All About Bearings

Why Is My Skateboard So Slow?

If skating is your game, you must have marveled at how effortlessly the wheels spin. Have you ever paused and wondered, “What makes it so swift?”

Let me shine some light on the unsung hero of your board – the “Bearings.” These tech marvels, small though they look, add so much zing to your ride. In this article, we’re going to dive deeper into the fascinating world of skateboarding bearings – their importance, types, and how to choose and maintain them right.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Unpacking the role of bearings in a skateboard’s performance.
  • Exploring the different types of bearings and how they impact your ride.
  • Tips on choosing the right bearings for your skateboarding style.
  • A step-by-step guide on maintaining and cleaning your bearings for optimal performance.
  • Personal anecdotes about my own experiences with different bearings.

So tighten your grip and let’s roll. Trust me, understanding bearings will not only ramp up your skateboarding skills but also your respect for this intricate yet thrilling sport. Remember, you’re not just riding a board, you’re experiencing a whirl of technology beneath your feet.

And as a fellow skater who’s worn quite a few wheels and bearings in his time, let me say this – it’s always the details in the wheels that make crucial differences in those tight races and stunts. So, ready for the ride.

Introduction to Bearings

If you’re new to the world of skateboarding, or even if you’re a seasoned rider, you might wonder: “What’s the big deal about bearings?” Well, let me tell you, they’re a crucial component in every skateboard and directly affect your board’s ride and performance. So, without further ado, let’s get up close and personal with bearings in skateboarding.

Bearings are the unsung heroes of skateboards. They sit quietly inside your wheels, spinning round and round, often overlooked yet playing a monumental role in providing a smooth ride. I still remember when I first discovered the importance of a good set of bearings. I was a spry young skater, excited about my new deck, but I just couldn’t seem to master smooth motion. Turned out, the issue wasn’t with my skills but with those tiny, insignificant-looking bearings under the wheels. The moment I changed them, the difference was as noticeable as night and day – smooth gliding, effortless spinning, and that sweet sound of wheels on concrete.

Let’s take a quick look at what makes bearings so essential in skateboarding:

  • Function: Bearings are specially designed miracles of engineering that reduce friction between your wheels and your skateboard’s axle. In simple words, they help your wheels spin.
  • Set-Up: Typically, a skateboard requires a set of 8 bearings- two for each wheel. The bearings snugly fit into the wheel’s hub, enabling it to roll on the axle.
  • Maintenance: Over time your bearings will gather dirt and grime. Regular maintenance and cleaning keeps them in prime conditions for that smooth ride.
  • Varieties: Bearings come in different ABEC ratings. ABEC stands for the Annular Bearing Engineers’ Committee. In skateboarding, common ratings are from 1 to 9, where higher numbers indicate higher precision and speed capabilities. But remember, it’s not always about the highest precision. The right bearings for you depend on your riding style and environment.

In conclusion, even though they are tiny, bearings have a massive impact on your skateboarding experience. I’ve had my fair share of rough rides because of poor-quality bearings, and trust me, you don’t want to go down that road. So when choosing your skateboard parts, never underestimate the power of good quality bearings, my friends! I hope this introduction has helped you understand the role of bearings in skateboarding better. Now go out there and skate like the wind!

The Importance of Bearings for Skateboard Performance

Bearings are the unsung heroes of any skateboard setup. These little mechanisms, often overlooked, play an essential role in providing you with a smooth and enjoyable skateboarding experience. In fact, many skaters don’t truly understand just how critical bearings are to the overall performance of their boards. So let’s dive in and see why these tiny components deserve more appreciation than they get.

When we talk about bearings in skateboarding, we’re referring to the small, round pieces that fit inside the wheels to allow them to spin on the axle. Without them, your wheels wouldn’t turn smoothly, making it pretty tricky (and not to mention, uncomfortable) to skate.

From my personal experience, premium-quality bearings can make a world of difference to your ride. I remember the first time I invested in a high-quality set, it was like a breath of fresh air. My board was suddenly more responsive and faster. The ride was smoother, and the overall feel was noticeably improved.

