Bearings are a crucial component of any longboard, and they are responsible for keeping your wheels moving smoothly. However, if you have ever tried to replace your bearings, it can be challenging. This article will show you how to put bearings in longboard wheels quickly and efficiently. Keep reading to learn more!
A longboard may not be an actual word, but it’s the name given to any bigger skateboard designed for high speeds. Skateboard wheels come at all shapes, sizes, weights, colors, and prices. They are made out of rubber or polyurethane material. Each wheel type has its benefits and drawbacks depending on its intended usage.
Things You’ll Need
- Bearings (duh)
- Wheel nuts/bolts
- Set of Allen keys/hex wrenches or an adjustable wrench.
- An old-school skate tool.
- Dremel with either a cutting wheel or grinding wheel, sanding wheel, drill bit, etc.
- Can of WD40
- Small vice grip or another clamp thingy
- Dremel cutting disk/wheel
A Detailed Guide on How to Put Bearings in Longboard Wheels
Step 1: Determine Wheel Size
First, you need to determine what size bearings your wheels will take.
Skater’s choice; if you don’t know what size wheels you’re using, search online or grab one of your old skateboard decks (if it still has mounting holes in the baseplate, they’ll be the same size). If these are unusable, grab a pair of calipers and measure them. Be sure to account for the thickness of whatever material is sitting between the inner/outer bearing cups (usually rubber or metal spacers).
Before installation, you will want to figure out which spacer(s) you wish to be installed on each side of your wheel’s bearings. How many spacers per wheel is up to you; typically, wheels are either set up with no spacers (which will make them faster) or two thin ones on each side of the bearing (makes it slower).
If you have a wheel with four locknuts per wheel, the longer spacer(s) on the OUTSIDE of the wheel on one side and INSIDE of the wheel on the opposite side. This will allow you to tighten down all four locknuts without damaging your bearings during installation.
Step 2: Cleaning/Preparation
Before installing new bearings into your wheels, you should clean away any excess lubricant, so you don’t get oil stains all over your new deck. Use some WD40 and spray it onto some old rags/paper towels. Then, rub the bearings down until you can’t see any grease or oil on them anymore. They should end up looking like this:
Once they’re clean, set them aside for later. How much last depends on how long you’re willing to wait; another day is good, overnight is better, three days would be best because the longer the lubricant stays in there before drying out, the slower your wheels will become. You might think, “If I let them sit for a few days. But, suppose you don’t want your bearings to become slow. Clean them anyway.
Step 3: Installing Spacers (If Needed)
This step only applies to wheels with two bearings per wheel. If you use four locknuts to secure the wheels, feel free to skip this step.
If your wheel has one bearing on each side of the wheel, make sure that it is positioned so that both spacers are touching when the axle goes through the hub. The spacer(s) will go INSIDE the bearing cups to protect them during installation. How much space you want between spacers is up to you; if you’re in a hurry, 1/8″ or 3mm would be good enough for this step.
Step 4: Installing Bearings Inside Wheel Hubs
This step only applies to wheels with one bearing per wheel (duh). Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get your bearings in right away; it takes some patience and practice to get them lined up correctly.
Put the wheel (with spacers still between the cups) into your vice or clamp thingy. Then, slowly put one bearing onto the axle through the INSIDE of the wheel’s cup (the side opposite of where your spacers are located).
How much distance you want between your bearing(s) and the spacer is up to you; again, 1/8″ or 3mm should be fine if you’re in a hurry. Once it’s on there securely, install your locknut while keeping everything tightly together.
Step 5: Installing Bearings Into Skateboard Truck Hanger/Baseplate
This step only applies to a skateboard. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get your bearings in right away; it takes some patience and practice to get them lined up correctly.
The easiest way to do this is to put the front truck on your deck (the side with the kingpin closest to the middle of the board). Again, how much distance you want between your bearing(s) and the spacer is up to you; again, 1/8″ or 3mm should be fine if you’re in a hurry.
