Differences Between a Mountain Bike and a Beach Cruiser

By Andrea Cespedes

Both mountain bikes and beach cruisers have two wheels and a frame, but they are designed for riders with different purposes. Ride a mountain bike on just about any surface -- they're built with performance and durability in mind. Beach cruisers are comfort bikes that can't handle rugged terrain. Cruisers generally have a large, cushioned seat and can get you around town comfortably in style. The tires, components and gearing differ greatly between the two bikes.

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes come in a variety of models, some of which can handle only mild, rocky terrain, and others designed to handle jumps off cliffs. If you go for high-performance models, you'll get a light frame, heavy-duty shocks and thick tires with a deep tread to keep you stable on rough trails. The lower-key mountain bikes feature an upright seating position, much like cruisers, have heavier frames and comparatively more comfortable saddles. Mountain bikes usually have a detailed gearing system with 15 speeds.

Cruisers

A cruiser has a relatively heavy frame, but because it has no shocks or significant tread on the tires, it isn't designed to handle terrain beyond city streets and sidewalks. You sit upright on a cruiser, and the handlebars are situated higher for comfort, rather than aerodynamics. You typically get between just one and three speeds on a cruiser. Cruisers have balloon tires -- large, fat tires that contain minimal air pressure -- making for a cushy ride. These bikes are easy to handle and work well for casual rides.

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About the Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.

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