Here is a quick introductionary page on bearings that hopefully will answer any questions you might have. As always, feel free to contact me with your questions and I’ll try to answer them if possible.
So you just bought a new set of wheels and you’re wondering what bearings you should get that would best accommodate your setup right? Before you start spending money, let’s take care of some general information about bearings. Bearings come in all shapes and sizes but, for longboard and skateboard applications, the types of bearing you want to look at are 608′s. 608 bearings have an 8mm internal bore that matches the diameter of most standard truck hangar axles. They are 22mm in diameter and approx 7mm wide. You will need two bearings per wheel, which is why bearing sets come in eight. Between the two bearings you will most likely want to put bearing spacers. If you aren’t aware of what bearing spacers are, bearing spacers are placed inbetween the two bearings within the hub of a wheel and are sized to the correct spacing the bearings must have. With bearing spacers, you can tighten down the axle nut on the hangar as tight as possible without damaging the core or the bearings. This ensures that the bearings are aligned properly within the wheel. I personally suggest using bearing spacers no matter what, especially for longboarding. You can get bearing spacers at most skate shops for under $5 bucks for a set of four. Most bearings typically house seven steel ball bearings set in racers. Shields or seals are used to cover the outside face of the bearing and can be removed by a pin. The main difference between shields and seals are that shields are a side cover made out of metal that is fixed in position by a C clip. Seals are rubber and are fitted for the bearing without the need of a c clip. Because of this, they tend to keep out dirt and water much better than bearings with shields. If your bearings are making a lot of sound they probably are in need of some cleaning. I’ll cover how to clean the bearings in the near future.
So now you’re probably wondering what bearings to get since there’s such a huge selection out there. Well, since this is my blog I’m going to have to say that in my personal opinion, one of the best bearing manufacturers out there is Bones. Bones skateboard bearings have the best reputation in the skateboard industry for their high quality bearings. They have been proven over the span of 25 years to be some of the best skateboard bearings available. One thing you’ll notice about Bones bearings is that they are not ABEC rated. Do not be thrown off by the fact that Bones are not ABEC. The ABEC rating is simply an industry standard for measuring the quality of precision of bearings. Whether or not a manufacturer wants to test and advertise the ABEC rating of their bearings is completely up to them. This doesn’t mean Bones bearings aren’t good enough to be ABEC rated, it’s simply because they choose not to be. Bones provides a large selection of bearings for your need within reasonable price ranges. Here are a couple worth knowing.
Bones Reds are personally my favorite skateboard bearings out there. The great thing about Bones Reds is that you get great performance for minimal cost! Bones Reds will set you back a mere $15 dollars at most. In my opinion, $15 bucks is a small price to pay for the kind of performance you get from these. The reason why these are my favorite is because over the years I’ve gotten lazy maintaining my expensive bearings. I simply buy a couple sets of Reds and once I’m done with them I throw them out and buy new ones for next year. That may be a little bit wasteful but it does save me a lot of time from cleaning, buying a cleaner, lubrication, and a container. To be honest with todays gas prices, you might spend more money going to the supermarket to buy the materials you need to clean bearings than it costs to just buy brand new Bones Reds
The Bones Original Swiss bearings are the trademark bearings of Bones. These swiss precision manufactured bearings are the prefered choice for skaters for over 24 years. These are standard 7 ball 608 bearings that also come with bearing spacers to make sure you have the best fitting possible. These cost around $50 bucks but are worth it if you have the money to spend.
The Bones Super Swiss Six are a unique kind of 608 bearing because they contain six instead of the typical seven ball bearings. The advantage of this design is that the wheels provide faster speed as well as better duribility and strength compared to the regular Bones Swiss. I personally use these bearings on my 80 inch Jam Silverback and I am more than satisfied with their performance. If only I didn’t buy brand new Bones Reds for my Loaded Vanguard, I would be using these on it instead. They don’t cost too much more than the regular Bones Original Swiss if you don’t mind spending some extra money.
Bones Swiss Ceramic bearings are the top of the line bearings produced by Bones. Instead of the traditional steel ball bearings used in most other bearings, Bones Swiss Ceramics use silicone nitride balls which are significantly better. The ceramic balls are lighter than steel so they apply less outward force as they spin resulting in less friction. They are also harder and corrosion resistant making them last longer without the need of lubricants. These bearings will set you back almost $100 dollars but if you are a serious downhill speedboarder and you need the best bearings out there, look no further.
If you’re wondering how to clean your bearings, I’m planning on making an instructional video to post on youtube hopefully soon. One thing I would suggest you get is the bones bearing cleaning kit which make the bearing cleaning process easier. If you don’t want to buy it you can simply use a glass jar but I prefer the cleaning kit because it helps me keep track of my hardware so I don’t lose anything. Having all eight bearings on the cap makes it easier and keeps the bearings suspended in the fluid instead of sitting at the bottom of the jar where all the dirt collects.