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Skateboard Bearings

For many, skateboarding is not just a sport; it's a lifestyle. And at the heart of every skateboard's smooth ride are the often-overlooked skateboard bearings. The skateboard bearings have the following dimensions: inner diameter 8 mm, outer diameter 22 mm and width 7 mm. The designation of the skateboard bearings starts with 608 and continues with the seal designation (Z, 2Z, 2RSH) and the optional quality class such as (ABEC). You need 2 bearings per wheel. The smoothest spin is provided by the one side open bearings with a shield on the outer side, which are lubricated with oil (608-Z). In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the basics of skateboard bearings, exploring their types, sizes, materials, tolerance classes (ABEC and ISO), seals, and more. Whether you are a seasoned skateboarder or a curious enthusiast, understanding the fundamentals of these small yet essential components can significantly impact your ride. Let's reveal the secrets behind the perfect spin and seamless glide.

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Sizes of Skateboard Bearings

Skateboard bearings adhere to a standardized sizing system, often referred to as the "608" size. The dimensions of a 608 bearing are:

  • Inner Diameter: 8mm
  • Outer Diameter: 22mm
  • Width: 7mm

This standardized size ensures compatibility with most skateboard wheels and axles, allowing for easy replacement and interchangeability.

For each wheel you need 2 pieces of bearing 608.

Types of Skateboard Bearings

Skateboard bearings come in different types, each influencing your skateboarding experience differently:

1. One side open bearings with shield on other side (608-Z SKF) – extremely low friction, basic protection:
- They have extremely low friction and smooth spin

 - These bearings are open from one side, which allow cleaning and oil lubrication.

- On other side they have non-contact shield which provide basic protection against dirt and debris.

- When mounting you must put open sides of bearings together, so that the shield is on outer side protecting the bearing

 

Skateboard bearing - One side open with shield on other side

Figure 1 Skateboard bearing - One side open with shield on other side

2. Shielded Bearings (608-2Z SKF) - low friction, basic protection, no maintenance:

- These bearings feature metal shields on either side, providing basic protection against dirt and debris.

- Shields are non-contact so they do not provide additional friction.

- Bearings with shields from both sides are lubricated for life with grease. So, they do not require maintenance but on other hand grease cause more friction then if lubricated with oil.

- Ideal for general skateboarding and cruising.

Skateboard bearing with shields

Figure 2 Skateboard bearing with shields

3. Sealed Bearings (608-2RSH SKF) - higher friction, very good protection, no maintenance:

- Sealed bearings have contact rubber seals that encase the entire bearing, offering enhanced protection against contaminants. On the other hand, contact seals cause additional friction.

- Seals provide better defense against moisture and dust.

- Bearings with seals are lubricated for life with grease. No maintenance required.

- Suited for riders who encounter diverse environments, including street and park skating.

Skateboard bearing with rubber seals

Figure 3 Skateboard bearing with rubber seals

 

Materials

The material composition of skateboard bearings plays a crucial role in determining their performance. Common materials include:

1. Steel:

- Affordable and widely used in standard bearings.

- Prone to rust, especially in wet conditions.

- Suitable for beginner and casual skateboarders.

2. Ceramic:

- Offers smoother and faster performance.

- Resistant to corrosion, providing longevity.

- Ideal for advanced riders and those seeking high-performance bearings.
 

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Differences Between ABEC and ISO Tolerance Classes

Understanding the tolerance classes can be pivotal when choosing skateboard bearings. The two most common standards are ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers' Committee) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization):

1. ABEC:

- ABEC ratings are designated with odd numbers ranging from 1 to 9 (1, 3, 5, 7, 9), indicating the precision and manufacturing tolerances of the bearing.
- Higher ABEC ratings suggest tighter tolerances and smoother operation.
- ABEC 7 or ABEC 9 bearings are often favored by riders seeking the best performing bearings.

2. ISO:

- ISO classes are numbered differently, with higher numbers indicating greater precision.
- ISO classes commonly used in skateboarding go from ISO P0 to ISO P6.
- ISO ratings provide a more comprehensive assessment of overall quality.

