07 - Skate - Hobby

Skate Bearings - Question 7

What are the Abec grades of bearings available. How different are the grades?

You don’t need anything higher than ABEC 1 for skating applications. The precision grade only tells us how close the tolerances are (ie, how close the bearing is to the stated size). There are many other factors relating to the quality of a bearing that will have more impact on your skating experience than the ABEC Grade of the bearing. But if you are still curious - here are the grades...

From Lowest to Highest

  • ABEC 1 Approximately equal to ISO P0
  • ABEC 3 Approximately equal to ISO P6
  • ABEC 5 Approximately equal to ISO P5
  • ABEC 7 Approximately equal to ISO P4
  • ABEC 9 Approximately equal to ISO P2

There are a number of factors covered by the ABEC grades, but to give you an idea we will just examine one of these factors - the eccentricity (out of roundness) of the track in the inner ring. For an ABEC 1 (lowest grade) bearing, the maximum eccentricity allowable is 0.0075 mm (0.000295"). This is quite precise - more than precise enough for skates and skateboards. The figures for other grades are

  • ABEC3: 0.005 mm (0.000197")
  • ABEC5: 0.0035 mm (0.000138")
  • ABEC7: 0.0025 mm (0.000098")
  • ABEC9: 0.0012 mm (0.000047")
If used in high precision, high speed machinery (see above), these minute variations can make a difference. The fact is that no matter which of these bearings you use in skates or skate boards, after 5 - 10 minutes of use the tracks won’t just be eccentric, they will become damaged enough to be indistinguishable from one another. Your high priced ABEC 9 bearing might as well be a 50 cent ungraded cheapie.

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