Many novice skaters question what do bearings for a skateboard do. Skateboards require bearings in order to operate.
- A bearing is a mechanical device which comes in varying types, which permits motion between two or more moving parts. Skateboard bearings, of the rolling ball variety, allow the skateboard to continue rolling when the skater stops pushing. These same types of bearings can be found in other devices like bicycles which continue to roll when a cycler stops pedaling. Different types and brands of skateboard bearings allow skaters to maintain the same speed or prevents the skateboard from slowing down as quickly when the skater stops pedaling.
- Skateboard bearings are found inside small metal rings that fit within the skateboard wheels. Skateboard bearings actually contain twelve smaller parts. Conventional skateboards require not one, but eight skateboard bearings to function properly. Each skateboard wheel is positioned on its axle via two bearings. Every bearing consists of an inner race, outer race, two shields and eight balls. Some skateboard bearings even include cages used to hold the balls in place. The balls are usually made out of metal and move on a the inner race’s and outer race’s tracks. The shields cover the inner moving parts of the bearings, usually with a slim sheet of metal to prevent dirt and debris from getting inside, thus slowing down deterioration. Bearing shields are removable to allow for cleaning and maintenance of the bearings.
Skateboard bearings are rated on a formal scale, the AEBC scale. The scale ranges from one to nine, but the bearings can only score odd numbers. The scale rates bearings for their precision, however the more precise the bearing, the weaker they usually perform. Most skateboarders aim for bearings which score between a three and five as these bearings are usually smooth enough to perform precisely while exhibiting enough durability. However, it is best skaters get first hand information about a particular set of bearings before purchasing. Ask a friend, a skate shop owner or someone who has tried or is at least familiar with a certain set of bearings you are interested in buying.