If you have always enjoyed those speedy runs across the town on your skateboard, you must be in love with the experience. But have you ever wondered how your skateboard rolls on the roads so fast? Well, it’s the skateboard bearings that make the wheels of your skateboard roll smoothly.
And, with the right kind of bearings tailored to your skateboarding needs, you get to achieve the desired speeds as well. They help reduce friction and make sure that you slide, spin stop, and perform those tricks as effortlessly as possible. So, how do skateboard bearings work? Let’s try to figure out the science behind your rolling skateboard.
What Are Skateboard Bearings?
The skateboard bearings are small circular parts of a skateboard, and many other machines and devices out there, which allow the wheels to smoothly roll forward. It is the skateboard bearings that determine how smoothly and speedily your skateboard wheels rotate.
There are 5 main parts in a skateboard bearing. These include:
- Inner Race
- Outer Race
For each skateboard, you need 8 bearings to keep it rolling – 2 for every wheel. Generally, all the skateboard bearings are of the same size and they fit any skateboard truck and wheel.
When buying bearings for your skateboard separately, it’s important that you consider your level of experience and your skateboarding style. The bearings that have high-quality parts are generally speedier and relatively more durable.
While beginners can manage with bearings that aren’t the fastest or toughest, experienced skateboarders need something fast, reliable, and durable. The price is also a consideration here as higher quality products will cost you a touch higher as well. So, keep these things in mind when you are up for a purchase.
How Do Skateboard Bearings Work?
Ball bearings used in the best skateboard, or in any other device, generally have three key functions to serve while facilitating motion. They carry the load, reduce friction, and position the parts of the moving machine. Balls are used in ball bearings for separating the inner and outer race, or the bearing rings, so that surface contact could be reduced and friction across the moving planes could be avoided.
As the balls rotate, they reduce the friction coefficient significantly as compared to the flat surfaces that rub against one another. As there isn’t much surface contact between the races and the balls, the ball bearings generally have a lower load-bearing capacity as compared to other different types of rolling-element bearings.
Types of Skateboard Bearings
There are two broad categories in which skateboard bearings could be divided based on the materials they are made with – the steel bearings and the ceramic bearings. Actually, these materials are used in the making of the balls that are present inside a bearing. And even the best skateboard wheels use either of these two types of skateboard bearings.
Most of the bearings used today in skateboards use steel balls and, therefore, they are named steel bearings. The speed and durability of the bearings actually rely on the quality of different parts and the steel used in making them. Both high-end and entry-level products are available on the market and you can get your hands on them based on your personal preference.
Ceramic bearings, on the other hand, use ceramic balls, and they are stronger and lighter as compared to steel balls. Ceramic balls also reduce friction a touch further and roll faster compared to their steel counterparts. They also have a unique self-cleaning system that knocks dirt off their steel races while rotating. They are considered among the best bearings out there and are popular among professionals.
All the bearings on the market come with a certain ABEC rating that determines their quality. This rating is generally printed on their packaging or the bearings’ shield itself. There are five levels of the ABEC rating system and they are ABEC 1, ABEC 2, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, and ABEC 9.
A common misconception about this rating system is that the higher you go up the ABEC rating, the faster and better your skateboard bearings would become. That’s not true, actually. In fact, this system of rating was made to rate the bearings’ tolerances for industrial machinery in specific rather than skateboarding.
The ABEC rating actually denotes the ability of the bearing to cope with the changes in the physical dimension, temperature, and properties of the manufactured object. However, this rating system does take into account the abuse a skateboard bearing gets, the travel speed of the skateboards, and other criteria specific to the sport.
Now that you understand how do skateboard bearings work and what their ABEC ratings mean, you should be able to better understand what skateboard bearings are best suited to your skating needs. Get your hands at the skateboards with the best skateboard bearings today and rejuvenate your skating experience. You will feel the difference for sure when your skateboard wheels will be rolling with the quality bearings inside!