Do Bearings Matter Longboard?
Bearings are a big part of your board. Every single skateboard or longboard wheel is equipped with two bearings. And bearings in your longboards are what knee joints are to your legs. They make the motion possible! We assume for this – you will not opt – but the best longboard bearings in the make.
A standard 608 longboard bearing let the wheels spin freely and reduces the friction between the wheels and the surface.
To enjoy a perfect and enjoyable longboarding/skateboarding experience you cannot overlook low tolerance bearings. Rusty and Dirty bearing balls and rings will result in an uneven and rough rolling of the wheels.
Best Longboard Bearings Reviews
The market is flooded with low, cheap, good and premium longboard/skateboard bearings.
Our advice – before buying look for the brands who are solely manufacturing longboard bearings. For example Heady Shake, Bones Reds and Yellow Jacket. They are the real experts working with dedication to manufacture the best steel and ceramic bearing balls for your skates.
Secondly 608 is the bearing number which will fit 99 percent of the skateboard and longboard wheels. It is the bearing standard for skateboarding sport. So just check the number and don’t get yourself confused with numbers and longboard bearing sizes. Below we have reviewed some of the best longboard bearings available in the market.
The review is based on around 112 hours of study and physical inspection of every single bearing and brand included in the post.
We have included amazon links along with the reviewed products to make your selection and check out process simpler.
Bones Reds Longboard Bearings are the most famous and the most purchased bearings all around US and even in other parts of the world.
Bones Reds is a Chinese Bearing Brand – manufacturing all kinds of longboard and skateboard bearings in-house. The company claims to produce highest quality skate bearings which are inspected twice before being shipped out.
They are economical, very easy to fit and clean and one pack consists of 8 bearings, enough to cover all your longboard wheels.
The ball retainer is made up of nylon which enhances the speed of the rotating steel balls and also ensures proper contact and fit of the balls in the casing.
They come with a single rubber shield – which encases the rings and the balls perfectly. The shield is removable – in case you need to clean the insides.
Bones Reds come pre-lubricated. However we lube these bearings every 6 months to enhance free movement. You can order Bones Reds Speed Cream Lubricant along- it is very cheap but super oily.
There is no APEC ranking listed on these, however they have a decent tolerance value.
Bones Reds are the most duplicated ones. Thousands of cheaper bearings are tagged as Bones Reds. Check for the “Skate Rated” sticker on the box. If there is none, then don’t buy – because mostly they will be a first copy.
- A bargain buy
- Enables mediocre speeds
- Lubed appropriately
- Easy to open and clean
- Not the fastest
- You need to replace the Bearings once ever year
- Dust and Water easily find their paths inside the bearing balls.
Bones Super Reds Longboard Bearings is the semi premium version of the above reviewed Bones Reds. Major difference being quality material and price.
Super Reds are equally famous and opted for bearings by skateboarders and longboarders.
The pack size is same – 8 bearings enough for 4 wheels of a longboard. These come in a Red Box – and not black one – with Superior Grade Steel written on the surface.
Bones gauge all their bearings (including this one) as – “Skate Rated”. They don’t believe in APEC numbers. However you need to check this mark – because of high duplicate products in the market.
Bones reds vs Super reds
Super Reds Bearings have high quality steel races and balls. Bearing Balls grading is also higher in comparison to the above ones.
You can quickly judge which one is Super Reds by the surface. Super comes with a wonderful surface finish and glossier shine.
Shield’s and ball retainer’s material and quality remains exact same in both the Reds bearings. Even the lubrication cream and the lube amount does not vary.
Super Reds is our favourite. It is not very cheap and not very expensive either. If offers a clearer and smoother ground experience.
If you are using wheels daily – then this one is highly recommended. You will notice the difference is speed as well if you are changing from Bones Reds to Super Reds.
These Bearing cost 40 percent more than the economic version but performs 70 percent better. Over all – they are a wonderful product for all range of longboards and skateboards. The only drawback is that these are not ceramic longboard bearings.
- Offers a Better Riding Experience.
- Features High Quality Steel.
- Bearing Balls are of a higher grade.
- Crystal Clear Surface Finish.
- You need to lubricate once every six months on rigorous use.
- The economic version is priced very less – which lures the customers away from the Super Reds
Ceramic Reds is the premium quality best bearings for longboard by Bones. Major difference is the material used in the make.
