Which Bearings Are Right For Me?

Choosing new skateboard bearings can be a daunting experience, with so many options and technical terms to filter through, how can you tell what’s going to be the right fit? Thankfully (in a physical sense), skateboard bearings adhere to the standardized “608” size, so that pretty much all bearing brands will work with all wheel brands.

The industrial standard “608” size has an outer diameter of 22mm, inner race diameter of 8mm and a width of 7mm, while generally made of steel, they can also be found in ceramic and titanium, sometimes labelled with an ABEC rating.

The ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) Rating is a system intended to measure physical limits and manufacturing tolerances in fast spinning machinery, the higher the ABEC rating, the tighter the tolerances and greater capabilities for speed it has.

This doesn’t mean that bigger = better in terms of skateboarding, the speeds we’re talking about with ABEC ratings are in the range of 20-30000rpm, which unless you’re going more than 205km/h (the current world record for downhill upright high speed on a ‘skateboard’ is 146.73km/h) the tighter tolerances of ABEC 7 & above aren’t necessarily required. The average speed for a proficient skater is around 10-12km/h so ABEC 3-5 is generally suitable.

With this being said there’s heaps of other factors the ABEC Rating doesn’t take into consideration for the practical application of bearings in a skateboard, such as dealing with impact, side loading, chosen materials and grade, lubrication, ball retainer type/tolerance and the need for cleaning/maintenance, all of these are crucial to the performance and longevity of skate bearings.

Clean bearings are fast bearings, make sure you clean and lubricate/oil your bearings every few months to extend their life and keep them rolling at their best. More about that in our Bearing Maintenance article here.

Now that we’ve got an overview of ABEC Ratings and its relevance toward skateboards, here’s a breakdown of the difference in materials;

STEEL

Both durable and economical, steel bearings are the standard in the skate industry. The grade of steel used can vary from brand to brand, higher grade steel in premium bearings will generally make the bearing faster and more durable than a lower grade steel. The kickback of steel bearings is they can rust quite easily when exposed to moisture, so don’t go riding through puddles! If you do get your skate bearings wet, it’s best to dry them out asap and apply a little bit of oil/lubricant to keep them spinning properly.

CERAMIC

Harder than steel, more resistant to deforming under pressure and heat resistant, ceramic bearings expand less and create less friction at higher speeds. The ceramic balls will not rust when exposed to moisture, however they generally come with steel races, which will be a bit more resistant but still susceptible to rust. The tradeoff for ceramic bearings’ higher performance is that ceramic itself is quite a brittle substance, meaning high impact skating like stairs/gaps can lead to breakage, best kept for low-impact skateboarding and commuting.

TITANIUM

As a material, Titanium is super lightweight, durable and rust resistant, however the hype around titanium bearings can be a bit of a snake oil situation. Some bearings marketed as ‘Titanium’ are actually just coated in a Titanium Nitride (similar to a drill bit) which can wear off rather quickly with use, leaving you effectively with steel bearings.

Find your new bearings today from our range of Killer Speed Co Bearings

Pro Range: Tommy Sandoval | Cody McEntire | Enzo Cautela

Premium pro rated signature bearings, personalised and team tested to support the high impact tricks of a pro skateboarder

Tommy Sandoval
Cody McEntire
Enzo Cautela
  • Set of 8 bearings & spacers
  • Non-contact removable rubber shield designed for minimal resistance and easy cleaning.
  • Pre Lubricated with high purity Japan made Race Oil® to reduce friction and protect from rust & corrosion.
  • Bearings spacers to reduce side loading & extend life to the bearings.
  • Inner race locks shield to keep bearings cleaner.
Swiss Precision

Swiss Precision Machining and Processing. Premium Performance Skate Bearings

  • Set of 8 Bearings & Spacers
  • Non-contact removable rubber shield designed for minimal resistance and easy cleaning.
  • Pre Lubricated with high purity Japan made Race Oil® to reduce friction and protect from rust & corrosion.
  • Bearing spacers to reduce side loading & extend life of the bearings.
  • Inner race locks shield to keep bearings cleaner.
    Ceramic Hybrid

    A Hybrid of 3x High Density Ceramic Balls and 4x Premium Chrome Polished Balls To Give You A Super Fast, Smooth and Durable Ride.

    • Set of 8 Bearings & Spacers
    • Non-contact removable rubber shield designed for minimal resistance and easy cleaning.
    • Pre Lubricated with high purity Japan made Race Oil® to reduce friction and protect from rust & corrosion.
    • Bearing spacers to reduce side loading & extend life of the bearings.
    • Inner race locks shield to keep bearings cleaner.
    Turbo chargers

    Hi Speed Skate Bearings That Are Hand Lubricated And Road Ready To Handle All You Can Throw At Them.

    • Set of 8 Bearings & Spacers
    • Non-contact removable rubber shield designed for minimal resistance and easy cleaning.
    • Pre Lubricated with high purity Japan made Race Oil® to reduce friction and protect from rust & corrosion.
    • Bearing spacers to reduce side loading & extend life of the bearings.
    • Inner race locks shield to keep bearings cleaner.
    Chargers

    TEAM BEARINGS

    ABEC 5

    ABEC 5

    ABEC 7

    ABEC 7

    ABEC 9

    ABEC 9

    • Set of 8 Bearings & spacers
    • Non-contact removable rubber shield designed for minimal resistance and easy cleaning.
    • Inner race locks shield to keep bearings cleaner.
    • High quality steel races, performance grade balls with precision polish for maximum speed & acceleration.

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