What Are Bearings?
Technically, bearings are those rings and balls compressed into one small package that’s about the size of a coin.
Their main job is to help your wheels roll super fast and smooth. Bearing size is universal across various board categories. You’ll often find them about 22mm in the outer diameter, 8mm in the inner diameter, and 7mm in width.
What Are The Components Of Bearings?
The main components of bearings are metal rings, shields, and rubber seal.
You’ll often find 7 parts making up a bearing:
C-ring: this thing locks everything into place
Bearing shield: this guards dust, moisture, or mud against entering the interior
Outer ring: the round exterior that all other parts fit into
Inner ring: the part that comes in direct contact with the axle
Balls: around 7-8 steel balls to help the bearings roll nicely
Ball retainer: also called Deltin Crown. It keeps the balls in place.
Rubber seal: seal everything up nice and tight.
That may be overwhelming for starters. And no, you don’t have to remember all of them.
The 3 parts you should keep in mind are the outer ring, the inner ring, and the ball retainer.
Make sure all of those are in good shape for the best riding experience.
What is the ABEC rating?
ABEC rating lets you know the precision and speed of the manufactured bearings.
It is measured using odd numbers starting from 1, 3, 5, 7 and so on.
The higher the number, the more precise and fast the bearings are.
ABEC 7 bearings, for example, are made precise to the 3 microns range. ABEC 9, on the other hand, is even better with 1.5 microns precision.
Here’s a quick list to guide you through the ABEC ratings:
ABEC 1: cheapest & slowest
ABEC 3: cheap, faster than ABEC 1, but not very high-quality
ABEC 5: the standard, fast, and reasonably priced
ABEC 7: very fast, can be quite expensive, good for longboarding
ABEC 9: super fast, great for downhill racing
ABEC 11: amazingly fast, awesome for longboarding
Things To Look For When Buying Longboard Bearings
Choose the ABEC rating
When buying bearings for longboards, you don’t want to buy ABEC 1 or ABEC 5 ones.
This is because these are often not up to the task. They perform very poorly when going at extreme speeds.
What you’d generally want is fast bearing. Why? Well, because slow bearings will make your racing experience super slow and boring.
A good rule of thumb is to settle for bearings that are ABEC 5 and above.
The advantage of ABEC 5 bearings, in this case, is that they are relatively cheaper than the other models. However, they perform very well in high-speed situations.
Choose some spacers
Spacers are the metal cylinders that sit between your bearings and your wheels They help even out the weight to make the wheels roll easier.
However, for longboarding, we usually don’t recommend getting spacers for your bearings. For skateboarding, spacers may be helpful.
But, putting them on longboards may prevent your wheels from rolling properly when you’re going extremely fast. Because they just get in the way.
Choose some washers
It’s a good idea to buy some washers along with your bearings. Washers are those metal plates that you can sandwich between your axle nut and the bearings.
This reduces the overall friction. Therefore, they help your wheels roll faster. Also, with some washers in place, your bearings face will have some extra protection from damaging.
Best ABEC 5Bbearings For Longboards
Modus Bearings 8mm ABEC 5 Skateboard Bearings
These are around $17. You’ll get 8 bearings that are enough for 4 wheels. That’s 2 bearings for each one.
Don’t worry about the name “skateboard bearings”. Because bearings work universally on longboards, skateboards, penny boards, you can pretty much use them on any types you like.
These are good ones. They come pre-lubricated to ensure you have the smoothest ride.
Sector 9 Valley Faultline Longboard Complete Skateboard – 9.75″ x 39.5″
As we told you a bit earlier, Sector 9 uses ABEC 5 bearings on most of their longboards.
This longboard right here is a very good choice featuring this bearing type.
What’s good about this one is that it has built-in spacers. We know, we know, we talked about how spacers may get in your way earlier.
Built-in spacers, in this case, can save you the cost if you want to add some later on. Also, you won’t lose small parts because the spacers are built right on the bearings.
Sector 9 is a pro in longboard making. They obviously have their reasoning when choosing to go with ABEC 5 bearings. Their boards are fast and high-quality.
Some Useful Suggestions
If your old longboard is not quite slow, don’t throw it away immediately. It may be because the bearings have rusted. That’s one reason why your wheels may not roll fast enough.
It’s a good idea to change new bearings for your wheels. Also, we recommend getting some Bones Speed Cream to lubricate the bearings. This will also help you with speed and performance.
If you’re planning to buy ABEC 5 bearings or skateboards with ABEC 5 bearings, you can be sure you’re choosing some great specs for your longboards. These bearings are fast and reasonably priced.
Most of them are pre-lubricated before shipping to you. However, if you want to go extra fast, you can apply some speed cream every now and then. We hope the info was helpful. Check out our other posts if you’re interested. Thank you!