Choosing the right bike to suit your daily riding or commuting can be challenging and confusing. Bicycles vary in terms of design, features, price, and other aspects. Mountain bikes and cruisers are very different, but either one can suit your riding needs. They’re both designed for comfortable rides and have tons of opportunities for exploration.
But can you really convert a mountain bike into a cruiser? In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about converting your mountain bike into a cruiser.
What is a mountain bike?
Mountain bikes are designed for riding rough off-road trails. These bikes use a different geometry that gives the rider a slightly less upright position for control and speed and use a high bottom bracket clearance to transverse rough terrain.
Most mountain bikes come with shock absorbers. Mountain bikes with both the rear and front suspension are called duallies or full-suspension bikes; mountain bikes with front suspension only are known as hardtails. A mountain bike that has no suspension is called rigid.
What is a cruiser bike?
Cruiser bikes are designed for casual riding and promote a comfortable and upright riding position. Cruisers are usually equipped with wide “balloon” tires and have upright handlebars.
Most cruisers are single-speed or 3-speed. They are ideal for short-distance errands and commuting, but the route should be fairly flat. These bikes are also available in a wide range of colors to suit your fashion styles.
Main differences between a cruiser and a mountain bike
Although mountain bikes and cruiser bikes have similarities, they have some differences in their comfort, make performance, and price. Here’s how these bikes differ.
A cruiser bike comes with an upright sitting position. This is a comfortable riding position since it resembles the chair’s posture. You can ride slowly while enjoying the beautiful scenery, but they aren’t good for long-distance riding.
In a mountain bike, you have to lean forward for power and effective handling. Additionally, a mountain bike is ideal for climbing steep hills.
Another key difference between the two bikes is the price. Cruiser bikes are ideal for riding on sidewalks, pathways, and cruising around the town. Mountain bikes can also be used for the same purposes, but they also work great on rough terrains.
Mountain bikes have stable and strong shock and gears, making them more expensive than cruiser bikes.
Cruiser bikes and mountain bikes have attractive designs. The looks you pick depend on your style and taste. Cruiser bikes come with sophisticated designs, and some models have appealing artwork and prints. Conversely, mountain bikes feature tough and rugged looks.
The gears in a mountain bike and cruiser bike also differ. Most cruiser bikes come with a single gear, while mountain bikes have around 10 gears. The extra gears offer power and speed, making a mountain bike ideal for off-road cycling.
So, can you convert a mountain bike into a cruiser?
It’s possible to convert a mountain bike into a cruiser bike. However, converting a modern mountain bike into a cruiser bike is a bit challenging. Modern mountain bikes are costly and are specially designed to handle tough terrains. Therefore, installing cruiser bars on a mountain bike is a downgrade.
A full-suspension mountain bike is usually slow on paved roads and too expensive. A rigid mountain bike or CX hardtail is easy to convert and is ideal for casual riding.
Things to change in a mountain bike to make it a cruiser
Brake Levers and Shifters
The shifters and brake levers for mountain bikes are designed for flat bars, and therefore you need to install upright handlebars. You also need to lengthen or shorten the housing and cables to make the bike comfortable.
Cruisers bars have a large seat and put you in an upright position. Mountain bike seats are designed to put the rider in a more forward lean position. Therefore, you need to replace the saddle with one that supports upright positioning.
Benefits of Converting a Mountain Bike to Cruiser Bars
Lower Wrist Stress
With a cruiser bike, the stress on your wrists reduces since they support less weight and are positioned in a neutral position.
Lower Back Stress
A cruiser bike is designed to promote an upright posture which eliminates any stress on your back.
A cruiser bike guarantees the rider a less aggressive and relaxed riding experience.
Great Visibility in Traffic
If you’re in an upright position, you can easily see and be seen by other road users.
If you have a mountain bike and want to ride for pleasure, then you can convert your bike to a cruiser bike. This bike gives you a relaxed riding position, a simple design, and is ideal for riding on a beach or boardwalk.