Skateboard Bearings Buying Guide
Skateboard bearings come in sets of eight and two are needed to allow each wheel to spin on the axle of a truck. They are small cylindrical objects which house multiple lubricated ball bearings, commonly made of steel, and are measured in ABEC ratings. Bearings are also universally sized therefore any skateboard bearing brand is compatible with any skateboard wheel brand.
Skateboard bearings need to be maintained so wheels can spin properly and it is recommended you never ride a skateboard in the rain as it will severely damage your deck, trucks and bearings!
Our website offers the option to turn any skateboard deck into a full setup by adding a basic undercarriage featuring Enuff ABEC 7 bearings. This are a great starting point for beginners however if you want to customise every aspect of your complete skateboard we recommend trying Spitfire Cheapshots, Bones Reds or Bronson G2 model bearings for a more premium, but well priced, option.
What is ABEC and does it matter?
ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Committee and is an industrial measure for the tolerance of bearings.
ABEC ratings are applied to bearings used in machinery or household appliances. Although these bearings they are identical to skateboard bearings - the vast difference in force and speed placed on them by a skateboard, compared to machinery, means that the ABEC scale isn’t really applicable to the performance of a skateboard bearing.
Types of skateboard bearings.
Skateboarding bearings fall into a few categories: regular, ceramic and Swiss.
‘Regular’ isn’t a technical term and it should be assumed that a pack of bearings are standard bearings unless marked otherwise. The internal ball bearings are made of steel and covered by protective, removable rubber shields usually displaying the company name and ABEC rating.
Ceramic skate bearings contain lighter ball bearings allowing them to spin faster as less friction is created within the bearing itself. Ceramic bearings are more expensive than regular steel bearings but have a longer lifespan. This is because the inner ceramic balls are harder than steel and re-polish themselves prolonging their use.
Swiss (sometimes labelled as ‘Swiss Ceramic’) bearings are the most expensive on the market but will last for years if properly maintained. They are made in Switzerland (hence the name), rather than China - like most skateboard bearings - and contain ultra-lightweight Cerbec ceramic balls.
Taking care of skateboard bearings.
Properly maintaining your bearings is simple – don’t ride your skateboard in the rain, through puddles or when it’s generally damp.
Any moisture that seeps inside of a bearing case will stay there as the rubber seals are designed to keep dirt and water out. As the bearing rotates, friction creates heat inside of it and excess water will oxidise the metal causing it rust, diluting factory applied lubricant and damaging the rubber shields too.
Bearings may pop after long periods of use – usually when lots of pressure is applied above a bearing that is already weak. In the event of this happening it is not always necessary to buy a brand-new set of bearings and if you have a spare then the damaged bearing can be replaced. However, one bearing breaking generally implies that the rest will soon follow and we consider it a good sign that it’s time to upgrade your set of bearings.