Professional skateboarders always prefer assembling their own skateboard than buying a preassembled one as it lets them customize the skateboard according to their needs, style and preferences.
This makes it much easier for them to get used to the skateboard and perform advanced tricks on it than with a preassembled skateboard.
If you’re looking to go down that route too, you would have to choose and buy different parts separately.
In this post, we will help you figure out how to buy the right bearings for your skateboard.
Skateboard Bearings Explained
Skateboard bearings are the small metal rings you find inside your skateboard’s wheels. They help take care of the friction inside your wheels when you’re skating and let your wheels spin freely and smoothly (depending on their quality).
Considering the ABEC Ratings
The most important thing to do when choosing skateboard bearings is deciding which ABEC ratings you would like to go with for your bearings.
The ABEC ratings are based on the quality and precision of your bearings, which is precisely what you would want to care about when choosing the bearings for your skateboard.
There are 5 grades of ABEC ratings with the higher being the better. Let us explain the different ABEC grades of bearings in more detail below.
- ABEC 1 ratings: These are the cheapest but are of the worst quality, and don’t offer a good precision or accuracy at all
- ABEC 3 ratings: These are slightly better than the above type of bearings but you would still not get a good precision or accuracy with them as the friction would still be very high
- ABEC 5 ratings: These are neither very cheap nor too expensive but offer a fairly good precision and the friction too is well controlled, so overall they are a very balanced option
- ABEC 7 ratings: If you’re after a very high speed and smoothness then you would at least want to go with ABEC 7 ratings although they can be a bit expensive
- ABEC 9 ratings: As you can tell they are the most expensive of the lot but offer the least friction and the best precision, accuracy, speed and smoothness, and everything you need to perform great advanced skateboarding tricks
Two Main Materials
While skateboard bearings are usually made of metal, recently a new material has been introduced and so far it has been a great option for skateboarders as well.
Let us discuss the two main types of materials skateboard bearings are made of.
Steel skateboard bearings are very popular and depending on the brand you go with, you can expect a fairly good quality and precision. That said, the overall quality tends to vary quite a bit from one brand to another depending on the type and quality of materials used in the bearings like the sealing and inner balls.
Ceramic bearings have only been introduced recently but they kind of advantages they offer make them a worthwhile consideration.
The level of smoothness and precision they come with is hard to match for other materials and they usually also minimize the friction to a great extent.
They are typically more expensive than other types of bearings though.