What Are Skateboard Bearing Spacers And Why Are They Needed?
A skateboard has a lot of parts, and one of the great things about skateboarding is that you can customize your board to make it your own. This is nice because you can create a board the suits your style of riding.
One of the components that you can add to your board is bearing spacers. Read on to learn the purpose of bearing spacers and what they do. Learn what they help prevent and the benefits to help you decide if bearing spacers are right for you.
This article is going to go in-depth on what a bearing spacer is and what it helps prevent, but before you can understand a bearing spacer, you need to have a brief understanding of a skateboard wheel and the bearings.
In a skateboard wheel, you have the outer ring, and that is what the wheel is connected too. This outer ring spins around the inner ring.
The inner ring does not spin and is what is connected to the axel. Another name for these rings is the outer and inner race.
Inside the outer ring is a crown or cage. This is a metal piece that is used to hold the bearings in place. The bearings are little metal balls. Normally there are seven, but some wheels only use six. These balls sit between the outer and inner race and are what the outer race spins on. Lastly, there is a shield or seal that goes on the outside to help keep dirt and debris out.
How Bearings Work
Now, that you know how bearings are made up, we can look into more of how they work.
The outer race sits on the bearings, and the bearings make contact with the inner race. As the outer race spines the bearings spin with it, and since they are balls, they can move in any direction.
The point of the bearings is to prevent friction, but also make sure the outer race keeps spinning in a smooth motion. This is why you use bearing oil to oil your bearings to make sure nothing sticks. let take the best longboard for beginners if you are newbie in here.
Sometimes things come out of alignment, and that can cause sticking. To prevent this that is where bearing spacers come in.
The bearing spacer goes between the inner race and the axel. This ensures that the inner race is aligned properly to the axel. If the inner race is aligned off, then there might be a wider space at one point between the inner and outer ring and a narrower point at another spot between these rings.
The bearing spacer makes sure space even and it does this because with a bearing spacer on the only way the inner race can go on is the proper way. If the inner race is aligned correctly, then, in turn, this will force the outer race to be aligned correctly and allow for a smoother ride.
A bearing spacer will also help when you go to tighten the axle nuts because it transfers the pressure thru the bearing and spacer and makes sure things are aligned right.
This gives you the tightest fit and reduces all the unneeded friction. The bearings will be aligned perfectly on the axle creating the fastest spin possible.
Effects of No Spacer
So, what can happen exactly if you don’t have a bearing spacer and things aren’t aligned properly? Well, the worse thing that can happen is a bearing explosion. This is like the name suggest. The bearing explodes into pieces. The rings come apart, and the balls go wherever. This can happen when riding and is a bad thing. The main time this will happen is when there are excess side loads. The side loads tend to get too much when you are in a slide and when you are in a slide you don’t want your wheel falling apart.
Another thing that can happen when you don’t have proper spacing is unneeded friction. We have talked about this a little with how your wheel might not be rolling in a uniform round motion. This will cause your wheel speed not to be able to reach its maximum. Bearing spacers help keep your wheels spinning parallel within the wheel. Another thing is your wheels could all be spinning at different rates without spacers, and this could lead to you wrecking. Chattery wheels is another similar problem, and that is when your wheels aren’t tightened all the way. You might think they are tightened down, but then the riding can jar them loose because they aren’t spaced right and aren’t tighten all the way. Chattery wheels are called this because they can make some noise and this noise comes from the wheel being loose and shaking side to side. This normally happens during sliding but can happen during riding. Outside of the noise chattery wheels will also make vibrations that can shake you off.
The last thing that not having spacers can do is make the bearings loud. The inner race can have more pressure than it is supposed too and this will cause noise. Also, if the wheel is not on perfectly parallel all the way around, then the extra space in spots can give the balls room to move around. You don’t want the balls inside the bearings moving side to side you want them to be spinning, and you want them to spin the same way all the way around.
Types of Bearing Spacers
There are a couple of types of bearing spacers. The first is the pre-installed spacers. Some boards now are coming with half spacers and speed rings built in. These are nice because it makes charing wheels easy and it is fewer parts for you to have to deal with. The downside is that they only work with wheels designed to work with them and if you want to change to a different type of wheel, then it might not be compatible.
The other type is aftermarket spacers. These are nice because you can find any spacer to work with any wheel. The downside is that it is more parts you have to install yourself and if you like changing the style of wheels, then you might have to change the spacers too. Bearing spacers are not one size fit all. They come in a variety of sizes and are measured by axel diameter and spacer width. You have to find a pair of spacers that meets both your requirements. The first number is the diameter of the axel and the second number is the overall width of bearing. This is important to remember when shopping, so you get the right ones that will work with your board.
Bearing spacers help prevent a lot of bad things. The noise that they stop is nice, but they also reduce the chance of wrecking from wheels that are not installed right. They prevent wheel shaking and bearings exploding. This makes them an important part of a skateboard and something any rider should consider. You can get bearing spacers to go with any set of wheels, and you will see improvement in wheel speed when installing right. That is because bearing spacers make sure everything in the wheel is aligned right and allows the outer race to spin freely around the inner race. This reduces friction and makes for a faster and safer ride