Skateboard bearings are an integral component of any skateboard setup, helping the board to move quickly and smoothly.
Often made from high-grade steel or ceramic, skateboard bearings provide a low-friction interface between the wheel and the axle.
Skateboard bearings are essential for both street and ramp skating, providing precision turning and control throughout your ride.
They come in a range of sizes to suit different types of skateboarding, as well as various shields to protect them from dirt and debris.
Skateboard bearing maintenance is also important, so it’s important to keep them properly lubricated and free from dirt or grease build-up.
This article will explore all aspects of skateboard bearings from types and sizes to maintenance tips helping you understand exactly what they are, how they work and how best to care for them.
What are skateboard bearings?
Skateboard bearings are an essential part of a skateboard that provide the smooth rotation and movement of the wheels.
They are typically made from steel or ceramic and consist of two races, several balls, inner and outer rings, and a shield/cage.
The ball bearings in skateboards are smaller than those found in inline skates or roller skates. This is because larger ball bearings are too heavy for a skateboard to support efficiently.
The inner race fits inside the wheel hub and is generally pressed onto the axle shaft with a bearing press.
The outer race holds all the components together and is held in place by the bearing’s shields, which also help keep dirt out of the bearings while providing an extra layer of protection against wear.
Skateboard bearings come in different sizes, depending on your preferred riding style and board setup. Generally, faster models have smaller bearings while slower models have larger ones.
Different ABEC ratings indicate how smoothly they spin: higher-rated ABECs run more smoothly but usually cost more money.
How do skateboard bearings work?
Different types of skateboard bearings, their sizes, and features:
With so many skateboard bearings available, it can be hard to know which type is best for your skateboard setup.
Types of Bearings
Skateboard bearings come in two main types—abec ratings and swiss ratings. Abec ratings are more common and are made up of five tiers (Abec 1-5). The higher the abec rating, the more precise the bearing is. Abec 5 is considered “precision-grade,” while lower grades have less precision but can withstand more wear and tear. Swiss ratings are similar but even more precise than abec ratings; they typically contain eight tiers (Swiss 1-8). A Swiss 8 bearing is generally considered “super precision” grade.
Sizes of Bearings
Skateboard bearings come in a variety of sizes—the most common being 608 (standard size) or 627 (mini size). The 608 is by far the most popular option for skateboards because it fits into all standard skateboard wheels. If you want to purchase mini-sized bearings for your board, make sure that your wheels are compatible with this size before making any purchases.
Features of Bearings
Apart from type and size, there are several features that set skateboard bearings apart from each other. One example is rubber shields versus metal shields; rubber shields provide better protection against dirt buildup while metal shields offer better protection against water damage. Additionally, some bearings contain ceramic balls instead of steel balls; this reduces friction without sacrificing strength or durability. Finally, some bearings have double-shielded construction for even better protection against dirt buildup or water damage over time.
How often should I replace my skateboard bearings?
Skateboard bearings should be replaced periodically in order to ensure safe and efficient performance.
It’s best to replace your skateboard bearings once every 6 months if you use them on a regular basis. If you don’t use your skateboard as often, it is recommended that you replace the bearings at least once a year.
It’s important to keep your bearings in good condition so that they don’t become worn out or damaged, which can lead to unsafe riding conditions.
Regular maintenance and lubrication of your bearings are also essential for long-term performance.
Always make sure to inspect your board before every ride for any signs of damage or wear on the wheels and bearing surfaces. Doing this will help keep your skateboard operating at its best and will help extend the life of your bearings significantly.
Signs that my skateboard bearings need to be replaced:
There are several signs that indicate when it’s time to replace your bearings.
⛔️Noisy or rattling bearings
⛔️Worn-out bearing shields
⛔️Loose or damaged bearing cages
⛔️Dirt and debris trapped in the bearings
⛔️Bearing races are misaligned or cracked
⛔️Riding is slow and inefficient due to decreased ball bearings
⛔️Visible scratches on the bearing surface
⛔️Grease or lubricant buildup
⛔️Excessive vibration or wobbling when riding
⛔️Loose-fitting axle nuts and bolts
⛔️Dry, rough feeling when rolling bearings with hands
⛔️Worn-out wheel core or inner race
⛔️Lack of smooth rotation when spinning wheels by hand
⛔️Deformed bearing rings or balls
⛔️Visible flat spots on the wheel hubs or rims.
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to replace your skateboard bearings. Always make sure to purchase quality bearings from a trusted manufacturer, and be sure to replace any worn-out or damaged parts on your board.
How much do skateboard bearings cost?
Skateboard bearings can range widely in cost.
Generally, a set of eight skateboard bearings will cost anywhere from $8 to $150 with average of $80 depending on the quality and brand.
Lower-end brands may offer more affordable bearings, but they might not last as long or perform as well.
High-end brands may offer bearings with more precision and higher-grade materials that can give you a smoother ride and better performance for tricks, but they come at a higher price.
The type of material used also affects the cost – ceramic hybrid bearings are typically much more expensive than standard steel bearings.
Skateboard bearings are a vital piece of hardware and are instrumental in providing a fast and comfortable skateboarding experience.
They enable riders to be able to glide almost effortlessly and turn quickly when needed. There is a wide variety of skateboard bearings on the market with different sizes, shapes, materials, and coating options for each individual’s specific needs.
It’s important to choose the right set of bearings for your style and budget because having the proper size, material, shape and type can greatly enhance your skating performance.
Ultimately, skateboard bearings are an indispensable tool for many skateboarders who want high-quality equipment that will last through all their sessions.
Do your research – read up on different types and styles – as this could make all the difference in making you a master skater.