Cruiser boards are great for getting you from A to B or cruising campus. Choosing the right cruiser board might seem challenging but it really isn’t that hard as long as you know what to look for.
Here’s how you choose the right cruiser board. Make sure you know what and where you are going to use the cruiser skateboard. Cruisers need to be portable and light-weight. The deck needs to be flexible and the wheels need to be big & soft wheels.
In this post I’ll go a bit into what types of cruisers are out there, the materials they’re made off and what to expect from the components. I also know a few cruiser skateboards that are affordable and are a ton of fun to ride.
Types of Cruiser Boards and Their Purpose
A Cruiser skateboard is generally a board which is not suitable for doing tricks, they’re for smooth rides and shorter distances and aren’t long enough to be categorized as a longboard.
Cruiser boards are great for short distances like commuting around campus. They’re easy to carry around and if they’re small enough you some can even bring them on a plane if they’re short enough.
They come in different lengths where a Penny board might be considered the smallest. The downside of smaller boards is that it’s harder to learn to ride and they are less stable compared to their bigger longboard brothers. While this isn’t really an issue it’s something to consider. Everyone can learn how to ride a cruiser board it just takes some time.
Because they are less stable mini cruisers aren’t suitable for downhill. At higher speeds, you might experience instability and wheel wobble.
Mini cruisers are quite popular, they’re portable and depending on the quality of the bearings and wheels can provide a very comfortable ride. While they’re not as fast as longboards and maybe require a bit more effort to maintain speed it’s the best choice if you want something in between.
Because they’re smaller they accelerate faster compared to longboards but they aren’t really suitable for doing advanced tricks (in general).
I tested the mini cruisers in the image above and love most of them for different reasons. One of them (Arbor Pilsner) is my favorite at the moment, such a sweet ride.
Some Cruiser Board Features to be Aware Of
There are many different cruisers out there and they all behave a bit different depending on the materials used, the quality of the wheels and even bushings play a huge part in how a board handles.
While many cruisers have well-balanced components in place, it doesn’t really hurt to know a little bit about the components. At some point, you’ll need to replace parts but that can take years depending on how often you ride.
Size & Shape of a Cruiser Board
As aforementioned, cruisers are smaller boards that are perfect for commuting. They do vary in sizes, components, and performance.
Looking at the history of skateboarding, the shape of a cruiser has been around for decades. When looking at the shape of cruisers you often see they have a pointy shape on the front and a slightly raised tail (there are also flat variants).
The pointy shape is supposed to cut air making them more aerodynamic but I wonder if this really makes any noticeable difference. The tail can be lifted a bit to allow you tow hop curbs a bit or perform basic tricks.
Some cruisers are entirely flat, these types of boards are usually a bit stiffer.
Picking the Right Flex
Not everyone is a fan of flexy boards. Flex is about the stiffness of the cruiser board (flexibility). The more flex, the more shock a board can absorb but it also impacts stability especially at higher speeds. Going fast with a very flexible board is downright dangerous, you’ll need something stiffer and bigger if you’re looking for speed.
The material of a board determines how much flex there is, also the thickness of a board plays a part. Flex is something you have to experience yourself in order to know what you prefer. There are a couple of safe choices (see below) if you can’t test a board.
Since we’re talking about cruising here you probably want something flexy as it gives you the most comfortable ride. The flexibility of a board handles uneven and rough surfaces like they aren’t even there.
Materials vary from cheap plastic, high-quality durable maple wood, cherry wood or grade-A plastic which is almost indestructible. In general, the more you pay, the higher quality cruiser you get, but be careful not to pay too much.
On top of the board you’ll sometimes find a fully gripped deck for extra eh, grip. Some boards only have a few strips of grip and others lack grip entirely.
If you just want to cruise you want the smoothest ride possible. Softer wheels are great for rough roads and those nasty pebbles and cracks on pavements. Almost anyone who skateboards has some story to tell about being unsuspectedly thrown off a board because of a small rock or even twigs.
Your cruiser needs to have large wheels (65mm and above) and low on the Durometer scale. Most cruisers have soft wheels that are fine but there are a couple of brands that stand out like Orangatang for example.
Note that this graphic doesn’t go above 60mm but it gives an idea of speed vs acceleration. In general, you want wheels above 60mm.
In order to get the most out of a cruiser board, you’ll need to have rather loose trucks. This will greatly improve turning and carving which is often needed on narrow streets. Loose trucks don’t handle speed well so be careful when you decide to push the limits.
If you want to assemble one yourself make sure the trucks you pick aren’t too wide or narrow.
Bushings allow your trucks to steer while you lean and are made out of polyurethane. There are many types of bushings out there for different circumstances but in general, cruisers have cone-barrel shaped bushings. Because the bushings are conical shaped there’s less polyurethane which offers improved deck lean compared to a double-barrel for example.
There is a thing called durometer which is about the stiffness of the urethane, if you’re a heavy rider you’ll want some stiffer material so you won’t flex all over the place and crush your bushings.
I can recommend a couple of cruisers that aren’t too expensive and a ton of fun to ride. These are the most popular boards out there and everyone that rides them falls in love.
Since you’re probably looking for a cruiser that needs to be portable, playful and still offer a smooth and comfortable ride I picked the following cruiser skateboards.
Note: I made some updates recently and tested 11 cruisers. Check this page to see what I like and don’t like about these boards
One of the most popular and better cruiser is the Landyachtz Dinghy and for good reasons. It’s a pretty affordable cruiser, handles great, feels comfortable when riding and if you’re skilled enough even allows you to do a few tricks. This cruiser is also very versatile.
It’s pretty fast for such a small board and you can even put it in your backpack. It’s ultra-portable, not too heavy and just awesome to ride in the city. It’s the Jack-of-all-trades but I wouldn’t go downhill on steep slopes.
As for materials, the Dinghy is made of 8 ply maple but is still light-weight because it’s so small. People even pull off kickflips on these boards and wheel bite is prevented by the wheel wells so you don’t have to worry about eating the pavement. If found a couple of interesting facts about this cruiser that I covered here. It’s downright the best cruiser on the market for over a decade.
Another very popular cruiser is the Landyachtz tugboat. It’s slightly bigger compared to the Dinghy and a bit more carvy and handles rough streets and sidewalks really well (so does the Dinghy), you can even downhill on grass if you want (why though). The tugboat is very easy to carry around just like its little brother.
The biggest difference between these two cruisers are the size and shape but that’s all there really is to it. The extra 2 inches on the Tugboat makes quite a difference in board feel. It’s more stable at higher speeds and feels less sketchy. The Tugboat also looks like a cruiser Batman would ride.
Can I use my regular skateboard for cruising? Of course, you can. if you want to have a little more fun and hop a few curbs regular skateboards can be used for cruising. You need to make sure that you slap the right wheels on your trucks and some higher quality bearings will do the trick.
I personally use a regular skateboard for cruising around with Ricta clouds. 94mm and a pair of old Thunder trucks. The Ricta’s handle rough roads perfectly and still allow me to do some tricks while cruising without bouncing all over the place.
As a beginner, should I get a skateboard or a cruiser? that depends entirely on what you want to do. Cruisers are a bit more forgiving when you just want to learn how to ride.
This mainly has to do with the softer and bigger wheels. If you want to ride and learn tricks go for a regular skateboard. Just make sure not to slap really hard wheels on them if you want to do tricks and still cruise.
Can I build a cruiser myself? Sure you can, in fact, I learned skateboarding on a DIY cruiser as a kid. You’ll need to proper tools or it’s going to be a pain. If you’re going assemble one yourself check some videos on Youtube, lots of DIY stuff out there!