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Mountain and cruiser bikes share a few similarities, such as large frames and wide tires.
At the same time, we cannot deny that they are poles apart in terms of their design, performance, comfort, and cost.
A mountain bike is an off-roading champion that allows you to ride at high speeds on tough terrain.
On the other hand, a cruiser bike is a “townie”. It offers smooth and slow rides on paved urban roads.
This means it is not ideal for off-road adventures, and it’s also not suitable for long trips.
So, Mountain bike vs. Cruiser, which type of bicycle suits you better?
Dive in and let’s talk about these two distinct bikes in more detail.
Further down in this post, we will make an in-depth comparison of the two and weigh the pros and cons of each option. I’ll also unveil some of the best MTB and cruiser bike models.
Mountain Bike vs. Cruiser Bike
Last update on 2021-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The geometry of the mountain bike is what makes it truly exceptional. It has a racing-inspired geometry that forces users to adopt an aggressive, forward riding position.
This, in return, makes it easier to pedal at a high cadence and enhances your control, especially on tough terrain.
Mountain bikes are complex two-wheelers. They feature higher bottom brackets that make pedaling a breeze even when navigating through tight routes with tight turns.
Additionally, such bikes have a wide array of gearing options to allow you to maintain comfortable speeds, irrespective of the terrain.
Frame-wise, mountain bikes can be made from carbon fiber, aluminum, steel or even titanium.
The material of construction dictates the performance, capabilities, and cost of a specific model.
Depending on the state of the routes you use, you can choose between a hardtail and full-suspension mountain bikes.
Both options feature wide, knobby tires and sturdy rims for an enhanced riding experience on unpaved roads.
• Beefy frame and sturdy components designed to hold up to constant abuse
• Frame geometry designed to increase traction on steep and loose climbs
• Sturdy rims and wheels can take the hits from potholes and rocks
• Features one or two suspension systems for enhanced shock absorption
• Knobby tires for increased control and traction on loose dirt
• Slower on-road (more pedaling effort is needed)
Recommended Mountain Bikes to Buy
Do you love going on wild off-road cycling adventures? If you do, and also don’t mind the somewhat race-inspired bike geometry of mountain bikes, here are the top 5 models you should consider buying.
Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike, 7 Speed
I’ll start by reviewing an MTB model that I have in my collection — the High Timber by Schwinn.
This is a machine designed to cope with a range of terrain and weather conditions.
Compared to other mountain bikes with almost similar specs, this one is highly affordable, yet it still offers an excellent ride quality.
Among the goodies promised by this two-wheeler include stability, comfort, responsive handling, smooth-riding, quick braking, and smooth shifting.
Additionally, this machine brings a level of alloy madness that is hard to find within the price range.
For instance, it features linear-pull brakes and rims made of durable and lightweight alloy.
These components keep the bike light enough for enhanced speed. For most riders, speed and reduced pedaling resistance make each riding experience more memorable.
Take this from someone who has crashed bikes more times than anyone would bother to count; the High Timber offers better control with its SR Suntour suspension.
The sturdy, high-performing, and dependable steel frame keeps the rides more comfortable and ensures your hands remain on the handlebars for enhanced stability and safety.
On the other hand, the 7-speed Shimano twist shifters allow rapid and smooth gear changes for consistent speeds on different terrain.
Mongoose Silva Mountain Bike, For Women and Girls
For female mountain-biking beginners, here is a perfect model to consider. The Mongoose Silva features a sturdy frame with hydro-formed tubing, and this ensures better handling and stability.
It also comes equipped with a reliable suspension fork that keeps the rides smooth, even on bumpy trails.
This is a lightweight bike that also suits experienced riders who like hitting the dirt at high speeds.
Thanks to the 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur, you have a suitable range of gearing to optimize your cycling up climbs or down steep slopes.
Moreover, the model comes with front and rear v-brakes for better speed control and stopping power.
Something else that makes this two-wheeler ideal for your next adventure is the quality of the wheels.
There is less rolling resistance because of the durable yet lightweight alloy rims supported by knobby mountain tires.
