The question of what are the best skateboarding bearings is one that millions of extreme sports lovers the world over would like to know. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not black and white and requires further insight into the specifics of the rider, the skateboard and much more. Each rider has a different preference when it comes to how fast he or she would like to go and each skateboard is designed to work optimally with a specific type of bearings. In order to figure out what specific bearings are right for you, let’s take a look at the different kinds of bearing and the pros and cons that come with each.
ABEC 3 Bearings
These bearings are perfect for young riders and beginners as they are perhaps the slowest bearings of the bunch. These bearings are the status quo; when buying a complete skateboard, most likely it will be equipped with ABEC 3 bearings. While these may not be ideal for extreme sports riders who love to go fast, these are common, cheap and available everywhere. The bearings are not very durable when compared to higher-end models and they need periodic lubrication to remain usable. All in all, while they may not be the best skateboard bearings, they do serve a purpose and can be great to have as spares or for use with first-time skateboarders.
ABEC 5 Bearings
The ABEC 5 bearings have a good balance of speed as they are faster than the ABEC 3s but not ridiculously fast like some of the other bearings we will be reviewing. The 5s are more expensive than the 3s but are still quite affordable and easily available. Some of the higher-end complete decks include ABEC 5 bearings and this typically is a sign of a higher-quality skateboard. Most skaters prefer these due to the extra durability and increased speed when compared to the ABEC 3 bearings. These bearings can be finicky just like the cheaper 3s but are not as needy when it comes to lubrication and maintenance. Extreme sports enthusiasts may find these to be the entry point when it comes to quality bearings.
ABEC 7 Bearings
These bearings are able to compete for the title of best skateboard bearings but it will depend on you whether or not these match your skating style. ABEC 7s allow for smooth riding and a marked increase in speed when compared to the 3s and 5s. They do not require nearly as much lubrication as the ABEC 3s and substantially less than the ABEC 5s. They can be too fast for many skateboarders; imagine landing a jump and not being able to balance it because your board is moving too fast.
ABEC 9 Bearings
ABEC 9 bearings are the best skateboard bearings available in terms of speed and durability. The smoothness of the bearings allow for the phenomenally fast speeds that can be achieved with relative ease. Even the most intense extreme sports thrill seekers may find these to be too much for them in terms of speed. ABEC 9s are far more impervious to water than the others on this list and rarely, if ever, will they need to be lubricated. The cost of these bearings is substantially more than any other on this list and may be out of reach for most skaters; thankfully, these are really only needed by professionals.
Extreme Sports Final Thoughts
The best skateboard bearings out there for you depend on how fast you want to go, how experienced you are, how much maintenance you are willing to perform, what price you are willing to pay and the overall statement you want your bearings to make. Once all of these factors have been accounted for, you will be able to make a clear, rational decision as to which set of bearings are right for you.