The purpose of Rat Vision is to not be bias while explaining differences between brands and products. However, we are frequently asked what products we recommend. After testing and researching we have found Oust products to be superior.
ABEC: Many Skateboard Bearings are marketed with an "ABEC rating" of 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 What do these ratings mean? But what do these ratings mean, and do they correspond to how well a bearing works for skateboarding?
The Annular Bearing Engineering Committee was created to set standards for bearing tolerances. ABEC sets tolerances, which are only the dimensions of the entire bearing and the allowable spaces between the balls and the inner ring and the outer ring/race. That's all!
The ABEC scale does not rate speed, durability, axial and torsional loads, torque, steel grade, ball sphericity, materials, surface finish, raceway depth, ball size, lubrication, and on and on. ABEC strictly measures tolerances.
The point of ABEC is to set tolerance measurements that are used as guidelines to follow for the manufacturing of precision bearings.
Tolerances: Tolerances are crucial for proper bearing function and load handling. A bearing must have tolerances in order to rotate.
Tighter tolerances usually equal more precision and better functionality going straight down a hill or during wide turns. However, a tighter tolerance, or higher ABEC rating does not presume the bearing is faster. It only implies a bearing may function more efficiently at higher speeds. You still have to factor in axial and torsional loads, and the other factors mentioned above.
Because of these additional factors, a lower ABEC (ABEC 3) bearing may actually operate better than a higher ABEC (ABEC 7) rated bearing.
Tolerances are important, however, the tolerances set in the ABEC scale are not necessarily the most beneficial when it comes to skateboarding.
Axial and Torsional Loads It's important to account for bearing loads -- vertical, axial, and torsional loads. These loads are directional forces applied to the bearing. Basically, vertical is up and down, axial is side to side, and torsional is a curve or twist. Bearings encounter tremendous axial and torsional loads, especially in longboarding. Imagine the amount of force applied to a bearing while speeding around a turn, or sliding and drifting.
The entire raceway surface does not touch the ball completely. A ball only touches a very small spot, called a footprint, with in the raceway. This means the ball can move from side to side in the raceway. When loads are applied the balls are being forced to roll out of the raceway.
While the balls are hitting the raceway edge the raceway is rubbing against that ball and burnishing the ball. Burnishing is contact surfaces causing plastic deformation from sliding one object over another. In other words, this means the balls and races can gouge, scratch, and indent each other. Tighter tolerances and deeper raceways reduce the chances of balls burnishing by keeping them in the raceway more. This is why bearings with tighter tolerances function better at greater speeds.
Swiss What is a Swiss bearing and why are they claimed to be better than all other bearings? Would your first response be "They are manufactured in Switzerland", or "They're made from Swiss steel"?
What differentiates Swiss bearings to make them better? As consumers, have we been duped for decades into the misconception that the Swiss make superior products?
Other than materials used and country of origin, there are no noticeable physical, mechanical, or material contrasts that constitute a bearing to be Swiss or superior. Meaning, there are no guidelines or instructions to make a Swiss style bearing. These are not watches, army knives, or cheese here. A bearing is a bearing, is a bearing. Swiss bearings do not have specific attributes that separate them from any other bearings manufactured around the world.
When comparing a Swiss bearing to a Chinese bearing there relatively is no difference. Swiss is merely a country who makes bearings like everyone else.
What can make a Swiss bearing, or any bearing, better than another is merely the quality of materials and the manufacturing process.
We urge you to contact various bearing manufacturers and ask them specifically what a Swiss bearing is and why they are better than all other bearings. Or is it all marketing hype?