What Are Bearings On A Longboard

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Bearings on a longboard are important components that allow the wheels to spin smoothly. They control the speed at which the wheels rotate and determine how far the board will roll with each push.

Good quality bearings can make the wheels spin faster and increase the distance you can travel on your longboard.

What Are Bearings On A Longboard

Bearings for Longboard Longboard

Longboard bearings are essential components for a smooth and enjoyable riding experience. These bearings play a vital role in reducing friction between the wheels and the trucks of your longboard. By minimizing resistance, they allow the wheels to spin freely, resulting in a smoother ride.

Designed to fit standard sizes, longboard bearings are compatible with both longboard and skateboard wheels. It is crucial to choose high-quality bearings that are specifically tailored to your riding style. With the right bearings, your wheels will continue spinning effortlessly, ensuring a fun and pleasurable longboarding experience.

Bearings are typically constructed with steel balls that are housed within an outer race. To enhance their performance, some bearings feature additional features such as ceramic balls, nylon retainers, or metal shields. These extra elements further reduce friction and improve the efficiency of the bearings, leading to faster speeds and a more enjoyable ride.

Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your bearings in top shape. Cleaning them regularly and applying lubricants such as Bones Speed Cream is crucial to maintain their efficiency and extend their lifespan. Additionally, using bearing spacers, speed washers, and axle nuts can help optimize the performance of your bearings and ensure a secure fit.

Do Longboard bearings matter?

When it comes to longboard bearings, the argument about which ones are the fastest can quickly become heated. However, the truth is that the speed of a bearing doesn’t vary significantly among different brands, as long as they are of decent quality and well-maintained.

In terms of simply rolling or spinning, the bearing lube used might make a small difference, but overall, most skate bearings perform similarly in this aspect. This is because of how we use them and the price we pay for them.

That being said, the importance of longboard bearings goes beyond just their speed. Other features of the bearings impact their overall performance and your overall riding experience. Factors such as construction, additional elements like ceramic balls or metal shields, and regular maintenance can all affect how well the bearings perform.

Longboard Bearing Parts

A longboard bearing is made up of several parts, including the outer ring (also known as the outer race), the inner ring (also known as the inner race), one or two closures (also known as shields), seven or six balls (typically made from steel, titanium, or ceramic), and a ball retainer or cage (also known as the bearing crown).

While there may be slight variations between different bearing brands and models, these variations typically do not significantly impact the price of the bearings. The price is usually determined by factors such as the brand name, the quality of the material used, and the manufacturing processes involved.

Ceramic bearings and those with six balls instead of seven are exceptions to this rule. These variations can have a more noticeable impact on the price due to the use of higher-quality materials and specialized manufacturing techniques.

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What’s The ABEC Rating?

The ABEC rating is a measure of tolerance for bearings used in various applications, including longboards. This rating is set by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) and determines how precisely the components of the bearing fit together. A higher ABEC rating indicates a more precise fit, resulting in a smoother and more efficient bearing.

However, it is important to note that the ABEC rating is just one aspect of a bearing’s performance. Factors such as the strength of the components, the type of lubricant used, and the load on the bearing also play a role in determining its speed.

For example, a bearing with a coveted ABEC 9 rating may perform differently depending on the weight of the skater. Additionally, a bearing made from steel will perform differently than one made from plastic, regardless of its ABEC rating.

It is worth mentioning that ABEC ratings were originally designed for industrial applications, where bearings are used in controlled environments. The actual measurements for ABEC tolerances range from 0.0075 mm (ABEC 1) to 0.0012 mm (ABEC 9), which provides a perspective on the precision involved.

What Makes Up The Best Longboard Bearings?

When it comes to choosing the best longboard bearings, there are several factors to consider. With numerous options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. However, understanding the key features that make up high-quality bearings can help you make an informed decision.

First and foremost, the material used in the bearings plays a crucial role. Steel bearings are the most common and durable, providing a smooth ride and excellent performance. On the other hand, ceramic bearings are known for their high speed and longevity, making them ideal for riders seeking faster speeds.

Another important aspect is the bearing’s ABEC rating, which indicates its precision and tolerance levels. While a higher ABEC rating may imply better performance, it is not the sole indicator of a bearing’s quality. Factors like component strength, lubricant type, and load capacity also influence its overall speed and performance.

Easy Maintenance Is Key

When it comes to longboard bearings, easy maintenance is a key factor in ensuring their longevity and optimal performance. Proper maintenance allows you to clean out any collected dirt, debris, and gunk that can hinder the bearing’s smooth operation.

One important aspect that affects ease of maintenance is the type of shields on the bearings. Rubber shields provide the advantage of being removable, allowing you to thoroughly clean the bearing by exposing the balls and even removing the retainer. This enables you to wash the bearing with cleaning fluid and apply precise amounts of lubrication directly to the balls. On the other hand, bearings with metal shields do not offer the same convenience, making it difficult to effectively clean the bearing or remove any accumulated gunk.

Regular maintenance not only ensures a longer lifespan for the bearings but also keeps them free from rust, dust, and other contaminants that can shorten their working life. Furthermore, clean and properly lubricated bearings provide excellent performance, allowing for a smoother and more enjoyable ride.