It is essential to note that while higher ABEC ratings may imply better precision, skateboarders often prioritize factors like durability, speed, and smoothness over strict adherence to these ratings.

In fact, ABEC rating leaves aside many essential aspects like material properties, load handling capabilities, noise, vibration, and lubricant. This sometimes leads to some bearings rated in the low range of ABEC to perform better and do more durable than bearings in the higher ABEC ratings.

Maintaining Skateboard Bearings

Proper maintenance can extend the life and performance of skateboard bearings. Regular cleaning and lubrication are key practices, and riders should be mindful of environmental factors that can affect bearing performance, such as moisture and dirt.

Another good practice is inspecting the spacers and washers regularly to verify their integrity. Whenever in doubt, it is better to replace them for new ones to guarantee the expected performance.

Top Skateboard Bearings Brands

When it comes to choosing the right skateboard bearings for your ride, opting for a reputable brand can make all the difference in terms of performance, durability, and overall skateboarding experience. Here are some of the top skateboard bearings brands that have earned the trust of riders worldwide:

SKF Bearings

The Swedish company SKF is the largest premium manufacturer of bearings and other technical products for industrial use. It was founded as early as 1907 and today is known worldwide for its quality, reliability and innovative items.

Bones Bearings

Renowned for their Swiss precision and exceptional build quality, Bones Bearings consistently deliver high-performance bearings. The Bones Reds series is particularly popular among skateboarders for its reliability and smooth ride.

Bronson Speed Co.

Known for their focus on speed and durability, Bronson Speed Co. produces bearings designed for optimal acceleration and minimal friction. The Bronson G3 bearings are a favorite among riders seeking top-tier performance.

Spitfire Bearings

A brand synonymous with quality and style, Spitfire offers bearings that combine precision with a sleek design. The Spitfire Cheapshots and Spitfire Burners are widely appreciated for their affordability and performance.

Independent Trucks

As a well-respected brand in the skateboarding community, Independent Trucks extends its commitment to quality with their skateboard bearings. The Independent GP-S bearings are known for their durability and smooth roll.

Andale Bearings

Founded by skateboard legends Paul Rodriguez and Joey Brezinski, Andale Bearings focuses on producing high-quality bearings for a superior skateboarding experience. The Andale Swiss Bearings are particularly popular for their precision and speed.

Shake Junt

Recognized for their distinctive style and performance-oriented design, Shake Junt offers bearings that can withstand the rigors of street and park skating. The Shake Junt Reynolds Pro Bearings are a top choice for many riders.

Sector 9:

Sector 9, known for its longboards and skateboard components, also produces reliable bearings. The Sector 9 PDP Bearings are designed for a smooth ride and durability, making them a favorite among longboarders.

Remember, the best bearings for you may depend on your individual preferences, style of riding, and specific requirements. While these brands are recognized for their quality, exploring different options and finding the bearings that suit your needs will contribute to an optimal skateboarding experience.

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Final Words on Skateboard Bearings

In conclusion, skateboard bearings are the frequently overlooked elements that ensure your ride is not just a means of transportation but also a great experience.

Understanding the types, sizes, materials, tolerance classes, seals, and maintenance practices will empower you to make informed choices when selecting the perfect bearings for your skateboard.

As you navigate the world of skateboard components, let this guide be your companion on the journey to achieving the perfect spin and a ride that is not just smooth but downright thrilling. Happy skating!

References:

https://www.warehouseskateboards.com/help/Skateboard-Bearings-Buying-Guide

https://www.tactics.com/info/choosing-skateboard-bearings

https://magnetoboards.com/pages/skateboard-bearings-guide

https://www.slamcity.com/en-es/pages/skateboard-bearings-buying-advice

https://vandemlongboardshop.co.uk/pages/abec-ratings-explained#bearing-grades

https://bonesbearings.com/support/maintenance/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABEC_scale

 

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