The amount of spacers you use depends on whether or not they were included with your wheels. If so, go ahead and install them onto each side of one bearing. How many spacers per wheel is up to you, but typically there’s one on each side. How much space you want between spacers is up to you; if you’re in a hurry, 1/8″ or 3mm would be good enough for this step.
Then, place your hanger onto the wheel through the INSIDE of the cup (the side opposite of where your spacers are located). How far away from the bearings your hanger sits should depend on what kind of riding you plan to do. The more distance between your truck and bearing(s), the smoother it will turn under acceleration, but it will also make turning much harder.
If getting around corners fast is essential to you, stay close to the bearing cups with no more than 1/4″ or 6mm. How much space you want between spacers is up to you; if you’re in a hurry, I’d say 1/8″ or 3mm would be good enough for this step. How many spacers per wheel is up to you, but typically there’s one on each side. How many bearings per wheel is also up to you; most people will have two bearings inside the hanger at all times, with an additional spare bearing being stored inside their deck.
You Can Check It Out to Longboarding Slide Wheels
Step 6: Lubricating Bearings
Once your skates are put back together, it’s time to lubricate the bearings, so they spin freely without wearing out too quickly. There are three different types of lubes that work the best, and which one works best for you will depend on the skating you plan to do. If your skates are for cruising around and doing some tricks, go with a thin lube like Bones Speed Cream.
If your skates are for transportation (i.e., commuting), slide them into first gear and if they make it up to speed without shaking themselves apart, feel free to use thicker bearing oil like the one that comes in the Bones Reds bearings box. And finally, if you’re an aggressive/all-terrain type of skater, I’d recommend using Slick Honey, a solid grease that won’t bead off as quickly as other oils. You must know how much lubricant you need; typically, one drop per bearing will be good enough.
Lastly, pop your bearings into the freezer for 20-30 minutes to make sure they’re nice and cold (this makes them spin faster). You must know how much lubricant you need; typically, one drop per bearing will be good enough. Then, pop your bearings back into your wheels/trucks/hangers and screw on your nuts as tightly as possible!
If you happen to lose any spacers along the way, don’t sweat it too much; buy some more at a hardware store or order them online. These steps will help in how to put bearings in longboard wheels.
You Can Check It Out to Rotate Skateboard Wheels
1. Clean Wheels
Like your car, your longboard will accumulate dirt and dust over time, affecting performance. The best way to keep it clean is to wipe down the top sheet as often as needed! Of course, how much you need to do depends entirely on how much you ride and where you ride.
Don’t worry about wheel bite: wheel bite only occurs when there’s a wheel under the board, and you’re going fast. If anything, cleaning your top sheet will help prevent wheel bite by ensuring that wheels aren’t sticking out at weird angles during sharp turns!
Cleaning your wheels depends entirely on what kind of wheel you have. Take an old toothbrush and scrub the top sheet if it’s a freeride wheel.
2. Rotate Your Wheels
If you know you’re going to be cruising around for a more extended period the next day, I recommend rotating your wheels at night. How often you need to do this depends on how much you ride and what kind of riding it is. For freeride wheels, rotate them every few days, or however often they begin looking “pitted.”
For race wheels, it’s more complicated: if that wheel is still smooth after many uses (especially on more complex surfaces), then go ahead with rotating. If not, grab some sandpaper and lightly rub off any small bumps on the wheel’s surface, so they don’t interfere with sliding.
How/when to rotate your longboard wheels involves knowing how each type of wheel reacts with regular use. How often you should rotate your wheels is a matter of personal preference.
You Can Check It Out to Put Spacers on Skateboard
Putting bearings in longboard wheels is complicated, but it’s not impossible. The trickiest part of the process seems to be loosening up your axle nuts to remove them from the wheel before putting on the new bearing race and pulling out your old one. It may take some trial and error (and patience) to get it right, but once you do – there’ll never be any need for another skate shop again! We hope you find this article on how to put bearings in longboard wheels helpful.
You may also read: How to Make Longboard Wheels Spin Longer