Skateboarding is a technical game that requires technical parts to successfully achieve. Choosing the right kind of skateboard, wheels, down to the right kind of bearings will greatly affect the ride. Choosing the right bearing is important, it will matter whether or not if you are into doing big flip tricks, long grinds, or speed trips. The right bearings will help you grind better, ride better, and flip better.
Nowadays, skateboarding plays a big part in the industry. It gradually became famed and practiced all over the world. It has entered its way to the Olympics, and many big brands are banking on to this kind of sports for promotion. Hence, skateboards and skateboard parts are accessible anywhere, especially at online shops.
Buying a set of skateboards for the first time can be quite tricky. It will be hard to assess which specific parts best fit your riding style or stance. There are shops that sell a set of skateboard where one can easily buy the whole set without having to think of what wheels, trucks, and bearings to choose.
Bearings are one of the parts often replaced in skateboards. Bearings are the part where your wheels are located. Basically, the “machine” that makes the skateboard roll. Bearings can easily get corroded or stuck up when not cleaned properly. Also, it is the part that absorbs a lot of impacts when the skateboarder is doing an intense trick, such as acid dropping down the roof or gap ollieing a 20-step stair.
Hence, it is important to choose the right bearing that will best fit your skating style, weight, and the tricks you want to nail.
The Abec Ratings
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The Abec rating is a known rating Abec formulated to weigh the capabilities of a certain bearing.
Abec 1 – this type of bearing is one of the first models of bearing. It is the least expensive, but the quality is also quite obsolete. The steel quality of the casing is not as durable in comparison to the latest bearings sold today.
Abec 3 – this bearing is not far from the quality of Abec 1. Although it is a bit better, it is enough to deal with the pressure of novice skateboarders or kids.
Abec 5- this kind of bearing is a reliable choice. It is not that expensive, but it will relay speed and smooth ride.
Abec 7- this bearing is a bit pricey in contrast to the other three. In spite of that, this bearing is fast, smooth to ride, and durable.
Abec 9+- lastly, this bearing is the most expensive but the most advanced at the same time.
Knowing the Parts of a Bearing
For you to know what to order, it is best that you will completely understand the mechanics of a bearing. You have to know what part plays what function. Knowing the parts of a bearing will help you decipher fully what’s best for your style of skateboarding and tricks.
The balls found at the inner part of the bearing serves as the fuel to make the wheels roll. Typically, there are six to seven balls. The lesser balls the bearing has, the lesser friction it will produce; hence, it is faster.
The Inner and Outer Races
This part basically creates the outer walls of the bearing. It plays as the track for the balls to roll and cause kinetic energy.
The retainer is the perfectly shaped track that keeps the balls in perfect spacing and correct position as they roll countlessly. The retainer reduces friction and a vital part if you want speed.
The shields, by the name itself, explains its use. Basically, it acts as a shield so the bearings will not accumulate dust and other dirt that can cause the bearings to corrode. The shield is important in prolonging the life span of your bearings.
The Bearing Spacers
There are bearings that are sold with spacers; some don’t since the spacers are already a part of the bearing. Spacers are typically cylindrical in shape that perfectly fits the middle opening of your wheels. The spacer keeps the two bearings from both ends of the wheels apart. Moreover, spacers will significantly reduce vibrations and will relay easier control. There are some skateboarders that do not put spacers in between their bearings, it is still okay to skate with it, but it is a drag to ride and will increase your chances of falling down or bailing.
Knowing the Different Kinds of Bearings
Steel bearings are the most common types of bearings available. It is considered as the skateboarding industry standards. It is both a practical choice and practically not that expensive. Different companies sell different steel bearings, and the quality and the kind of steel used may vary. There are bearings equipped with premium quality steel bearings, and some are of sub-standard. Typically, you can judge the quality by looking at the price rate. Steel bearings have tendencies to rust when it is exposed to moisture or when your bearings got wet, and you’re not able to dry it after. It is best to keep them oiled all the time. Just the right amount of oil will do the trick, too much may cause dirt sticking to your bearings, and it may cause the bearing to run slow.
Ceramic bearings are a bit pricey, but they are for sure harder and more durable than steel bearings. Also, ceramic bearings are less likely to get deformed it extensive pressure is applied. They are also heat resistant, and they create lesser friction than other kinds of bearing even in a fast-paced speed. Also, ceramic bearings do not rust, unlike steel bearings. Even if they get wet, it is not going to deteriorate. On a different note, ceramic bearings have the tendency to brittle. It is very susceptible to breaking; thus, sometimes it breaks off the trick is too much for it to bear. As for just going on a speed trip, ceramic bearings will be just fine.
Titanium bearings are the latest technology in the skateboarding industry when it comes to bearings. It is conveniently lightweight, very durable, and has the ability to resist rusting. Bearings that are made of titanium is much reliable than steel bearings whilst performing the same abilities steel bearings can.
Thus, now that you know the essential information about bearings, you can now start scheming through the skate shops and ask questions. There are online shops and actual skate shops that help the customer choose the parts and have ample knowledge about the product, so you will get what’s best for you.