Longboard bearings have improved drastically over the years. There was a time when clay wheels were the only option. That is no longer the case. Now, skateboard bearings allow wheels to spin freely without the burden of unwanted friction.
As long as you maintain your bearings and make sure that they do not have water or dirt in them, they should last a long time without having to be replaced. Avid longboard riders will always have a spare bearing or two just in case they need to make repairs during an emergency.
When it comes to looking for the best longboard bearings, there are certain factors that you need to take into consideration.
The first is your budget. It is not necessary to break the bank in order to get high quality bearings. Even bearings that are not ABEC rated can be durable and last for a long time.
Bearings that are well-maintained and kept free from water, sand and debris, will last longer than those that are not well-maintained. To that end it is best to look for bearings that have removable seal/dust covers that you can maintain.
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Understanding the ABEC Grades of Bearings
One of the criteria that people use when trying to identify the best skateboarding bearings is the grades given by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. This organization grades bearings based on a set of standards for the manufacturing tolerances of bearings. The lowest rating that bearings can get is an ABEC 1. The highest grade available is ABEC 9.
There are many factors that go into determining the grade that bearings get. One of the most important factors is the eccentricity of the tract in the inner ring of the bearings. A bearing that has the lowest rating will have a maximum allowable eccentricity of about 0.0075 millimeters. Bearings that have an ABEC rating of 9 will have a 0.000047 maximum allowable eccentricity. While the difference between a bearing that is rated 1 and a bearing that is rated 9 does not seem to be that big in high-speed, high precision machinery, these small variations in measurements make a huge difference.
However, when it comes to bearings in skateboards, there is virtually no difference in performance between a bearing that is rated ABEC 1 and a bearing that is rated ABEC 9. The reason for this is that after an individual uses a skateboard for between 5 to 10 minutes, the track in the inner ring will no longer be eccentric. They will start to become irregular because of how they are being used in the skateboard. Within just a few minutes, it will be impossible to distinguish between the highest grade bearings available and the $.75 cheap bearings that are available for skateboards.
A well maintained, inexpensive bearing will function better than an expensive bearing that is poorly maintained. To get the most speed out of your bearings, it is important that you use a high quality oil lubricant. A heavy lubricant will increase the life of the bearings. A lighter lubricant, like oil, will make the bearings run freer. Also, the quality of steel used in your bearings makes a difference. High quality steel equals better performance. It is recommended that individuals stick to well-known manufacturers and well-known skating brands.
Longboard Bearings Reviews
Bones Reds Bearings
These bearings are trusted and beloved in the skateboarding industry. Equipped with noncontact removable rubber shields that allow easy cleaning and minimize friction and a high-speed nylon ball retainer that increase both the strength of the bearing and speed, these bearings are perfect for anyone looking to cruise the street on their longboard or bomb hills at maximum speed. Users often comment how these bearings are the best ones that they are ever used on their longboards.
Bones Original Swiss Competition Skate Bearings
Their precision grade Swiss design, nylon ball retainers, removable rubber shields and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects are some of the reasons why Bones Original Swiss Competition skate bearings has been on the top of everyone’s list since they were first introduced in 1983.
Individuals who have used these bearings have commented on the fact that they are thoroughly satisfied with these bearings because they are resistant to normal wear and tear, and once they are broken in, they are incredible.
Because of their high quality and attention to detail, Bones Original Swiss Competition skate bearings have developed a brand loyalty unprecedented in the industry.
Neal Precision Skate Bearings
These bearings are on the pricier side when compared to competitor options. Made out of top-quality ceramic, you will be sure to get plenty of use out of the purchase. In order to get up to top speeds, you need the best quality bearings. This product is lightweight, durable, and very easy to attach, making them perfect for just about any skater.
It is important to note that the bearings were specifically designed to be used on longboards. The product is a Neal Precision customer favorite, meaning that it should definitely be up there on your list of considerations.
If you are shopping on a budget, these bearings should absolutely be up there on your list of considerations. Made out of hard steel, the bearings will be sure to last you a very long time. This product features precision 8mm axle holes and has been specifically designed to be used on longboards.
These bearings feature a green rubber seal in order to prevent dirt from clogging inside. More so, they are lubed with arch oil nanoceramic grease, ensuring that they move with ease at all times.
Yellow Jacket Premium Bearings
These bearings come in a variety of colors and sizes. You will be able to choose between the stinger and stripe options – these two products differ in size and can be used on different types of boards. Made out of top-quality steel, you will be sure to get plenty of use out of the purchase.
Sold at a very reasonable price, these bearings should be considered by any skaters who are shopping on a budget. However, it is essential to note that the lower price tag does not affect the quality or longevity – you are getting a great product for a very good price.
Those are a few ideas of some of the bearings that are available on the market. Remember, in order to get the best out of your bearings, you must take care of them. Keep them dry, keep them away from sand, keep them away from debris and make sure that they are well lubricated. If you do this, you are guaranteed to have many days of happy cruising.