Ceramic balls make some of the best longboard wheel bearings and the fastest ones. In comparison to Steel Balls – These are light in weight and in contrast very hard and strong. They don’t generate a lot of friction either – which again boosts the speed further.
Ceramic Balls offer a lot of added benefits over steel balls. First of all – they don’t require lubrication. Secondly as they have a very hard surface they help re polish the steel races and chip out all the unwanted dirt or rust.
And lastly – they don’t rust! And as they do not rust – there is no end life to these. You can use them on and on.
Ceramic Reds uses Cerbec ceramic balls. Cerbec Ceramic is made from silicon nitride – which enhances the strength of the material.
Other than the material – most of the parts sizes are same in the Bones Reds economical and Super Reds semi premium Bearing versions. However the quality of the parts differ.
Bones Ceramics again come with the same non contact removable rubber shield and the same nylon ball retainer.
The lubricant also does not differ – being the same speed cream racing lube.
One Reds Ceramic packs include 8 bearings and the cardboard is of off white shade. No APEC ratings are mentioned.
We believe – Bones should have tagged with APEC at least for their ceramic bearings. APEC ratings make the product more trustworthy especially if they are priced high.
Bones Ceramic Red are way more costly than the previous two Bones bearings. And very economical considering other same quality branded ceramic bearings.
Bones Reds – themselves claim – that they offer “near Bones Swiss performance at a fraction of the cost”. So cost wise – you need to agree that they are cheaper but simultaneously you need to accept that these are Chinese Bearings.
Are bones ceramic bearings worth it?
Ceramic Bearings are worth on a $200+ longboard or skateboard. If you are using these high end balls to roll a $50 deck than the wood and other skate parts will not able to relate with the smoothness and the speed.
Best is to use Bones Ceramics for electric skateboards – where you are riding 25 miles per hours.
- Sophisticated 5 silicon Nitride Ceramic Balls.
- Better Steel Quality
- Facilitates higher speeds and smoother riding experience.
- The price seems 10 dollars high comparing to competitive brands.
- The rubber should be of better quality.
Dragon Bearings by Fireball are known for precision and lubrication. Fireball manufactures longboards, skateboards along with almost all accessories. They are dedicatedly into this sport and are manufacturers to some of the fastest longboard wheels too.
608 Dragon Bearings measure a precise 22mm x 7mm x 8mm and are wonderfully polished. Fireball claims you don’t need spacers and speed rings in steel and ceramic bearings both – because they are perfectly aligned.
We experimented once riding without spacers and rings and the bearings din’t roll after 3.5 months of use. Our tip is – you will need both these parts for additional prevention from friction.
Here we have linked the Ceramic Balls version by Fireball. They cost almost 40 percent less than the above reviewed Bones Ceramic Bearings!
Silicon Nitrate – an advanced ceramic material is used to make the balls. The balls are very light in weight and very strong.
What appealed us the most – was their lubrication oil. Fireball uses their own trade marked racing oil as lube.
Further – these bearings come with dual labyrinth shields for maximum lubricant retention. An added shield prevents the bearings from exposure to dust and water.
The ball cage uses – nylon – the same material as in the Reds Bones and in almost all other good longboard bearings brand.
We tried Dragon on our longboards and they were fast and ultra smooth. Enough to compete Bones, Oldboy, Zealous and other top longboard bearings brand.
You should go with the Ceramic balls – because they are very cheap. Moreover their use is not limited in skateboards or longboards. They work perfectly fine with electric skateboards roller skates, roller blades and even in inline skates.
Tip – Give the bearings a little “break in period” before they start rolling perfectly.
- Highly Lubricated.
- Precise Fit.
- Two Labyrinth Shields.
- Costs very less.
- You need spacers and speed rings.
- The steel ball bearings do not outperform in comparison to other good bearings brands.
Zealous Bearings is an economic brand – good for beginner longboarders and skateboarders. We have included this in the best longboard bearings category because of it’s large consumer base – mostly as kids, beginner and female skaters.
The brand produces two variants – steel and ceramic longboard bearings. Ceramic cost is surprising and we still don’t get it – how they are able to sell them at such a discounted rate.
Are zealous bearings good?
Bearings have precise 8mm axle holes and come with built in speed rings and spacers. They fit the trucks very well. Rings are 5mm and spacers are 4045′.
Zealous we believe is obsessed with luminescent green. The shield is distinct green rubber seal and is claimed to prevent dust, debris and water from entering in. However we found the seal to be the same as in other average longboard bearings brand and nothing exclusive.
Lubricated with Zealous Trademarked Archoil Nanoceramic Grease – the bearings roll good and don’t lose the lube soon. The grease fills out all the empty spaces and rectifies deformation if any.
The nanoceramic grease has a molecular bonding with the steel. Due to friction when the grease heats up – it hardens and fills up the space – reducing roughness and enhancing soft movement of the balls within.
Zealous further evidences their nano ceramic compound’s exclusive nature with a study. It claims that because of it (the grease compound) friction reduces tp 0.03% which creates a near frictionless surface.
The bearings are reviewed to have no corrosion inside and having an extremely low water washout – however the consumers report that the bearings corrode if used for six months straight.
Overall Zealous Longboard wheel bearings are good for beginner skateboards – costing no more than a hundred bucks. If you are opting for a heavier and a faster deck – then these will not crack in appropriately.
The bearings are good for boys and girl skateboarders and even for once a week cruiser skateboards. But don’t expect them to last an annual term on regularly used street skateboards.
- Extremely Low Price.
- Trademarked Archoil Nanoceramic Grease for Lubrication – enhances the speed and the inner movement of Bearing Balls.
- Built In Spacers and Speed Rings
- Steel is not high grade and corrodes within six months of use.
- Even the ceramic bearings by the brand are average.
- Rubber Shield is average and you will need to clean the bearings at least once every six months.
Yellow Jacket is out favourite. The premium bearings set by the brand is fast, smooth and durable. They have been featured as the best longboard bearings manufacturer on several skateboarding magazines!
The brand is marketed by NWM Innovations. And we believe Yellow Jacket is exclusively into manufacturing skateboard and longboard bearings. Dedication pays off –
Are Yellow Jacket bearings good?
Yellow Jacket Bearings are manufactured using German Technique – resulting in ultra precise shapes and fits. All their bearings are ABEC 9 rated a minimum. Some are also rated an ABEC 11!
They use premium high end steel for the production. We found the bearing almost non corrosive over a long duration of use. The steel was not prone to rusting as well.
There are a variety of Yellow Jacket Bearings – all distinguished according to unique color seals and names. Some of them are Black Bamba, Bomber Blue, Jungle Green and Tropical Orange. We believe the names are according to stinger tropical and non tropical bees.
The patented technology seals or shields are almost up to the mark. They are fit and encase the outer rings perfectly. We observed almost a 90 percent prevention of debris and dust from getting in – over a period of 8 months. And we cleaned the bearings first time after 8 months since our purchase.
Yellow Jacket Bearings does not cost much either. You get highest quality bearings in line with top brands – like the Heady Shake and the Bones Swiss at almost half of the costs. Sometimes even lower!
And the best part is their money back policy if you are not comfortable. You get a full refund and are not questioned the reason as well. This is absolutely hassle free.
The bearings are APEC 9 rated, are ultra precise, very smooth and offers a fast spin. They are wonderful for beginner skateboards and even for mediocre level riders.
We doubt their performance in electric skateboards and honestly we have never tried either. If you fix these bearings in electric decks then please share your experience with us. However they perform very well in rollerblades and inline skates.
Our complaint with Yellow Jacket is lack of Ceramic Bearings by the brand. They should launch soon as the market is gearing up for Ceramic balls over the steel rollers.
- High Quality Material and Super Precise Fit
- Comparatively Very Economic
- Competes with some of the Best Longboard Bearings Brands
- Patented High Quality Shields
- Enhances Top Speeds
- No Ceramic Versions available.
- Only available on Amazon. You will not get Yellow Jacket Bearings easily – on other online platforms and neither in off line skateboard accessory stores.
- We doubt their performance on Motorized Longboards and Skates.
Heady Shake is another famous and equally quality bearings brand. It shares the position with Swiss Reds and Yellow Jackets.
Heady Shake Bearings have a more classy look. This is their stand out marketing technique. The bearings are available in Darkside Black Jettison color and Jackpot Mode white and golden lustre. Both look very attractive and are wonderfully polished.
