A longboard ball bearing is one of the most important components of a longboard. It’s critical for driving smoothly, and to get the best out of your board, you should make sure that you buy the Best Longboard Bearings.
Because they use better quality bearings, you see, Best Longboards usually have better quality bearings. The Best Electric Longboard is no exception.
The longboard ball bearing is one of the most important components of the longboard, along with the longboard deck, the wheels and the board trucks. It’s critical to driving smoothly. The “Bearings”, as they are also called, are installed on the axis of the rollers and are responsible for good driving performance.
This Ultimate Guide to the Best Longboard Bearings should give you tips on choosing good ball bearings. You will also learn how to install, change and care for them correctly!
What's in it?
- Longboard Bearings – Structure and Components:
- What is the ABEC value?
- What should you look out for when buying The Best Longboard Bearings?
- ## What does the best longboard bearings cost?
- Best care for your best longboard Bearings!
- How to Clean your Best Longboard Bearings?
- The step by step instructions for cleaning longboard ball bearings
- How to change your longboard bearings:
- What do you need to be able to change your longboard bearings?
- This is how you can easily remove your ball bearing.
- The installation of the ball bearings
Longboard Bearings – Structure and Components:
High-quality longboard ball bearings consist of several components. As a rule, ball bearings are made of steel or ceramic. Steel bearings are cheap and the most common.
If there is high friction between the axle and the roller, the metal can heat up so much that it deforms. This friction is lower with ceramics, which is why ceramic bearings are usually significantly more expensive.
Number of balls:
Standard Bearings contain 7 balls. However, some models are equipped with 6 balls. The number of balls is decisive for the speed and longevity of the bearings.
With the 6-ball variant, there is less friction. This allows you to achieve higher speeds with less wear and tear at the same time.
Open or closed:
Longboard ball bearings are available in different designs. A distinction is made between bearings that are closed (on both sides) and open (or one-sidedly closed). Certain markings can recognize the type of execution:
Z: bearing closed on one side
ZZ: Bearings closed on both sides
The bearings are closed with a sealing washer, also called a “shield”. Shields are usually made of either plastic or metal/sheet metal. Plastic shields are a little denser but also wear out more quickly thanks to the higher friction. Metal shields, on the other hand, last longer because they don’t drag as much.
Bearings closed on one side get dirty faster, but cleaning the longboard ball bearing is also a lot easier! In contrast, closed or sealed bearings on both sides are relatively dust-tight and require less maintenance. But when the time comes, they are a lot harder to clean.
Another important part of a longboard ball bearing is the spacers. These are small metal sleeves that are placed between the 2 bearings of a roller on the axle. Again, it is your responsibility to protect the ball bearings. They prevent the inner ring of the bearing from being pushed out when the board is tilted sharply (e.g. when sliding).
Which spacer is right for the ball bearing of your board depends on the diameter of the axle pin. The standard for spacers is 10mm. They are also available in 8 and 12mm versions.
Speed rings are used to prevent the ball bearings from grinding. This reduces wear and tear and enables higher speeds.
Speed rings are attached between the outer ball bearing and the axle nut and between the axle and the inner ball bearing. So it would be best if you had 4-speed rings.
What is the ABEC value?
ABEC is the abbreviation for “Annular Bearing Engineering Committee”. The whole thing is a kind of evaluation system for manufacturing tolerances of a ball bearing. The rating is determined in the form of the ABEC value. The values vary from ABEC3 to ABEC 11.
The higher the ABEC value, the lower the manufacturing tolerances. Ultimately, the value describes how precisely and with what error rate the ball bearings were manufactured. ABEC 9 longboard bearings, for example, are much more precisely produced than ABEC 3 models. But the production is a lot more expensive.
But beware! The ABEC value only refers to the manufacturing process of the bearings. On the other hand, it does not make any statements about the quality of the components used, lubricant, seal, etc. A high ABEC value means high processing and a very smooth surface. Therefore, a poorly lubricated and sealed ball bearing made of inferior material can theoretically still achieve a high ABEC value.
What should you look out for when buying The Best Longboard Bearings?
The ball bearing is crucial for the riding performance of your longboard and should therefore not be bought blindly. However, it would be best to consider a few things to find the best longboard ball bearing for you.
The high-quality material ensures a high level of driving pleasure:
The material of your ball bearing should be of high quality—either steel or ceramic. Steel is standard in longboard bearings. If you are someone who pokes around a bit in the summer, that should be enough.