But why are bearings so important? Here are a few key reasons:

  1. Smoothness of the ride: The main function of bearings is to reduce rotational friction between the wheel and skateboard axles. Whether you’re cruising down the street or doing tricks in a park, a smoother rotation means a smoother ride.
  2. Speed and efficiency: Quality bearings can seriously enhance your speed. I’ve found that with excellent bearings, the wheel spins longer with less push, saving you from exhausting yourself on pushing and allowing you to focus more on your tricks or cruising comfortably.
  3. Durability: Good bearings are designed to withstand the rigors of skateboarding. They last longer and can handle the impact of flips, jumps, and hard landings without failing.

Do remember, however, to maintain your bearings well. Clean them regularly and oil them to prevent rust or damage. This will extend their life and keep your skateboard running smoothly.

To sum up, bearings are essential components that significantly impact your skateboard’s performance. Investing in a high-quality pair can transform your skateboarding experience for the better. Trust me, your board, and your feet, will thank you!

Different Types of Bearings for Skateboarding

Hey! When it comes to cruising around on your favorite deck, it’s all about the bearings. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know much about them, I mean, they’re just tiny metal circles hidden behind the wheels. But, let me tell you from personal experience… boy, do they make a difference!

I’ve been skateboarding since I was a kid. Back then, I didn’t really care about the specifics, I would just hop on and ride. It’s only when I tried out a friend’s skateboard, one with a different set of bearings, that I realized there was more to it. Just like that, my world was flipped upside down.

So, what makes bearings special? Well, skateboard bearings are the circular metal pieces that fit inside your wheels. They get your wheels spinning, and the type of bearing you use can significantly affect how fast you roll and how smooth your ride is. Now, there’s a wide variety to choose from and trust me, they’re not all created equal!

If you’re starting out, you might want to consider the standard Steel Bearings. They’re the most common type, relatively inexpensive, and fairly easy to maintain. Plus, they have a reasonable lifespan if properly cared for. Great for beginners, I started out with these too.

Need something a step up? Try Ceramic Bearings. They generate less heat, meaning less friction, which ultimately makes for a smoother ride. I splurged on these for my birthday one year and let me tell you, the difference was undeniable! An instant boost to my speed and improved maneuverability. Plus, they’re more durable and resist dirt and dust. However, all that comes at a cost, they’re notably pricier.

Then there are Swiss Bearings, considered the cream of the crop in the skateboard world. Their precise manufacturing results in the lowest friction possible, making the phrase “smooth ride” seem like an understatement. I’ve yet to try them, but trust me it’s on my bucket list.

Lastly, we have Titanium Bearings, the holy grail for professional skaters. These bad boys guarantee top speed with almost zero maintenance. Beware though, they do have a hefty price tag. Definitely a serious investment but hey, we’re skateboarders. We live for the thrill, right?

In the end, the best bearings for you depend a whole lot on your skateboarding style, budget, and personal preferences. I’ve had my journey of trial and error and found my sweet spot. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find yours! Happy skating!

Choosing Skateboard Bearings

When it comes to choosing skateboard bearings, it’s not as simple as just grabbing the first pack off the shelf. There are several factors that you need to take into account to ensure that you’re getting a set of bearings that will provide the best ride for your specific setup and style.

One of the primary things to consider is the ABEC rating of the bearings. The ABEC scale ranges from 1 to 9 and relates to the precision and speed of the bearing. However, here’s a little secret from my years on the board – a higher ABEC rating doesn’t always equate to a better bearing for skateboarding. Sounds surprising, right? Let me explain.

The high precision of bearings with higher ABEC ratings is more suited for machines that operate at extreme speeds, unlike skateboards. So, for most skateboarders, a rating between ABEC 3 and 5 should suffice. It’s cost-effective and definitely does the job!

The second factor to keep in mind is the material of the bearings. Common materials include steel and ceramic. From my experience, I can say that while steel bearings are economical and commonly found, ceramic bearings tend to last longer, resist heat and friction better. But they do come with a higher price tag.

Thirdly, consider the build of the bearings. Some bearings are built with more components than others. For example, traditional bearings come in two types: serviceable and non-serviceable. Serviceable bearings can be cleaned and lubricated whereas non-serviceable bearings are sealed and require replacement when they quit. As someone who enjoys getting their hands dirty, I personally prefer serviceable bearings. They end up lasting longer if you are willing to put in the time to maintain them.

Finally, think about your individual skating style. For street skating where you’re tackling rougher surfaces, a sturdy set of steel bearings might suit better. If you’re into downhill or racing and reaching high speeds, smoother, premium ceramic bearings could be the choice.

