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Have you noticed that your longboard isn’t performing as smoothly as it used to? It may be time to change the bearings. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, knowing how to change the bearings on your longboard is an essential skill. Not only will it help improve your ride, but it will also save you money by avoiding unnecessary trips to the skate shop.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of changing the bearings on your longboard, so you can get back to cruising in no time.
What are bearings and why are they important
Bearings are small, circular components that play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of longboards. They are an essential part of the wheels, allowing them to spin freely and reducing friction. Bearings consist of an outer bearing race, an inner bearing race, ball bearings, and a retainer to keep the balls in place.
In the context of longboarding, bearings are vital because they ensure a smooth ride. They allow the wheels to spin quickly and effortlessly, providing minimal friction between the wheel and the axle. This, in turn, helps riders maintain their speed and momentum while minimizing effort.
It is important to understand that bearings can wear down over time due to regular use or exposure to dirt and debris. Faulty or worn-out bearings can result in a rough and uncomfortable ride, reducing stability and control. Inadequate maintenance and failure to replace worn-out bearings can lead to unexpected crashes or accidents.
Why Should You Change Your Longboard Bearings?
Over time, longboard bearings accumulate dust, dirt, and debris from the road, which can lead to increased friction and reduced performance. This buildup not only diminishes your speed and maneuverability but can also result in an uneven ride and unnecessary strain on your board. That’s why changing your longboard bearings is essential to restore optimal functionality.
By swapping out old, worn bearings for fresh ones, you ensure smoother glides, improved speed, and enhanced overall performance. Regular bearing changes not only extend the lifespan of your longboard but also guarantee a more exhilarating and enjoyable ride every time you hit the pavement.
Don’t let dirty or faulty bearings hold you back. Invest in high-quality bearings and swap them out regularly to maintain a smooth and comfortable ride. Whether you’re a seasoned longboarder or just starting out, changing your bearings is a simple and worthwhile task that will help you get the most out of your longboarding experience.
How Often Should You Change Your Longboard Bearings?
Longboard bearings play a crucial role in the performance and smoothness of your ride. Over time, the constant wear and tear can cause bearings to degrade, impacting their performance. To ensure optimal performance, it is important to know how often you should change your longboard bearings. Let’s dive into the factors that determine when it’s time for a bearing change.
Factors to Consider:
- Mileage: The more you ride your longboard, the more strain is put on the bearings. If you are a frequent rider or use your longboard for long distances, consider changing your bearings every 3-6 months.
- Noise and Vibration: As bearings age, they may start producing unusual noises or vibrations during rides. If you notice excessive noise or vibrations, it’s a good indication that your bearings need to be replaced.
- Smoothness and Speed: If you feel that your rides have become less smooth or you are experiencing a decrease in speed, it may be time to change your bearings. Fresh bearings provide a smoother and faster ride.
- Maintenance and Cleaning: Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prolong the lifespan of your bearings. However, even with proper care, bearings will eventually wear out. If cleaning and lubrication no longer improve their performance, it’s time for a replacement.
When to Change Longboard Bearings
Knowing when to change your longboard bearings is crucial for maintaining optimal performance. There are several signs that indicate it’s time for a bearing replacement.
If you notice increased resistance while riding, slower speeds, or an uneven ride, it’s likely that your bearings are worn out and need to be changed. Additionally, if your bearings emit unusual sounds or feel gritty when spun, it’s a strong indication that they have reached the end of their lifespan.
Riding conditions also play a role in bearing longevity. Wet or dusty environments can accelerate wear, so it’s important to consider the conditions in which you ride.
As a general guideline, it is recommended to change your bearings every 6-12 months, depending on the frequency of your usage. Regular inspection and cleaning can help prolong the life of your bearings, but changing them when signs of wear appear ensures that you have an optimal ride experience.
Tools You’ll Need:
To change the bearings on your longboard, you’ll need the following tools:
- Longboard tool or skate tool: This tool is essential for removing the nuts and bolts that hold the wheels in place. It typically features a socket for the axle nut and a wrench or screwdriver for the truck hardware.
- Allen wrench: Some longboard trucks use Allen screws to secure the bearings. Make sure you have the right size Allen wrench to remove these screws.
- New bearings: Make sure to purchase high-quality bearings that are ABEC rated for precision. These bearings will provide a smoother ride and better performance.
