If you are into skateboarding, then you need to understand the basics of skateboard bearings. Understanding more about these critical parts of your skateboard is a major key to getting better performance, speed, and agility as you ride. Keep reading to learn more!
Skateboard bearings are the little round metal balls that fit inside the wheel that mounts to the axle of the board. No matter the size of your wheels, all bearings must be the same size and will fit any skateboard wheel. Universal measurements for skateboard bearings are 8mm for the core, 22mm for the outer diameter, and 7 mm for the width.
You can buy skateboard bearings in sets of eight, and each wheel needs two bearings.
As you are considering skateboard bearings, it is important to understand ABEC ratings. Most bearings on the market are measured by this rating system. The higher the ABEC number, the more precise and accurate the bearing is. The rating system features 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Note that the ABEC rating does not deal with many important factors, such as ball precision, load handling, materials, Rockwell hardness, noise, vibration, and lubricant.
Because of these factors, it is possible that a lower rated bearing could work better for you than a higher rated bearing. Remember, the ABEC rating is just ONE factor to consider when you buy skateboard bearings:
- ABEC 1 bearings are the cheapest, least accurate and crude. The steel quality is below average.
- ABEC 3 skateboard bearings are inexpensive and do not roll very smoothly or quickly.
- ABEC 5 skateboard bearings are the most common for most types of skateboarding. This is the rating that gets you good performance at a reasonable price.
- ABEC 7 skateboard bearings are fast, smooth and cost more.
- ABEC 9 skateboard bearings are extremely fast and are ideal for downhill skating, but they are very expensive.
Another consideration for your bearings is whether to buy steel or ceramic. Most bearings you see are steel. The overall steel quality, sealing and interior ball bearings vary a lot. Usually, the more expensive your steel bearings, the better the quality. Most people would say spend a few more dollars on higher quality steel bearings and you will see the difference.
Ceramic bearings are more expensive. They are smooth, produce almost no friction, and do not expand in the heat. If you are a serious skater in competitions, you may want to pay for ceramic bearings, but steel bearings work well for most people.