May 04, 2021
The bearing used in a standard skateboard is 608 bearing. '608' is the identification number for the type of bearings used in a skateboard. There are two common varieties of 608 bearings used in skateboarding:
608zz: 'zz' represents metal shielded, that means its protected by metal ring on both side of the bearing. If it was 608z, with a single 'z' It means it is shielded from one side with metal ring and other side is open. 608zz is the bearing used in skateboarding, it has two metal rings on both side. Downside of this is, it's a bit tough to clean this one's when they get dirty.
608RS/6082RS: These are the same bearings but shielded with a rubber ring rather than a metal ring. Performance wise both are same, but rubber ones are a bit easier to maintain and clean when dirty. Preference is given to rubber ones than the metal ones as they are easy to maintain.
ABEC stands for Annual Bearings Engineers committee. It's an organization which rates a bearing ranging from 0-9 based on the tolerance with respect to its speed(RPM). For Skateboarding you really don't need very high tolerance bearing as such unless you are going 200km/hr plus speed!. ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 is more than enough for a skateboard bearing.
Mind you ABEC rating does not take into account material selection, impact resistance, grade of ball, lubrication, maintenance, cleaning etc etc which are the most crucial part for skateboarding. Axle load which is THE most important part of skateboarding is not taken into account by ABEC rating.
Most of the skate bearing companies don't really mention about the ratings on their bearings as the rating does not do justice with it. We in 'Piso' also do not mention it (It's Abec 7 though), as which material is used and the impact resistance is more important for us when we were making ours. I won't go more in details of our bearing, as this article is an informative one and not bragging about our products. There are lot of Cheap ABEC5/7 bearings out there made of very poor quality materials, stay away from them
Now we'll talk about Ceramic bearings, Are they good?. These bearings are real good, the reason for this is not any ABEC ratings. It's the Ceramic which makes it stand out. It's very hard, corrosion free and heat resistant. It has all the quality what a skateboard bearing needs J. Hence it outperforms other metal bearings but it comes at a big price too. It'll also last longer than metal ones due to non corrosive and heat resistance property.
Why is my brand new bearing set not rolling fasttttt???
This is the most common question skaters ask us often when they buy brand new bearings. Why is my bearings not rolling fast as shown in some YouTube videos/ or why is the hiss sound not coming. I'll try my best to explain why the sound comes and when do you have to take care.
When bearing has fluid/lubricant in it, the balls of the bearings run smoothly with less contacts with the surface as possible and as a result no sound is produced. Since bearing has fluid, it cannot roll freely as long as it wants, it'll have certain amount of fluidic resistance. The Fluid/lubrication is very important part of the bearing. It's no rocket science, it's to avoid bearing from heating up and smoothen the rotation. So when you get new bearings it'll be lubricated and will be smooth with no sound at all.
Now we'll come to breaking in of skate bearings, let's understand the process and forget the fancy hiss sound please! So when you skate your new bearing for few weeks/months, the excess lube which was present in your new bearing spills out (Tip- always clean the excess lube which comes out with cloth to avoid dirt from settling in). Then comes a phase where the lubricant/oil level is at its optimum level. This is the time the hiss sound starts kicking in, excess oil is cleared and bearing has more space to rotate and less resistance from the lubrication. This is the best phase of your bearings.
After few weeks/months the bearings will either have obstructed movement(Dirt has entered inside) or will start rolling faster as by then the oil levels would have dropped. This gives more space and less fluidic resistance for the bearing to roll in, more contacts with the ring which makes the hissing sound. This time it'll be a dry hissing sound though(louder). Bearings are clearly asking for more oil/lubricant if you listen carefully. If they are not lubricated they are going to get worn out pretty soon and you will have to buy a new one. I'll explain in new blog how to open up bearings, clean it up and lubricate it back again so that the lifespan of the bearing increases.
Only because one bearing is rotating for a longer time with the hiss sound and other is not when there is no weight on it (As shown in some fancy youtube videos) is not a right way to test your bearings. The one which has less lube will roll longer as there is less resistance from the fluid which will lead to overheating of the bearing and eventually destroy it.
My personal opinion:
I have skated bearings of various brand, studied their build and cleaned them various time, this is what I conclude out of it. Unless you are going for Ceramic or high end bearing like Bronson's (obviously it comes at a price), you can go for any known brand bearings which makes bearings for a decent price. Buying a high end bearing is not going to improve your skating in any way. Almost all skateboard brand bearings perform almost equally, get the cheapest one you can get for. Stay away from the local market 608 bearings as they are made for RPM and not hardcore beatings of skateboarding. As long as the bearing is sold by a known skateboard company, just grab which suits your budget.
Keep pushing, Keep skating.
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