Bearings are an essential part of the skateboard setup. They ensure that the wheels spin and you can ride with little effort. Our range includes bearings from all leading brands such as Bones, Bronson, Cortina, Shake Junt or Independent. The size of all bearings is standardized, so they fit all skateboard wheels. Nevertheless, there are significant differences in performance.
Bearings consist of an inner ring, outer ring and balls, which are located between the inner and outer ring. Skateboard Bearings basically use seven steel balls that are housed in the Ball Cage. Thus, they always maintain the ideal position. Of course, there are exceptions, such as the popular Big Balls from Bones, which use only 6 steel balls instead of 7, which has a positive effect on durability and dirt resistance. The so-called shields enclose the balls and are, depending on the bearings, on one or both sides of the bearings. The shields are intended to minimize the intrusion of dirt. Many skateboarders take these off, however, that makes the bearings much louder. The term ABEC, an industry standard, means Annular Bearing Engineers Committee and primarily provides information about the precision with which the bearings are manufactured. The higher the ABEC number, the higher the quality of the product. That a high ABEC number affects the speed, however, is only partially correct. In the industrial sector, the ABEC rating does indicate the speed, but when skateboarding, the full potential can never be exploited, because the number of rotations due to the lower force effect can not exceed a certain level. So you can definitely say that the specification of ABEC is not necessarily relevant for skateboard bearings, which is why many companies choose to refrain from doing so and provide their bearings with a different label, such as Skate-Rated. This means that these bearings were developed specifically for the needs of skateboarders and are more resistant than conventional industrial bearings. A higher speed is much more influenced by the choice of wheels.
In addition to conventional bearings, there are ceramic ball bearings, which are made of extra-hardened ceramic. These bearings can, thanks to rust resistance, withstand slightly more humid weather conditions and are characterized by durability. The somewhat lighter ceramic balls provide lower frictional resistance and faster acceleration. In addition to Ceramics, many bearing companies offer Swiss Bearings, which, however, is often only a designation for higher quality bearings and does not always allow conclusions about the location of production. Brands like Bones, Andale, Bronson or FKD offer the largest selection in this segment. The special materials and more elaborate production are responsible for the significantly higher purchase price.
With many bearings spacers are included in the purchase price. These are metal cylinders that are mounted between the bearings on the axle pin. Spacers have the function of protecting the bearings from damage that can occur, for example, when the axle nuts are tightened too much. They also ensure that the bearings always remain in perfect position. Most skateboarders leave out the spacers during assembly, since the bearings basically remain firmly in position even without them and there is no significant advantage. With softer cruiser wheels spacers definitely make more sense.
Speedrings are small washers that are included with the purchase of all trucks. They are mounted between axle nut and hanger (the middle part of your truck). This prevents the bearings from rubbing against the metal or the axle nut and reduces resistance.
The assembly of bearings is not witchcraft and you don't need any special tools for it. The most simple method is to first mount the trucks to the deck. Then remove the axle nuts that sit on the axle pin. Now you slide a bearing onto the axle pin and then press the wheel onto the bearing until it is firmly seated in the wheel. The assembly is very simple, but requires a little effort to ensure that the bearing is properly attached. When mounting the wheels/bearings on new trucks, first remove the speed rings that are on the axle pin of the new trucks. After mounting the bearings, you put a speed ring on each side of the wheel and you can get the maximum speed out of the bearings.
If you want to change bearings or wheels, you can also use the axle pin as a tool. First you remove the axle nut and the wheels including the bearings. Then use the axle pin as a lever to "lever out" the old bearings that are firmly seated in the wheels. Usually this works very well, but requires some force.
There are several ways to extend or improve bearing life and performance. Moisture and contamination by dust can damage the bearings in the long run. For this reason, you should always avoid skating in the rain or in humid weather conditions, as this will cause the bearings to start to rust. So you can keep the bearings relatively easy from wetness, but with dust things look different, because in everyday use that kind of contamination unfortunately simply can not be avoided. If you want to clean the bearings, you first have to remove them from the wheels. After that, remove the shields - it's best to use the tip of a knife for this. Now you can clean the bearings. We recommend using the Bearing Cleaner from Bones or simply filling a bowl with regular methylated spirits and placing the bearings in it. The shields can easily be cleaned with water and a cloth.
Which oil to use?
After cleaning, you should dry the fresh bearings and oil them afterwards. Two drops per bearing should be absolutely sufficient to breathe new life into the old bearings. Attention: too much oil has a counterproductive effect on the performance. Conventional vegetable or motor oil is by no means suitable for skateboard bearings. While you can resort to conventional methylated spirits for cleaning, it is recommended to use only products that have been developed exclusively for skateboard bearings. Companies like Bronson, Bones or Cortina have their own speed creams and oils in their range, which are the ideal choice for the care of bearings.
You have another question about bearings? Contact us!
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