Roller skating can be thrilling if you are a skilled skater. You’ll never find something like it. Suppose your goal is to be a professional skater.

In that case, you will probably desire smooth and quiet operation from your roller skates.

Roller skate bearings are one of the most important components of achieving effortless action.

What are roller skate bearings, and how do they work? They can be confusing if you have never used them before.

Bearings are essential for smooth, silent riding on roller skates. Bearings allow your skates to move on the hub of your frame, giving you that smooth ride.

How many bearings do roller skates have?

Roller skate wheel bearings are located inside the wheel hub. They allow the wheels to turn. Each wheel has two bearings, so you will need 16 bearings for a pair of roller skates.

What are bearings?

Bearings were rated using an ABEC rating scale in the past. Many are still. ABEC ratings are for high-speed applications such as high-speed motors or precision measuring instruments.

Most bearings are now rated above the ABEC rating. Many bearings today are not rated by the ABEC scale.

Bearings rated on the ABEC scale do not have to be considered “better” than those not rated.

Although a higher-rated bearing will not make you “go quicker”, the quality of a bearing can affect your rollout.

Roll out refers to how long your wheels spin after pushing off. Better bearings will keep you rolling for longer to cover the same area with less effort.

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The skater used loose balls to put the bearings in in the past. This is now very rare.

All modern ball bearings for skates are assembled from the same five components.

These are the 5 components of a bearing.

Outer Race

The bearing’s outer race is what actually contacts the wheel after installation.


The retainer helps keep the balls from falling out of the bearing if the shield was removed.


Bearing movement is made up of the balls.

Inner Race

The bearing’s inner race can only be ordered in one size: 7mm or 8. The size of your axle will determine the size of the bearing/wheel you require.

The majority of axles manufactured in recent years will measure 8mm. Older versions are mainly 7mm.


The shield protects the bearing’s contents from any debris. Some bearings have shields on both sides of the bearing. Others only have one shield.

If your bearings only have one shield on one side, you need to face the shield outward and the exposed side of the bearing towards the wheel hub. This will keep your bearings as clean as possible.

Shields can be made of metal or nylon. Sometimes, shields made from metal are sealed so that the bearing can’t be opened. It is difficult to maintain the bearing by proper cleaning and lubrication.

Seals are usually only used on low-price bearings and are not recommended for long-term use.

Some bearings made of metal will have a shield only on one side for cleaning, while others may have a removable shield on both sides. Metal shields can become bent during maintenance, which can cause a slowing down of your wheels’ roll.

A removable nylon shield will be found on most bearings.

This allows the bearings to open for maintenance. A nylon shield should be placed on both sides of the bearing to keep it cleanest and easiest to maintain.

Why are Bearing so Importance?

Your skates’ bearings are an essential part. These bearings allow you to effortlessly perform quick turns, spins and other cool moves.

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They are also essential for protecting the wheels against grinding against metal. Although they may appear small, their importance is crucial in allowing you to glide along silently and smoothly.

This is why selecting the best ones for roller skating is so important.

Do I need to lubricate the bearings?

It is important to keep your bearings in good condition. Many bearings are pre-lubricated, but they need to be reapplied regularly.

Remember that cleaning and lubricating can be two completely different things. Always clean before you lubricate.

Why? Lubricating the bearings without cleaning them thoroughly will trap dirt and grime that can cause damage. It’ll be very difficult to clean.

A special bearing cleaner can be purchased to remove dirt and other harmful particles. After cleaning them, do not rinse them with water. This can cause rust. Water and skate bearings are not good friends.

How Often Should I Clean my Bearings and Lubricate Them?

It is best to clean your bearings once you peruse your skates.

But, taking apart your bearings and cleaning them can be time-consuming and messy.

The best way to determine if your bearings are dirty is to flip your skates over and spin them. Pay attention to how easily they spin and listen out for unusual noises.

There is likely dirt and debris if the bearings are grinding or crunching. Lubricating the bearings is necessary if you hear squeaking or chirping.

How Can I Clean and Lubricate my Bearings?


It’s very hard to clean out bearings that have been lubricated before dirt and particles are trapped.

Bearings are destroyed by these particles. Do not use WD-40 or any other similar product. These products leave behind a film which actually collects dirt.

Your bearings can be cleaned with Orange 409 cleaner. Spray the bearings and use newspaper (not rags, they will leave lint behind). Make sure to clean them well. Do not rinse with water. Let the bearings air dry before you start lubricating.

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After your bearings have been cleaned properly, you can apply lubrication. “Bones Speed Cream” is a heavy-duty lubricant that will last longer and won’t require you to clean or lube them as often.

How do You Clean the Bearings of Your Roller Skates?

Your wheel bearings may start to sound strange, so you might need to have them removed and cleaned.

When Should I Replace my Bearings?

You will need to replace your bearings if they have become noisy or crusty or if you notice that the bearings are rusty even after cleaning.

Bearings should spin freely, quietly, and without any grime or rust.

How Can I Determine The Size of my Bearings?

There are three simple ways to verify the size of your bearings.

  1. Take a look at the stamping on your skate bearing’s shield. Most skate bearings will be stamped with 608. This means that you have 8mm. You will have a 7mm bearing if you stamp it with 627
  2. You can also determine the size of the wheel nuts. A 7mm bearing will be indicated by a 9/32″ nut. A 8mm bearing will be indicated by a 5/16″ nut.
  3. Take a number two pencil and use the eraser side. The bearing can be attached to the pencil by sliding it onto it. If the bearing is too large to fit through the middle, it will be a 7mm bearing. But if the same pencil slides through, it will be an 8mm bearing.

What do 7mm and 8mm Mean?

These numbers refer to both the bearing’s inner diameter and the size of the axle. Most new skates have an 8mm axle, so the standard 8mm bearings might be needed.

Older models and high-end skates use 7mm axles, so 7mm bearings would be required.


I hope this article about roller skate bearings was helpful. While the bearing is an important part of the skate, it is also important to keep the bearing clean.


My name is Patricia Toh. I was born in the southen of China but I live in Hawaii. I work as a translator. I love skating. But in the future, I’d like to try yoga too."

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