- Bearing lubricant (optional): If you want to extend the lifespan of your bearings and improve their performance, you can use bearing lubricant. This helps reduce friction and allows the bearings to spin more freely.
Before you begin, find a clean, flat surface to work on. It’s a good idea to lay down a soft cloth to prevent scratching your longboard’s deck while you work on it. Remember to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance if you are unsure about the process.
Steps in Changing Longboard Bearings
Changing the bearings on your longboard can greatly improve its performance and provide a smoother ride. Here are the steps to follow:
- Gather the necessary tools and materials: You will need a skate tool or a wrench, and new bearings that are standard and of high quality.
- Prepare your longboard: Place your longboard on a stable surface with the trucks facing up.
- Loosen the axle nut: Use the skate tool or wrench to remove the nut that holds the wheels in place. Make sure to use the appropriate size tool.
- Remove the wheels and spacer: Once the nut is removed, take out the wheel and the spacer. Set the spacer aside in a safe place.
- Pry the bearings: Use a small tool like an Allen or hex key found in the skate tool to pry the bearings out of the wheels. Repeat this process for all the wheels and remove any spacer between the bearings and the wheel.
- Insert the new bearings: Take the new bearings and place them inside the wheel. Push them in with your fingers or a tool until they are properly seated or reach the stopper in the wheel. Repeat this process for all the wheels.
- Reinsert the spacer: Once the new bearings are in place, reinsert the spacer between the bearings. Ensure the spacer is upright.
- Reinstall the outside spacer and the wheel: Put the external spacer back on the longboard truck’s axle and then reattach the wheels. Make sure the wheels are properly aligned.
- Tighten the axle nut: Use the skate tool or wrench to screw and tighten the nut onto the axle. This will hold the wheel securely in place.
- Repeat the process: Repeat steps 3 to 9 for the other truck on your longboard. Make sure all wheels are changed with new bearings.
- Test the wheels: Spin each wheel individually to ensure they move freely. If necessary, adjust the nut. If the wheels do not spin well, it may be too tight. Loosen the nut until the wheels spin freely.
Optional Step: Lubricate the Bearings
To enhance the performance of your longboard and ensure smooth rides, you may consider lubricating the bearings. This optional step can help reduce friction and increase the lifespan of your bearings. Before proceeding, please keep in mind that excessive lubrication can attract dirt, so it’s important not to over-lubricate.
To lubricate the bearings, you will need a bearing lubricant, such as Bones Speed Cream or any other specialty bearing lubricant. Here are the steps to follow:
- Remove the bearings from the wheels using a skate tool. You can do this by unscrewing the axle nuts and gently pulling out the bearings. Make sure to keep track of which bearings belong to each wheel.
- Wipe off any dirt or debris from the bearings using a clean cloth or paper towel. It’s important to work on a clean and stable surface to avoid losing any small parts.
- Apply a small amount of lubricant to each bearing. It’s recommended to use about one or two drops of lubricant per bearing. This should provide enough coverage without overloading the bearings.
- Use your fingers to rotate the outer bearing rings, spreading the lubricant evenly inside. This will help ensure that all parts of the bearings are properly lubricated.
- Once you’ve lubricated all the bearings, reassemble them onto the wheel hubs. Make sure they are seated securely and spin freely.
The best longboard bearings can vary depending on your personal preferences and needs. Some popular options include Bones Reds, Zealous Bearings, and Bronson G3 bearings.
Longboard bearings can range in price from around $10 to $80 or more, depending on the brand and quality. It’s important to consider your budget and intended usage when selecting bearings.
Built-in style bearings are designed to be mounted directly into the longboard wheels, eliminating the need for separate bearing spacers. Regular bearings require the use of bearing spacers to ensure proper alignment.
High-quality bearings with low friction can improve your overall speed and ride quality. Look for bearings with high precision and smooth rolling capabilities.
The longevity of longboard bearings can vary depending on factors such as usage and maintenance. With regular maintenance and proper care, bearings can last for several months to a few years.
Learning how to change bearings on your longboard is an essential skill for any rider. Not only will it enhance your performance and keep you cruising smoothly, but it’s also a great way to connect with your board on a deeper level.
So, grab your tools, get your hands dirty, and get ready to take your longboarding experience to a whole new level. Happy riding!
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