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What are skateboard bearings?

Skateboard bearings are the pieces that are mounted between the trucks and the wheels to keep them spinning. Each wheel has two bearings (one on each side), and sometimes it has also a spacer (although it is optional, we will tell you more about them later). So a complete set of bearings includes 8. 

Each bearing consists of two concentric cylinders that contain small metallic or ceramic balls, depending on the model. The inner balls are embedded in cells to maintain their position. 

All the skate bearings that we have for sale in Fillow have the same standard size, and they are suitable for any wheel and truck measurement, so in this case you don’t have to worry about sizes.  

Which bearings are better for skate?

Skateboard Bearings can be made of different materials, mainly steel, titanium or ceramic. 

In addition, they can be sealed, open or closed only on one side. It depends on whether or not they have side covers (called ‘shields’) that prevent dirt from entering into the balls’ cells. Closed bearings require less maintenance, but open ones can be a bit faster and there are people who like to hear the noise they produce when skating.

What is ABEC?

‘Annular Bearing Engineering Council’ is a classification created by an association of bearing manufacturers to try to determine different levels of precision. It is often said that the higher the ABEC (normally 3, 5, 7 or 9 in skate) the higher the speed they reach, but to be exact we should say the higher the ABEC, the more accurate the bearing, because it meets more technical manufacturing requirements and has less chance of failure. 

On the other hand, we must take into consideration the durability, since that precision could be lost over time, so in the end it is not possible to ensure that some bearings are necessarily better than others only by the ABEC. To be sure you are purchasing a good bearing, we recommend you to choose it among the offer of the most established brands in the sector. In Fillow we have a wide selection of the best, all of guaranteed quality. In addition, proper maintenance and lubrication will help you maintain your bearings in good shape for a longer time. Keep reading to know how you can do that. 

If you are looking for speed, remember that it is a factor that depends on more things, apart from the bearings and their quality, such as if the trucks are perfectly aligned, the wheels (hardness, size, condition), the floor and your ability as a skater. Most bearings have the ability to reach speeds that you really will not even reach with a skateboard, so a set of cheap bearings will be good enough if you are a beginner and you do not have clear preferences at the moment.

Classifications other than ABEC

According to what we have said above, many brands believe that the ABEC classification is not too useful. For example, it is not applicable to ceramic bearings, which have proven to be better in many cases. We can find in each brand different range of bearings, from the most basic to the most professional. Several manufacturers offer ceramics, called swiss in some cases (such as Bones or Andale). In each brand you can find more information about its catalog, and for Bones we have an entire Guide of Bones Bearing

Spacers and rings, what are they and what do they do?

The spacers are small cylindrical metal pieces. Its use is optional, although highly recommended. They are mounted in the hole of the wheel, just between one bearing and the other one. If you use them, even if the wheel gets damaged (it can happen if it is soft), the bearings will stay in place, instead of going further into the wheel, damaging it even more. 

The rings, washers or speed rings are the metal circles that go between the hanger and the bearing, on the inner side of the shaft, and between the bearing and the nut on the outside. They serve to reduce friction and thus achieve a faster and more durable rotation of the wheels. All the trucks that are for sale in Fillow already have their own washers. 

When choosing your bearings, note that some have spacers included, another, extra washers, and there are some that come with wax. If the bearings you want don’t have them, you can always buy them separately in our skate accessories section. 

Assembly and disassembly of the bearings

You can see how to assemble a complete skateboard piece by piece, in text and video, in our Skate Assembly Guide. More specifically, the bearings are very easy to place on the wheels. 

First, you have to see if the ones you bought have shields on both sides or only one. If they are sealed only on one side, remember to place it on the outer side of the wheel on both sides, otherwise they would not do you any good. 

Once you have taken care of that, to assemble the bearings you just have to put your skateboard on its side, remove the side nut of one of the trucks (and the old wheel if it is still there). Put the bearing on the truck and then the wheel, paying attention that the central hole should coincide with the bearing. Now you have to push, helping yourself with your own weight, until is perfectly fitted. If you use spacers, this is the moment to place them, before mounting the second bearing on the wheel. 

To place the bearing on the other side, remove the wheel, place the bearing on the truck, and repeat the process with the wheel set in the other position. Most of the wheels are symmetrical, so you can leave them mounted in any position. 

Removing the old bearings from your wheels may cost you if you have never done it before, but do not worry, there is a trick. The best way to do it is using the truck itself as a lever. You have to remove the nut and put the wheel on the edge, until only the last bearing is inside the truck. Then pull the wheel hard at an angle of 90 degrees to the truck, and it will come out undamaged. Repeat the process on the other side of the wheel to remove the other bearing. 