Ease of use

Ease of use is a crucial factor when it comes to longboard bearings. It greatly impacts the convenience and efficiency of tasks such as swapping wheels, maintaining bearings, and changing gear. One key aspect that determines ease of use is whether the bearing is built-in or not. Built-in bearings, like the Zealous built-in bearings, have built-in spacers and speed rings.

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This eliminates the need for additional parts, reducing the number of components you need to optimize the performance of your bearings. With built-in bearings, you only require two parts instead of the five that would typically be needed.

However, if you prefer to take your time with maintenance tasks, built-in bearings may not be as useful to you. Overall, considering the ease of use of longboard bearings can greatly enhance your experience and efficiency while riding and maintaining your longboard.

Built-in Bearings Or Traditional Ones?

Built-in bearings, also known as integrated bearings, have become increasingly popular in the longboarding community for their convenience and ease of use. Unlike traditional bearings, built-in bearings eliminate the need for speed rings and spacers, streamlining the setup process and reducing the risk of losing small parts.

Built-in bearings offer a hassle-free experience, especially when it comes to swapping wheels or maintaining your bearings. With traditional bearings, you may find yourself fumbling with multiple components and running the risk of misplacing them. In contrast, built-in bearings provide a more efficient and convenient solution.

However, it’s important to note that if you lose a single built-in bearing, you will likely need to purchase an entire new set to replace it. This cost factor may be a consideration for some riders. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that personal preference plays a significant role in choosing between built-in and traditional bearings.

Used In Combination With A Speed Ring And Spacer

When it comes to traditional bearings on a longboard, using them in combination with a speed ring and spacer is crucial for optimal performance. If your bearings are not built-in, using a speed ring and spacer ensures that they function as a solid unit. Without these components, tightening your axle nut can negatively affect the performance of your bearings.

If your axle nut is too loose, it allows for side-to-side play, which limits the performance and the durability of your longboard. On the other hand, if the nut is too tight, it adds unnecessary friction, resulting in slower bearings.

Both scenarios can lead to a lack of smoothness and unnecessary chattering in your rides, affecting power slides, blunt slides, heel side slides, and other maneuvers.

Bearing Lube Matters

When it comes to longboard bearings, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the importance of bearing lube. The choice of lube can have a significant impact on the performance and longevity of your bearings.

Thick grease, such as Lithium grease, is highly viscous and sticky. It has a tendency to stay in the bearing, providing excellent protection against water, dust, and debris. This makes it a durable option that requires less maintenance. It’s also ideal for rainy conditions, as it prevents water from seeping into the bearings.

On the other hand, thinner grease offers less rolling resistance at slow speeds. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of protection against the elements as thicker grease. Bearings lubricated with thinner grease may require more frequent cleaning and topping up.

It’s important to note that bearing lube should not be the sole determining factor when purchasing bearings. However, it should be taken into consideration when choosing the right lube for maintenance.

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When Are Ceramic Longboard Bearings Worth It?

Ceramic longboard bearings are worth considering if you are a beginner or intermediate rider looking to squeeze more speed and turn out of your rides on smaller hills. These bearings have the most impact at speeds below downhill race level (40+ mph) and can greatly enhance the acceleration and performance of your longboard.

Commuters or riders who cover long distances can also benefit from ceramic bearings as they offer a significant upgrade in speed and coasting ability. When paired with high-end urethane wheels, ceramic bearings can make your longboard more fun and noticeably faster.

However, for serious downhill riders at higher speeds, other factors such as precision trucks, high-end wheels, and high-end longboard decks may have a bigger impact on speed. In this case, high-quality steel bearings made of harder and less porous steel can be a cost-effective choice.

FAQs

What Are Longboard Bearings?

Longboard bearings are small metal balls enclosed in a circular ring that are placed into the wheels of a longboard. They allow the wheels to rotate without friction and offer riders a comfortable and improved riding experience.

How Do I Know Which Bearings Are Best For My Longboard?

The best bearings for your longboard depend on your riding style and preferences. Higher-quality bearings generally offer a smoother ride, but they can also be more expensive. Look for bearings with high ABEC ratings, which is a standard used to measure the precision of bearings. However, it’s important to note that ABEC ratings are not the sole determining factor of bearing quality.

What is an ABEC Rating?

An ABEC rating is a standard used to measure the precision of bearings. The ratings range from 1 to 9, with higher numbers indicating higher precision. While a higher ABEC rating can signify a more precise bearing, it is not the sole factor to consider when choosing bearings for your longboard.

How Do I Maintain My Longboard Bearings?

To maintain your longboard bearings, it is important to keep them clean and properly lubricated. Use a soft cloth to remove dirt and debris from the bearings and apply a small amount of bearing lubricant to keep them running smoothly. Avoid getting water on your bearings, as it can lead to rust and damage.

How Can I Tell If My Longboard Bearings Need To Be Replaced?

If you notice that your wheels are no longer spinning as smoothly as they used to, or if you hear grinding or clicking sounds while riding, it may be time to replace your bearings. Additionally, any signs of rust or damage should prompt immediate replacement of the bearings.

Conclusion:

Bearings are the unsung heroes of your longboard. They may be small, but they play a crucial role in your riding experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, understanding and investing in high-quality bearings will elevate your performance and make every ride smoother than ever.

So, don’t overlook the importance of bearings, because they truly are the secret to unlocking the full potential of your longboard. Happy riding!

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