Most beginners put too much weight on bearings. They’re not as important as having good wheels. Keep them maintained, and even cheap bearings can last a long time. Avoid double metal capped bearings if you intend on doing regular maintenance.
This article will cover common misconceptions and general info.
Does ABEC Rating Matter?
ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Committee of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA). It wasn’t made with skateboarding in mind, so using it doesn’t make sense.
The most common beginner myth is that a higher ABEC number will be faster.
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Types of bearings
To keep it simple, structurally, there are two types of bearings.
- Standard Bearings
- Built-In Bearings
There are precision bearings designed for abuse over time, but I usually don’t bother with them.
Now that you know the common types of bearings, are there any bearings to avoid?
Bearings to avoid
The main bearings to avoid are the ones that have metal shields on both sides. Although this is a personal preference, I avoid them because it makes maintenance a lot harder. Almost any bearings will be fine, it mainly comes down to how well you lubricate and maintain them.
All bearings can become crappy bearings; it’s part of the sport. Depending on what bearings you select, how long you ride them, and how well you take care of them. They also can stay rolling for decades.
Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions about longboard bearings.
Do longboards need special bearings?
No, longboards don’t need special bearings. You can use the bearings on your street setup on your longboard setup.
How to change longboard bearings?
Use your longboard truck’s axle to remove your bearings from the wheels. You can see how I remove bearings here. (point #5).
What are the best longboard bearings?
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the bearings on this list. I’ve used
How to clean longboard bearings?
Start by removing the plastic shields with something sharp. Be gentle since most shields can easily bend. Drop them in a container with your cleaning solution. Let them sit in the solution for an hour and shake them up.
More details on how to clean your bearings here.
- Mineral spirits
- 90% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Non-water-based citrus cleaner
Once an hour is up, take them out and place them on a towel. Let them dry before lubricating them.
How to lube longboard bearings?
Use a dropper to lube your longboard bearings easily.
DO NOT USE WD40. Google why or try it yourself if you don’t believe me.
Personally, I use Bones Speed Cream and it’s great.
If you don’t want to buy it, below are some other solutions.
- Lithium Grease
- Tri Flo Grease
- Motor oil
- Vegetable oil
- Canola oil
- Baby oil
While bearings are a necessary part of a longboard, they’re not as crucial as most beginners initially think. Avoid double metal shielded bearings if you plan to do maintenance.