Cleaning and maintenance of the bearings 

The main enemies of your bearings are deformation, water and dust. The water will oxidize them, so it is better to be careful with the puddles and not go skating when it rains. In addition to being more dangerous, the wet can also damage your deck. Dust can get inside and hinder the rotation of the spheres inside the bearing. It is rare that the bearings get deformed, but it can happen with very strong blows, or several attempts to put or remove the bearing with great force and little skill. If the shield becomes dented inwards, it can stop the rotation of the inner spheres. In that case, you will need new bearings. 

So in summary, if you want your bearings to work perfectly and last longer, put them and remove them as we have explained, and try to keep them clean. It may seem a little annoying, but it will be worth it, and we tell you how to do it, you will see that it is not so bad. 

How to clean your skate bearings? 

The external cleaning doesn’t need much explanation. Obviously you will have to remove the dirt with a slightly damp cloth, regardless of the type of bearings they are. 

If your bearings are not sealed on both sides, you will have to open them from time to time to do a little maintenance. Remove the side cover carefully. You can use for example a safety pin, or something similar. When you have open the 8 bearings, put them without dumping them in a bowl or container with alcohol, or a specific solution for cleaning skate bearings. Stir for about five minutes so that the dirt comes out, and leave them another ten minutes to soak. 

After that time, if they are already clean, place them carefully on a horizontal surface, on top of a clean cloth, to dry completely. 

Some brands like Bones have a special bottle where you can place the bearings and shake them so that they clean well. 

How to lubricate skate bearings?

It is best to use bearing lubricants specifically to skate bearings, since not all machines need the same type of lubrication, and you could mess them up or make the balls sticky, if the product you use is not the most indicated. 

Two or three drops or lubricant would be enough for each bearing. Then place the side covers, making sure they are tightly closed. Now you can reassemble them in your skate, remember to put them with the side that is sealed on the outside of the wheel. 

The best skate bearing brands

Most of the big skate material manufacturers have their own bearings, with the same quality as everything they manufacture. Bones is unquestionably one of the best brand for decades. We have an exclusive guide in which we tell you everything about them: Bones Bearings Guide

Also very specialized in bearings, Andale has a wide range, from the basic to the most professional, pro models and fun packs that includes waxes. Other specialized brands are Arrow, Speed Demons, Lucky, Bronson Speed Co. 

The proven quality of other leading brands in the sector is also evident in their bearings. This is the case of Independent, Diamond, Enjoi, Royal, Nomad, Toy Machine, Shorty’s, Rush, Girl. 

Cheap Skateboard Bearings

Remember that we make sure that all the bearings that you can buy in Fillow have enough quality to fulfill their purposes. 

There are basic bearings that will be perfect if you are a beginner or if your skating is not very technical. They have basic prices and are from brands such as BDSkateCO, that is committed to making skateboarding accessible to all budgets, so is Enuff. The prices of Mosaic, Mini-Logo, FKD, Arrow or Element are also very competitive, and even without reaching the 20€ you can find the offer of other major brands such as Pig, Lucky, Jart, Shake Junt, Flip, Hydroponic...

Price of Skateboard Bearings

In our store you can choose from a wide range of prices, depending on the brands and the Abec of the bearings. From 160€ you can buy the most accurate, fastest and best on the market: Swiss Ceramics. If you prefer cheaper brands such as BDSkate, you can have your bearings for 7.90€, and from Enuff for 10€. 

Where to buy skateboard bearings?

In Fillow you can buy skate bearings from the most important brands in the sector. From the mythical Bones Bearings in all its models: Swiss, Bone Reds, Bones Super Reds... and many other brands such as Andale, Mosaic, Enuff, Bronson, FKD, Element and many more. 

From our UK skateboard shop in Madrid you can buy skateboard bearings and we will send them to wherever you are: London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, Southtampton, Plymouth, or other countries like Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and many more. 

 

Bones Bearings were born when in 1980 George Powell realizes the difficulty of finding good bearings for skate. In those years, the entire American market of bearings was monopolized by the Japanese bearings that, although they had worse quality that the Americans, were preferred due to their low cost and massive production. They had an acceptable quality, but they were not very fast. 

The other alternative was the German bearings, which were a bit better... but did not meet the needs of the skaters of the time. 

After analyzing that situation, Powell decided that he would travel through America and Europe searching better alternatives. 

The trip ended up in a small bearing manufacturer in Switzerland, whose bearings were faster than any others he had seen before, and just a bit more expensive than the Germans.