The name heady shake is a pun – to highlight their highly stable and fit bearings – even in shaky longboard movements. They are believed to produce some of the tightly grasping rings and balls – facilitating the roughest of downhill, freeride, and dancing style longboarding. Many reviewers title them as the best bearings for longboard – however there are other good bearings – you need to look before making your final selection.
Heady Shake manufactures skateboard wheels and accessories along with bearings for skateboards, longboards, Inline Skates, Kick Scooters and even Rollers. They are the first one to initiate the production for Rad Style Longboard and Skateboard Bearings.
The one we are reviewing here is professionally built bearing set for longboards exclusively. These are ABEC 9 rated and comes with chrome steel balls resulting no corrosion and rusting.
The pro longboard pack – includes 8 608 RS bearings. It has built in spacers and speed rings. These built in parts make assembling, changing of wheels and cleaning of the bearings very easy.
As Zealous Bearings – Heady Shake claim frictionless movement of the steel balls within. At 0.003% the coefficient of friction is the lowest in the field of Tribology claimed by both the brands.
Zealous supports their claim – using Custom Nanoceramic Grease for lubrication. Heady Shake does not scientifically justify their low friction percentage value.
As Yellow Jacket – Heady Shake Bearings also come with a 100 percent return policy. However Yellow Jacket’s customer support is far more welcoming.
Ball Cage Retainer is made up of double strengthened reinforced Nylon. Other brands do not facilitate double layering. The shield however is regular rubber sealing one side of the exterior and the balls are lubed using speed formula grease.
Overall the lubrication and low friction results in a faster, smoother ride which gives you more control and high-speed spinning. Heady Shake is a great buy if you want to replace or change bearings for high end premium skateboards.
Our stand on their use in electric skateboards is still doubtful. Our complaint is same with them as with Yellow Jacket – No ceramic bearings variant.
Closing Tip – Heady Shake Bearing Oil is pretty high standard and will serve as a wonderful lubricant for all types of skateboard and longboard bearing balls.
- Classy Look and Vibrant Colors.
- Highly Stable and Durable.
- Exclusive Longboard Bearings.
- Reinforced Strong Nylon Ball Cage.
- Universally famous Bearing Oil.
- Their use in Electric Longboards Skateboards is still not experimented.
- No Ceramic Ball Bearings launched by the Brand till this date.
Oldboy is the fourth in line of good brands – producing some of the best skateboard bearings. We have introduced this brand late because it is not a dedicated bearing manufacturer like the Yellow Jacket and the Heady Shake.
Oldboy manufactures all skateboard related accessories. They even tailor hoodies, tees and even hats. The good however is you can opt between ceramic balls and chrome steel ones. Both don’t cost much.
We have reviewed Oldboy Ceramic Bearings in this post.
Are oldboy bearings good?
The 608 RS bearings consists of 7 ceramic balls made with polished glass. The dimensions are 8 x 22 x 7 (all in mm). Oldboy claims these to remain compactly fitted even when riding slalom or cruising up hill because they are totally tubular.
The balls and the overall bearing – is heavily lubricated. Extra lube prevents the balls from friction caused inside the nylon cage. It (lubrication) also extends between the cage and the inner rings to reduce more friction.
Oldboy bearings have the common nylon ball retainer and a good – near to best rubber shield. They could have done better with the ball cage though!
We tried the bearings and they perform very good. The ride quality and the speed greatly enhances after the bearings break up. The bearings roll in quite smooth and silent.
These ceramic longboard bearings are priced economically too. You can buy two at the price of one Bones Ceramic Reds pack.
Oldboy too offers 100 percent money back guarantee. The process however is a bit awkward. You have to print an amazon return label and then mail it back to Oldboy service centres and shops.
The bearings are a perfect fit for longboards, skateboards, Inline Skates and Rollers and even for scooters. They come in a pyramid box – marketed as power box (we don’t know why they term it such).
Honestly Oldboy has an upper hand over Heady Shake and Yellow Jacket because of ceramic ball bearings. The above two brands are dedicatedly making chrome steel versions. In the ceramic economic range Oldboy deserves to be the best longboard bearings title.
Ceramic does not rust, nor gets damaged from dust and water. This makes it a perfect longboard bearing material opted by most of the skaters. However this added benefit is for all ceramic bearings and not just for Oldboy.
One good thing your purchase does is helping the disadvantaged youth. 5 percent of Oldboys profits is utilised in their welfare.
- Priced Economically.
