Longboard bearings play a vital role in the overall performance of your ride, influencing speed, smoothness, and maneuverability.
So, you’ve probably heard a lot about how essential bearings are to your longboard, but what exactly do they do? Bearings are smooth metal circles with a hole in the middle that connect the wheel to the axle of the board.
They help reduce friction and make riding smoother and more efficient by allowing you to build momentum more quickly. To know about longboard bearings guide and choosing which type of bearings is best for your board, there are two main choices: ceramic or steel. Each type of longboard bearing has its benefits and drawbacks, so let’s explore them further:
Understanding Longboard Bearings
Longboard bearings are small, metal components that fit inside the wheels and enable them to spin freely. They consist of an inner and outer ring with small balls or rollers between them, allowing for smooth rotation. Bearings are rated using an ABEC scale, which measures their precision and speed capabilities.
Types of Longboard Bearings
Longboard bearings come in various types, each suited for different riding styles and conditions. Understanding these types will help you make an informed decision when choosing your bearings.
Standard bearings are the most common type, suitable for most longboarding styles. They offer a good balance of speed and durability, making them ideal for beginners and casual riders.
Ceramic bearings are known for their exceptional speed and durability. They are resistant to corrosion and can handle high speeds, making them perfect for downhill racing and high-performance riding.
Built-in bearings are integrated into the wheel core, offering a seamless and low-maintenance design. They are popular for their convenience and are often found in cruiser and commuter longboards.
Steel bearings offer excellent durability and are usually the most cost-effective option. However, they require more maintenance than ceramic bearings and must be regularly cleaned and lubricated. So, if you clean your bearings, they can last long.
They don’t spin quite as fast or smoothly as ceramic bearings, but this can be improved with proper maintenance.
Other Types of Bearings
Skateboard bearings are the most commonly used for longboards and offer tremendous speed and durability. However, they don’t spin as fast as ceramic or steel bearings.
Abec bearings have a rating system from 1-9 that indicates the quality. Generally, higher ratings indicate a smoother ride but come at a higher cost. ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Council, a standard of speed and precision ratings created by the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA).
The ABEC rating system goes from 1 to 9, with higher ratings indicating bearings with more precise tolerances and greater rotational accuracy.
The higher the number, the better quality bearing you will have. Bearings rated 7-9 are considered “precision” bearings, while those placed 3-5 are “standard” bearings.
Closures are the components that hold your bearings in place on the axle. They can be rubber o-rings, washers, or spacers and come in different sizes to fit a variety of boards.
Choosing the proper closure for your board is essential since it affects how smoothly your wheel spins and how long it will last.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Longboard Bearings
When selecting longboard bearings, several factors should influence your decision. Understanding these factors will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect bearings for your riding style.
Your riding style plays a significant role in determining the type of bearings you need. For example, if you’re into downhill racing, you’ll need bearings that prioritize speed and precision. On the other hand, if you’re a casual rider or commuter, durability and smoothness may be more important.
The ABEC rating of bearings indicates their precision and manufacturing tolerances. While a higher ABEC rating generally means better precision, it doesn’t always translate to better performance for longboarding. Factors like material and lubrication also influence bearing performance.
The material used in bearings affects their performance and longevity. Steel bearings are common and offer a good balance of performance and affordability. Ceramic bearings, while more expensive, provide superior speed and durability due to their construction.
Consider how much maintenance you’re willing to put into your bearings. Some bearings require regular cleaning and lubrication to maintain their performance, while others are more low-maintenance.
Ceramic Balls vs. Steel Balls Bearings
Ceramic bearings are made of ceramic balls, which are usually more complex and durable than the steel balls used in steel bearings.
However, ceramic balls also offer less rolling resistance, allowing faster acceleration and more incredible speed, while steel balls provide better shock absorption.
In addition, ceramic balls are often lighter in weight than steel balls. Ultimately, it’s up to you to pick which type of bearing best suits your riding style.
What Type of Bearings are Ideal for Performing Tricks?
When performing tricks, high-quality steel bearings are typically the best choice. These bearings spin faster than ceramic or skateboard bearings and can help you accelerate quickly when performing tricks.
Additionally, they tend to be more durable and less susceptible to damage from hard landings. However, if speed is your main focus, ceramic bearings may be better for you as they offer more incredible speeds than steel ones.
In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when choosing longboard bearings; it all depends on your riding style and budget.
If you want maximum speed and resistance to corrosion, go with ceramic bearings; if you’re looking for durability, choose steel; if cost is an issue, then skateboard bearings are a good option. Whichever type of bearing you choose, ensure the closures and ABEC rating also fit your needs.
How to Choose the Right Longboard Bearings
Now that you understand the types and factors to consider, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right longboard bearings for your needs.
Step 1: Determine Your Riding Style
Identify your primary riding style and the conditions you’ll be riding in. This will help you narrow down the type of bearings that best suit your needs.
Step 2: Consider Your Budget
Set a budget for your bearings, taking into account the type of riding you’ll be doing and how often you’ll be using them. This will help you filter out options that may be too expensive or cheap for your needs.
Step 3: Research Brands and Reviews
Look for reputable brands known for their quality bearings. Read reviews from other riders to get an idea of which bearings perform well and are reliable.
Step 4: Check the ABEC Rating
While the ABEC rating isn’t the sole indicator of bearing quality, it can still provide some insight. Consider bearings with a rating of at least ABEC 5 for decent performance.
Step 5: Consider Material and Maintenance
Decide whether you prefer steel or ceramic bearings based on your riding style and maintenance preferences. Keep in mind that ceramic bearings may require less maintenance but come with a higher price tag.
Step 6: Make Your Purchase
Once you’ve narrowed down your options based on the above factors, make your purchase from a reputable retailer or online store. Ensure that the bearings you choose are compatible with your longboard’s wheels and axle size.
What is the best longboard bearing?
The best longboard bearing will depend on your riding style, budget, and needs. Generally, ceramic bearings are the best for speed, while steel bearings are more durable and better suited for tricks.
Do all longboards use the same size bearings?
No, different longboards require different-sized bearings. It’s crucial to ensure you get the right size bearing for your board to fit correctly and not cause any problems while riding.
What is the difference between ABEC rating and bearing closure?
ABEC ratings are used to measure the accuracy of machine parts, such as bearings. Higher-rated bearings tend to provide more precision and smoother operations, while lower-rated ones may need to be more precise and smoother.
We hope this guide helped you decide which bearing type would be best for your board. Research, talk to other longboarders, and find a trustworthy brand. You’ll surely have a fantastic time on the board with the best longboard bearings!