Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Vacation for Your Bearings

Before I get into this week's product review, I'd like to show what happens if you mistreat your bearings...
Photo courtesy of Matt Powell
Note how the metal dust covers are bent inward on these otherwise brand new bearings.  I would bet $100 that the person who owned these used something other than a Bones Bearing Tool or other proper device to put the bearings into or pull them out of their wheel.  Then they wondered why these brand new bearings aren't helping them go faster.  Now, these bearings were salvageable, I just had to remove the metal ring and pop out the dust covers and now they are working just fine, but I couldn't put the covers back on so I'll have to clean/lube them more often than if they still had the dust covers on them.  Which brings us to our featured products:

The Happy Place for Bearings

I used to clean my bearings in a mason jar...not anymore or ever again!  I recently discovered the Qube Bearing Spa and I'm never looking back.  What makes the spa different from using a mason jar or other bearing cleaning devices?

Well, the first major difference is that the spa cleans all 16 bearings at once, which is super convenient for us roller skaters.  The other difference is that the spa comes with Qube Bearing Wash Cleaner which is environmentally safe and you only have to soak bearings for about 5 minutes before agitating them to get the gunk out.  The spa fits either 7mm or 8mm bearings and comes with easy-to-understand instructions complete with nifty pictures.

The instructions say to remove dust covers from the bearings prior to cleaning them, but I've found that many times, even when you are super careful, it's pretty easy to bend the dust covers.  Sometimes they bend so slightly you don't know anything is wrong until you go to change out your bearings after doing a half-hour of suicide drills and end up burning your fingers on your super-hot-due-to-friction bearing (yes, this has happened to me).  If your bearings are sealed with dust covers on both sides, I recommend you remove one of the covers (doesn't matter which one), clean them, then install the bearings in your wheels with the dust cover side facing out.  If, after cleaning them once, they are still making strange noises or not spinning as they should, take the other dust cover off and repeat the cleaning process.  If you still have some unsavory bearings after doing all that, I recommend tossing them...Or, you could always send them to me to make ShockerKnot jewelry.  Usually, if they are not working well after 2 cleanings, it's going to take a lot of work to get them to the point where they are worth putting in your wheels.

When your bearing wash gets nasty, all you have to do is filter the wash through a coffee filter or toss it and purchase more cleaner.  Each time you clean your bearings or filter your solution you will end up with less cleaner than before, so eventually you will need to purchase more cleaning solution anyway.

Moto Bearing Oil
After cleaning your bearings, just put them on a towel and pat them dry.  If you're impatient, you can use some canned air or an air compressor to dry them quicker.  If you live in a humid area, I don't suggest letting them drip dry as it will take forever and rust is highly likely.

I like to spin them at this time just to see if there are any that may need further attention then place ONE drop of lube in each bearing and give it a quick spin.  I like using Moto Bearing Oil because the needle applicator doesn't get lube all over the place.  After lubing up each bearing, I let them sit for a few minutes before giving them another spin to make sure they are all good-to-go (clean again if not).

I recommend cleaning your bearings about every other month, but if you have taken your dust covers off or skate in an extra dusty environment, you will need to clean them more often.  Proper care of bearings makes them last longer and work better.  In the long run, it costs a lot less to purchase a bearing tool, wash/spa, and lube than most sets of bearings.

If you were anxious about cleaning your bearings for the first time, I hope I have given you the tools to be able to tackle this task with confidence.

Until we skate again!


  1. I'll be coming to see you soon for the bearing spa! I've been using gas and then I have to figure out where to dispose of it. Awesome!

  2. What?! ME? Hurrah! and THANK YOU!!

    I am superfussy about my bearings. I can't believe that some people would rather chuck 'em than clean 'em! Cleaning bearings is cheap therapy and cheap insurance as far as I am concerned. I appreciate the tip to filter the wash through a coffee filter. I tried using pantyhose over a funnel and ended up with a mess. So consider that a "What Not to Do" at my expense!

  3. I am super excited about the bearing spa!!! Great article Shocker.


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Until we skate again!