On the other hand, if you stand on the board more often, you should think about a ceramic ball bearing. They have some advantages. On the one hand, they are more heat-resistant, more durable and easier to care for. In addition, they are far less sensitive to moisture than steel bearings. They have less friction and therefore make you roll faster.
The big disadvantage is, of course, the price. Ceramic bearings are very expensive, so they are less profitable for casual riders and longboard beginners. Quality has its price!
Pay attention to the diameter of the axle pins:
Before buying the bearings, you should check the diameter of your axles. Mostly the axle pin diameter is 8 or 10mm. The axle pin diameter is also important for choosing the spacer.
6 or 7 balls?:
As mentioned above, a ball bearing consists of 7 balls as standard, but there are also models with 6 balls. The 6-ball variant enables higher speeds. Therefore, if speed is more important to you when longboarding, you should choose a longboard ball bearing with 6 balls!
The clearance of your bearings is crucial:
The bearing clearance of your longboard is an important quality criterion. The lower the bearing clearance, the higher the quality of the longboard ball bearing. But what is the bearing game anyway?
To do this, simply take the inner ring of the ball bearing between your thumb and forefinger and try to tilt it against the outer ring. This shows you how much “leeway” your bearing has.
Choice of shields:
You should also think about the material of the covers of the bearings. That decides how much time you will have to invest in maintaining the bearings later.
Plastic shields are denser but provide more friction and thus prevent top speeds. You are faster on the road thanks to less friction, but you need more maintenance with metal shields. Here you have to decide for yourself what is more important to you.
Don’t Take ABEC too seriously!
The ABEC value can be used as a rough guide when making a purchase decision. However, too much importance should not be attached to the value. For example, it does not provide information about the quality of the bearing itself but only about the quality of the manufacturing process.
A longboard ball bearing made from inferior materials could also achieve a high APEC value.
## What does the best longboard bearings cost?
The price, quality and brand define a Best Longboard Bearings. The best longboard bearings can range from $20 to $100 or more for a single unit.
You should make sure you are getting what you pay for in terms of performance as well as being affordable! For example, A top-rated Best Longboard Bearings could typically cost around $40 -$80, which offers good value for money.
Best care for your best longboard Bearings!
In order to keep your bearings in good working order for as long as possible, proper maintenance should be carried out. You should clean your longboard bearings regularly. After cleaning, you should make sure that it is adequately lubricated.
A well-lubricated ball bearing reduces friction and therefore wear. So if you lubricate your ball bearing regularly, you will enjoy it for a long time!
The best way to lubricate is to use oils or fats. If you lubricate your bearing with oil, it will make your board faster. In addition, they are then a little more dirt and water repellent. However, oiling the longboard ball bearings is more often necessary.
Water is one of the greatest enemies of your ball bearings. Once they get wet, you should dry them off as soon as possible. Ball bearings rust very quickly and can then no longer be used. Then you have to change your longboard bearings.
How to Clean your Best Longboard Bearings?
The following section will provide you with the most important information and step-by-step instructions for cleaning your best longboard bearings.
You need the right tools to get your ball bearing sparkling clean again. You will need the following materials to clean your longboard ball bearing:
- Cleaning/washing-up liquid
- Bowl / large glass
- Small brush or toothbrush
- Paper towels or a lint-free cloth
- Ball bearings oil or Bearings Speed Cream
The step by step instructions for cleaning longboard ball bearings
- Remove the ball bearing.
So that you can clean your longboard ball bearing, you first have to remove it from the rollers. To do this, you should first remove the 4 rollers from the axles with the help of a suitable wrench. Next, remove the bearings from the rollers. The small piece of metal in the middle of the bearings is the so-called spacer. In order to get the ball bearings out of the rollers, you press lightly on the spacer and the ball bearings at the same time. Be very careful when doing this, as the ball bearings are very sensitive to pressure!
- Clean rollers and axle
The first step to cleaning your longboard should be removing dirt that has been collected on the axle and wheels. You don’t want to mount the clean ball bearings directly on dirt, do you?
- Clean the outside of the ball bearing
Then you first clean the outside of the ball bearings and remove superficial dust and dirt. Use the toothbrush and some water for this. Now check whether the ball bearings are open or closed. You can only clean open ones inside. This also tends to work with closed ones, but more on that in the next step.
- Open the ball bearing.
If the ball bearing is clean on the outside, you should now dismantle your ball bearing to clean everything. Basically, this only works with an open ball bearing. Use a pointed object (needle or similar) to remove the sealing washer from the bearing. Ball bearings often also have a locking ring or C-shaped locking cap that sits over the sealing washer. Of course, you have to remove this as well.
