How Do Skateboard Bearings Work

No car would drive without it, no airplane would fly and not even the refrigerator could do its job without ball bearings and so is your skateboard. We all know these practical machine elements by name. However, very few people know how such a ball bearing works.

Ball Bearing

There are a ton of places where you can buy best bearings for skateboards and they have their complex mechanism, with relatively simple construction and operation.

These are elements for guiding components that move against each other and in which rolling bodies (balls/rollers) reduce the frictional resistance between an inner ring and an outer ring. The ball bearing typically consists of following components:

  • one outer ring
  • a guide (meaning the channel in which the balls run)
  • the cage with balls and rolling body
  • the inner ring

But how can this component reduce the frictional resistance? To understand this, imagine a simple wheel with a heavy weight on it. In order to be able to move the loaded roller, an immense amount of force is required.

In a wheel with a ball bearing, the balls roll in the middle when the outer ring rotates, while the inner ring remains stationary. In this way, the wheel turns very smoothly and apparently without much effort.

In principle, the ball bearing is nothing more than the tree trunks on which boats and ships used to be pushed towards the water.

Things with ball bearings

Ball bearings are used in all kinds of applications. Inline skates are a simple example. Cheap models made of soft plastic and without ball bearings roll very badly and prevent the elegant gliding.

But the better the ball bearings are, the faster you progress. In fact, ball bearings are installed in the drilling machine as well as in the ship’s propeller, wherever a little bit of smooth rotation is required (especially with regard to drive technology).

In mechanical engineering, ball bearings are among the most common components.

Different Types Of Bearings

Radial Bearing

A radial bearing is a pivot bearing, whereby the rotating part is usually an axially extended shaft. It prevents two freedoms in the radial direction of their circular cross section or transverse to the shaft axis and is therefore also called transverse bearing. The number of desired degrees of freedom is three further freedoms are to be prevented. As a rule, only the other two rotations are prevented from the shaft, as the bearing is clearly extended axially. However, the corresponding tilting load is avoided if the shaft is equipped with a bearing at both ends. The third translation in the direction of the rotation axis is usually only prevented by the deep groove ball bearing. A rotary plain bearing has degrees of freedom when not designed as a radiiax bearing.

Another common term is bearing support bearing. This refers to the fact that operating forces generally act only radially on the machine frame via the bearing, i. e. are to be removed. Even the dead weight of the shaft only has a radial effect in the bearing if it is arranged horizontally.

Thrust bearings

Even if there are no axial forces, a shaft must be prevented from being able to carry out axial movements. This one freedom is to be denied. If there are significant axial forces due to operation or weight, a special thrust bearing designed for these forces is required.

Other common designations are longitudinal bearings, thrust bearings and thrust bearings. It is called thrust bearing, because only compressive forces can be transmitted between the two paired plain bearing parts. In the rolling bearing, the type of mating is the same, only the number of pairings is greater than one due to the addition of rolling elements. In the case of axial bearings, this indicates that two axial pairings/bearings are necessary.

Radii axle bearings

A radii axis bearing of a shaft has only one required degree of freedom. As a plain bearing, for example, it is a single-acting radial bearing supplemented by two axially acting bearing pairs.

Two top bearings (also grain bearings) at the ends of a shaft together also form a radiiax bearing with The tips contain both the radial and the axial acting form element. Two point bearings are necessary because a single point does not absorb any force in the opposite direction.


So, that’s all about how bearing work. Based on types, their functionality may differ but overall, the basics are the same.

I do hope this article helped you. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.