To sum it up, selecting the right skateboard bearings isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. It’s about understanding your needs, considering key factors, and making an informed decision. I remember the first time I considered these factors and customized my skateboard – the difference in my ride was like night and day! It just goes to show that the right pair of bearings can truly boost your skateboarding experience.

How to Properly Maintain and Clean Skateboard Bearings

I remember the first time I had to clean my skateboard bearings. I was just a kid then, and my skateboard was my prized possession. After weeks of practicing kickflips and ollies, I noticed that my ride wasn’t as smooth as it used to be. It was my uncle, a skater in his own right, who told me that time had come to clean the bearings.

Now, let’s dig into bearings a bit more. As a skater, I can tell you that they are vital to the performance of your ride. They’re the heart of your skateboard’s wheels, so if you don’t clean and maintain them properly, your board will feel sluggish and your performance will decline.

So, how should you go about it? The first thing to remember is the importance of regular maintenance. You wouldn’t let your car engine go without an oil change, right? Your skateboard bearings deserve the same care and attention.

To start with, you’ll need to remove the bearings from your skateboard. You can do this using a skate tool. You’ll find the bearings sitting right inside the wheels. Ease them out carefully, so as not to damage the wheel or the bearings.

Once you’ve got the bearings out, pop off the rubber shields. These are the covers on either side of the bearings. Removing them gives you a clear path to the dirt and grime that are messing up your ride.

Now we move on to the cleaning part. In my personal experience, I’ve found that using a specialized skateboard bearing cleaner or an acetone-based solvent works best. Such cleaners evaporate quickly and don’t leave a greasy residue behind.

Soak your bearings in the solution which will help to loosen up and remove all the dirt and grit. I usually let them soak for about an hour, giving them a good shake in between. After the soak, dry them thoroughly. Make sure there’s no liquid left as this can cause rusting down the track.

Once the bearings are nice and dry, they’re ready for lubrication. I prefer use a skateboard specific lubricant as it is designed to provide the least resistance and the best protection. Drip the lubricant onto the bearing balls and let it seep in.

Then, it’s time to replace the rubber shields and get those bearings back on your wheels. After reinstalling, give your wheels a merry spin to distribute the lubricant evenly. And voila! You’ve just made your ride smoother and more efficient. I guarantee that you’ll feel the difference the next time you hit the park or the streets.

Bear in mind that constant cleaning may affect the life of your bearings. So, don’t overdo it. Clean them only when you feel your skateboard performance has deteriorated or after you’ve skated in wet conditions. In general, I find that every 4-5 months is an ideal cleaning interval for regular skaters.

Honestly, cleaning bearings can seem like a drag, but I promise you, every effort you put into maintaining your gear pays off in performance. So get down to it, get your hands a little dirty, and get your skateboard running like a dream!

Upgrading Bearings: Boosting Skateboard Speed and Performance

Bearings: oh, let me tell you about my experiences with them. They’re an essential part to any skateboard, truly the unsung heroes of a smooth ride. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen enthusiastic young skaters ignore their bearings, only to complain about their skateboard underperforming later. Look, it’s simple: if you want to boost your skateboard speed and performance, your bearings are key.

In case you’re not sure, bearings are what sits inside the wheel and allow it to spin on the axle. Now, not all bearings are made equal. When I was just starting out in my early skateboarding days, I used to just buy the cheapest bearings I could find. Turns out, I was doing myself a disservice. The quality of your bearings can significantly impact your skateboard’s speed and overall performance. Bad bearings equal a bumpy ride with less speed, whereas good bearings…well, they can make you feel like you’re flying.

And let me be honest, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of upgrading your bearings for the first time. The moment when you stepped on your board and felt it glide like never before – it’s magic. I remember my first upgrade, I went from some random no-brand bearings to a set of high-quality Bones Reds. The difference was like night and day, I was skating faster and smoother than ever before, it felt like I had a whole new board.

But remember, even the best bearings can’t perform to their fullest potential without proper maintenance. Keep them clean, keep them oiled. It’s not rocket science, but it’s an often overlooked part of skateboard upkeep.

Any passionate skateboarder will tell you this: upgrading bearings isn’t just about increasing speed but also about enhancing your skateboarding experience. Whether you’re practicing tricks at the local skate park or cruising down the road, a good set of bearings can make a world of difference to your performance.

