Cruising on a skateboard is a great and relaxing way of skateboarding. Pretty much everyone who learned skateboarding started out just cruising around at some point. It’s not a type of skateboard you take to a skate park, but they are great for learning how to ride.
Cruisers are great for beginners because they are more forgiving on rougher roads, require less effort to push around and provide more stability compared to other skateboards. It’s the perfect combo between a skateboard and a longboard. Easy to carry around and all the benefits of the larger and softer wheels.
There are some differences of opinion of what exactly a cruiser board is, I mean where do you draw the line? Perhaps you’re even looking to do some tricks like hopping a few curbs or practice power slides. Let’s dive into different types and what exactly is suitable for you.
Normal Sized Cruisers
Normal-sized cruisers are about the size of a regular skateboard or bigger but also come in all shapes and sizes. They allow for a bit of carving and longer commutes compared to regular skateboards or mini cruisers.
A cruiser is more agile compared to a longboard allowing for quicker turns but popping an ollie will prove difficult. One of the benefits is that you don’t have to carry around a heavy and bulky board and you can easily take in on the bus or even a plane.
Not all cruisers are equal and there’s a huge difference in price and quality.
The cheap stuff consists of low-quality components like crappy bearings and wheels that are made of cheap polyurethane. Getting a quality board is really important for your safety and others, but also allow for a fun experience instead of a frustrating ride.
One of the best you can get is the Landyachtz Ripple Ridge. It’s a stiff board, wider than average (lots of stability) and a fair bit of concave to help you make sharper turns. It’s pricy but it’s about the best you can get.
Many people quit out of frustration just because they got a low-quality board, be it longboards or a street skateboard.
If you want a bit of a challenge and something that you can easily carry around, go with a mini-cruiser. A mini-cruiser has a steeper learning curve because of its small surface. It’s a bit harder to find balance on these boards but once you get the hang of it you can skate anything.
Mini cruisers are quite popular and one of the brands you should look for is Landyachtz. They’ve been manufacturing cruisers for decades and their Dinghy (featured on top of this page) is one of the most popular mini cruisers.
It comes with high-quality components like high-end polyurethane wheels, great bearings, a grippy deck, and a kicktail. If you want a mini-cruiser, this is the one you should get. Check out my full review of the Dinghy to see why people absolutely love this cruiser.
Cruising and Tricks
For the lack of a better word, I’m going to call this type a hybrid. I’m talking about a cruiser board that also allows you to do tricks. Many people wonder what type of board they need for that and you have a couple of options. The good news is that you don’t have to buy 2 different skateboards.
It mainly comes down to wheel size, wheel hardness, quality bearings, and a board that at least has a kicktail. If you want to start out with just cruising and gradually learn tricks all you have to do is get a regular skateboard with softer wheels. Get a board between 8.0” and 8.5” and trucks that match the size.
You’ll need a budget between $100 and $150. If this is too much consider getting a pre assembled skateboard, which costs you around $70 but the wheels aren’t very comfy for cruising.
Assembling Your own Dedicated Cruiser
If you have the budget you could assemble your own cruiser skateboard and make it exactly how you like. This might seem like a challenge but it really isn’t that hard. If you have a local skate shop, go there and ask them to help you out, it not assemble one online. It often saves you a few bucks and you can swap parts around until you reached your budget.
1. Choose a Deck
Any shape and size will do (as long as it’s not longboard sized). Anything between the length of 28″ (mini) to 35″ should be fine. Most people go for a width between 8.0″ and 8.5″, just make sure the trucks match. Don’t forget to get grip tape to make sure your feet stick to the board, you often get it for free when ordering a deck.
2. Pick a pair of Trucks
Trucks are the T-shaped metal things that are attached to your board. There are many brands, but as long as you pick Independent, Thunder or Venture you’re good. Make sure they match the width of the deck/board.
Don’t underestimate bearings, they are a vital part of your cruising experience. Low-quality bearings will wear down fast or even break and block your wheels. Always go with Bones bearings, there are no exceptions except for Bronson maybe. You’ll want bearings that are easy to clean so you can double or triple (and more) their life span. Here’s
Probably the most important part of your setup if you want a cruiser setup. Make sure the wheels aren’t too hard or too soft. Too soft will feel bouncy and sticky where too hard will vibrate until you can’t feel your feet anymore. Get anything between 82a and 92a where the former provides a smooth ride and the latter allows you to hop curbs a little (still a bit bouncy though).
There’s also size, larger wheels can run over obstacles like small rocks or cracks better than smaller wheels. Get wheels between 54mm and 60mm, and start thinking of riser pads over 56mm to prevent wheel bite. If you want to know more about wheels check out my extensive guide about skateboard wheels.
5. Risers, Hardware, and a Skate Tool
You need hardware to attach your trucks so don’t forget to order them. Nothing more frustrating than assembling a skateboard and finding out you forgot the hardware (been there). Also, get a skate tool, it will prove useful and has everything you need to assemble and maintain your board.
Risers are optional, get a pair when you like to ride your trucks loose and have wheels over 56-58mm. You don’t always need them, only when you want to carve a lot. I ride 58 mm in bowls and halfpipes without risers but my trucks are really tight. I never experienced wheel bite skating transition.
Wrapping it Up
No matter what type of cruiser you want to pick make sure it fits your style. Think about how, where and why you want to cruise before you decide to just buy a cruiser. Don’t cheap out, 90% of the people who buy a cheap cruiser or skateboard get buyers remorse.
It would be a shame to quit out of frustration just because you bought an inferior product.
Make sure you’re safe, beginners should at least wear a helmet though even experienced riders get injured and end up in the ER. A helmet isn’t even that expensive and they look pretty cool these days. Here are a few helmets that are affordable, comfortable and not that bad looking.
Now have ride and have fun!