Cruiser vs. Street Setup: Tailoring Your Skateboard for Different Terrains

cruiser vs street setup tailoring your skateboard for different terrains

Skateboarding is not limited to specific terrains. You can ride on anything from smooth concrete to steep hills and half-pipes. However, different terrains provide different challenges which require different techniques and skills. These differences manifest themselves in the various types of skateboards out there. 

Generally, cruisers differ from street skateboards in their design and purpose. As such, you want a cruiser for short distances but comfortable rides. Meanwhile, the standard street skateboard works best when doing technical tricks in skate parks, on flat ground, or a street. You also may want a cruiser if you are a beginner. 

While these configurations are standard, you will want to modify them for different terrains. That is because each terrain has its required shape, wheelbase, size, and features. By reading further, you will learn what these differences are and how to modify your ride as needed. 

Differences Between Cruiser and Street Skateboard Setups

Designing a skateboard is almost as challenging as riding one. That is because skateboarding is not restricted to any specific terrain. The sport’s global popularity means you can ride on any surface from smooth concrete streets to steep rocky hills. 

As a result, manufacturers must design the boards for these different terrains. Skateboarders must then understand the differences between these boards to choose the right one and remain safe while improving their skills. 

However, this can be not easy if the designs look too similar like they do with cruisers and street boards. Both boards work well on the asphalt and concrete terrains of the urban jungle but with specific benefits and drawbacks

Cruiser Boards

Cruisers are large, heavy boards. Their size makes them very stable and easy to ride, especially for long distances. However, they are difficult to maneuver and therefore not the best choice for tricks. Because of this, cruisers are best for casual riding around your neighborhood. 

Some notable benefits of using a cruiser include:

  • Smaller wheels for increased maneuverability
  • Shorter than standard longboards for easier transportation
  • Lighter than standard longboards for easier carrying
  • Ideal for casual riding around your neighborhood or campus

Street Boards

Street boards are typically smaller and lighter than cruisers, making them more maneuverable. However, their narrow decks make them difficult to ride for long distances. They also work best on flat grounds such as skate parks. At least, you can do tricks and stunts on them. 

Some notable benefits of using a street skateboard include: 

  • Durable hardwood deck with polyurethane coating or varnish 
  • Wheel bearings for smoother rolling
  • Can reach speeds of up to 20mph
  • Can also be used for tricks and stunts
  • Relatively inexpensive and available in most sporting goods stores

Key Differences Between Street and Cruiser Boards 

Generally, cruisers are best for transportation while street boards work best for technical skating. This distinction is the result of the following key differences in their construction. 

  • Size: cruisers are larger than street boards
  • Shape: cruisers have rounder noses and tails
  • Wheels and Bearings: cruisers have larger wheels and bearings
  • Price: cruisers are typically more expensive than street skateboards
  • Trucks: street boards have shorter, wider, and more responsive trucks than cruisers. 
  • Deck:  the plywood decks of street boards are more durable than their plastic cruiser counterparts, which are more flexible
  • Grip Tape: the rubber grips on cruisers are more comfortable and less likely to tear like the sandpaper grips on street boards
  • Hardware: street boards have a more durable steel construction while the cruiser’s aluminum is lighter

How to Tailor Your Skateboard for Different Terrains

Most of the time, your skateboarding ventures will be on smooth surfaces. It does not matter if it is on asphalt or concrete, if you normally skate down roads or at a skate park, you have nothing to worry about. However, this will not always be the case, especially if you ride on sidewalks and other broken surfaces. Luckily, skateboard manufacturers have you covered in these cases.

As mentioned earlier, different types of terrain have different skating needs and characteristics. You must customize your board to accommodate these differences if you want a smooth and safe ride. 

Material Construction

Your board’s material construction is the chief way you can customize it to any terrain. Different materials will provide different levels of durability, stability, and comfort. They can also change how well the board will perform. 

Board material, whether it is wood, fiberglass, foam, nylon, aluminum, or Plexiglas, also determines how your board will look and feel. So, it is in your best interest to get a board that can handle your riding while making you look good while you do it. 

Hardware Design

Hardware design is the next major component. Skateboards have three parts, the deck, the wheels, and the trucks that fasten the wheels to the deck. The interfaces between them can impact the optimum terrain for your board. Higher quality components allow for steeper and rougher terrain but come with high prices. Lower quality is cheaper but will restrict you to smooth surfaces. 


If you routinely ride on multiple types of terrain, you want a board that is flexible enough to handle it all. Flexibility is a product of the whole package from the materials used to the quality of the hardware. As such, different designs and constructions will offer different levels of flexibility. So, your best bet is to get the best quality board your money can buy. 


Skateboarding can be a lot of fun but only if you choose the right board for your riding style and location. That is because some boards such as cruisers are designed for fast, long-distance travel on smooth surfaces. On the other hand, street boards are durable enough to perform tricks on unlevel and slanted terrain.

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