Now, I’m not going to tell you which bearing to buy – that’s a personal decision based on your specific uses and budget. But I will insist on this: do not neglect your bearings. Upgrading them can genuinely boost your skateboard’s speed and performance in ways you wouldn’t imagine. I’ve experienced this, and it has changed my rides on my beloved skateboard forever. So, do your research, invest in quality, take care and watch your performance improve. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Common Bearings Related Issues and How to Fix Them

Alright, so in the thrilling world of skateboarding, you’ve probably heard about bearings, right? If not, allow me to enlighten you a bit. The bearings in your skateboard wheels are just as important as the wheels themselves. They’re the small, circular pieces that make your wheels roll smoothly. But, just like everything else in life, they can come with their fair share of issues. Let’s dive into it.

Common Bearings Related Issues

  1. Grinding noise or Wheels not spinning smoothly: If your wheels are not spinning as smoothly as they used to, or if you hear a grinding noise, chances are your bearings are dirty or worn out. It’s something that happens to all skaters, especially if you’ve been riding in wet or dirty conditions.
  2. Seized up Bearings: Your wheels refusing to spin at all could indicate seized bearings. Usually this happens when they’re exposed to water and not cleaned and dried properly.
  3. Slow Skateboard: Feel like you’re not cruising at your usual speed? Sluggish performance can often be traced back to your bearings. They could be dirty, dry, or damaged, impeding the normal movement of your wheels.

How to Fix These Issues

Before we jump into solutions, remember, don’t panic if your skateboard bearings are acting up. Skateboard maintenance is part of the gig, and it’s all part of keeping your board in top shape.

For Grinding Noise or Sluggish Performance:

  1. Clean Your Bearings: Remove the bearings from each of your wheels and clean them with a bearings cleaner or rubbing alcohol.
  2. Apply Lubricant: After cleaning, dry them completely and apply some skateboard-specific lubricant. This will ensure they continue to spin smoothly. Believe it or not, I once used olive oil as a makeshift lubricant when I was in a pinch. It worked, but don’t follow my suit. Stick with the real stuff – skateboard lubes!

For Seized Up Bearings:

  1. Dry and Lubricate: If your bearings are seized because of exposure to water, try to dry them out as soon as possible. Then apply a good amount of lubricant to help free them up.
  2. Replace Bearings: If nothing works, you may need to replace your bearings altogether. Keep a spare set handy and regularly replace old, worn-out ones. Your skateboard (and your knees) will thank you.

Using these tactics, I’ve managed to keep my skateboard running smoothly for years. It takes a little elbow grease, but maintaining your bearings can make a world of difference in your ride. Your bearings may be small, but boy, do they play a significant role in the life of a skater!

Frequently Asked Questions about Skateboard Bearings

If you’re new to the skateboarding arena or even if you’re a seasoned rider, you probably have some questions about skateboard bearings. These little metal parts play a huge role in the smooth running of your skateboard. To help you out, I’ve put together responses to some of the frequently asked questions that I’ve encountered both from my personal experiences and from colleagues in the field.

  1. “What exactly are skateboard bearings?”

In simple terms, skateboard bearings are small mechanisms that connect the skateboard wheels to the axle. Despite their size, they are vital for allowing your wheels to spin around the axle smoothly, which influences the overall speed and precision of your ride.

  1. “Why are my skateboard bearings important?”

From my experience, skateboard bearings could make or break your ride. High-quality bearings provide a smooth, swift ride, reducing friction between the wheel and the axle. This means you can coast longer distances with fewer pushes.

  1. “How often should I clean my skateboard bearings?”

Cleaning your skateboard bearings largely depends on how much you use your skateboard. If you’re hitting the pavement every day, aim to clean them every 4-5 weeks. However, if you’re more of a casual rider, a clean every 2-3 months should suffice. Remember, cleaning your bearings will help them last longer, and will also help maintain your skateboard’s performance.

  1. “Why is my skateboard making a rattling noise?”

Usually, a rattling noise from your skateboard can indicate loose or damaged bearings. Check to see if the wheel is securely fastened. If it is, the bearings may be the issue. I’ve experienced this myself, and a simple bearing replacement has usually solved the problem.

  1. “Does the ABEC rating of a bearing matter?”

