When choosing gadgets, we have a set of specifications that will help us determine if they are the ones we need. This way, we make the most of our money and never regret it. The same concept applies to skateboarding. We refer to a standard to ensure we’re choosing the best parts.
Let’s take skateboard bearings, for example. These components are top considerations related to the board’s speed and precision. Now, are skateboard bearings universal? Yes! But how?
This article will dive into skateboard bearings and why we believe they’re universal.
Table of Contents
- Why and How Are Skateboard Bearings Universal?
- More Information About Skateboard Bearings
- Types of Skateboard Bearings
- Skateboard Bearing Sizes
- Pros and Cons of Skateboard Bearings
- Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Bearing
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why and How Are Skateboard Bearings Universal?
By saying something is universal, we often mean it is the standard everywhere. In the case of skateboard bearings, to what extent are these components adaptable? Let’s get into the following points.
1. Skateboard bearings have the same parts.
No two skateboard bearings differ in components. Regardless of the brand, each bearing has the following.
- Spacers (could be separate or built-in) – Spacers are steel pieces between bearings that protect them. They also support the skateboard’s motions with reduced vibrations and better control.
- Races – Two races are in each bearing: an inner and an outer one. But regardless of their position, they function the same way, holding the bearing’s components.
- The bearing balls – These are pivotal in making the inside race spin and reduce
- Retainer – Retainers keep the bearing’s balls at equal spaces and help keep lubrication around them. These nylon holders also prevent friction among the rounded interiors, yielding smooth spins.
- Bearing shield – These are the removable thin, rounded discs that protect the bearing’s insides against dirt.
2. Bearings for skateboards always abide by the “608” standard.
What is 608? It’s the established industry standard for skateboard bearings. There could be differences in suffixes like 608ZZ or 608RS, but it’s only because of the shield materials. ZZ types have metal rings while RS types have rubber ones.
Again, regardless of the type and brand, a 608-labeled core will fit longboard or skateboard wheels.
3. Skateboard bearings follow a standard size.
Are all skateboard bearings the same size?
No matter the skateboard or longboard wheel size, the bearings follow a standard construction.
All skateboard wheel cores have an 8mm bore, a 22mm outer diameter, and a 7mm width. Their spacer sizes have a bit more variation, measuring either 8 x 8 or 8 x 10 mm (axle diameter x spacer width).
More Information About Skateboard Bearings
Without questioning the universal image of skateboard bearings, let’s know more about them.
1. What skateboard bearings are
What do skateboard bearings do?
Skateboard bearings are solid rounded pieces placed at a wheel’s center. These cores aim to make the rollers spin smoothly, fast, and precisely.
Like skate decks, there are differences in skateboard bearings price, brand, performance, and other durability-related factors. But no matter the brand and cost of your bearings, you will always need eight for your skateboard.
2. ABEC ratings
If you have noticed, there are printed ABEC Ratings on the packaging of skateboard bearings. Some even have these labels printed on each wheel interior. But what are ABEC Ratings?
ABEC is a gauge of the bearing’s quality. What are the different ABEC Ratings on skateboard bearings? Take note of the following.
- ABEC 1 – Cheap bearings with inferior performance and durability.
- ABEC 3 – Not very fast or smooth.
- ABEC 5 – Standard bearings with balanced performance and cost.
- ABEC 7 – Slightly more expensive but faster and smoother.
- ABEC 9 – The fastest-rated skateboard bearings.
3. Bearings parts
We talked about skateboard bearings being universal because they have the same parts. Here’s a diagram to help you visualize the sequence of these components.
Types of Skateboard Bearings
One difference among skateboard bearings is how manufacturers make them. And today, the most popular wheel cores are either steel, ceramic, or titanium.
1. Steel bearings
These steel wheel cores exhibit a balance between affordability and longevity. Steel bearings are the go-to choices of skaters at the intermediate level.
However, one drawback to these wheel cores is their susceptibility to rusting. Nevertheless, skating away from wet conditions will help preserve them.
2. Ceramic bearings
Made of ceramic, these are the bearings that never suffer from rust and corrosion. They are capable of ejecting dirt and are lighter due to their silicon nitride content.
Ceramic bearings may not be the fastest, but they retain their speed longer than the usual wheel cores.
However, there are a few drawbacks to these bearings. First, they are slightly expensive. And second, their durability doesn’t match that of the steel.
3. Titanium bearings
You might say this bearing type isn’t as popular as the other two, but titanium wheel cores also have their share of advantages.
Titanium bearings have the perfect balance of durability and weight. With a titanium coating, these wheel interiors are not susceptible to moisture or liquid damage while skating in wet places.
And with these protection features, we can expect these bearings to last and perform at the top level longer.
Skateboard Bearing Sizes
Are all bearings the same size?
The good thing about skateboard bearings is they follow a standard size. Hence, there won’t be many differences in these skateboard bearings dimensions. Nonetheless, here are the parts we need to emphasize.
- Bore – The inner rounded part of the bearing, which measures 8mmm.
- Outer diameter – This represents the rounded exterior shape of the wheel core. It measures 22mm.
- Width – Like the wheels, skateboard bearings have a standard thickness of 7mm.
Pros and Cons of Skateboard Bearings
While skateboard bearings serve to improve our rides, there could still be times one brand or type works better. Let’s summarize their benefits and disadvantages.
- Follows standard longboard bearings sizes and parts composition
- Generally ensures more precise skate rides
- Allows skateboards to move fast or maintain speed well
- Some bearing builds are not as durable
- Lower ABEC Ratings could compromise performance
- A few brands could be too costly
Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Bearing
Planning to put bearings on a skateboard? Skateboard bearings could be a secondary significant skateboard component, but you need to keep in mind some things to get the most out of them. Here is a short guide before buying.
- Rubber shields keep dirt off the bearing. But ensure you’re using a non-contact type. This way, there’d be minimal friction on the wheel core’s parts, and your skateboard will move more smoothly.
- Pick retainers made of nylon rather than metal, especially if you worry about water intrusion ruining your gear.
- Fewer ball bearings skateboard on wheel cores lead to speedier rides. Six balls are better than eight, in other words.
- When installing skateboard bearings, protect them with spacers. This way, you can preserve them, no matter how much technical skating you perform.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do skate bearings fit all wheels?
Skateboard bearings will only fit skateboard wheels. That means these wheel cores are only universal within the context of skateboarding.
They follow a standard size and build, and all of these aspects intend to serve skaters with one purpose only, speed plus precision.
How do I know what bearings to get for my skateboard?
We have discussed how skateboard bearings differ in a few aspects, like the build and ABEC ratings.
For example, if you have enough to invest in fast and smooth-rolling skateboard wheels, you might as well have an ABEC 7-rated set. And if you plan to have more rides in wet skating locations, try using titanium or ceramic bearings.
How many bearings does a skateboard need?
Each skateboard wheel uses a pair of bearings, one for each side. But as mentioned, a spacer sits between these wheel cores for better longevity.
Overall, a skateboard requires eight bearings distributed equally among its four wheels. So, if you ever decide to assemble your board, remember to complete these parts for the best results.
Though often unnoticed, skateboard bearings’ impact is much more significant than their size. And with their contributions to the skateboarder’s performance, we should pay attention to these parts as much as we do with the decks, trucks, and wheels.
So, are skateboard bearings universal? Yes! But there are a few considerations. These wheel cores follow a standard size and parts. They differ in some aspects, like their material and shields, but skateboard bearings serve the same purpose.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.