A Beginners Guide To Bearings
You want to go fast? Really, really fast?!
Buying your first skateboard can be really intimidating. What board is right for me? What trucks do I need? What wheels are best for beginners? Do I get a complete or set one up myself? What is the difference to it all?! All these questions and more will run through your head and with such a big range of parts to choose from it can all be a bit overwhelming! We’ve put together the following guides to give you all the information you need to buy all your skateboard parts with confidence and get out skating sooner! So let’s get into it!
The bearing is the key to making those wheels roll, without bearings you won’t be going far! Although not as important as trucks, wheels and decks it’s still important you know a few things to keep you rolling.
Specs and ABEC Ratings
First of all, forget anything that anyone's told you about ABEC ratings. There’s a long-lived theory in the world of skateboarding that ABEC ratings measure the speed of bearings. It may come as a surprise, but in fact, it measures the ability to cope with changes of weight, temperature and environment. So, the higher the ABEC rating, the longer they’ll last... Wild huh?! Also, to make things easy, there are no sizing specifications to follow. All bearings will fit in any wheel and on any sized truck. I bet you're glad to hear that!
You’ll notice a huge price difference with the bearings we supply. Ranging from $20-$100, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you make your purchase. Prices will vary depending on the materials they’re made out of and the overall strength and longevity of the bearing. In saying that, if you’re just a beginner or you just want to skate once every now and then, go for something basic. You won’t need anything fancy, so maybe put that extra money into a nice set of trucks or that deck that was “a little bit too expensive”.
If it's not labeled Ceramic or Titanium, more than likely the bearings are made of steel. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but if you want to get flashy and splash out on something nice, here’s what you need to know about the premium range.
Ceramic bearings are generally lighter and stronger than your standard steel bearing. They tend to go quicker as there is less friction. They even have a self-cleaning mechanism that's resistant to dirt and water.
6 Balls again are lighter, with 6 larger balls compared to the standard 8 in each bearing. This means they rotate faster and longer than your standard bearing as well as being less prone to attract dirt and dust which ultimately keeps them rolling for an extended amount of time.
Titanium bearings are generally a lot stronger and lighter than steel which ultimately means they’ll last much longer and ensure more impact than others.
As with every part of your skateboard water is the enemy, and it stands most true with your bearings. Going through puddles or leaving your board out in the rain is sure to make your bearings rust up and they won’t spin anymore. Similarly with going through a lot of dust as this will also make them seize up and they can be a pain to clean properly.
If really necessary you can pop the cases and clean them with an appropriate cleaning solution although if you look after them they should last you just fine!
Now get out there and go skateboarding! (But avoid those puddles!)