The ABEC rating gives you an indication of the precision and speed of your bearings. However, contrary to popular belief, a higher ABEC rating doesn’t necessarily equate to a ‘better’ skateboard bearing for all situations. In fact, when I’m cruising the streets, a lower-rated bearing can offer more durability and impact resistance, which is just as critical for a good skateboarding experience.

In conclusion,a healthy understanding of skateboard bearings is essential to maintain the performance of your skateboard. Don’t overlook this crucial component; you will, literally and figuratively, ‘feel’ the difference in your ride once you get to grips with bearings and their maintenance. From my personal experience, well-maintained bearings have made all the difference in mastering tricks, achieving speed, and ensuring a smooth ride every time.


In conclusion, I firmly stand by the notion that bearings, though small, play a monumental role in the performance and speed of your skateboard. Their importance cannot be overstated. Just as the heart pumps blood to keep us moving, the bearings in a skateboard keep your wheels spinning smoothly and effortlessly. Investing in high-quality bearings can significantly improve your general skateboarding experience, from smooth sailing down streets to tackling stunts and tricks at the skate park.

Not all bearings are created equal, and it’s essential for skateboarders to realize this. Poorly made bearings might be lighter on the wallet but they are heavier on the board, slowing you down when speed and agility matter the most. But remember, costlier doesn’t necessarily mean better. It’s about finding the bearings that suit your style, your board, and your riding conditions. Ceramic, Swiss, Titanium – each has their own merits and drawbacks.

In the end, we skateboarders know that our board is a reflection of who we are. It’s not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle! And a key component like bearings can drastically affect how that lifestyle is experienced. Every part, every piece, matters. Keep rolling, stay awesome and continue exploring the world on your wheels!


FAQ: All About “Bearings” in Skateboarding

  1. What are skateboard bearings and why are they important?
    Skateboard bearings are small metal rings that fit inside the skateboard wheels. They consist of multiple metal balls held in a circular raceway. They are crucial as they allow the wheels to rotate smoothly, reducing friction and enabling the rider to achieve higher speeds.
  2. How can I tell if my skateboard bearings need to be replaced?
    Signs that your bearings need replacement include slow or uneven wheel rotations, a gritty or rough feel when spinning the wheels, or a noticeably decreased speed while riding.
  3. Are all skateboard bearings the same?
    No, skateboard bearings come in different quality grades and materials. Higher-grade bearings are generally made of materials such as ceramic or stainless steel, offering increased performance and durability compared to lower-grade steel bearings.
  4. How do I clean and maintain my skateboard bearings?
    To clean your skateboard bearings, remove them from the wheels, soak them in a degreaser or isopropyl alcohol, and use a bearing cleaning kit or a soft brush to scrub away dirt and grime. Once clean, apply a lubricant specifically designed for skateboard bearings. Regular maintenance helps extend their lifespan.
  5. Can I replace just a few bearings or do I need to replace them all at once?
    While it’s possible to replace only the damaged or worn-out bearings, it is recommended to replace all of them at once for consistent performance and smooth wheel rotations.
  6. Do skateboard bearings come pre-lubricated?
    Yes, most skateboard bearings come pre-lubricated with a thin layer of lubricant. However, it is a good idea to add a little extra lubricant periodically to ensure optimal performance.
  7. How do I install bearings into the skateboard wheels?
    To install the bearings, place one bearing upside down on the axle and press the wheel down onto it. Then, push the second bearing into the other side of the wheel until it is seated snugly. Repeat the process for all four wheels.
  8. Are there any specific bearing ratings I should look for when purchasing?
    Skateboard bearings are rated using the ABEC system, ranging from ABEC-1 to ABEC-9, with higher numbers indicating a higher tolerance for precision and speed. However, it’s important to note that ABEC ratings aren’t the only factor determining bearing quality; companies often use their own precision rating systems as well.
  9. Can I use skateboard bearings for other applications?
    While skateboard bearings are designed specifically for skateboarding, they can be used in various other applications such as rollerblades, scooters, or certain household equipment that require the same size and type of bearing.
  10. How often should I replace my skateboard bearings?
    The lifespan of skateboard bearings depends on factors such as usage frequency, riding conditions, and maintenance. Generally, bearings should be replaced every six months to a year, or sooner if you notice a decline in performance.

I hope these FAQs offer helpful insights into skateboard bearings. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

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