What exactly are bearings?
Bearings are essential components in many different machines. They facilitate their movements and reduce any friction on the wheels. There are various types of bearings including magnetic bearings, fluid bearings, flexure bearings, and so on.
The type that we usually use on our skateboard wheels are rolling bearings which are constructed from a metal shield and little balls inside. When they rotate, the balls enhance the movement of the wheels as well as reducing the friction generated from each rotation.
By installing these bearings on their products, manufacturers can optimize the maximum speed of their board.
Hence, every longboard should have high-quality bearings to deliver better skating experience for the users.
Factors to consider when choosing longboard bearings
The materials that are used to make longboard bearings play are really important, as it affects a lot on how will your bearing perform. Ceramic and steel are the two most common materials due to their mechanical characteristics. Bearings that are made from these two materials usually provide better rolling ability.
They’re quite different from each of them suitable for certain purposes. Ceramic is often preferred by most skaters due to their natural smoothness and lightweight. However, ceramic bearings are relatively more expensive compared to metal ones. Not to mention that these bearings aren’t as durable for demanding skating activities as metal ones.
If you want sturdy and durable bearings that work almost as good as ceramic ones, then metal bearings are the way to go. Despite that they’re less effective, these bearing will serve you well for a long period of time. Plus, they’re also cheaper.
Most longboard bearings come with the standard ball size of 608, while others consist of various non-standard balls. The 608 balls usually feature an 8 mm bore with 7mm thickness and a diameter of 22mm.
If you’re a beginner and don’t know where to start first, we recommend choosing the standardized 608s. The reason is that they have good compatibility with many skateboards from different brands. Not to mention that they’re also quite effective. Once you’ve got the hang of it and want to try out other bearings, you can start looking for non-standard ones.
In additions, the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee has also introduced the ABEC Rating which places different bearings into certain types depending on their functionality. The higher the ratings, the smoother the bearings. However, keep in mind that this is for mechanical bearings only and the result can be quite different when being used on skateboards.
To help your bearing perform better, you must reduce the friction to the minimum. For that reason, we use greases and mechanic oils on bearings to maximize their performance. It’s essential to give your bearings frequent lubing, especially when you often practice a lot on your boards.
And when it comes to lubricating, the speed cream and the nano-ceramic grease are the most popular option as they provide excellent lubricating effects on the balls.
However, you can still use other types of lubricant. Just make sure that they aren’t too thick to affect the rotation of your bearings.
Despite its important role, not many people know about these components. Spacers are the essential parts that fit between your bearings and the wheels. They’re responsible for tightening the axels while providing smoother spins for the wheels.
The proper size of a spacer is one-half inch as it is the best size for most bearings. Use this as a standard to select your future longboard bearings.
To ensure that your bearings perform at their best conditions, frequent maintenances are required. Your bearings should receive cleaning and greasing every once in a while.
What we would recommend you is to clean the bearings every time after you go back from a skating session. Just use a clean cloth and wipe away the dirt and stains to prevent permanent damages on your bearings. After that, give them a few CR7 sprays to ensure they stay protected.
During rainy days, your bearings can easily get wet and dirty. It’s important to get rid of the excess water to prevent rust. From my experiences, a hair blow dry will be really useful. Make sure you turn up the heat option and give your bearings a lot of heat. The strong wind and high temperature will be quite effective when forcing the water out.
If your wheels start to become noisy and dirty, then it’s probably the right time to give the bearings a deep clean. Here is how you do it:
Start disassembling the wheels from their axles by removing the protective metal nuts. Then use a flat screwdriver to pry the bearings out.
Wipe away the excess dirt on the wheels then soak bearings in citrus cleaner solution to break off the dirt. Use a soft brush to brush off all the stains on the surface of your bearings.
Then remove the rubber (sometimes metal) shields out of the bearings. You’ll find the small balls that are responsible for enhancing the rotations. Give them some degreaser sprays to get rid of the old greases. And use a clean cloth to clean the inside of your bearings. You can also choose not to remove the rubber shield and just give your bearings a few drops of lubricant. Once you’ve done, put the shield back and clean the bearing with a dry cloth.
Push the bearings back in their wheels then mount the wheels back to their axles.
And that’s all you need to know about longboard bearings. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in our future post.