In a nutshell, skateboarding is riding a four-wheeled wooden plank, propelled by the pushing of a single foot while the other is on the board. It allows its user to do tricks, impressive movements, and gravity-defying stunts. In reality, skateboarding goes beyond simple actions.
Skateboards have several fundamental parts, but here we’ll focus on skateboard bearings, what it is, and how to choose the best one.
Skateboard Bearings: A Brief Overview to a Skateboard’s Rollers
Bearings are machine elements that allow linear or rotational movement, reducing friction between two moving objects. In the case of skateboards, skateboard bearings are devices that will enable those four wheels to turn, determining how fast and how smooth the skateboard would rotate.
There are five major parts of a skateboard bearing:
- Bearings shield – shields the balls from getting out of the retainers/Delrin crowns from falling out. It also keeps the insides of the bearing free from dirt.
- Outer race – has relative movements to the wheel, which is responsible for the action of the inner race.
- Inner race – houses the ball bearings and acts as the metal body of the bearing.
- Ball bearings – are six or seven metal balls that allow bearings to spin.
- Delrin Crown/Retainer – positions the balls evenly among the inner race to evenly distribute the weight subjected to a skateboard
How to Pick the Right Skateboard Bearings For You
Skateboard bearings get rated according to the ABEC scale, a system that identifies the precision of ball bearings and how well they can perform while being subjected to high RPMs.
These are the five ABEC ratings to choose from:
- ABEC 1 – the cheapest and lowest quality. It has the least accuracy among the seven.
- ABEC 3 – inexpensive but does not guarantee smoothness and quickness
- ABEC 5 – standard issue ball bearings that can get you up to speed at an affordable price
- ABEC 7 – Slightly expensive ball bearing that guarantees speed and smoothness
- ABEC 9+ – expensive high-quality ball bearings with impressive speed, perfect for skaters who want to skate very fast
The ABEC ratings do not mean very much in skateboarding. It is an industrial rating to categorize ball bearings for industrial use, so don’t be bothered so much by it. It’s still the quality of the skateboard that matters the most.