Thinking about converting a Mountain Bike to a Cruiser?

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Mountain Bike body position images


Do you own a mountain bike and now you have relocated to a flat beach community, or like your mountain bike but desire a more comfortable casual riding position?  There are adjustments that can be made to your mountain bike to add cruiser style comfort.   It is mostly about body position.  When you are on a mountain bike the design is to lean the rider into a forward tilt that places the riders torso over the pedals, the weight forward balance adds stability for navigating mountain type terrains.  The beach cruiser is designed for a smooth and comfortable ride.  Cruisers sit the rider almost straight up, similar to how you would sit in a chair.  Your body is upright and a better position for slower riding, enjoying scenery, and socializing with other riders.  This is a tool to help you determine if you want to spend the money to make adjustments to your mountain bike or buy a beach cruiser.  The most common replacements are tires, handlebars, stems and saddles.  First determine the value of your mountain bike and condition of it components.


Change the tread and size of your tires.  Determine what is the largest size tire you can put on your bike that will fit in your forks.  You will want to change out your tires to a less aggressive cruiser type tread and a larger diameter.  Most Rims can handle a 2 to 1 range of tire widths.  It is referred to as the ISO.  A standardization for tires by the International Organization of Standards.  The existing tire will typically have the width (a two digit number) followed by the bead seat (a 3 digit number)  example:  50-559.  You need a tire that is the same Bead Seat like 559. Take into consideration that you will most likely need new tubes.


Ideally you want a higher handlebar.  You may try a mountain riser type bar, they will typically add 3-5 inches to the height.  Sometimes a cruiser or a 13.5 high rise bar may get you to where you want.  Determine how high you can raise the existing stem.  You may need to replace the stem depending on how adjustable it is.  Be sure to check the compatibility of the diameter of the handlebar to make sure it will fit an existing stem, and the diameter of the fork if you are replacing the stem.  Below is an example of a stem style for this purpose and a 5″ mountain riser bar.

adjustable stem 33028



Swap your small mountain bike or narrow urban type saddle for a larger cruiser or comfort style saddle.  Cloud-9 has a good selection.


How much might all these changes cost?  Of course it depends on the quality of the components and who is doing the labor.   Below is an example of some typical pricing.

Cruiser Saddle  $24

Handle Bars $22

Tires 2x $15, Tubes 2x$5  Total $40

Stem  $22

Labor $25

EXAMPLE TOTAL  $133 plus tax

This is probably a conservative number but gives you an idea.  You can purchase a very comfortable new foot forward single speed beach cruiser for about double that.  The foot forward style of beach cruisers shown below have wider wheel bases and angled seat tubes that put the pedals out in front of the saddle instead of under the saddle which make for a more comfortable and stable riding position.  Take into consideration that you will still have the maintenance of the gearing and brake systems on your mountain bike even though you will probably not utilize many or any of the gears.  I would recommend consulting with a professional bicycle shop like “Shore Break Bikes” so you can explore all the options and make sure the components all work together.




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