Skateboard Bearings 101
Skateboard bearings are those small round devices that enable your wheels to roll. Each wheel requires eight bearings to function correctly. The efficient skateboard bearings determine that the wheel rotates fast and smoothly. The space between the two bearings is filled with a spacer (a small cylinder to keep the bearings parallel).
Size and Material of Skateboard Bearings
Almost all the skateboard bearings are the same size and can be used on any skateboard wheel and truck. The industry-standard sized bearings are “608 inches, with a bore of 8 mm, an outer diameter of 22 mm, and a breadth of 7 mm, with a few exceptions. Steel and silicon nitride (a high-tech ceramic) is occasionally used to manufacture skateboard bearings.
Formation of Skateboard Bearings
A huge outer ring and a smaller inner ring make up a bearing. Small steel balls are positioned between the rings. These are the things that make the wheels turn. Shields are placed on either side of the rings to keep the bearings from becoming dirty. The balls are kept inside a so-called “ball cage” to keep them in place.
You can also skate with open or semi-open ball bearings that do not have shields. You will be more prone to have an accident if you skate with open or semi-open bearings.
Misconceptions about ABEC Rating
Many skaters prefer the somewhat louder sound of an open-bearing skateboard. However, when it comes to skateboard bearings, one of the most popular myths is that the higher the ABEC rating (1,3,5,7 or 9) you purchase, the faster your bearings will spin and the longer they will survive. Unfortunately, this is incorrect since the ABEC rating is only a tolerance rating, and a higher ABEC rating does not always imply a bearing that spins faster or lasts longer. To minimize further confusion, some companies, like Bones, have chosen to leave out the ABEC rating of their bearings, focusing instead on offering riders high-quality craftsmanship at a low price.
Maintenance of Skateboard Bearing
Maintaining and lubricating your bearing properly is the best approach to ensure a long-lasting, fast-spinning bearing. Proper maintenance and cleaning will keep your bearings spinning quickly and extend their life, allowing you to spend less time replacing them due to wear and tear or slow speeds.
TIP: Clean and well-oiled skateboard bearings are the best. Make sure to keep clean if you want to travel fast!