Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Skateboard Bearings

There’s a lot questions that people ask about bearings, here you have some answers from the owner of Mosaic Bearings, Tristan Grijalbo.

This interview originally appeared on, reproduced here with their permission.

Abec 3, Abec 5, Abec 7, Titanium, Ceramic? There are a lot of different kinds of bearings. Tristán’s family have an industrial bearings company since 1947, and he has been working for 17 years developing bearings for skateboards, 14 of these with his brand Mosaic. So there’s nobody better to answer some of the questions you usually ask in the skate shop.

What parts does a bearing have?

Outside and inner rings, balls, cage, cap and lubricant.

What is the ABEC of a bearing?

ABEC is the abbreviation of Annular Bearing Engineers Council, ABEC’s role is to establish tolerance standards in manufacturing. The higher the ABEC the more accurately each piece of the bearing is made. That is to say, if you were to look at it through a microscope, the smoother everything is. But the ABEC system does not include lateral load or impact resistance, so it is not enough just to have a very high ABEC rating for the bearing to be good for skateboarding. More important than the ABEC is the way it is manufactured, the materials used, and its quality.

Why did abec 9 and ABEC 11 suddenly come out?

Because an American company developed the manufacturing precision of the parts further. But as I said before, you can have an ABEC 11 bearing which is not suitable for skating beacause the ABEC system does not include lateral load or impact resistance.

As a general rule, we believe that ABEC 3 is slower than ABEC 5, and ABEC 5 is slower than ABEC 7. Is it true?

Normally this is true within the same brand. However, if you compare an ABEC 3 of one brand with an ABEC 7 of a different worse brand – the ABEC 3 of the good brand will be faster and last longer than the ABEC 7 of the worse brand.

What is it that makes a bearing go fast?

Various things such as the quality of the materials, the ABEC rating, particularly in the ball bearings and the rails of the rings, also the lubricant.

Ceramic bearings. What do they consist of? What are they composed of? Are they really the fastest?

We were pioneers in making bearings with white ceramic balls. The ceramic balls are harder than metal ones, this means they don’t deform when they have weight on top, or impacts (something that happens with metal balls). They don’t heat up like metal balls, they are much faster, and because they don’t heat up they can be turning for a long time without losing any quality.

They have a drop of our SR1 lubricant,  and also last much longer. The longer you use them, the better they run. If you have some used Mosaic ceramics and you notice that they have lost speed it is due to dirt, it does not matter if they are 3 months or 5 years old, or even if the metal is rusty, just clean them and they will run better than new ones.

Titanium Bearings. What do they consist of? What are they composed of? Are they faster or more resistant?

The Titanium Mosaic bearings have both the outer ring and the inside made with a thin layer of titanium, this makes them more resistant to corrosion. They are very fast, they are faster than the S1, and cost less than the Ceramics.

What can you tell us about Bones bearings? They have the reputation of being the best, could you tell us why? Could you make a comparison with your own bearings?

Bones has undoubtedly been the most recognized and best brand of skate bearings, manufactured with materials of very high quality, and they have done so for over 30 years. Right now I’d say that we have matched Bones quality, and perhaps even surpassed them given we have a more competitive price on bearings of similar ranges. We manufacture with materials of the highest quality, and our exclusive lubricant SR1 makes ours some of the fastest and most durable bearings on the market in each price range.


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