preparing for a relaunch.
OP Roller Beach Cruiser Review
I’m really happy with this bike. Particularly for the price I paid. It’s a classic black beach cruiser. Just like I wanted. Its best features include:
- A sturdy aluminum frame
- Comfy 26 X 2.125 inch tires
- Rear coaster brake
- Wide seat with springs
- Strong 36 spoke wheels
This is a simple bike. It has one speed and no hand brakes. There aren’t really any name brand parts but everything seems pretty durable.
The frame is, by far, the best feature of the OP Roller. The aluminum frame is lightweight and well built. All of the welds look great. The paint job is even decent. If you’re looking to build your own beach cruiser this frame would make for a great base to start with. Check out this thread from Ratrodbikes.com for an example.
As far as I can tell, everything is pretty standard on the frame. You should easily be able to fit a new fork, wheels, cranks, etc. if you wish to upgrade or replace any components down the line.
Another benefit of the aluminum frame is the fact that it won’t rust. I typically prefer steel frames, but in this case, aluminum is superior. Being near the ocean, steel frame bikes tend to rust.
The OP Roller comes equipped with a rear coaster brake. It works just fine. Some riders complain that coaster brakes aren’t powerful enough but I can lock up the rear wheel if I step on the pedal hard enough. It’s good enough for me.
If you want more stopping power, you could probably install a caliper brake. There are holes drilled on the fork and frame where you could easily mount them.
I’m a fan of coaster brakes. Probably because my first bike had one. My dad bought it from our neighbors for $5 and I rode that beater for most of my childhood. The coaster break brings back good memories.
The OP Roller comes with 26 inch, 36 spoke wheels. I’m surprised by this. They probably could have gotten away with 32 spokes which would have cut down on cost on this mass produced bike. The additional strength that the extra spokes add is nice to have. I’ve ridden up and down plenty of curbs and never broken a spoke. I’ve never even trued the wheels. It still rolls straight.
The OP Roller is a simple single speed bike. The drivetrain works just fine. Everything is still original on mine. Even the chain. I would like the gearing to be a bit lower. Sometimes when pedaling into a headwind or up a small hill, it gets a bit hard to pedal. Even a strong headwind can make pedaling a challenge. When the rear sprocket or crankset wears out, I’ll probably replace it with a lower gear to make pedaling a bit easier.
The tires that come on the bike are pretty nice. They are 26 X 2.125 inch wide and have some decent tread on them. These high volume tires add a bit of suspension as well. They easily roll over bumps and even some sand. I’m still on the original set. Even after 9 years, the tires are still in alright shape. No cracks surprisingly. I have kept the bike in a garage though.
The seat is wide and features 2 large springs for some shock absorption. It’s made of a plastic waterproof material. It works fine, but I’d recommend you replace it with something a bit better if you have space in your budget. My main complaint is that the seat is loud. The springs rusted quickly and creak and squeak every time I hit a bump. I use a Brooks B17 Saddle. Check out my full review here.
What I Don’t Like About the OP Roller Beach Cruiser
Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the bike. Particularly for the price. Having said that, there are a few aspects that aren’t ideal. For example:
- It’s creaky- The main problem is the seat as I mentioned earlier. Replacing it would definitely help make the bike quieter. There are also some creaks coming from somewhere else that I can’t identify. Possibly the bottom bracket.
- Some bolts easily come loose- While riding off a curb, my handlebars slipped down when my front wheel hit the ground. I just tightened them with an Allen key. The bolts that hold the wheels on are also prone to loosen. I check them with my fingers before each ride. Locktite would help.
- Non-standard parts- As I’ve said, I haven’t had to replace anything on this bike but there are some strange sized parts used. They probably made this choice to cut costs. For example, the handlebars are skinnier than the current standard. I haven’t measured them but when comparing them to my other bike I can tell. They may use the old 22.2 mm standard. This makes upgrading a bit more difficult.
Final Thoughts on the OP Roller Beach Cruiser
I would say that this is the best value in beach cruisers that I’ve seen. I looked at some beach cruisers that cost double what I paid for the OP Roller and can’t spot much difference. My dad bought a 3 speed beach cruiser for around $300. It’s nice but doesn’t ride any better than my Ocean Pacific.
Overall, I love this bike. Not because it’s all that great. I’ve just made good memories while riding it. In fact, I’ve probably spent more time riding this than any bike I’ve owned except my touring bike. I’ll continue to cruise on this bike for as long as it keeps rolling. For $99, I’m happy with it.
For my complete analysis of Walmart bikes, check out my guide: Are Walmart Bikes any Good? Pros and Cons of Budget Bikes
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