Bearings are the most important parts of a skateboard. Along with the wheels, riding speed and performance relies on the bearings. Bearings are round metal pieces which mount the wheels with the truck axle. So, it is very important to look after about the bearings specification while purchasing a skateboard. Plus, if you want to buy a new set of bearings for your skateboard, you must know about that which type of bearings will be perfect for you and your skateboard. If you don’t have enough idea about skateboard bearings, you can follow this article. It will guide you to choose the right skateboard bearings.
Let’s know about the elements of a bearing
It is better to know about the internal and external elements of a bearing. It will help you to learn about the mechanism of a bearing. So, let’s know about the elements of a bearing.
C-ring: It is a thin ring which placed on the outside of the bearings to lock the bearing shield.
Bearing shield: This ring protects the steel balls from dirt.
Outer ring: It is a large ring which holds all other parts of the bearing.
Inner ring: This small ring fits through the axle to place the bearing on the axle.
Steel balls: The balls are most important parts of a bearing. A set of 6-7 steel or ceramic balls fits in the middle of the inner and outer ring which spin the bearing.
Ball retainer: Ball retainer holds the steel balls and allows the casing to spin around the balls.
Rubber seal: The rubber seal placed on the outside of the bearing to protect the internal elements from dirt.
What’s the meaning of ABEC rating and how to choose the bearings according to it?
Bearings performance and quality are measured by ABEC standard. The ABEC (Annular bearing engineering committee) committee (ABEC) of the ABMA (American bearing manufacturers association) developed this standard. ABEC divided all bearings into five classes and they are ABEC 1,3,5,7, and 9. Here, higher rating means high quality and performance. So, which ABEC rating should you consider while choosing the bearings for your skateboard? Let’s help you to decide-
|ABEC 1||Least expensive||Less||Less||Slow|
|ABEC 3||Less expensive||Normal||Normal||Normal|
|ABEC 7||Slightly expensive||Best||Best||Faster|
|ABEC 9||Highly expensive||Better||Better||Super-fast|
ABEC 5 bearings are standard for skateboarding and most of the manufacturers use these bearings in their skateboards.
For regular cruisers, travelers and beginners, ABEC 5 bearings are perfect. But if you want to get more speed or fastest downhill riding, you should choose 7 or 9 rated bearings.
Steel or ceramic bearings, which is better?
Most of the skateboard bearings are made of steel. The quality of a steel bearing depends on its material, sealing and the ball bearings. It is simple that high-quality bearings cost more than the normal bearings. High expensive bearings contain better sealing, high-quality metals and more ball bearings. Generally, a set of high-quality steel bearings costs 20-40$.
Ceramic bearings are extremely smooth and produce very little friction. Actually, a ceramic bearing is a combination of steel and ceramic. Can’t you understand? Let me explain. Here, the exterior part is made of high-quality steel but the ball bearings are made of ceramic. Ceramic bearings also contain more balls than the steel bearings. Ceramic bearings provide long lasting and smooth performance than the steel bearings. The only drawback is that ceramic bearings are very expensive. Where the general price of a standard skateboard starts around 15$, ceramic bearings start from 70-100$.
You can get better performance with the steel bearings. But if you want to purchase long lasting and smooth performance than the steel bearings, you may go for ceramic bearings. For this, you just need to expense more money.
It is a small metal cylinder which fits between the 2 bearings of the wheel. Bearing spacers reduce the weight by distributing it to each bearing and help to make your turn smooth and stable. Plus, the bearing spacers extend the bearings lifetime.
Bearings spacers are cheap and usually made of steel and aluminum.
While buying additional spacers for your skateboard bearings, make sure that its size fits with your boards axle perfectly.
Speed rings (Sometimes called speed washers, bearings washers) are a thin metal ring which placed over the axle between the nut and bearing, and the hanger and bearing. It reduces the friction to run the wheels faster and protect the bearing face from damage.
Speed rings are totally an optional element, but it is recommended to you if you used to ride at a high speed. But while buying, consider your axle size.
Finally, this article only contains theoretical information based on the real-time performance of skateboard bearings. You can get enough guidance from this article. But, it is better to discuss with professional or expert riders to purchase the perfect bearings set for your skateboard.