So, you found a new hobby with penny board and want to make your entire ride more fun and thrilling. Are penny board bearings good, especially for newbies? Of course! If you’re not convinced yet, let this article speak for itself!
What is a Penny Board?
Penny board is a form of skateboard generally made in maple or syrup as well as comes in two sizes (22″ and 27″). Sometimes called longboard penny as it measures 36-inch. Being lightweight and portable makes it a sought-after skateboard among newbies, pros, and even kids and teenagers.
The 22 inches penny board is particularly light weighted and could be easily stored in a backpack. It ensures a quick, smooth, and spanking ride. On the other hand, the 27 inches board is also light weighted though heavier. Plus, it’s more stable.
All Penny boards are designed to look refined and perform great. They could be an excellent pick as well if you’re still in the process of learning how to push and balance as a beginner.
Penny Board vs. Longboard – What’s the Difference?
Both longboards and penny boards have a standing platform and four wheels. Other than these, you may not find similarities between the two.
Here, we will solely focus on the bearings. What makes the two different? Longboard bearings are significantly made for skating. Some have upgraded built-in systems, including spacer and speed rings.
Whereas, penny board bearings are inexpensively made. But, don’t worry because the quality of use is not compromised. Some models are made to last. It will now depend on how good you are at spotting the right product.
Why Should You Install Penny Board Bearings?
Penny board bearings play an imperative role in the board’s overall functional performance. It’s also as essential and important as any other board components.
Bearings are available in numerous materials: ceramic, titanium, steel, or a blend of materials in a variety of colors. These are mounted on the truck axle and on the wheels.
Several misconceptions may surround you when choosing the right set of bearings for your penny board. Should you really go with a higher ABEC rating?
The truth is, it won’t necessarily guarantee a longer-lasting or speedier bearing, mainly because the ABEC rating is simply a tolerance rating. This is also the reason why some companies chose not to include it on their bearings to prevent further confusion among buyers.
Although, we’re not generally saying that ABEC rating should be overlooked when buying penny board bearings. It could still give you a tough first impression of the bearings’ quality. A higher rating converts into better performance and materials.
How to Install Penny Board Bearings
Once you know the tricks, installing new penny board bearings can be easy and quick. Even beginners can perform the installation process on their own!
Step 1: Put the first bearing with a hanger
Most quality bearings usually come with a set of washers and spacers. These will aid in holding the bearing to a position.
To start, put one in the axle with a hanger. Use the side to press the bearing in the wheel. Use your hand’s palm to press the bearing in one stable place.
Step 2: Space the first bearing from the second with a spacer
Detach the first bearing from the axis after pressing it. Place another bearing and then place a spacer on the top.
What makes spacer a must-have tool is that it helps to keep the bearing perfectly in line as well as allow you to tighten the nut and thereby, securing the internal race in place.
Step 3: Fit the washer
Next, get two washers. Place one against the wheel and another one against the hanger. Also, make sure the wheel can freely spin between your fingers.
Step 4: Fasten the nut
Here, you should use a wrench or half-inch socket to stiffen the axis. If you use a spacer instead of the washer, you have to pay attention to your force when tightening the nut.
This is to guarantee a steady wheel spin when rolling. Afterward, spin it by hand to check whether the wheel can spin freely and firmly.
In case it stops all of a sudden, slightly loosen the nut and perform the same process again. Continue until you notice the spinning is becoming steady and smooth with a stepwise stop. Moreover, ensure the wheel is securely held.
Now, go get rolling!
Once you completed the process, you can now enjoy riding with your newly purchased penny board and let it take you to your desired destination.
Whether it is for fun or merely a simple ride, having bearings installed is a surefire way to add some thrill while riding.
When Should You Replace The Bearings?
There are two common reasons behind the idea of bearing replacement:
- When they don’t spin after re-lubing and cleaning; and
- When the bearings start to emit squeaky noises
If the former is your issue, it’s recommended to replace them once the ball bearings or shield bearings are missing to avoid potential accidents and blocking.
On the other hand, squeaky or any strange noise coming from the bearing are all signs that your bearings are already on their last leg. Hence, immediate replacement is necessary.
High-quality bearings must have a lifespan of one to two years before considering to change your bearings. Replacement might also be an ideal option if you break the bearings, your existing ones begin to slow down, or you simply want a speed upgrade.
Always invest time to replace bearings on your penny board when the situation arises. Sure, it will take a lot of effort. But doing so would identify the difference between a lousy and awesome road trip. Faulty bearings are more dangerous (e.g., causing fall). It can also damage the wheel due to sharp metal piercing the core.
How To Determine If Your Bearings Went Bad?
It really is stressful changing your bearings once they wear off, though how should you know when the ideal time to do so is?
- Side to side wheel movement
First, make sure the axle nut is tightened. Then, move your penny board wheel from one side to another. Move together with the axel, from the axle nut to the hanger, and then back. An indication that your bearing is still in tip-top shape is when the wheel smoothly moves, plus there isn’t any sound emitted.
- Spinning the wheel
Carefully spin the wheel using your hand. If you notice it doesn’t spin freely (it only does when you apply too much force on it), then your bearings may need a replacement.
- The bearing is starting to produce strange noise
Perhaps the most common warning sign of a faulty bearing is a strange noise. To check, simply spin the wheel with a little more force so it will spin quite longer. Listen for any noises. Consider a replacement if the bearings are loud or produce strange sounds. It could be wearing off or a low-quality model. Good quality bearings are silent.
Mud and water are two of the main factors that damage bearings the most. So, you should prevent or reduce riding on wet pavements, streets, or even in the rain. Otherwise, prepare your pocket for getting the second set of bearings.
Other problems that shorten the lifespan of your bearings are the sand and dust. Once gotten into, they stick to the silicone tube. Bearing balls are not particularly fond of dirt and will result in a lot of stress to the bearing’s inner rings. So if you live in an environment with tons of dust, you’ll have to clean the bearing a lot more frequently.
Cleaning and Maintenance
You surely want to make your penny board a long-time companion. Hence, you should practice proper care and maintenance of the board, including its bearings as early as now.
Some experts recommend cleaning them with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol – no less percent and nothing else. Choose an eco-friendly cleaner ideal for dissolving grease and oil as well as removing dirt from the rubber, steel, and plastic surfaces.
Always keep the bearing free from damage-causing elements such as moisture, dirt, and lubricated. Dirt tends to destroy the super finish smoothness while water rusts the bearings.
Water-based cleaners (e.g., citrus cleaners) can work, though they have a tendency to leave behind a bit of residual. If you intend to use one, make sure to dry your bearings immediately and then re-clothe using lubricant in order to prevent rust.
How about commercial products or solvents? It’s also okay to use them, but be sure to check the label. As possible, opt for solvents like pure alcohol or acetone. Otherwise, consider using lacquer thinner or paint thinner. But on the downside, these oil-based cleaners can leave an oily residue on the bearings’ inner surfaces.
Regular cleaning might already be required once you cleaned the bearings – preferably every three months if you’re fond of riding your penny board all year. Some users tend to overlook the importance of bearing maintenance but could save you quite some dollars.