Are BMX Bikes Good for Cruising? [Answered]

Different types of bikes are designed to serve different purposes. For example, road bikes specialize in giving you excellent speed output on paved roads. While gravel bikes specialize in all-surface durability. 

BMX bikes are not good for cruising because they are designed with the sole purpose of racing and stunt riding. Thus, they are not built for activities such as cruising since their geometric model does not fit the requirements of long rides. 

Because of other factors such as pedaling power and speed gear system, BMX bikes are not the best bike to give the best experience when cruising around your village. 

Top Reasons Why BMX Bikes Aren’t Great for Cruising

Credits to: @henmankk

1. Uncomfortable Seat and Seat Post

BMX bikes have a shallow seat post. This contributes heavily to your comfort as a rider when cruising around, especially in distant locations. To ride comfortably, you should have a decent amount of space for your legs to extend when pedaling. Since BMX bikes have low seat posts, the leg extension is restricted. In long rides, this can cause soreness in the legs and soles.

Aside from seat posts, BMX bikes do not have the best seats for long tours. To put it simply, they are not designed to be sat on for long durations. If you really want to use BMX bikes to cruise, you will need to change your seat to a padded one. 

2. More Strength Is Needed to Pedal

Connected to the low-lying seat posts of BMX bikes is the minimal leg extension space for you to pedal. You will be required to put more effort into your pedaling motion when using BMX bikes for tours.

If you will notice, BMX bike stunt riders often stand up when starting or engaging in their BMX bike tricks. This is because it is easier to build up strength in BMX bikes if you are standing. This is not ideal if you cruise for hours or for miles. 

3. Awful Experience When Climbing Hills

BMX bikes do not have the proper gear and technology to be capable enough in ascending terrains. These bikes cannot climb uphill because they are not adequately equipped for such terrain. Moreover, you can get injured if you insist on using BMX bikes for ascents.

4. Gear System Is Limited

The gear system is an essential factor for a bike, so its limitations can be determined. A higher gear system means that your bike is diversified to cope on different surfaces. Most BMX bikes are built to have a single-speed gear system. 

This is mainly to make them lighter for stunts. BMX bikes have a limited gear system which makes their scope limited. Moreover, this makes them unideal for different terrain types such as bumpy, ascending, and long roads. 

5. Shorter Frames

Compared to other bike types, BMX bikes have a significantly shorter frame length. This is intended to thrive better on bike tricks and technical maneuvers that require them to jump. Because of this, BMX bikes can better endure impacts. However, they cannot withstand long cruises.

If you are thinking of customizing the size of BMX bike frames, it is practically impossible. Most BMX bikes have an aluminum frameset for lighter and more durable bikes. Aluminum is a solid material that requires a different technology to be molded into a bike frame. 

And even with this technology, customizing an aluminum frame will leave trace amounts of scarring to the frame. It is better to purchase a different frame than to have it customized. 

What Makes a Bike Cruiser?

Credits to: @himiwaybikes

1. Thick Tires

First is the cruiser bikes’ tires. Cruiser bikes have thick tires that help in giving you a more comfortable riding experience. Thick tires are perfect for casual riding, so other bikes like gravel and fat bikes use this.

Thick tires are integrated into cruiser bikes to absorb bumps better when rolling over debris. Furthermore, they allow better surface grip as thick tires distribute the weight it carries better. This makes them great for off-road tours and even on uphill rides. 

2. Broad and Padded Seat

Bikes designed for cruising have broader and padded seats. The main goal of this property is to provide comfort while sitting on the bike, especially on longer biking durations. They give you more support as you ride. Also, they eliminate the feeling of squishiness, which is normal if you use the traditional bike seat.

Broader seats are also better for your ischial tuberosities or sit bones. They are recommended if you are doing non-competitive rides. They also promote upright riding and sitting positions and allocate your body weight better while you ride.

3. Can Be Customized

One of the selling points of a cruiser bike is its customizability. You can add different accessories, such as lights, mudguards, chain guards, saddlebags, and many more. Furthermore, cruiser bikes can be built based on your height and preference. Yes, that’s right! You usually have the option to request your cruiser bike to fit your height requirements. 