This is one of the best women-specific MTBs in the current markets. It is uniquely designed for cyclists of different biking levels and is adaptable to a range of uses and conditions. For the price, you can expect to get solid value for your money.
Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike, Full Dual Suspension
If you are searching for a mid-priced mountain bike that performs impressively, here is a highly recommended model.
From the durable yet lightweight aluminum frame to the Shimano EZ Fire shifter, this 24-speeds MTB can offer you years of memorable off-roading adventures.
Apart from its ability to excel in different riding conditions, the overall quality is also admirable.
The machine even comes fitted with front and rear mechanical disc brakes for unmatched stopping power.
These brakes are easy to engage and are highly responsive for increased rider safety.
A feature that gives the bike an edge is the Schwinn alloy cranks. They don’t require much maintenance, yet they do an outstanding job of keeping the gearing system steady.
Additionally, this is a 29er with wide knobby tires as well as extra-wide double-wall alloy rims for more comfortable rides on rough roads.
This is a versatile bike with a dual suspension system that helps to ensure your comfort is not compromised, especially when you tackle obstructions.
Even though its speed on paved roads is regular, its off-roading performance is praiseworthy thanks to its ability to shield your body from the impact of riding on rough trails.
Max4out Mountain Bike 21 Speed 26-inch Shining SYS Double Disc Brake
If you frequently like to hit dirt trails and only commute on paved roads from time to time, then the Max4Out Mountain Bike is for you.
This is a decent bike with a somewhat smaller frame and medium-size tires.
What makes it outstanding in its price range is the fact that it has a 21-speed gearbox and highly responsive disc brakes.
Other features that give this model some bragging points include the suspension system that does a pretty good job of absorbing shock from bumps, rough trails, and off-road obstacles.
This gives the two-wheeler an above-average performance mark on uneven terrain.
Moreover, the aluminum alloy frame is designed to withstand plenty of abuse.
It is sturdy enough to give the bike an outstanding 330 pounds weight capacity.
It’s also worth noting that this frame plays a crucial role in enhancing the model’s handling and stability.
Just like most bikes, this one too comes partially assembled. It took us about 30 minutes to finish the assembly and tuning processes, although some users have raised concerns that the setup procedure is complicated.
Trinx MTB Mens Mountain Bike 26 inch 21-Speed M136
For male riders who always have a hard time finding bikes that suit their distinct frames, there are good reasons to consider Men-specific bikes. One of the best options you have is the Trinx MTB 26-inch.
Trinx focused on using highly researched fit data to create nearly perfect frame geometry for the male anatomy.
One feature of this bike is the more extended stack height and longer reach length.
It has a robust AI6106 Aluminum frame with special-shaped tubes for added stability, especially on tight trails.
With a 17-inch frame size, this model is perfect for male riders between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches.
What’s more, this is a hardtail mountain bike with one suspension. Though it is a short-travel fork suspension of 100 mm, rides through off-road routes are smooth and steady.
At the same time, you get plenty of feedback from the tracks to make your adventures more thrilling.
There are numerous other great features such as a 21-speed gear shifter, double-walled rims, mechanical disc brakes, and a sturdy chain with excellent tensile strength.
What I liked most, however, is that the handlebars on the bike have a lean forward angle.
This makes regular riding comfortable —something most MTB bikes don’t offer.
The beauty of cruiser bikes is in their simplicity. They feature heavy, non-suspension frames, and most models have handlebars that sit up about a foot above the saddle.
For enhanced riding comfort, these bikes have U-shaped handlebars, low seats, and an overall geometry that supports a more upright, comfortable riding position.
Cruiser bikes are comfort-oriented, not to mention that they also require minimal maintenance.
Even though they are a real appeal to beginner cyclists, their heavy frames and sturdy rims are designed to last for years.
A decent number of models are single speed because a range of gearing options is not necessary when cruising on urban roads.
For enhanced riding comfort, some models have excellent spring seats. The wide seat design generally does an excellent job of absorbing shock from bumps and rough pavements.
