Just like it can be hard to buy a new skateboard, buying the bearings may just be another headache if looked at closely. The bearings used to drive the skateboard wheels come in all manner and shape.
Bearings are made of some tiny balls which work in a circular combination and motion to enable the longboard wheel glide smoothly as is expected in most cases. Using long boards is only an exciting undertaking as long as the wheels move.
There are many things to consider before choosing a bearing for your longboard. All of which may depend solely on the taste and the discretion of the one intending to use them. These may include:
The quality of the bearings
Buying bearings should not be just for the sake of it. It should be a concise affair taking into account the diverse quality requirements in the longboard sport arena.
Most of the long board bearings which are highly recommended come with what may be termed as the annular bearing engineers committee (ABEC) rating. This rating is usually a measure used to gauge how tolerant the ball spaces and the outer layer of the wheel are.
The higher the rating, there is a possibility of the bearing to have a smoother slide. This is so important in case of longboard racing. The longboard bearings with this rating have higher speeds and are seen to have more appropriate shapes.
As if that is not enough, this is the rating which most market forces use to determine the durability aspect of the longboard bearings. This is due to the fact that these boards are easy to lubricate and maintain.
The bearings are usually rated as the:
- ABEC 3
- ABEC 5
- ABEC 7
- ABEC 11
The ABEC rating is usually the one which sets the cost of most of the bearings in the market. The most efficient bearing is the ABEC 3 rated ones with the ABEC 7 having the lowest efficiency.
Type of bearing
Because the longboard bearings are diverse in the market, the choice may be this hard to make. However, there are certain bearing types made with the efficiency to boot. For instance, a type of bearing with plastic reinforcements to keep out dirt may be helpful if chosen.
Consider the manufacturer
While there are bearings of all kinds, the place of manufacturer is also a major determinant. Chinese bearings are usually rated at the ABEC 7 which is the lowest of quality in the market.
German or those from Swiss companies are however known for their high quality make and are worth your time.
What is used in making the bearing?
In most cases, the level of friction on the longboard may be above the required. The longboard need to have excessive friction ad so the materials in use on the longboard may be the key determinants.
Most bearings are made of ceramics and steel. Stainless steel bearings despite their strength are prone to higher friction and have low efficiency rates. This makes them not to be a desired candidate where speed and durability is concerned.
Ceramics on the other hand may give its user longer service because of its low rate of wear and tear with minimal lubrication. Most of the lubricants used on some bearings are custom made to give then that special movement.
Steel caged bearings have in fact been noted for the low speed, lack of better protection and are bound to fail even before the longboard is used for long. However, as sad as it is, these are the most common and may confuse any novice in longboard use.
Check on the accessories
While most bearings may not come with additional attachments, some special bearings do. Things like bearing spacers may play some important role in keeping the consistence and durability rate.
Overall easy to maintain
Get a bearing which is easy maintain and service. Certain longboard bearings may be hard to change its balls and so hard to use. Bearings need thorough cleaning and changing of the lubricant on regular basis.
Design and size
Look at the overall build of the bearing and have one which is not so compacted on the bearings. This will help keep away dirt and dust.
The size of the longboard is usually what is of utmost importance because it may determine whether you are going to enjoy the longboard use or not. It should be of appropriate diameter and width.
In most cases, you can settle for the “608” size which is the most preferred because it comes with good specifications suiting many racers. However, this rule on size is not written on stone and may vary depending on the preference of the user. See more about when do you need new bearings.
Whichever choice one makes, he should have in mind the overall budget projection because quality comes with great cost implications. This however does to imply that the good long boards must be entirely expensive, they can have moderate prices with all these.