Many people have asked me questions regarding the ABEC scale and how to buy bearings, so I have created this guide. It explains the meaning of ABEC and helps you decide what bearings to buy.
What does ABEC mean?
Bearings rated under the abec system are typically called ''precision bearings'', and they are rated with a number from 1 to 9, with the higher number assigned to bearings manufactured against a higher standard of precision.
The abec rating does not affect speed! This is a common misconception made by many people. If you don't believe me then here are some quotes from top bearing manufacturers:
NTN Bearings ''Does ABEC affect speed? NO! If we're going to talk about tolerances, the fit of your wheels and axels have a much greater effect on performance. Wheels and axels have extremely loose fits.''
Southeastern Skate Supply ''Does ABEC affect the speed of your skates? No. Not unless you are skating at 330mph.''
Tony Chen Skate FAQ ''Whether ABEC-5 bearings will let yu skate faster than ABEC-1 bearings is still largely debated.''
LondonSkaters.com ''Bearing manufacturer and quality are more important than ABEC number, and more likely to result in faster, smoother bearing.''
To summarise: as the ABEC rating increases the standard of manufacture increases. In the case of skate bearings the most popular grades are abec 5 bearings and abec 7 bearings. The grades do not necessarily affect speed.
So what bearings should I buy?
As I said before the most popular bearings with skaters are abec 5 and abec 7 bearings. This is mainly because of the quality of the bearing and the thought that you are going to be able to reach faster speeds.
Factors affecting speed are mainly the type of material and the lubrication oils used. In my bearing auctions I have two main types of abec 7 bearing. Both are abec 7, yet they both have different maximum speeds. (The maximum speeds are shown in the items' descriptions) The different speeds are due to the different maerials used.
My advice for choosing good quality bearings is to go for abec 7 or abec 9 bearings. However if it is speed you are concidering you should go for well lubricated bearings, or not as the case may be.
If you want high speed then I would advise getting well lubricated bearings, but also get high rated bearings as these are made better, so will be less likely to fall apart.
You will also find that as ABEC rating increases, price will generally increase.
Hope this helps, please register your views, or e-mail me if you think I am missing something, or I am wrong. You can contact me through my eBay shop: