Guide To the Best Longboard Bearings
Longboard bearings are all about reducing unnecessary friction to allow you to make that flawless stunt; in short, it makes the wheel go round. They are basically tiny ceramic or steel balls which are adjusted on circular tracks inside the ring work in combination with the fixed axel of the truck and inner hub of the wheel that enables the wheel to spin when force is applied. Choosing the right kind of bearing for your longboard might be a little confusing with all the varieties available on the market. However, at the end of this little guide you should have no problem deciding on the kind of bearing to purchase.
There are a couple of factors which draws that line between a good longboard bearing and an “okay-ish” longboard bearing. Some of which are durability, load carrying capacity, materials used, tolerance, lubrication, surface finish and of course, speed. However, most brands do not put much detail on the packaging other than the ABEC rating and materials used. This guide will put forward most of the details that you can use to distinguish the differences between a good bearing and not-so good bearing.
Here are some of our favorite ceramic and steel bearings
Rush Downhill Speed Bombers Abec 9 Bearings
This particular bearing has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon. It is made from steel but is coated with a layer of Titanium metal and has been pre lubricated. It has an 8mm core, 22mm outer diameter and is 7mm in width. Also, this particular set comes with 2 pairs of spacers! The reviewers are absolutely in love with it and some even went on to say that this is the best investment one can make for their longboard.
SCSK8 ABEC 9 Bearings Skateboard Deck Longboard Red Silver
The quality that this set of bearings offer for its price is absolutely unbeatable! $1.99! It has a rating of 4 on Amazon and got plenty of amazing reviews. It is made from pre lubricated steel and also comes with ELEMENT PROTECTION 608 RS rubber seal. It seems that people have also used it for carts and pro boards and loves it. However, the one drawback is that it cannot be taken apart for cleaning.
Bones Ceramic Reds Bearings
As the name suggests, this is one of the fancy ceramic bearings. This set has a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon and has been sold on a large number too. These balls are supposed to be much lighter, sturdier, waterproof and longer lasting than even the finest steel balls. They are pre lubricated and come with removable rubber shield which is great for easy cleaning. Also, the best part is that these bearings come with a warranty!
Sector 9 Ceramic Bearing
This is a race grade ceramic bearing set that comes with 8 bearings with spacers. They are supposed to be corrosion resistant and waterproof and also come with removable rubber shield for easy cleaning. The material used is Silicon Nitride extra hard ceramic. It has a rating of 5 on Amazon and has loads of rave reviews!
Pacific Flyers Premium Ceramic Si3N4 Silicon Nitride Skateboard Bearings
Now this is quite a product. The manufacturers were confident enough to put up a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. As the name suggests, it is a set of high quality ceramic bearing. The reviews on Amazon.com will easily convince you into buying a set of these. This particular set of bearings has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon and the people who bought it absolutely love it. Apparently, for the price it offers, it is too good to be true.
Here are some of the factors that you should be looking out for:
- ABEC rating: These are the most common specifications that come with any bearing model. This rating is basically a measure of tolerance. Higher ABEC rating is often thought to mean faster bearing but that isn’t always the case. Higher rating does in fact result in a more efficient bearing at higher speeds, but other factors such as materials, lubrication, how the bearing performs under pressure determines the quality of a bearing.
- Bearing loads: There are three major kinds of directional force. Vertical, axial and torsional. A good performing bearing would have a track shaped in a way to provide the least amount of friction during all three major kinds of directional force. It should also have a deeper groove to keep the steel balls in place which would prevent unnecessary movements and result in limited friction. Always keep in mind, less friction = more speed.
- Bearing material: The material used to make a bearing is one of the major factors that distinguish the performance of a high end bearing from a low end bearing. Ceramic bearings are comparatively expensive and yet worth it because a precision tuned ceramic bearing would easily accelerate faster, roll further and are also more durable and lasts a lot longer than the usual steel bearings. However, if it is not affordable for you, do not be disheartened, there are plenty of awesome steel bearings out there on the market which not only performs better but are also long lasting.
- Bearing spacers: Spacers are basically little metal cylinder like things that come with some bearings. They are not really a necessity but it would be a good idea to install them if you would like to optimize your setup and would want your bearings to last longer. It usually sits between the bearings and helps to keep a consistent inner race space in relation to the wheel.
- Bearing Lubrication: Bearing is after all, all about reducing friction. Bearings alone can only do so much. It is suggested that you use quality racing lubricants to make your bearings more efficient and also to prolong their lifetime. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your bearings is also very necessary to get the most out of them.
Here are a few tips for you on how to clean and maintain your bearings.
- Use a small pin or paper clip or something similar to remove the rubber shield from the inner race.
- Use warm soap water to wash the shield and then wipe dry.
- Soak the bearings in cleaning solution but make sure never to use any water based solution. If you can’t find a non-water based solution, just soak them in kerosene or mineral spirits and then dip and shake in isopropyl alcohol and it should be good to go.
- Now put the shield back on and add a few drops of bearing oil and TADAA! All good to go!