View Full Version : Bearing question
01-15-2004, 12:21 AM
I've been playing inline for a couple of years at the rec level and I'm a decent skater but not spectacular. Anyway, I need a new pair of skates and I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to get skates with ABEC-7's on them. I currently have ABEC-5's, though admittedly my skates are two years old with the original bearings, which I've cleaned only once. Is the upgrade worth the price? I figure expert skaters can tell the difference between the 7's and the 5's but what about a schmuck like me? Any advice?
01-15-2004, 02:23 AM
I use ABEC-7 bearings on my outside skates and I must say I notice a difference in speed. I've also used them on sport court and the ae faster than ABEC-5...at least in the beginning. Are they worth it? It depends on what you are trying to achieve. I noticed that at first I had a little trouble staying balanced during transitions. It took a little time to get use to...and I am no spectacular skater either.
01-15-2004, 10:46 AM
The bearings won't make you skate faster, they'll make the wheels spin faster :)
That being said, go with the ABEC-7 if you feel your skating ability warrants the extra money and that you will benefit from it. If you still stumble around a lot or take short, choppy strides, it will be a waste of money until you correct your technique.
The difference in the bearings is so minimal it will not make any difference in speed. The ABEC rating is a tolerance rating, where the higher the number means the "tighter" or more precise the bearing. The difference in energy drag between abec 3 and 9 is inconsequential for most skaters.
More important than the bearing rating is how well lubed it is and that they are clean and built so that they spin freely when new. I have had new Abec 7's which I could never even get to spin freely due to the way they were made, and they were supposed to be a copy of the Boss Swiss bearings and sold by a large and reputable company in some of their best skates at the time...
There are so many offshore bearing suppliers, that the numbers you see on skates may not really tell you anything about the bearing quality you are buying as the quality seems to vary somewhat from supplier to supplier.
Whichever skates you get, take the wheels apart and the bearings out when you first get them and spray a little bit of some sort of light oil, even wd-40 to loosen the original grease, until your wheels spin freely. Keeping them cleaned and lubed after will do the most for your speed, as well as making sure that everything "fits" properly inside the wheel hub and chassis.
Wheel grip in inline skating is generally more important than the bearings when it comes to generating speed, so make sure whatever you purchase has some good wheels suitable for your application...Labeda's Millenium's or Dynasties, Hyper Unities, Dualities or Trinities, or some other well recognized grippy wheel if you are skating on sport court or similar. There are even better wheels than these out there too, but not yet supplied as OEM wheels on new skates (a La Rink Rat).
The top bearings still seem to be the Boss Swiss from all I/we have used and heard as well from others, but these are rarely if ever supplied as OEM bearings on over the counter skates.
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