Cruisers are excellent bikes for commuting around urban settings. Even when carrying personal belongings in the front basket or rear rack, the wide tires provide adequate stability.
• Comfort-oriented geometry designed to encourage a relaxed riding style
• A simple, classic and stylish overall design
• Well-padded and wide seats for increased comfort
• Because they are not speed-oriented, they feature the best materials for maximum durability
• Heavy frames can impact your riding speed and cause slower acceleration
• The weight of cruisers negatively impacts maneuverability, although this is not a significant problem when using open town roads
Recommended Cruiser Bikes to Buy
Now that you understand the key features, pros, and cons of cruiser bikes, let’s check out the top 5 models in the market.
Sixthreezero Around the Block Women’s Cruiser Bike
For females searching for the perfect starter bike, I highly recommend the Sixthreezero around the block cruiser. It’s not just easy to ride, but also super comfortable and low maintenance.
Unlike most cruisers, this model keeps longer rides comfortable thanks to its adjustable handlebar for more customized rides.
Sixthreezero made some serious heavy lifting to deliver comfort and excellent performance with this bike.
Everything from the frame design, tires, grips, seat, and even the pedaling position is designed to make this model more versatile and ideal for cruising to any destination with grace and style.
Trust me; this two-wheeler appears top on the list for good reasons. You understand that most cruisers offer only one speed, right? Well, this model is available in four gearing options.
Apart from the 21-speed option, you could also opt for single-speed, 3-speed, or 7-speed.
There is more to this machine than just the eye-catching style and excellent mechanics.
It is also a practical bike with plenty of eyelets to install baby seats, racks, and baskets. At the price point, such features are rare.
Schwinn Huron and Mikko Adult Beach Cruiser Bike
Inclusive of a lightweight frame and simple overall design, the Schwinn Huron and Mikko adult Cruisers are state of the art machines that are optimized to deliver a smooth and comfortable riding experience.
The models have a modern 17-inch steel frame designed for unrivaled strength and resilience.
Before we dive in any further, here is something you need to know. While the Huron is a male-specific cruiser, the Mikko model has a women’s specific geometry that allows easy mounting and dismounting
What’s more, the models feature cute swept-back handlebars with ergonomic rubber grips.
Their overall geometry encourages riders to sit upright, while the grips and handlebars play a vital role in keeping the ride comfy and stylish.
These two-wheelers have their fair share of bragging rights because of their perfect pedal position.
The alignment gets the pedals positioned vertically below your hip joint to promote proper leg extension and almost effortless pedaling.
On the other hand, riders of various heights are assured of their comfort with Mikko’s flexible queen size saddle with proper padding.
For speed, both the male and female-specific models are fitted with a Shimano Seven-Speed drive train with twist shifter.
You will also find the linear-pull brakes to be quite effective, especially when riding on paved roads.
Firmstrong Urban Man Single Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle
Here is one of the best Men’s beach cruisers in the market. It’s a classic-looking bike with plenty of goodies to ensure users get the best value for their money.
Even though most people are okay with the single-speed model, you can also choose to settle for the same bike with three or seven speeds.
Better still, there are two bike sizes to choose. The bigger size is perfect for users from 5 feet, four inches to six feet, while the smaller version is ideal for shorter users between 4 and 5 feet.
Just like a decent number of cruiser bikes, this one too has a steel frame that is durable and rust-resistant.
It is however, ingeniously made to keep the bike weight as little as 38 pounds.
This enhances your riding speed while still ensuring maximum stability and comfort.
For the seven-speed edition, you get front and rear handbrakes. The single and three-speed models, on the other hand, have rear coaster brakes that are pretty decent when riding at moderate speeds.
Firmstrong Urban Lady Beach Cruiser Bicycle
Female trendsetters have more than a few reasons to love the Firmstrong urban lady cruiser bike.
This is a good-performing two-wheeler designed to add extra enjoyment and comfort to your rides around the beach or hood.
If you need a cruiser that offers the perfect blend of comfort, style, prestige, and exceptional performance, this model should be on top of your list.
There is just something about this bike’s geometry that gives it that “Firm-Strong” look.
