The great thing about mini cruisers is that they are suitable for commuting without having to carry a huge and heavy board around. Mini cruisers have big soft wheels and despite being smaller, they still allow for carving. These decks are loved by cruiser boarders for their looks, performance, and quality of the components. I did an in-depth review recently if you want all the details, this board is a rock star.
The best mini cruiser (by far) is the Landyachtz Dinghy. The Dinghy is the little brother of the Tug Boat and the parts are high quality and are very well-tuned. The Dinghy is the favorite among cruisers and works extremely well out of the box! Check out the test drive I did with a friend.
Landyachtz has been building boards for decades and produce their own wheels and trucks. Their cruisers are well known for their quality and durability.
The Dinghy (Amazon link) is the perfect cruiser/commuter board that you can easily carry around. The smaller versions can even be stowed away in a backpack but this version needs to be strapped on. Some airlines even allow these boards as a carry-on, as long as you abide by the rules.
The small wheelbase and trucks (105mm) make it responsive and turns but it easily snaps back into position meaning it’s also surprisingly stable for its size, but you need to tighten the trucks a bit. Don’t tighten the nuts on the kingpins right away.
Ride it about one hour or rock and carve for about 30 minutes before you do, other wise you might comprimise the integrity of the bushings. I tightened them a little bit which made a huge difference.
It’s the perfect balance between cruising, carving and small enough to do some basic tricks (though for that I recommend a regular skateboard).
The Dinghy has been around for a while and the design changed a bit over the years. Still, it’s the number one mini-cruiser out there. Mini cruisers aren’t exactly cheap, at least a decent one isn’t.
The problem with many cheap cruisers is that they are made of poor quality components. Sure you can get a cruiser for around 70 bucks but the bearings are usually of low quality and the wheels consist of a cheap polyurethane (plastic) mix.
Anyway here’s why this cruiser is the most popular:
- Easy to carry around, it’s small (28,5”) perfect for commuting (there are also even smaller versions)
- The kicktail allows you to do some tricks or hop curbs
- High-quality wheels that are great on rough surfaces, the big soft wheels give a butter-smooth ride
- It has a mellow concave which makes the board more responsive
- Price quality the best choice, durable components that last a long time
- It’s just a really fun ride and it’s very silent.
You can either get harder bushings or take your time to get used to it, but there’s an alternative. I was told larger and tall or riders with big feet will have a harder time to learn to cruise on this board. I don’t think this is true but you could go for the Landyachtz Tugboat instead. It’s a bit more expensive.
Some people claim this isn’t a board for beginners, but I let a few beginners ride this board and they really liked it. One person said it felt heavy but was surprisingly stable, she actually did a fine job riding this thing. Probably has to do with the fact that this board is very stiff.
Anyway, this is the ultimate cruiser that allows you to do tricks and it ‘s a very playfull cruiser which can take you everywhere. Landyachtz is an excellent brand and they know what people want, you won’t be disapointed. Check for prices at Amazon.
Board (or deck)
The board consists of 7ply’s of maple wood (7 layers pressed and glued together) which is the best quality wood when it comes to skateboards. Because it’s a smaller board it isn’t very flexy. The board feels stiff which ads stability and has a mellow concave. The concave is perfect for carving as it allows your feet to get more grip when you lean.
Maple wood is perfect but it requires you to take care of your board. It’s organic material and you need to keep it dry. Don’t leave it outside when it’s too hot, this is bad for the epoxy resin that holds the ply’s together. Same for rain, the glue can resolve and the board will start to delaminate.
As for grip tape, this version has clear grip on top (which can get dirty) but there are also versions with dark grip tape. The grip isn’t annoyingly rough and it isn’t hard to move your feet around.
This board also has wheel wells that help to prevent wheel bite (your wheels coming into contact with the board when you carve). The tail is slightly elevated (kicktail) and allows you to hop curbs and even some ollies.
The trucks are rather narrow (105mm) but that’s to be expected on a board this size. Smaller trucks are less stable in general but fine for cruising around. Landyachtz produces its own trucks so you don’t get any crappy off-brand stuff. They come with Polar Bear trucks and reinforced axles and quality material hangers. the bigger bushing seats increase turn ability and the riser pads help to prevent wheel bite.
The baseplate has 8 holes so you can decide if you want to ride an old school or new school trucks (that’s a subject for another time).
They may feel a bit loose or turny at the beginning but your bushings need so time to break-in. You can tighten the nut on the kingpins once you cruised for a couple of hours. Don’t do this right away or you could crush the bushings.
Wheels & bearings
The Dinghy comes with big soft wheels but are crazy fast. The hardness is 78A on the durometer scale and they have a diameter of 63mm. The size and hardness, or rather softness deal perfectly with small rocks, cracks, and twigs meaning objects won’t block the wheels when you’re cruising.
Try to avoid glass when you spot some, it may get stuck in your wheels which is really annoying, even though the wheels are made high quality urethane, you don’t want to get anything stuck in them.
Bearings are often overlooked but they make your wheels spin. Good bearings will let your wheels spin for minutes and bad ones less than 5 seconds. You can imagine the effort it would require to push a board with bad bearings.
The Dinghy comes with Bear Spaceball bearings which are fine. The bushings are protected by spacers which are attache to rings and keep out dust and dirt from entering the bearings. Try to maintain them by cleaning them once a season, they’ll last much longer. I’m not 100% convinced of these bearings just yet, so I’ll update this post and share how they hold up.
Dusters California Flashback
Slightly cheaper than the Dinghy, the Dusters California Flashback is more of a surf cruiser and a better option for bigger riders and beginners. It’s 31″ which is bigger than the Dinghy and is right between a longboard and a mini-cruiser (comparable to the size of a regular skateboard).
It features a diamond-shaped kicktail and a flat rounded nose and has a tight wheelbase of 16.5”. This cruiser is suitable for more crowded areas because the trucks turn quickly allowing for last-second corrections.
The colorful design really stands out and the combination with natural wood makes this board an eye-catcher. All components are of high quality and will last for years, make sure to take care of it to get the most out of this board.
The trucks are from Tensor which is a reputable brand known for its lightweight trucks. The extra height provides enough clearance to prevent wheel bite allowing for deeper carving.
The wheels are big and soft, 63mm in diameter and a hardness of 83A so you don’t have to worry about cracks and pebbles. You’ll hardly feel inconsistencies on the surface and are guaranteed a smooth and stable ride. A great cruiser that won’t let you down suitable for beginners. You can compare prices on Amazon but they are currently unavailable.
Magneto Mini Cruiser
This is the cheapest on this list but can still be considered a decent mini-cruiser if you’re willing to ignore its flaws. I tried my best finding a board that’s a bit cheaper and still provides a decent cruising experience.
The bearings aren’t great so keep that in mind, but you should be able to fix this a bit by applying some silicone lube. This will make them spin faster, but you could also consider getting a set of high-quality bearings once you get comfortable cruising around.
Sometimes the deck is a bit warped so make sure to check it properly before you ride it. They are mass-produced and sometimes a faulty board slips through standard quality checks.
I think this cruiser is fine to start with if you’re on a budget, but I would advise you to save a little extra and go for something of higher quality. The prices may vary so check the reviews on Amazon. Beginners love this board and I think it’s a good choice if you’re new to riding.
Still, if you can, hold on for now and put some money aside and save it for a better cruiser.
Don’t forget a skate tool
All of these boards are good to go straight from the box but might need some tuning. Get a skate tool from Amazon if you don’t have any tools at home. You probably need to adjust the trucks a bit if they feel too loose or tight.