- Heavily Lubricated.
- Ceramic Balls in comparison to Yellow Jacket and Heady Shake.
- The ball cage retainer could have been better.
- The money back policy is not at par in comparison to other competing brands.
Bones Swiss is the most reputed bearing brand in the market. They are the gold of bearings and no doubt cost likewise, Bones is one of the oldest manufacturer in the longboard skateboard bearings industry. They are in the business since 1981.
Are Bones Swiss bearings better than reds?
We already reviewed three Bones Reds bearings at the beginning of this post. Bones Swiss are also Bones Product – the difference however is these are made in Switzerland while the Reds are mass manufactured in China.
Bones Swiss trademarks the company’s original premium line of bearings. Later they started their economic variant by the name Bones Reds.
Bones Swiss is a 100 times better than Reds. They are a world apart. The ceramic balls are lighter and harder in compared to Reds Ceramic Bearings. Swiss ones are more durable and very fast. Swiss and Reds are a world apart!
Are Bones Swiss worth it?
Bones Swiss has steel and ceramic bearings. We are reviewing the Ceramic Balls high end – costly set.
The set comes with 8 premium waterproof skateboard bearings along with four spacers. You need to buy speed rings additionally.
Ball cage is made up of high grade nylon retainers. The balls compactly fit in – and freely rotate. The bearing exterior is enclosed with a rubber shield. However the rubber was found to be almost similar as in Ceramic Reds.
The lubrication is same in all Bones products – Reds and Swiss. However the speed cream lube is filled to brim in the Swiss version resulting in optimum smoothness and a nearly friction less roll.
No Bones Bearings are rated by ABEC. Swiss models are also Skate Rated – their own tolerance measuring grade. But overall the Ceramic variant (and Steel) are very precise. We doubt even a thing hair strand can penetrate.
Bones Swiss comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. But you are not going to get a refund if the defect is caused because of your riding style.
Overall the bearings are a cake. We installed these in one of our premium motorized longboards and the bearings resulted in a smoother, quieter and a very fast skating experience.
Swiss Bones are costly. You will get ceramic bearings from Oldboy, Sector 9 and Blue Andale in one third or a maximum in half the price. However they have quality and precision. And more importantly they last long with a minimal to no servicing and cleaning required.
Bones Ceramic Swiss Bearings are only for very fast skateboards/longboards – clocking above 25 mph. You cannot expect to break these ones in a below $100 skateboard as the bearings themselves cost more than a hundred!
- Bearings for Professional Skateboarders and Racers.
- Facilitates Smooth, Fast and Noiseless Riding Experience.
- Are very precise and have all the quality parts installed.
- Nearly no competition in terms of high grade quality.
- Very Expensive. You can buy 3 Ceramic Bearing set from other brand at the cost of one Swiss Bones Ceramic.
- Young and Casual Skaters will not be able to use the bearings to their optimum.
Bronson Speed Co Raw Longboard Skateboard Bearings
The last one we are reviewing in this post comes from Bronson Speed Co. The reason we are listing these in the end – is – them being Raw Bearings.
What are Raw Bearings?
Raw Bearings are open and don’t have any shield – no rubber no plastic so that you can open and clean the balls and the rings inside whenever you want. Premium good quality Raw Bearings have a special lubrication applied to the walls of the rings and cage. The coating further prevents the accumulation of dirt and debris and also limits friction.
Are Bronson raw bearings good? And are they for you?
In the Raw market – Bronson Speed Co manufactures some of the best bearings for longboards. They are polished to the finest details and look very fresh. Every single piece is manually inspected.
These bearings are washed 3 times with an ultrasonic chemical which makes sure no rust or dust can make way inside. They are then packed in nitrogen filled oxygen less bags – to minimise rusting to almost zero.
Bronson makes sure that they reach you super packed before final installation in the trunks. Then they are left raw – in the open.
Balls cage is extra strong nylon filled with fiberglass and balls are steel. However all the Bronson’s magic lies in their tungsten film.
The chemical coat (film) is further enhanced with some additive oils. The film does not let the dust and water in and simultaneously does not let the lubrication out.
The coating has a very long life and eliminates most of the friction – making the bearings rolling very smooth and very fast.
Raw bearings make noise. If you like to listen to the sound of your speed or want viewers watch your skateboarding style = then we present you Bronsons.
Bronson Speed Raw Bearings are a once in a lifetime try if you have always used Ceramics or Reds. However there are skateboarders who prefer riding only with raw bearings. No noise skating makes them sick.
- Easy to Open and Clean.
- No Rubber shield makes the speed faster.
- Tungsten Coating makes the bearings rust and dust free.
- Are Durable – will last an year easily.
- Bearings are not soundproof. Decide for yourself whether this is good or bad for you.
- Small pebbles are reported to ruin the surface.
- Needs regular cleaning and maintenance.
What are the fastest bearings for longboards?
Bearings are most important for speed of any skateboard or longboard. A fast skateboard is fast because of high rotating balls inside the bearings.
Below we have listed some of the fastest bearings for longboards. If you are looking for fast skating then check these out. On a caution note – if you are riding fast then carry along all the protection equipment. Better be safe than sorry.
Bones Ceramic Swiss Bearings – the one reviewed shortly are the fastest and the best longboard bearings for speed. They are the ones used in some of the fastest electric skateboards – clocking more than 30 – 35 mph!
Oust Bearings developed by Oust in California are known to be the best and fast in the world.
Kweni Ceramic premium range with ABEC 11 tolerance bearings are also known to support real high speeds. Don’t look out for the steel Kweni ones. They are not the fastest longboard bearings like the ceramic counterparts.
How to achieve high speeds with chrome steel bearings?
If you want to achieve greater speeds on chrome or ceramic bearings – then there is only one way which surely works. Keep the bearings clean.
Cleaner balls in the ring – rotate much faster. And it is not just balls which will affect the speed. The rings, cage retainer and even the shield if dirty – will not break the bearing fast and hence will not result in desired speeds.
Try to clean the bearing once every six months if you have bought the premium ones like the Bones Swiss or the Red Ceramics. For chrome balls – you need to do this every quarter of the year. If you are used to raw bearings than once in a month – sometimes even twice. This will result in some of the fastest longboard bearings for your wheels.
What are the smoothest bearings?
Yellow Jacket and Heady Shake – both the brands manufacture some of the smoothest longboard skateboard bearings. Although chrome steel – they give a noiseless creamy skateboarding experience.
If you want an even better and smoother ride – then replace the steel with the lighter ceramic ones.
Ceramic Bearings are the smoothest. There is minimal friction as they role and there is no corrosion or rusting-oxidation issues. These factors make the ceramics favourable.
We used NEAL Ceramic Swiss Titanium last year in one of our electric skateboards – and they were great. Almost as smooth as Bones Swiss – and costing just one third!
Bones Ceramic Swiss – are again the best and the smoothest of all ceramic bearings. They roll faster, make no noise and are waterproof skateboard bearings (not 100%).
What are the best longboard bearings – Longboard Bearing Guide
If you want one answer and not 10 options to further avoid confusion then these are the best ones from each category. Select the category in which you fit in – and order the one linked.
Overall Best Longboard Bearings for Cruising and Street – Ceramic – Bones Ceramic Swiss
Overall Best Longboard Wheel Bearings – Steel – Yellow Jacket Stingers
Overall Best Longboard Wheel Bearings – Cheap – Wellgo 608
Are ceramic bearings worth it longboard?
Ceramic Bearings are totally worth it for longboards. They are quieter, smoother, faster and more durable.
Although they cost more than steel bearings – eventually you even out on them. You need to replace average steel ones – once every year – may be twice too on prolonged use. With ceramics – you can use your board righrously without changing the bearings at least for 16 – 18 months.
Less maintenance of ceramic bearings is another factor – which makes them a great skateboard equipment.
However deploy these only on premium longboards and skateboards. Don’t buy a 50 dollar ceramic bearing for a 40 dollar deck. Likewise dont buy a 20 dollar steel bearing for a $100 – $150+ longboard.
For electric longboards – you need to necessarily go with ceramic ones. Steel although performs well – but the experience is not satisfactory.
Are ABEC 5 bearings good for longboards?
Tired of deciding which ABEC ratings are best for your longboards and skateboards? In this section we will discuss all you want to learn about ABEC.
ABEC ratings adapted by the skateboarding community was initially designed to measure the tolerance in industrial bearings. The regulating body for bearing standards is called “Annular Bearing Engineering Committee” and from there comes the initials ABEC.