Young BMX bicycle rider

Differences Between a BMX and Cruiser Bike

1. Comfort When Riding Long Hours

Cruiser bikes offer you a more comfortable riding experience compared to BMX bikes. This is especially true for long riding hours. They give you stress-free casual rides with their specialized geometry and components.

Cruiser bikes have more extended frames and longer seat posts, giving you more room for leg extension as you pedal. This also allows you to have a better posture as you ride. They also have more expansive and padded saddles, making your sitting position less awkward than narrower seats. This provides more comfort to you as you ride in the long run. 

2. Types of Brakes Used

Brakes differ based on the use of a bike. For bikes that require technical controls and maneuvers, such as BMX bikes, rear brakes are used. Rear brakes give more stable and reliable braking power for these bikes. Moreover, this brake system is very dependable during stunts and aerial tricks. Rear brakes allow you and your bike to make high jumps and impressive bike acts.

Cruiser bikes typically use coaster brakes. Although more recent cruiser bike models make use of disc brakes as well. The coaster brake is a braking system that you can trigger by pedaling backward. It is reliable and straightforward if you are in a casual biking mode. 

3. Types of Tires Used

Regardless of the bumps you encounter on the road, you will feel little to no impact because of the thick tires used on cruiser bikes. Moreover, cruiser bike tires have less pressure to ensure that the tires will not quickly wear on complex surfaces. This is what makes them comfortable on a long journey. 

On the other hand, BMX bikes use solid and sturdy tires ranging from twenty to twenty-four inches. These tires are specialized to absorb stunt impacts. Wider tires are not suited for BMX bikes because of their narrow tire clearance. 

4. Geometric Frame Material

The bike’s function determines what’s best used when it comes to the frame material. BMX bike manufacturers normally use lightweight materials to create framesets, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium. This makes BMX bikes lighter. It also makes the bike non-customizable. These materials are generally hard to mend and require a lot of labor to be forged.

Cruiser bikes need to be comfortable and robust enough for off-road trails. Manufacturers commonly use steel to ensure that the bike’s frame is durable enough. Therefore, this makes cruiser bikes heavy more intended for casual rides.

5. Handlebars

Even the simplest components, such as handlebars, BMX, and cruiser bikes, differ. BMX bikes make use of straight, traditional handlebars. This gives you stronger grips for your stunts. They also offer a better holding position when racing, complementing the short frame of the bike.

Cruiser bikes use wide-spread, curved handlebars. This is to help you have a better riding posture. This is also intended to keep you from gripping too hard, leading to sore palms and other forms of injuries. 

What Is the Main Purpose of a BMX and Cruiser Bike?

BMX bikes are designed for racing and for bike tricks. They are made to allow you to show your control over the bike. You can show how good you can do bike jumps and aerial flips with this bike. However, they are not the best when it comes to distant rides.

Cruiser bikes are designed to, well, cruise. They are built for comfortable casual, and long rides. They can commute around the city, visit parks, and even on light exercises. They can be heavy, making them slower and not ideal for racing and other bike acts.

A mid-adult woman rides her BMX bicycle at a skateboard park on an early morning in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Can You Convert a BMX Into a Cruiser Bike?

If you are skilled enough or have the budget, you can convert your BMX bike to a cruiser bike. This may take a lot of time and effort, but definitely doable. In doing this conversion, you need to make frame size adjustments. Since BMX bikes have shorter frames than cruiser bikes, this will be the significant work to be executed.

Aside from the frame, you need to make sure to install wider saddles. Also, make use of wider and bent handlebars. You may need to change the speed gear of your BMX bike and turn the brake system into either coaster or disc brakes. Lastly, you may need to adjust tire clearance to make room for wider tires.

BMX Bikes That Can Be Good for Cruising

Although it has been an established fact that BMX bikes are not intended for cruising, several manufacturers today produce modified versions of them. However, BMX bikes still stick to their primary purpose: to do stunts and tricks. Though modified BMX bikes can be used for cruising, these are good only for short distances.

BMX cruiser bikes are made to have larger wheels than the regular BMX bike. Although altered, they are still not intended for cruising purposes. They are made to give you better jumping stunts than cruising activities. 

One good starter BMX cruiser bike is the SpecOp-24 of Black Ops Bikes. This bike has 24-inch tires, more significant than the 20-inch traditional BMX tires. It also has a more durable frameset and fork made from steel.