Skate bearings: the essential guide


Skate bearings guide | skate bearing selection Whether you are a professional skater, or you’ve just purchased your first skateboard, navigating the world of skate bearings is not always as smooth as it should be. Yet bearing choice and quality is key to the performance of your skateboard, longboard or inline skates. With that in mind, we at SMB Bearings have compiled a guide to help skaters of all varieties have access to the right information on this key topic.

Our guide begins with a quick introduction to what bearings are and how they work. With accessible information supported by key illustrations, it allows you to first grasp the basics before moving on to the technical details.

Skate bearing technical considerations

How much attention should you pay to ABEC ratings? We provide a thorough discussion of ABEC ratings, what they are and how they apply to skate bearings. Unfortunately, there is some confusion and misunderstanding surrounding this topic in the skate community. While we may not be pro skaters, as experienced suppliers of bearings we know what we are talking about when it comes to this issue. Hopefully, our guide will clear up any misunderstandings.

One of the key bearing selection questions is often related to bearing material. We discuss the two main types on offer – steel bearings and hybrid ceramic bearings. Our guide aims to provide a simple breakdown of the pros and cons of each material, advising you on which is right for your preferences depending on the type of skating you are doing.

If you are looking for guidance on lubrication, our guide will cover that as well. There is no point having the right bearings without sufficient lubrication to maintain their performance. We explain why grease is preferable to oil. We also advise you on relubricating your bearings.

What’s more, our guide will inform you how to tell when your bearings need relubricating, how much grease to apply and how to do this at home yourself. Our advice will also help if you are looking to find out how to clean your bearings.

This guide aims to cover all components of the bearing. Our guide explains what seals and shields are, and why we believe non-contact seals are the best for skate bearings – they really do offer the best of both worlds. We also explain the importance of retainers and introduce the benefits of our nylon retainers.

Myth busting

Having covered each of the core topics in sufficient depth, our guide concludes with a myth-busting section. For instance, did you know that spinning a bearing with your fingertips, as you might witness in a skate shop, is a poor way of testing performance? Our guide explains this and more.

We also supply our own custom-made skate bearings that deliver high quality performance and value for money. We supply 608 steel skate bearings and 608 hybrid ceramic bearings. The key difference is that our hybrid bearings have ceramic balls inside, made from silicon nitride. Our guide explains the difference between these two skate bearings and helps you assess which is right for your needs.

You can download the full guide for free here.

You can find all our skate bearings on our eBay skate shop. Alternatively, you can contact the SMB Bearings team on +44 (0)1993 842555 or email us at

Our determination to remain specialised gives us a high level of product knowledge, providing bearing and lubrication solutions to existing or potential customers, whether individuals or large corporations. We don’t just sell bearings, we help to solve your problems. - Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings.