About Roller Skating Bearings
Roller skate bearings are available in a choice of two INSIDE
DIAMETERS (ID) (it's the part of the bearing that fits on to the axle). The
ID (inside diameter) of a bearing is called by different names:
For "SMALL" AXLES - found on indoor quad
(conventional) skates almost exclusively: Terms are: --
"9/32 inch" - "7 mm" - "Number 607" - "Number 37". Most quad skates produced in
the US offer this axle size as standard, as do most of the "higher end" European
models. The 7mm bearing was used exclusively in roller skates from the early
1930s through the early 1970s.
For "LARGE" AXLES - available on the
majority of indoor quad skates and almost exclusively for inlines.
Terms are: "5/16nch" - "8 mm" - "Number 608" - "Number 38" -
"Oversized" - "Outdoor". Several quad skates produced in the US offer this axle
size. ALL skates, quad or inlines, offer this axle size when produced in the
The 8mm bearing, which now dominates the market in both Quad
and Inline Skate equipment, gained the favor of skate makers in the early 1970s.
With the popularity of outdoor quad skating came a demand for stronger axles
that would tolerate rougher terrain. The demand was met most economically by
simply increasing the axle's outer diameter (making it thicker) rather than
adding higher priced alloys or more expensive hardening processes in the
manufacturing of axles. The matching bearings (8mm) were already in plentiful
supply and were quickly becoming standard in other machining industries (such as
vacuum cleaners), thus reducing the bearing prices of completed skates as well!
The timing couldn't have been better to keep the costs of skating down! It was a
ABEC RATINGS - The ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering
Council) rating system is neither a mandatory testing method for manufactured
bearings, nor is the claimed rating subject to certification or verified by any
regulating agency as being true!
In short, ABEC ratings can be misleading. So is the apparent
international recognition of the "Council" (Please see ISO and DIN agencies by
searching the Internet through those keywords). Be careful when choosing the
bearings that are best for you. Feel free to call us at 1.877.277.2346 to find
the best bearing for you. We'd be happy to discuss it with you.
Although NO materials criteria are specified by the ABEC, the
rating system is based on the old (Tried and True) level of "noise" or "rumble"
detected at higher revolutions in the testing procedure. The logic in this
testing procedure is that if the bearing can be "heard" then the noise is an
expression of "friction". Friction then, impedes the free rotation of the
bearing. The more the noise heard from a spinning bearing, the LOWER the rating.
The less noise heard from a high-speed test bearing, the HIGHER the rating. ABEC
ratings are 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.
WHAT TO SELECT? - A TRUE ABEC 1
or 3 rating satisfies the skating requirements of well over 85% of all skaters -
inline or quad. An ABEC-5 rating satisfies all high achievers in artisic
free-style and dance skaters. ABEC 5 or 7 should be considered for the
accomplished speed skater or figure skater. ABEC 9 bearings in a pair of skates
- inline or quad - are normally excessive for the application. It is important
to understand that perfectly great bearings are not required to have an ABEC
rating and that pure junk bearings can post an ABEC rating and never have the
truth of it challenged. Stick with products that are proven performers!
LUBRICANTS - The higher ABEC rating usually brings a
higher price. The highest ABEC rating usually offered to skaters is ABEC 7 and
bearings of this high grade can be expected to sell in the $150 per set range.
However, ungraded "greased" bearings (such as Hartford bearings) can easily
outlive an "oiled" ABEC 3! Grease packed bearings require little maintenance for
extremely long periods of time. Oiled bearings require frequent cleaning and
light lubrication. Grease packed bearings roll slowly, last longer, and need
less attention. Oiled bearings out-spin grease-packed bearings of identical
characteristics, are subject to failure caused by foreign material, and need
more frequent maintenance to insure good performance.
We have a large selection of bearings to choose from ranging
from ABEC 1 to Ceramic and Swiss. Please contact us and we'll help you find the
best bearing to suit your needs.