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New Fixed-Gear: The Cruiser Board?

October 13, 2009

Zip Zinger

Since the fixed-gear bicycle replaced the skateboard for many hipsters, it isn’t unreasonable to propose that the next “hipster whip” will again be the skateboard.

But not just any skateboard.  “Just any skateboard” is the skateboard world’s equivalent of “a normal bike.”  This will not do.

The cruiser board (as far as I can tell, not being a skateboarder myself) harkens back to a simpler, more “radical” time when skateboarders didn’t have to hurl themselves down 21-stairs or be a protracted adolescent douchebag who makes a career out of breaking things and championing a terrible Finnish band just to get ahead in life.


It was a simpler time, before parachute pants, before the X Games, before you had to be totally fucking wasted to make a skate video. Ah, back in the day.  When a man could wear short shorts without any hint of irony – just a feeling of comfort, well-ventilated testicles, and the kind of libidinous sexuality that drives men to take pictures of themselves jumping over one another to begin with.

Why don’t I just let Rodney Mullen show you what I mean:

(Of course it’s all a matter of context, but) here’s Rodney when skateboarding did look cool:

Here’s Rodney when skateboarding did not look cool (or sound cool):

I guess it boils down to this:

At this point, big pants and little wheels=not cool.

Big wheels and little pants=gettin’ paid!

Skateboarding has already become uncool and back cool enough like three times.  And now that its popularity, TV exposure, and the fact that 13-year-olds are better than everyone else has once again killed skateboarding for all the cool kids (who have since bought fixed-gears).  It won’t be long before it becomes unpopular enough to be cool again (as long as it’s done with the right kind of aesthetics). And hence the cruiser board.

Also, cruiser boards or “old-skool” boards with their big wheels are about a million times better for riding around for transportation (without getting into the extremely uncool longboard territory).

Let’s get to the ratings.

Exclusivity: 3.5

Cruiser boards are much less popular than fixed-gears or “normal boards.”  Also, not just anyone can skateboard.  This yields a fairly high exclusivity rating, but not too high, since anyone can go to the store and buy a zip-zinger, and practically anyone can learn to ride one well enough to get around and maybe pop an ollie every so often.  Also, skateboarding (even back in the day when the modern cruiser shape was invented) is a much less specialized (and WAY less expensive) pastime than track racing has ever been, decreasing cruiser boards’ exclusivity rating.

One added benefit of cruiser boards, though, is the deep well of vintage decks from the 1980s that can be “converted” to cruiser board duty.  NOS, classic deck cruiser board “conversions” will undoubtedly be the “Keirin frame” equivalent in the cruiser board world.  The Zip Zinger will be the Bianchi Pista.

Irony: 3

1980s-aesthetic “shredding” is fairly ironic.  But it’s an aesthetic that’s also been pretty heavily employed for most of this decade, so no one is going to be too dazzled when you roll up in cutoff short-shorts, busting a sick no-comply on your Nash.  Still, though, it’ll get a few grins..

Street-Cred: 3

Skateboarders have always had street-cred (especially since the 1980s).  Need I remind you of … The Daggers?

Skateboarders are nefarious, villanous criminals.  And hence the street cred.  Also, skateboarders are 13-year-old, rich suburbanites, and hence the limited rating.

Aesthetics: 4

80s decks

Old skateboard decks look good.


Zip Zingers look good (although I don’t think I could tell anyone out loud that I was into “zip zingers”).

You’ll be lookin’ flossy once they become a fad and you get one in two years – looking good until you have to clumsily mongo-foot the thing down the street slow as hell, anyway.

Anyway, there’s a big spectrum of good looking boards to ride that could be considered “cruiser boards.”  So if it became the new thing, there could be a big spectrum of boards coming out.

Impracticality: 4

Cruiser boards might be more practical than normal skateboards, but they aren’t more practical than much else.  You can’t take your kids to school like you can on a fixed gear. You can’t ride in the snow like you can on a fixed gear.  Really, you’re better off just doing what every single skater on Earth now does and just strapping the thing on your back and riding a fixed gear.

But, like the fixed-gear before it, the cruiser board is dangerous to ride down steep hills.

You’ll be looking good getting there on a cruiser board, but it’s gonna take you fucking forever.

So impractical!

Total Score: 17.5

That’s probably going to be a tough score to beat.  But it almost makes me wish I had a score for originality, which any kind of skateboard is badly lacking in right now.  Oh well; stay tuned for more inane postulations to come!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2009 10:04 am

    “looking good until you have to clumsily mongo-foot the thing down the street slow as hell, anyway.” I was almost laughin out loud when I read that. One thing you’ve got to admit though: for the wheelsize back then, Rodney Mullen was hella fast…

  2. Jon permalink
    October 13, 2009 10:21 am

    I’m unimpressed by the cruiser board and instead nominate the skate bike, depicted below in the respective blue and red colorways:

    One of these conveyances “dropped” on my local craigslist not long ago and eventually sold to one hipster brave enough to palp this incredible whip to school. This area hipster was duly equipped in the ironic 90’s decade-way, complete with neon cycling sunglasses and a rat tail he must have been cultivating for years just to complete this look. The skate bike is vaguely intended for the street, albeit being incredibly impractical, and it has a brake mounted in a way only a hipster could love: the elusive P.P.M.B.L. (Penile Parallel Mounted Brake Lever).

  3. Jon permalink
    October 13, 2009 10:22 am
  4. Jon permalink
    October 13, 2009 10:24 am

    HTML failing, link:

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  6. October 22, 2009 12:12 am

    This post made me think of this music video:

    famous skateboarder (I presume, I don’t really know) + riding in traffic + salmoning in traffic + Europe + modern art museum + odd jumpsuit thing + indie band^side project of indie actor + baffled spectators = hipster skateboarding inspiration?

    But what do I know, I still like my bike (that has gears…and fenders…and lights).

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