What are the bearings?
Let’s get everything clear first!
If you take a closer look at skateboard bearings, you will notice there are lots of small parts inside them too. Though these parts a small, yet they play an important role in term of speed.
In general, bearings are the round metal pieces that connect your wheels with the skateboard’s axles. Also when you buy bearings, the measurements are usually 8mm for the core, 22mm for the diameter, and 7mm of thickness.
Now, let’s discuss further on what type of bearings fit for you!
Choosing best bearings for beginners:
Should I buy the ceramic or metal bearings?
The answer depends on your expectation and budget:
Ceramic bearings are lighter and smoother to spin since they have ceramic balls inside.
These ceramic balls won’t be easily affected by dirt and moisture. Some ceramic bearings don’t even require to have oil or lubricant to work well.
These ceramic balls are tougher and more reliable compared to steel balls. Hence, you don’t need to worry about frequent maintenance and cleaning. They also can absorb more heat as the bearings spin along with the wheels.
This is the reason why professional skateboarders pay the premium price to have a set of ceramic bearings.
For example, Bones bearings are definitely one of my favorite brands!
Since not every beginner is wealthy, owning a set of steel bearings is your alternative. In fact, you won’t notice how different they feel while skating! Only time may tell though.
On that note, let’s check out what steel bearings have to offer:
Steel bearings are definitely more accessible and affordable than their ceramic brothers. Though they won’t last long and quite susceptible to moisture. These bearings are just right for any beginners.
I highly advise you guys to try steel bearings first when just getting started with skateboarding. Then, you can feel the difference with the ceramic ones later on.
Just like tasting chocolate and vanilla ice cream!
They are both your top picks, but you know what you prefer once tasting both favors.
Steel bearings, on the downside, need to clean frequently as you use your skateboard. As you might aware, these type of bearings also less resistant to heat and friction. So their life span is shorter than those ceramic bearings, obviously!
Furthermore, you should pick bearings within a decent price range between $25 to $100 bucks. There are lots of fake and low-quality bearings in the market. You don’t want broken bearings just after a few tricks.
So, buyer beware!
Are you still confused about ABEC ratings and Skate-rated standards?
There are lots of myths around the ABEC ratings!
This rating standard is mainly for manufacturing requirements. This applies for a wide range of equipment that spins as well as skateboard bearings. While Skate-rated bearings are reserved for skateboarding requirements.
For the ABEC ratings, the higher the number, the more precise your bearings spin, turn, slide between the wheels and the truck’s axles. Many people think this implies more speed.
Yes, but not necessary, since skateboarding is more about control!
This is where the skate-rated bearings emerge successfully. Those bearings are skate-rated meaning they have passed the quality standards for skateboarding. You don’t need to worry a lot when picking up skate-rated bearings.
So far, you can see the ABEC ratings can’t truly determine your bearings quality. Instead, you should pay more attention to other factors that make a good bearings.
Here are the key takeaways for bearings’ quality!
- the materials of those bearings: steel or ceramic
- the type of lubricants: can be normal or offered from the brand you buy
- the construction designs: this depends on the brand you buy
- small components quality inside those bearings.
Since you are a beginner, as you are still reading this guide:
Just pick those bearings that match your budget, have good reviews from previous customers, and manufactured from a famous brand.
If you pick skate-rated bearings (like Bones or Mini Logo), then you are good to go. Otherwise, just pick bearings that have ABEC ratings between 3 to 7 is enough for beginners’ practices.
Should I get the sealed or shielded bearings?
My answer is still depending on the environment and the way you use your bearings.
So consider your frequent practice site or environment before picking either one of them. For example, your neighborhood’s park are usually wet, has lots of rain and liquid contaminants.
Shielded bearings have gaps between the core, the shield, and the outer ring. Hence, liquid and water can easily get inside. It would wash away the grease or lubricant too!
This creates more heat and frictions inside your bearing. The chances are, your bearings will break down faster than its intended lifespan.
In this case, the sealed type is better than the shield type. Most people endorse sealed bearings as they won’t have to go through the trouble of cleaning. Yet, you probably throw away sealed bearings once they break.
While the shielded bearings, you can just open them up and see inside how serious the damage is, or just a bit of dirt stuck inside.
On the other hand, sealed bearings are limited to speed compared to shielded bearings. So for the same bearings size, shielded bearings got this great advantage.
Since you are just getting started, there is no need to worry about having the top speed for bearings.
One last thing is the temperature too!
If your environment is arid and super hot, then beware! Sealed bearings are usually made of rubber or plastic (especially those cheap bearings), they might melt around 212 F degree. On contrast, shield bearings have a higher threshold up to 250 F degree.
Best is to check your bearings each week to see if there are any signs of deforming!
My final thought for you is to take time while choosing bearings for your skateboards. They are very essential to the skateboard’s performance overall. They also are the main factor to provide you the “smooth” feeling while skating.
I wish you good luck in your search and hit the street with all the fun!