Skateboarding is a beloved activity for people of all ages, but it requires the right equipment to ensure a smooth and safe ride. One important component of a skateboard is the bearings that are found inside the wheels. These bearings are responsible for allowing the wheels to spin freely, which is essential for the rider to perform tricks and navigate through different surfaces.
In this article, we will explore the role of bearings on skateboard wheels and how they can impact a rider’s performance. We will also discuss the different types of bearings that are available and how to properly maintain them to ensure a long-lasting and efficient ride.
What Are Bearings On Skateboard Wheels?
Bearings on skateboard wheels are small metal balls or cylinders that allow the wheels to rotate smoothly and efficiently. They are typically made of steel or ceramic and are located inside the skateboard wheels.
The impact of bearings on skateboard performance can be significant. Good quality bearings can help to reduce friction and increase speed, while poor quality bearings can cause the wheels to feel sluggish and difficult to control.
Additionally, bearings can affect the overall durability of a skateboard. Poor-quality bearings may wear out quickly or become damaged, requiring frequent replacement. Good quality bearings, on the other hand, can last for many months or even years with proper maintenance.
What Are The Benefits Of Skateboard Bearings?
There are several benefits to using skateboard bearings:
- Improved speed: Skateboard bearings are designed to allow the wheels to spin faster, resulting in a faster ride.
- Smooth ride: Well-maintained skateboard bearings provide a smooth and fluid ride, reducing friction and reducing wear and tear on the wheels.
- Increased control: Good skateboard bearings allow for better control of the skateboard, making it easier to navigate turns and perform tricks.
- Longer lifespan: Properly maintained skateboard bearings can last much longer than worn or poorly maintained bearings, saving money and hassle in the long run.
- Increased safety: Skateboard bearings that are in good condition can help to prevent accidents and injuries by providing a stable and reliable ride.
What Are Different Types Of Skateboard Bearings?
There are several different types of skateboard bearings, including:
- ABEC ratings: These bearings are rated on a scale from 1-9, with higher numbers indicating higher precision and speed. ABEC 3 bearings are common for skateboarding, while ABEC 5-9 bearings are usually used for high-performance skating.
- Ceramic bearings: These bearings are made from a ceramic material that is harder and smoother than steel, resulting in faster speeds and longer lifespan.
- Shielded bearings: These bearings have metal shields on both sides to protect the balls and keep dirt and debris out.
- Sealed bearings: These bearings have a rubber seal on one side to keep dirt and moisture out.
- Swiss bearings: These bearings are made in Switzerland and are known for their high precision and durability.
- Precision bearings: These bearings are made with higher precision and tolerances than standard bearings, resulting in a smoother ride and longer lifespan.
- Single-row bearings: These bearings have a single row of balls and are used in most skateboard wheels.
- Double-row bearings: These bearings have two rows of balls and are used in some longboard wheels for added strength and stability
How To Maintain Skateboard Bearings
- Clean your bearings regularly: dirt and debris can accumulate in your skateboard bearings, which can cause them to wear out faster or even break. To clean your bearings, remove them from the skateboard and rinse them with a degreasing cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Use a toothbrush or cotton swab to gently scrub away any dirt or grime, then rinse them off and dry them thoroughly.
- Keep your bearings lubricated: lubrication helps your bearings spin smoothly and reduces friction, which can prolong their lifespan. Use a high-quality skateboard bearing lubricant or light oil, such as 3-in-1 oil, to lubricate your bearings. Apply the lubricant to the inside of the bearings, not the outside, and be sure to wipe off any excess.
- Store your skateboard properly: when not in use, store your skateboard in a dry, cool place to prevent moisture from damaging your bearings. Avoid storing your skateboard in damp or humid conditions, as this can cause rust and corrosion to form on your bearings.
- Replace worn-out bearings: if your skateboard bearings feel rough or are making noise when you ride, it’s probably time to replace them. Bearings typically last for several months to a year, depending on how often you skate and how well you maintain them. To replace your bearings, simply remove the old ones and install new ones in their place.
- Check your skateboard regularly: it’s a good idea to inspect your skateboard regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Check your bearings for signs of wear or damage, and replace them if necessary. Also, inspect the rest of your skateboard for any damage or wear and tear, and make any necessary repairs or replacements. Overall, by following these tips and taking good care of your skateboard, you can keep your bearings in top condition and extend their lifespan.
How To Install Skateboard Bearings
Gather your tools and supplies: You will need a skateboard, a bearing press tool or a socket and hammer, a bearing puller tool (optional), a clean cloth or paper towels, and some skateboard bearing lubricant or oil.
Remove the old bearings: Begin by taking off the wheels from your skateboard. You can do this by loosening the bolts with a skateboard tool or a socket wrench. Once the wheels are removed, use the bearing puller tool or a socket and hammer to gently tap out the old bearings from the wheels.
Clean the wheels and bearings: Using a clean cloth or paper towel, wipe away any dirt or debris from the wheels and bearings. If the bearings are particularly dirty or rusty, you may want to soak them in some cleaning solution or vinegar for a few minutes before wiping them clean.
Lubricate the bearings: Once the bearings are clean and dry, it’s time to lubricate them. You can use skateboard-bearing lubricant or oil for this purpose. Apply a small amount of lubricant to each bearing and then spin it around to evenly distribute the lubricant.
Install the bearings: Place one bearing in the center of each wheel and then use the bearing press tool or a socket and hammer to gently tap the bearing into place. Be sure to press the bearing in evenly and not at an angle to avoid damaging it.
Attach the wheels: Once all the bearings are installed, it’s time to put the wheels back on the skateboard. Line up the holes in the wheels with the bolts on the skateboard, and then tighten the bolts using a skateboard tool or socket wrench.
Test your skateboard: Once all the wheels are installed and tightened, give your skateboard a test ride to ensure everything is working properly. If the wheels spin smoothly and the skateboard feels balanced, you’re all set!
Bearings are an important component of skateboard wheels, as they allow the wheels to spin smoothly and efficiently. They are typically made of high-grade steel and are designed to withstand the high speeds and impacts of skateboarding. Proper maintenance of bearings, including cleaning and lubrication, is essential for ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Overall, bearings play a crucial role in the overall performance and safety of a skateboard, and should be carefully considered when choosing and maintaining skateboard wheels.