Guide to roller and inline skate bearings 2023
Roller skates and inline skates require bearings as a crucial component to ensure a smooth roll and maintain speed. These bearings are composed of various vital parts, such as an inner and outer ring, a set of balls or rollers, and a cage that evenly spaces them. By reducing friction, the balls or rollers within the bearings enable the wheels to rotate effortlessly and with minimal resistance.
The ABEC system rates bearings for precision and performance from ABEC-1 to ABEC-9, but a higher rating doesn't guarantee smoothness or longevity, as materials and lubrication also affect performance. Skate bearings now commonly use the ILQ rating, which measures factors like speed, durability, and precision. ILQ bearings are rated 1 to 9, with higher numbers representing better performance.
Selecting the appropriate bearings for your inline or roller skates is crucial. Opt for high-quality bearings that deliver a smooth and consistent roll while taking into account your skating style. While the ABEC or ILQ rating can help, other factors such as the bearing's materials, lubrication, and overall construction quality should also be considered.
There are also other factors to consider when choosing bearings, such as the material they're made of, the lubrication they use, and the shields or seals that protect them from dirt and debris.
Lets talk about Ceramic bearings: Ceramic bearings are often known as the best option for roller skating because they're lightweight, durable, and can spin faster than steel bearings. However, they're also more expensive and may not make a noticeable difference for casual skaters.
Swiss bearings are a type of roller skate bearing that are known for their high quality and precision. They are typically made with high-grade steel balls and races, and are often constructed with a tighter tolerance than other bearings. Swiss bearings are designed to handle high speeds and perform well under heavy loads. They are also known for their smooth and consistent roll, which is important for skaters who need to maintain speed and control.
In terms of the ABEC rating system, Swiss bearings often fall within the ABEC-7 or ABEC-9 range, which indicates a high level of precision and performance. However, it's worth noting that the ABEC rating is not the only indicator of bearing quality, and there are other factors that can impact a bearing's performance, such as the materials used and the level of lubrication.
Overall, Swiss bearings are a popular choice among serious skaters who are looking for a high-quality, reliable bearing that can handle the demands of their sport. However, they are also typically more expensive than other bearings, so they may not be necessary for casual skaters who are not looking to maximize their performance.
Proper maintenance: It's important to maintain your bearings by cleaning them regularly and adding lubrication as needed. You can do this by removing the shields or seals and using a solvent to remove dirt and debris, then adding a drop or two of lubricant to the balls or rollers.
We can say, it’s worth investing in good quality bearings if you're a serious skater, as they can make a big difference in your performance and overall skating experience. However, even budget bearings can work well if they're maintained properly.
Best bearings for roller and inline skates
The best bearings for skates are those that offer a smooth, consistent roll, are durable, and are easy to maintain. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Bones Swiss: Bones Swiss bearings are often considered the gold standard for inline skate bearings. They are made with high-quality materials, including high-grade steel balls and races, and feature a tight tolerance for maximum precision and performance.
- SKF bearings: SKF bearings are known for their high quality and durability. They are often used in industrial applications and can handle heavy loads and high speeds. They are also resistant to dirt and debris, which makes them a good choice for outdoor skating.
- TwinCam bearings: TwinCam bearings are designed specifically for inline skating and are known for their smooth and consistent roll. They feature a unique design that allows the balls to roll freely and evenly, which can help reduce friction and improve speed. Mostly known for ILQ as a patented standard, but also produce the usual ABEC.
- ILQ bearings (standard, not a brand): ILQ bearings are made by the popular skate brand Twincam and are a popular choice for recreational and fitness skaters. They are affordable, durable, and offer a smooth roll. They have 6 balls instead of 7 in Abec.
- FR Skates bearings: their MW9 and MW Titalium bearings are really great. Actually MW it's the same as ILQ and made by Twincam.
- Micro skate bearings: Their best model is Micro Twincam ILQ9 Pro made by Twincam either. They have many own budget models such as Micro Pro Slalom 9 and standard Micro Abec7.
- BSB bearings: known brand with their real SWISS quality. Actually, best quality ABEC (standard) bearings that we know. I prefer their Abec7 and Abec9, while the BSB Swiss is one of the best(though can't be found in 2023).
Here are some other popular options for bearings:
- Kwik bearings: Kwik bearings are a popular choice among roller derby skaters. They are known for their precision and speed, and are designed to handle the intense demands of the sport.
- Bones Reds: Bones Reds bearings are a more affordable option from the same company that makes Bones Swiss bearings. They offer a smooth roll and are a popular choice among beginner and intermediate skaters.
- Bronson Speed Co. bearings: Bronson Speed Co. bearings are a newer player in the skate bearing market, but they have quickly gained a following among skaters. They are known for their speed and durability, and are a popular choice among street and park skaters.
Ultimately, the best bearings for inline skates and roller skates will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're a serious skater looking for maximum performance, investing in high-quality bearings like Bones Swiss or SKF may be worth the extra cost. However, if you're a more casual skater, a more affordable option like TwinCam or ILQ bearings may be a better choice.
Bearing sizes can differ, the following information is to help understand the bearing sizes for roller skates:
The bearing size for roller skates is typically standardized and is known as 608 size bearings. The 608 size bearing is 22mm in diameter, 7mm wide, and has an 8mm bore (inner diameter). This is the most common size for roller skate bearings and is used by most skate manufacturers. Actually, all bearings on our website are them as they fit all modern wheels for inline skates nowadays.
It's important to note that while 608 size bearings are the most common, not all bearings are created equal. The quality of the materials used, the level of precision in the manufacturing process, and the type of lubrication used can all impact a bearing's performance. When choosing bearings for your roller skates, it's important to consider the specific needs of your skating style and invest in high-quality bearings that will provide a smooth and consistent roll.
How to remove bearings from roller and inline skate wheels
The following are some steps to help you remove bearings from roller skates or inline skates:
- Remove the wheels: Use a skate tool or wrench to remove the axle nut and washer from each wheel. Pull the wheel off the axle.
- Remove the bearings: There are several methods to remove bearings from skate wheels. One common method is to use a bearing press or bearing tool to push the bearings out of the wheel. Another method is to use the axle itself to push the bearing out of the wheel. To do this, place the wheel on the axle, with the bearing facing outward. Use your fingers to hold the opposite side of the wheel in place, then push down on the axle to push the bearing out of the wheel.
- Clean the bearings: Once the bearings are removed, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe away any dirt or debris. If the bearings are particularly dirty or rusty, you may need to soak them in a cleaning solution or use a specialized bearing cleaner.
- Inspect the bearings: Take a close look at each bearing to check for any damage or wear. If the bearings are damaged, they will need to be replaced.
- Reassemble the skates: Once the bearings are cleaned and inspected, you can reassemble your skates. Insert the bearings back into the wheels, making sure they are properly seated. Place the wheel back on the axle and tighten the nut and washer until the wheel is secure.
Overall, removing and replacing bearings from roller skates or inline skates is a relatively simple process, but it's important to take your time and be careful not to damage the bearings or your skate wheels in the process.