Powell worked with this factory to optimize their bearings for skateboarding. The standard metal seal was replaced by a high speed one, modeled on plastic, so it could be removed for maintenance. They left a ‘protective shield’ so skaters could remove it to clean and lubricate the bearings without the need for special tools. They adjusted the tolerances and measures and replaced the normal lubricant with a special one developed by them, the Bones Speed Cream. 

The result was the well-known Bones Swiss, and the birth of Bones Bearings, the most successful skate bearings brand in history. 

With George Powell leading the project (Powell Peralta) the brand was born in 1977 and is still one of the leading manufacturers of bearings and skate wheels, in terms of quality. 

BONES WHEELS

Mr. Powell is an engineer and a designer, as well as a skater, so the research, development and testing of the products to achieve the best results have always been a priority for Bones. The brand seeks to get skate wheels more resistant to abrasion, although not the cheapest, and it does so by taking care of the quality of the materials, the manufacturing process, quality control, and of course the tests and comparisons that the riders of its team are always doing (Chris Joslin, Kevin Romar, Aaron Jaws Homoki, Evan Smith, Felipe Gustavo, David Gravette, Rodney Mullen and Ryan Decenzo).

Are bones wheels good? Yes of course!!

In this video you can see how they make the bones wheels for skates in their factory in Santa Barbara (California):


Bones uses different urethane formulas to adapt perfectly to each type of use that skate wheels have. You can also find wheels in different shapes and hardness. 

Bones Skateboards Wheels Hardness

This brand uses the B scale to measure the hardness (durometer), since they think it is much more accurate. The A scale goes from 1 to 100, so from 95 A it does not measure very accurately anymore. The D scale, on the other hand, is designed to measure very hard rubber and urethane, not the relatively soft material of the skate wheels, so it does not seem the most appropriate either. 

There is no exact correlation between the A and B scales, but broadly speaking, it would be enough to subtract 10 points from the number A to obtain B. 

There are mainly two durometers available: 

81B (aprox. 101 A): These wheels offer more grip, greater control, smoothness, high performance, resistance to abrasion and great durability.

84B /(aprox. 104 A): Choose these to get higher speed, bounce, slip capacity, abrasion resistance and longer durability. 

Bones Skateboard Wheels Formulas

Street Tech Formula TM (STF)

With this wheel the brand has proven its purpose of offering a higher rebound for greater speed and spectacular sliding properties, maintaining the resistance to abrasion (flattening) over any standard wheel.

Skatepark Formula TM (SPF)

This formula achieves a high quality urethane, specifically designed to prevent flattening by abrasion on both smooth and rugged surfaces, without losing the high rebound for a quick response in the tricks and a faster turn. They adhere better to rough surfaces while maintaining their strength, durability and speed. 

All-Terrain Formula (ATF)

Designed for the most rugged terrains, these soft urethane wheels offer speed and smoothness in the glide regardless of the quality of the soil. 

Within this formula we can find the ‘Rough Riders’, the most resistant of the brand to venture on less traveled roads. 

Bones Wheels Shapes

Bones has a wide variety of shapes for its wheels. 

Those made with the STF (Street Tech Formula) are available in five different shapes, named from V1 to V5. They are all symmetrical, so the assembly is reversible. Although you will have to try them all to decide which one you like the most, we tell you the most common uses of each of them: 

 

V1: They are the most versatile, for standard use, stable and durable. Available in the following sizes (mm): 50x30, 51x30, 52x31, 53x31, 54x32. The radious of the edge curve is 0.25”.

V2: They are thinner in the center than the V1 to make them lighter. Ideal for curbs, rails, grinds, etc. Available in these measurements (mm): 49x27, 51x38, 53x29. The radius of the edge curvature is 0.275”.

V3: For technical skate. They are the ones with the smallest surface in contact with the smallest floor, and the preferred by professional skaters who only practice street. They are lighter, have less friction, more speed, facilitate slides and give better results in tricks. Edge radius: 0.187”. Measures: 50x28, 52x29, 54x30.

V4: Also very versatile and for all purposes, but wider to offer more stability. The edge has a radius of 0.250” and are made in sizes 51x32”, 52x34, 53x34, 54x34 and 55x34 mm.

V5: They have a bigger radius of the edge, for a faster response. They are versatile, thinner at center, so they are lighter, and ideal for curbs and grinds. In addition the drawing will last more time. Edge radius: 0.50”. Available sizes: 51x30, 52x30, 53x31, 54x31, 55x32, 56x32, 58x33. 