Note – Industrial bearings are not what your longboards and skateboards use. They are used in heavy machines and cutting tools! A deck of a longboard is too too light to be fitted by such heavy bearings!
Now what is Tolerance?
Tolerance measures how precisely bearing parts fit together. A very precise fit will ensure no dust and foreign material can intrude and hence will make the bearing more smooth, durable and efficient.
And this is what 1 – 9 ABEC numbers are about. Usually higher tolerance bearings use good quality lubricants and bearing material. However they are quite expensive comparatively.
And now to your base question – Are ABEC 5 bearings good for longboards?
ABEC 5 (and even ABEC 4) are the best and most appropriate ones for longboards and skateboards. They are considered semi premium. They will cost a little but eventually your merchandise will pay off.
ABEC 3 and below are cheap longboard bearings. Most of the Walmart and bulk produced longboards come equipped with these.
They work well with street and kids skateboards and will give you a semi smooth rolling experience. In comparison to ABEC 5 – these costs nearly half – sometimes even lesser!
Is ABEC 7 or 9 better?
For faster and smoother skateboarding and longboarding experience you need ABEC 7, 8 and 9. These are the premium ones, costing nearly 4 times than ABEC 3.
They have very high tolerance levels and comes equipped only in some of the best and the fastest skateboards and longboards. Mostly Electric!
They are the best investment too. You will seldom need to replace an ABEC 8 or 9. The most you will need is cleaning these bearings once before the springs.
However for buying purpose – we recommend you – getting an ABEC 5 bearing. You get desired on road and off road speeds at a reasonable cost.
Cheap Longboard Bearings
If you are looking for economic cheap longboard bearings – then make sure that they don’t affect other skateboard parts.
Bearings alter and impact the trunks and wheels a lot. And very cheap bearings might not last long and simultaneously impact your skateboard or longboard negatively.
To avoid these – we have below linked some of the safest cheapest longboard bearings. These are highly reputed ones – yet they will not loosen your pocket strings.
esKape is Abec-9 rated 608-RS Longboard Bearings which lie in less than 10 dollars range. The only drawback – they come with plastic steel shields in comparison to regular rubber ones.
Better than the esKape are Wellgo 608-Skateboard Bearings. These cost almost the same however comes with double rubber sealed shields.
And the last is the cheapest. TRIXES Bearings cost the same as the above two – however comes in a pack of 16! That is double the bearings in the same dollars.
Analyzing the Make of Some of the Best Longboard Bearings
Longboard wheels and Bearings are the most crucial and simultaneously delicate skateboard equipment.
Let’s analyse the make of standard good longboard bearings – which makes them distinguished from the cheaper versions. We will move from the exterior of the bearing – looking at the parts one by one – reaching all the way inside.
A not cheap – standard longboard bearing consists of a shield – which acts as a protective barrier against dust, small pebbles, and water. Generally a plastic shield is more than enough, However some heavy ceramic bearings come with steel shields.
Some longboarders and skateboarders prefer removing the shield from the bearings all together. This enhances frequent and better cleaning of the inner parts. However in the very first place a bearing without a shield – will get filthy faster. Our opinion is that you should leave the shield intact above the bearing.
Inside the shield is the outer ring, the balls cage and the inner shorter ring. The outer and the inner ring is to keep the ball cage inside safe and moving. The rings further protect and prevent the cage from colliding with the shield.
608 bearings ball cage – generally has 7 balls. All steel ones (or ceramic or chromium steel ones), and heavily lubricated, These are the heart of the bearings.
Recently some of the famous bearings brands are opting for six balls against the traditional sevens. Bones Super Swiss 6 Skateboard Bearings and Hard Luck Six Ball Bearings both feature six larger in diameter balls.
An all in one skateboard bearing pack will include a spacer and two speed rings. Longboard Bearings – all in one or not – have prerequisite spacers
Spacer is an additional bearing part – placed between two bearings – to maintain parallel distancing of the bearings from each other so that the bearing balls move perfectly round and align.
Another reason – the spacer further protects the inner rings as the core of the wheel is only casing the outer ring.
Speed Rings are attached on the trucks of a wheel at each end of the two bearings. Primarily they lower friction between the bearings and the hangers and bearings and the nuts.
Both Spacer and Speed Rings are to maintain bearing health and to lower the tension on the bearings.
Read our guide on how to change longboard bearings – for smoothly fitting in your new set.