Clean the locking ring and sealing the washer again with water and a brush.
Opening closed bearings are more difficult. If you want to clean your longboard ball bearings thoroughly, this is essential. In the case of closed bearings, the bearing cover must be removed by first breaking open the sealing caps. You have to remember that you will not be able to close the bearing anymore! However, it is cheaper to leave the warehouse open in most cases instead of buying new ones.
- Clean longboard ball bearings
Now fill your bowl or another container with water and add some washing-up liquid. Then, put your ball bearing in the container and let the dirt “soften” for a few minutes. Then you clean them thoroughly with the brush.
If you are satisfied with your work, check again whether everything is really clean. To do this, hold the inner ring with your thumb and twist the outer ring with your index finger. The ball bearing should now turn easily and without problems. If this is not the case, dirt is still blocking somewhere. Then repeat step 5 until everything is clean.
Then remove the remnants of the cleaning agent with water and dry the bearing with the help of paper towels and a hairdryer.
- Lubricate the bearings
Once the ball bearing is dry, it’s time to lubricate. To do this, take a few drops of oil or speed cream and drip it onto your ball bearing. Less is more here, as spilled oil only attracts dust and dirt! WD 40 oil or sewing machine oil, on the other hand, is very good! Then you distribute the lubricant by turning the ball bearing.
- Reassemble the bearings and put them back into the rollers
Finally, put the sealing washers and, if necessary, sealing caps back onto the ball bearings. Now mount the clean ball bearings back into the rollers (don’t forget the spacers!) And the rollers back onto the longboard trucks. That’s it!
Cleaning the longboard ball bearings should therefore be part of your regular duties! Then you will have fun with your ball bearings for a long time. How often you should clean your longboard’s bearings is difficult to say.
It is best to always immediately afterwards when you have been out in the field or on dirty roads.
How to change your longboard bearings:
If cleaning the longboard ball bearing could no longer save your bearings, or if you simply want to use new, better bearings – then you have to change your longboard ball bearing.
The following section should help you even as a longboard beginner when removing and installing the ball bearings.
What do you need to be able to change your longboard bearings?
Basically, not much. On the one hand, of course, the new ball bearings, 2 per wheel (inside and outside) make 8 ball bearings. On the other hand, as far as the tool is concerned, a T-Tool is enough. A T-Tool is a special wrench especially for skate and longboards that are available for little money. This makes changing longboard ball bearings a casual affair. If necessary, a normal screwdriver will do the job.
This is how you can easily remove your ball bearing.
Before you can change your longboard bearings, you have to remove the old one, of course. It works like this:
First, you remove the axle nut from the wheel with the help of the T- Tool. You will then discover the speed ring, which you will also remove. Important: You will need this ring again later, so put it safely to one side!
You should now be able to remove the bike, including the ball bearings, from the longboard. The first ball bearing you should now already been able to remove. Your next step is to remove the spacer (located on the axle between the two ball bearings) and put it safely stowed with the speedring.
Finally, remove the second ball bearing by turning the axle slightly and push the ball bearing out of the roller. You also remove the second speed ring and place it separately.
Now repeat that for the other wheels.
The installation of the ball bearings
The installation of the bearings is also pretty easy. You should only pay attention to the correct order when installing. The order looks like this:
- Inner ball bearing
- First speed ring
- External ball bearing
- Second speed ring
- Axle nut
Before you start reinstalling, you should first clarify whether you have ball bearings closed on one side or both sides.
If you have ball bearings that are closed on one side, the open side goes into the inside of the roller. This means that your ball bearing is better protected from dirt. It does not matter if it is closed on both sides.
So, now it’s time to install. First, you push the first ball bearing into the inner side of the roller. Then you take one of the speed rings, slide it onto the axle, and then mount the roller with ball bearings. Then the spacer is added. The second ball bearing is now pushed into the outside of the roller. Finally, the second speed ring and the axle nut, which you then tighten with the T-Tool. Not too tight though, the rollers should run smoothly.
Changing the longboard ball bearing is now complete. Then, the riding fun can begin!
The ball bearing is one of the most important parts of your longboard. The driving performance and thus your enjoyment of driving depend largely on it. When buying your longboard, you should therefore heed the quality features mentioned in this guide. Regular maintenance should also be mandatory so that the longboard ball bearing can do its job for a long time!