The available shapes for the SPF (Skatepark Formula) are also five (from P1 to P5) and symmetrical. 

 

P1: Made to skate the streets, but maintaining the hardness of the SPF. They are smaller and thinner, more technical. Edge radius of 0.25 inches, available measures: 51x30, 52x31, 53x31, and 54x32 mm. 

P2: They have a bigger contact surface to the ground for more stability. They are designed for ramp, bowl, pool, half pipe, etc. The radius of the edge is bigger (0.5”) so the wheels can roll over the edge of the ramp (coping), and they are available in the sizes 56x37, 58x37 and 60x37 mm.

P3: They are widest of the brand, for bowl and vertical ramps. They offer greater stability and high speed. Soft edges, with 0.25” radius. They are made in 60x40 and 62x40 mm. 

P4: Smaller and thinner for a more technical skate. Versatile, they will work fine to skate the streets and for bowls. Edges with a curve of radius 0.25”, available sizes 52x34, 53x34, 54x34 and 55x34 mm.

P5: Narrower in the center and with an edge of bigger radius, these wheels are lighter and will impede you less in the grinds. They serve in bowls and vertical ramps. Thanks to its shape, the draw will last longer. They are preferred by most professional skateboarders in this discipline. Edge radius 0.5”, wheels in sizes 54x31, 56x32, 58x33 and 60x34 mm. 

Bones Wheels Quality

Bones has publicly shared the results of one of their quality control tests, the ‘drag test’. It consists of weighing the wheels, then making them roll at a certain speed for a certain time (always the same) and then weighing them again to determine the amount of material detached from the wheel in the process. Here is the table with the percentage of lost material for each model tested: 

BONES BEARINGS

The star products of this brand are the skate bearings. Thanks to its research and its persistence to get the fastest and more durable bearings in the market, we can say that it is the number one brand for this kind of products. Those skaters who buy Bones can rest assure that they have acquired a product of excellent quality, which has been tested by professional riders, who provide even more guarantee to the brand. 

Skate bearings, in general, are normally rated using the ABEC classification, in such way the higher it is, the more accurate the bearing will be. Bones, however, uses its own measurement system called Bones Skate Rated. These are the different Bones bearings that you can buy, and that you will always find in Fillow:

Bones Red:

It is the best seller of bearings every year in the United States, and also in our skate shop. This is thanks to the good quality of the bearing, which passes a double quality control before being out for sale, despite being considered the basic ones.

 

Bones Super Reds:

They are considered by Bones as the best medium-budget bearings available in the market. They have the same characteristics as the previous ones, but their balls are made of steel and have a more polished surface. Thanks to these improvements, the bearings are the same as the Bones Reds, but smoother and they will last longer. 

Bones Ceramic Super Reds:

These bearings are the same as the super reds but they have replaced the steel balls for some ceramics of the highest quality. These balls create less friction with what makes them faster than the super reds. On the other hand, these ceramic balls are responsible for removing dirt that enters the bearing by polishing the surface again. The hardness of the material also extends its useful life. 

Bones Swiss:

They are the bearings preferred by professional skaters for more than 33 years. They are designed for competitions and offer the fastest turns and the simplest maintenance. These bearings last much longer than any bearing with ABEC category.

 

Bones Super Swiss 6:

These bearings have the same qualities as the Bones Swiss but they have one ball less, so there are 6 balls inside each bearing, instead of 7 that is the standard number. 

By eliminating a ball, the acceleration and the speed are increased. These are the bearings chosen by many skaters who love ramps. 

 

Bones Swiss Labyrinth 2:

These bearings are very similar to Swiss, except that another protective shield has been added in such a way that it makes it very difficult for dirt to enter inside. The friction is reduced and the speed is increased. They also make the periods of time between each cleaning longer, and the price difference is not much. 

 

Bones Swiss Ceramics

This kind of bearings are the best, top quality in the world of skateboarding. 

They use ceramic balls from the brand Cerbec, considered the best in the world, the structure of the Bones Swiss bearings and they are lubricated with the Speed Cream of Bones. All these characteristics have as a result the fastest bearings, with the highest acceleration and that last longer.

Remember that the ceramic balls have a self-maintenance effect that lengthens their useful life and reduces the time of maintenance and cleaning, since the balls themselves remove the dirt and polish the surface continuously. 

 

To learn more about each model of Bones bearings and their characteristics, you can read all the information in our guide: All about Bones Bearings

Bones Skate Shop London – United Kingdom: Shipments to Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, Southtampton, Plymouth and other countries such as Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal.