skateboard bearings
Each skateboard rolls on 8 skate bearings of the standardized size “608”. Two skate bearings – one on each side – are pushed into each of the four skateboard wheels.

The ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) scale was created to rate the manufacturing tolerances of precision bearings with an odd number between 1 and 9 (higher number = tighter tolerance). Tolerance is the variation from an exact measurement permitted during the manufacturing process.
However the skateboard ABEC rating only indicates the precision of a skate bearing – which is negatively correlated to it’s durability! As skateboarders are looking for precise/fast AND durable skateboarding bearings an skateboard ABEC rating of 3 or 5 is a good compromise.
Also invest in sealed skateboard bearings (so called 608 ZZ) who protect the bearings’ inner life from dust, dirt and water!

Now if you want to dig a little bit deeper into skateboard bearing science the races, shields, balls, retainers and lubricant all influence a skate bearing’s quality – so let’s have a closer look on these components:


The outer race and inner race hold the retainer and the balls in a skateboard bearing.

Shields keep the dirt out of the inner skateboard bearing and differ in steel or rubber shields and removable or non-removable. Removable rubber shields would be the best for skateboarding because they are easy to handle and you can clean the skateboard bearings. But if you want to save money you can also get yourself some good sealed skate bearings (so called 608 ZZ) with non-removable steel shields.

Balls are made either of steel or ceramic. Cheap skateboard bearings have usually soft metal balls, which flat spot by and by and make the skate bearing become noisy and slow. Ceramic balls however are harder and faster than steel balls and don’t rust – but they are also more expensive. Also skateboard bearings with 8 balls last longer than the usual 7-ball skate bearing because the impact gets more spread out.

The ball retainer – also known as cage or crown – holds and seperates the balls in a skateboard bearing. Retainers in cheap skateboarding bearings are made of metal which is quiet likely to corrode if the lubricant is used up or water got in the skateboard bearing. Good skate bearings have a so called Delrin crown: Made of highly durable nylon material and specially curved to keep the lubrication around the balls.

There are three types of lubricants:
Grease is usually used in cheap skate bearings with metal retainers. Grease at first slows a skate bearing – but when it starts to break down it becomes quiet fast and long lasting lubricant.
Oil makes the sk8 bearing spin fast right away but skateboarding bearings should be re-oiled regularly with a light synthetic oil.
New professionnel skateboard bearings are lubricated with a special synthetic gel of low viscosity which makes them spin fast and long last. Nevertheless these skateboarding bearings should be maintained regularly.

You won’t find C-clips in all skateboarding bearings. The C-Clip is a thin wire – shaped like a C – that fits into the outside perimeter of a skate bearing shield to lock it against the outer race.

A spacer is actually not part of a skateboard bearing – it is a little metal cylinder that is placed between two sk8 bearings in the middle of a wheel. The spacer saves the sk8 bearings from getting smashed in. Spacers are highly recommended if you ride soft wheels!