Every skateboard is equipped with two bearings, with a spacer placed in between them. This is a small cylinder that prevents the bearing from being forced onto the center of the wheel when tightening the axle nut, keeping it from getting damaged.
The spacers further ensure that your bearings remain parallel with each other. This does several things — it makes sure that you have control of your skateboard when in motion, also preventing you from going off balance and possibly injuring yourself.
What’s inside the wheel? Your skateboard wheels are a compound machine — it represents an accumulation of different components.
The hanger is what protrudes from the actual skateboard. Attached to the hanger is the axle.
Then there is the actual wheel. Inside of the wheel is two bearings with a spacer in between. All three of these parts are set into place with the help of an axle nut. In between the axle nut and the hanger is the speed ring.
The skateboard bearings consist of a large outer ring and smaller inner rings. In between the rings are steel balls. This is what allows the wheel of your skateboard to turn. On either side of the rings are shields that will prevent the bearings from accumulating dirt and debris.
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Top 5 Skateboard Bearings For The Money
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The Role Of Skateboard Bearings
The bearings that come with your new skateboard will last for anywhere between 12 and 24 months. Longevity will largely depend on your riding style, what sort of terrain you are skating on, and maintenance.
Faulty bearings can be dangerous. If the shields fall off and your bearing shifts, this can lock up your wheels and cause a fall. It can also damage your wheel because of the sharp metal piercing the core.
For the uninitiated, however, it can be confusing to select the right bearing for your skateboard.
What To Consider When Buying Skateboard Bearings
When choosing your next skateboard bearing, you will need to consider your experience level and your riding style. Bearings that are made with higher quality parts will be more durable as well as allow you to gain speed faster.
If you are a beginner and aren’t all that comfortable going fast, then the fastest and toughest bearings on the market may be an expensive overkill.
If you are experienced and are familiar with maneuvering a skateboard, then you will benefit from higher-end bearings. What constitutes a higher-end.
Steel bearings. These are the industry-standard — they are highly available and an economical option. Higher-grade steel is more durable, and can even be comparable to high-quality, premium bearings. The downside of using steel is that it tends to rust when exposed to moisture. If you are comfortable regularly replacing them, then steel bearings are a viable option.
Ceramic. These are harder than steel and do not buckle under pressure. They are also heat resistant, creating less friction when used at higher speeds. Since they are ceramic, you do not need to worry about any sort of rusting. The only downside to ceramic bearings is that they might be a bit more brittle when compared to metal bearings. They can break if you’re a high impact, fast skater. Do not use ceramic bearings if you are going to skate over big gaps.
Titanium. Titanium is lightweight, rust-resistant, and durable. They last longer than other types of bearings and are sometimes positioned as premium bearings.
About The ABEC Rating
Regardless of the material that it is made of, your skateboard bearing will usually have an ABEC rating. These will be printed on the packaging or on the bearings itself.
It consists of levels one, two, three, five, seven, and nine. There is, unfortunately, a misconception that a higher ABEC rating means that the bearing is faster or of better quality.
In actuality, this rating system was created to rate the tolerance of bearings for industrial applications and not for skateboarding. The ratings signal the bearings’ ability to cope with changes in physical dimensions and temperature.
It’s best to choose bearings that fit your budget; focusing instead on the materials used and how it will impact daily performance.
Our Favorite Skateboard Bearings Reviewed
Now that you have recognized the different features of the skateboard bearings, you will have to pick the right one that is aligned with your skating styles and preferences. Here are some of our top recommended skateboard bearings on the market.
1. Yellow Jacket Premium Skateboard Bearings, Pro Longboard Bearings, 608, ABEC (Pack of 8)
These were created using the highest precision in German manufacturing, creating a skateboard bearing that is durable in high-stress situations. It uses steel that has been manufactured to be highly rust-resistant.
While putting a spotlight on quality parts, Yellowjacket did not skimp on personalization opportunities.
The bearings, with seven different color seals, offer the opportunity to personalize your bearings while protecting it from rocks, dust, and dirt. The actual bearings cage is built with high-speed nylon for less friction and enhanced strength.
You will find that inside of the steel roller cage, there is a high-speed lube already installed so that the bearings are ready to use from the get-go.
- Quality bearings for longboards.
