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What is ABEC in bearing markings and which one is better?

The choice of bearings for a skateboard or scooter is based on the abbreviation ABEC. We will help you find out what this characteristic means and how to navigate it in the world of bearing selection.

Note that a detailed article about “How to choose bearings for a skateboard?” is already on our website. This material is designed for a deeper immersion into the world of technical characteristics of the ABEC scale.

What does the abbreviation ABEC mean?

ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) – literally, this designation can be translated as “Bearing Development Committee”. But if you look from a technical point of view, ABEC is a scale for measuring the accuracy of bearing manufacturing (not only for a skateboard or scooter, but in general for bearings of this class). Many novice riders think that this indicator indicates the time of rotation on the axis, and the higher it is, the longer this time is. It is not true.

The higher the ABEC index, the higher its precision manufacturing accuracy. All bearings are manufactured with some manufacturing precision, i.e. are marked according to the ABEC scale. Well, the rule works for all of them – increasing the accuracy class reduces the coefficient of friction of the balls on the outer ring, reduces vibration and allows you to increase the rotation speed. Difficult? Let’s look at more mundane examples.

ABEC marking classes

  • ABEC 1 are the cheapest bearings found on “Chinese” skateboards. Often they are not labeled as class. Not designed for long and comfortable use.
  • ABEC 3 is the bottom level of all branded bearings (yes, you won’t find branded bearings with ABEC 1). An option that can be called “cheap and cheerful”. Suitable for beginner riders or for destruction on spots in bad weather.
  • ABEC 5 is the most common type of bearings on basic models of completes, such as skateboards and scooters. One of the best options in terms of price/quality ratio.
  • ABEC 7 is an option for those who already know what they want to get from bearings. They roll great with any wheels and on any surface – a must-have for the modern rider.
  • ABEC 9 – if your budget allows, then of course it is better to buy the best that is on the market. Bearings of this precision manufacturing are chosen by all professional riders.

The ABEC classification is mainly used only for roller, skateboard and scooter bearings. In other areas, the generally accepted system of standards is used – ISO 492 (International Standards Organization).

ABEC 1normal class 6x
ABEC 3class 6
ABEC 5class 5
ABEC 7class 4
ABEC 9class 2

p.s. By the way, today manufacturers of bearings, for example for skateboards, are completely moving away from labeling their products on this scale. According to manufacturers, ABEC does not reflect reality and is outdated. The manufacturers did not offer another scale. The best example of this approach is industry leaders BRONSON and BONES.

Subtleties of choosing ABEC for your bearings?

Not many people know, but with increasing manufacturing precision, the protection, and therefore the service life, of bearings decreases.

For example, if you take 2 identical rolling options, then bearings with ABEC 5 will last longer than ABEC 9. This is a proven fact. You can ask any rider at the spot.

What else is added to the bearing markings?

Every rider should know that 608 isn’t just a three-digit number – it’s a bearing size. Manufacturers most often add special suffixes to it, which reflect some design features of a particular model:

  • Z – metal boot on one side;
  • ZZ – metal anthers on both sides;
  • RS – metal boot with rubber coating;
  • 2RS – metal boots with rubber coating on both sides of the bearing.

p.s. By the way, today moga includes bearings without boots at all. The so-called RAW. For example, BRONSON Raw skate bearings do not have boots. There is no clear opinion for this design, but the key advantage according to the manufacturer is that no dirt will be retained in such a design. There is a rational grain in this. Well, this hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that many professional riders choose such bearings because they have a maximum rotation speed.

Bearing lubrication system

Low ABEC bearings most often contain low-grade grease. In higher-quality models, manufacturers place a liquid lubricant with sticky properties; it is not immediately washed out of the bearing. Well, the height of perfection is the automatic lubrication of the bearing as it rotates. This technology was again implemented in their BONES products. Watch a video on how it works.

So which ABEC to choose?

It’s difficult to give a definitive recommendation, but we’ll describe our advice as follows. Beginner riders should not immediately take the best bearings, as it will be very difficult to get used to their rotation speed. For knowledgeable riders in the world of skateboarding, it is better to buy bearings of the highest grade of precision to ensure an enjoyable ride. The rest is all about the lyrics, your subjective preferences and the size of the budget for this purchase.

We hope we helped you make a decision about purchasing bearings.

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