Choosing your skateboard bearings, advice from Hawaii Surf Skate Shop
Just like the most visible elements skateboard pack such as the decks, the wheels or the skate trucks, the ball bearing set is essential for the assembly of your complete skateboard. Without these small metal parts, it will be impossible for you to mount your set of wheels and go skating.
How is the ball bearing made?
The ball bearing, as its name suggests, has very small balls enclosed inside a steel ring (cage). The outer ring is the part that will be in contact with the core of your wheel. The small steel balls rotate against the inner wall of the bearing. The inner ring that encloses the cage with the balls is in contact on the one hand with the balls but also with the axle of your skateboard truck.
The fact of enclosing the balls in a "sandwich" makes it possible to rotate the entire bearing.
Finally, there are two kinds of plastic "flasks" which cover the two rings in order to better protect the cage and the bearing core from impurities such as dirt, dust or even water. Contrary to certain legends of "joking shops" 100% sealed bearings that resist water do not exist...
Here is a diagram made by the most famous " bones " brand in the skateboarding world.
How do I choose the size of my skateboard bearings?
In skateboarding it's very simple, because all Truck brands use the "608ZZ" standard, that is to say a bearing with the compatibility of only 8 MM axles. So all brands and models of bearings that you see in the skateboard or longboard skate bearings section are automatically compatible with your skate wheels and trucks!
We will therefore have boxes of 8 bearings (since 2 are needed per wheel) with a diameter of 8 MM (and precision for math fans with an outer diameter of 22MM and a width of 7MM)
Are there any differences in the materials of my skateboard bearings?
Virtually all bearings on the skateboard market are made in a steel based design (100C6 alloy chrome steel ground)? Composed of 8 balls (or sometimes 6 or 7 thicker ones) lubricated with oil or grease.
There are also the famous ceramic bearings, stiffer and smoother which will undergo less friction, increasing the duration of speed, and having a more fluid rolling... but with a price which is around at least 100 euros per box of 8. is the rather ideal set of bearings for longboard skaters, cruisers or skaters exclusively on ramps or transition modules at the skatepark.
Can I rely on the ABEC standard when choosing my skateboard bearings?
Tricky not to broach the subject of “skateboard bearings without the ABEC standard”! Yes, we can still talk about it, although most of the leading brands on the market no longer specify this standard, which was originally intended to measure the rolling quality of ball bearings in the industry. The ABEC standard consists of odd numbers from 1 to 11 ranging from lower end quality (ABEC1) to highest end quality (ABEC11).
The reason that pushes us in skateboarding to no longer adopt this standard, or almost, is that the way to measure a bearing in the world of industry and machine tools does not have the same vocation in the middle of skateboarding. …
For your greatest pleasure we will still give you an overview after having tested all our bearings, of how we classify skate bearings according to this standard.
- Abec 1: Low-end skate bearings, robust but not very rolling
- Abec 3: Versatile, strong and moderately fast skate bearings
- Abec 5: the right ratio between speed and moderate fragility
- Abec 7: superior quality, ultra rolling but more fragile
The higher the ABEC standard, the more complex the finish of the bearing set, therefore a higher price because it is more expensive to produce.
So don't trust this standard anymore but rather the reputation of the bearings and our advice by reading our product sheets on the site or by talking to us at the skate shop.
Are spacers required to mount my skateboard bearings?
These small cylinders are not mandatory, moreover few brands and range of bearings sell spacers at the same time in your packaging, except high-end brands like Bones sr some high quality products.
You can still put spacers if you wish, these are installed in the wheel between the two bearings, with the aim of allowing better consistency and placement of the bearings in the wheel and the axle of the truck. The aficionados of the curve and the bowl like to use this kind of accessories.
Which brand of skate bearings to choose?
There are almost as many brands of bearings as there are brands of chainrings... this accessory used to design your own skate pack is found in the form of multiple packaging, sometimes collector's items from certain brands.
The brand most renowned for the quality of its entire range, which adapts to all budgets, is of course "Bones Beraings", from the same group as the equally technical and robust Wheels. This company is entirely specialized in the design of custom-made bearings for skateboarding and other urban sports using wheels (Longboard skate or Roller Derby).
Other brands sometimes offer good products like Bronson , Mosaic or Andale to name our three favorites after Bones of course…
Our teams are available to give you the best advice.