- No additional oiling when you first receive your bearings.
- Other bearings are notably smoother.
2. Bones Reds Precision Skate Bearings (8 Pack w/Spacers & Washers & Speed Cream)
Bones has been the go-to manufacturer for everything-skateboard since 1981. They are a Swiss company that has put a spotlight on performance and quality control – with the Bones Reds highlighting that dedication to innovation.
These bearings are inspected twice before being shipped to skateboarders, and they represent a low-cost entry to steel alloy, with the spacers made of top-quality aluminum and speed rings constructed from iron with a zinc coating.
Bones Reds Precision bearings come with all of the tools that you need to change and maintain your skateboard bearings, including additional spacers, washers, and a skate tool. You also have the option of buying the bearings with Bones’ Speed Cream.
- Reliability. This is largely due to the company focusing on quality control and ensuring that every bearing can perform when under stress.
- Versatility. The Bones name is very popular, with many people who have bought cheaper skateboards buying their first bearings from this company.
- May need time to break in.
3. Fireball Dragon Precision 608 Skateboard Bearings
These bearings by Fireball are made with two variations — Race and Endurance. The Endurance variant is manufactured with a slightly thicker lube so you don’t have to worry about frequent maintenance.
If you are using a cruiser or a longboard, these bearings are ideal.
The Fireball Dragon Precision Bearing is made with dual labyrinth shields on either side for maximum protection from the elements. They are designed to last, with some skaters only replacing the bearings following a year after their initial install.
Fireball Dragon Precision bearings are also highly versatile, built for in-line skates, roller blades, and even electric skateboards.
- Steel bearings with enhanced performance and durability.
- Highly popular skateboard bearing while still being budget-friendly.
- Two types of variations for your riding style.
- Interestingly enough, these skateboard bearings do not have an ABEC rating that you might be familiar with.
4. Bones Super Swiss 6 Skateboard Bearings 8 Pack
This is another bearing from Bones that have attracted the attention of novice and intermediate skateboarders alike.
The balls inside of these bearings are larger than other types, allowing you to reach and maintain top speeds. This sort of nimbleness is a typical feature with more costly bearings.
Some might be alarmed by the fact that Bones Swiss does not use the ABEC rating. As explained, it is because the ratings aren’t all that important.
Just like their other bearings by Bones, you will be able to take advantage of a lifetime warranty against all defects.
- Steel bearings for faster acceleration.
- Removable rubber shield for advanced skateboarders who want higher speeds.
- Might experience some clicking noises. This can be remedied by applying firm pressure when tightening your wheel nuts to squeeze the bearings and spacers closer together.
5. Heady Shake Pro 608RS Skateboard Bearings
These bearings by Heady Shake are made for speed. If you use a cruiser or a longboard, then these bearings are the right combination for your set up.
The brand puts a focus on optimized acceleration while ensuring that smoothness is not sacrificed. Combine that with quality lubricant, and you will enjoy a smooth ride excellent acceleration.
Not only are you taking advantage of one of the fastest bearings for skateboards, but the bearings are very quiet. The titanium coating and the waterproof stickers enhance the overall durability of the Heady Shake Pro Skateboard Bearings.
- Steel bearings with the titanium coating for the best of both worlds. This combination allows for a nimble bearing while being resistant to outside contaminants.
- Highly affordable.
- It may not be ideal for skateboarders who are focused on executing tricks.
How To Care For & Extend The Life Of Your Skateboard Bearings
Regardless of what type of skateboard bearing you choose, you will want them to last as long as possible.
A common mistake is leaving skateboard in moist environments or skating in the rain. If you can, try to avoid doing so.
Regardless of the material, constant exposure to moisture will cause oxidation of the metal parts. Keep in mind that it is not just rusting that you need to be aware of, but water can also strip silicone lube that enables the bearings to spin freely.
Once the lube evaporates, then friction will increase and your bearings will start to wear down. Dust and sand will also strip silicone lube.
The best way to ensure the longevity of your new bearings is to regularly clean and reapply professional lube.
Try to avoid oils — or even worse, cooking oils. Even though they might look like they can do a good job at lubricating, cooking oils attract dirt.
If your bearings do not perform well, even with proper maintenance, that means that they will have to be replaced.