The Best Inline Skate Bearings 2020
What we looked for:
The inline skate bearing category is the category that you can waste a ton of cash. Many skate bearings are mislabeled, and the ABEC rating system is a joke. Let’s dive into some of the problems with inline skate bearings.
The first problem is that they all look similar. A set of $300 bearings appear very similar to a set of $10 bearings.
The next big problem is that there is a rating system called ABEC. Bearings are typically rated ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, or ABEC 9. Companies tell consumers that the higher the number, the better the bearing. However, this rating system has little or no meaning for skaters apart from rating the bearings from one manufacturer. That is to say; companies often stamp ABEC 9 on an ABEC 1 bearing. How are you ever going to tell the difference? As an example, I have tested $300 bearings that skate precisely the same as $20 bearings. The only difference is that the $300 bearings came in a flashy box. In summary, my advice is to be very wary of bearings labeled ABEC 9. I can almost guarantee you they are not ABEC 9 bearings.
So, what are the essential things to look for in an inline skate bearing? The important things are extremely precise balls, solid materials, and a finely polished race. A race is the part the balls touch.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell the good from the bad by looking at them. Luckily, I have tested hundreds of bearings and taken the guesswork out of choosing the best of the best inline skate bearings for 2020.
#1 Bones SWISS
Bones is the #1 selling aftermarket inline skate bearing and for a good reason. They are one of the only SWISS bearings actually made in Switzerland. So, you know you are going to get a good, reliable, long-lasting bearing when you go with Bones.
Bones inline bearings are easy to clean and come pre-lubricated, so you don’t need to clean the grease out of them. The bearings roll well under load, including speeds at over 60 miles per hour.
They are our number 1 bearings again for 2020.
#2 Bont JESA BLACK SERIES
These bearings are on par with Bones inline skate bearings. Therefore, whichever skate bearing is on sale is the one I would buy.
Bont has one of the largest professional inline racing teams in the world to test their bearings. As a result, their inner materials are top-notch, the steel balls are very precise, and they are easy to clean.
These bearings have won numerous world championship titles for inline speed skating.
#3 Twincam ILQ-9
Twincam bearings are another inline skating bearing manufacturer that has been around forever. They are a well-trusted brand with a good reputation. Several pro racing inline teams in Europe use their bearings.
The ILQ-9 uses six balls, which are said to improve rolling performance. I haven’t found that to be the case. They are good, don’t get me wrong, but not any better than bearings with more balls. It’s a trade-off because you have fewer balls in the ILQ-9, which means fewer balls are touching the inner race for lower friction, but each ball now has more load on it, which wipes out the benefit from having fewer balls.
#4 Bones REDS
Bones Reds are made in China, but they are one of the best Chinese bearings on the market. They are more than 50% cheaper than Bones Swiss bearings. Importantly, many inline skaters won’t be able to tell the difference unless they are a professional skater. My roll testing showed that they are around 3% slower than the Bones Swiss bearings. These bearings are especially good if you are skating in the rain and don’t want to damage your expensive bearings. Likewise, for training, when you don’t need the absolute best performance.
#5 Wicked HCR SWISS BEARINGS BY JESA
Wicked is Powerslides bearing brand. They have recently released a new speed skating bearing made by Jesa called the HCR by Jesa. I think that Powerslide has seen how good Bont’s Jesa bearings were and followed. This makes sense because some of Powerslides development team grew up racing for Bont on Jesa bearings.
They are an excellent bearing apart from the high price. My testing did not show any increase in speed in the roll test over the Bones, Twincam, or Bont bearings. In addition, the HCR bearing costs five times as much. The bearing price is so high it is getting close to the price of a good set of ceramic bearings.