What is a skateboard bearing?

Skateboard bearings are the circular metal pieces that goes inside of the wheel that is necessary for attaching the wheel to the trucks and keeping the wheels rotating smoothly. Although wheels have a wide range of sizes, skateboard bearings are universal and will fit any skateboard wheel carried by TGM Skateboards. With an outer diameter of 22mm, inner diameter of 8mm, and width of 7mm.

A set of skateboard bearings is eight bearings. That is because each skateboard has four wheels, and each wheel gets two bearings (one on each side).

To see what bearings we have in stock, click here

What bearings are right for me?

There is no “best” bearing. There are different grades of bearings for people with different budgets and desired results. Here is a breakdown of the most common terminology used for bearings.

ABEC Rating System: The ABEC rating of a bearing is used to determine the precision and tolerance of the bearing. It includes grades: ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, and ABEC 9. The higher the ABEC rating, the higher the precision. High precision bearings are necessary for functioning at high speeds. ABEC 5 is the most popular for casual speed skating and performing tricks. For someone who is looking to use the board for cruising, commuting and hitting high speeds,  ABEC 7 and ABEC 9 is what you are going to want. 

Ceramic Bearings: The term ceramic refers to the balls that are located inside of the bearings. Ceramic bearing balls are lighter, faster, and do not rust compared to steel balls (standard bearing balls).   These are a great choice for someone who is looking to get more distance for less push. The higher quality does add to the price tag, but they are faster and last longer. Ceramic Bearings occasionally follow the ABEC rating system, but sometimes exist outside of it.

Swiss Bearings: Like the name alludes, these bearings are made in Switzerland. These bearings have high precision and are engineered to function at high speeds. This is a great choice for someone looking for a fast and long lasting bearing. Great for performing at high speeds, downhill, and racing.

Skate Rated: This is the rating system for the Bones branded bearings. Bones found that bearings of the same ABEC rating can have 2 different qualities. This system was made to differentiate the quality of 2 bearings with the same ABEC rating. Thus creating the REDS and SUPER REDS.



How does a bearing work? 

Pt.1 –The Bearing

Understanding how a skateboard bearing works will help you understand why there are different ratings of bearings, and how you get your bearings to last longer.

Shield: A round flat shield that goes on the side of the bearing that prevents dirt from getting into the ball groove. It also helps keep the lubrication on the balls and in the groove. Usually nylon, but sometimes made of metal.

Outer Race: The round metal ring that the other parts fit into. It has a groove on the inside to help guide the balls on their rotation. This is the part that attaches the bearing to the wheel.

Inner Race: The smaller round metal ring that has a groove on the outside to guide the balls on their rotation. This is the part that attaches the bearing to the axle of the truck.

Balls: The internal balls that keep the bearings rotating. There can be 6-8 balls but the most common amount is 7. The balls are typically made of steel, but can also be Titanium or Ceramic. Ceramic bearing balls are the premium choice, but cost a bit more.

Retainer: The internal ring that retains the balls the appropriate distance from each other. This allows the balls to stay in place, while allowing the rest of the bearing to rotate.




How does a bearing work?

Pt. 2 – Spacers and speed washers

In order to keep a bearing rotating smoothly it will require a speed washer for each bearing (2 per wheel).

Speed washers: The small metal washers that keep the bearing from making direct contact with the axle nut and with the hanger.  Speed washers are almost always included with a set of trucks on the axle. You need one in between the axle nut and the outer bearing, and the other in between the inner bearing and the hanger. This prevent the bearing from rubbing up against anything and keeps the bearing rotating properly.

Bearing Spacers (Optional): The metal cylinder that fits around the axle in between bearings to help reduce the weight distributed to each bearing. This helps increase the lifespan of as bearing and helps it function better. However, the wheels & bearings can function perfectly fine without these. Note that some wheels have thinner cores than others, and are too thin for spacers to fit inside.