It has a robust and durable steel frame and headset plus knobby Kenda tires for a smooth rolling sensation on urban roads.
The well-made handles make it easy to steer the bike as long as you don’t go beyond the recommended 300 pounds weight capacity.
Unlike the Firmstrong Urban Man cruiser, which has two size options, this female-specific bike is only available in a 16-inch frame size.
You can, however, choose from 21, 3, and 1-speed models, depending on your riding needs.
Furthermore, you can choose between getting the bike fitted with 26-inch or 24-inch wheels.
For most women, nothing is as pleasing to the heart as having a decent number of choices at their disposal.
Well, you have 16 different color options, ranging from metallic charcoal to baby blue.
sixthreezero Men’s In The Barrel Beach Cruiser Bicycle
Compared to its closest men-specific bike competitors, The Barrel Beach Cruiser from Sixthreezero is a cut above the rest.
It is a superior two-wheeler that offers a comfortable and relaxed upright sitting position.
Apart from the posture perfect frame style, it also allows forward pedaling positions for enhanced rider comfort.
What’s more, this Cruiser has multiple speed options along with dual brakes for your safety. With a rear suspension, you can expect smoother rides on rough roads.
Other aspects that make this 26-inch beach cruiser a real appeal to riders of different skills is that you can choose the number of speeds and even the color of bike to purchase.
This is an 18-inch steel frame bike that looks tough but rides sweet. Every aspect of its design promises excellent performance and unrivaled comfort, from the beautiful bubble style saddle to the ergonomically designed grips.
The pedals look great, although we doubt they can hold up to years of hard-riding at the beach.
While they may not have a cheap feel, you may want to consider replacing them after a while. Fortunately, they are inexpensive to replace.
Mountain Bike or Cruiser Bike?
By now, we’re sure you have already figured out that the Cruiser and the mountain bike are very different.
In case you are still torn between these two bikes, here are factors that can help you make a more personalized choice.
Cruisers have a simple design and are easier to maintain. Even though they are strong and durable, they are built for riding on smooth pavements and town roads.
On the other hand, mountain bikes are designed to hold up to rough treatment.
After all, they are off-roading champions built to beat the toughest terrain.
There are several complex components included in mountain bikes that make them excel on rough terrain.
Examples include suspension systems, a full range of gearing options, and lighter frames that tend to cost more.
In short, mountain bikes have more features, and this makes them more expensive.
Cruiser bikes are designed with comfort in mind. They allow riders to maintain a relaxed, upright riding position that is easy on the back.
Even though this position is likely to slow you down, it will also allow you to enjoy your scenery.
The impact on speed makes cruisers unsuitable for long-distance cycling trips.
Mountain bikes have a geometry that allows you to lean forward for a more aggressive riding position. This position enhances handling, even when climbing steep hills.
Pedal positioning, as well as the weight-forward balance, naturally makes the ride more stable and makes it easy for riders to stand up while riding on the bike.
Hands down, mountain bikes have more equipment and are technically more advanced.While cruisers often have one-gear systems, MTBs can offer as much as 10 gears
on the rear and 3 on the front. More gears calculate into more speed and enhanced power when traversing through different terrain.
Additionally, MTBs have rear shock absorbers or a full suspension system. This makes your rides more comfortable on rough roads.
In this case, both bikes are attractive, and your taste will dictate whether a cruiser looks better than a Mountain bike or it’s the other way around.
Cruisers have simple yet very classic aesthetics. They often have a glamorous and sophisticated appeal thanks to their beautifully painted frames that may contain unique prints or artwork.
In case graceful and elegant details don’t tickle your fancy, then perhaps you will find MTBs to be more appealing with their tough and rugged looks.
We can now confidently draw our conclusion on the Mountain bike vs. cruiser debate.
Well, these are two different bikes that look not only different but also have different mechanics and features.
They are ideal for different purposes and even have very distinct perks and drawbacks.
The differences between these two bikes make it vital for serious cyclists to have them both in their collection.
Pull out your Cruiser when running errands around town, and then take your mountain bike for a spin if you want to hit off-road trails.