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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old October 2nd, 2008, 12:18 AM   #1
rwbskates
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Default $$$$$$$$

Wish i could afford to try these out, 1/4 of the weight and 1/10 of the friction compared to typical steel bearings. http://www.vxb.com/Merchant2/merchan...=SkateBearings
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 12:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwbskates View Post
Wish i could afford to try these out, 1/4 of the weight and 1/10 of the friction compared to typical steel bearings.
Bill Begg wrote this in Inline Planet.com: "Which Are Better: Ceramic or Steel Skate Bearings?

QHi, Bill: Could you share your thoughts about inline skate bearings? ... Are ceramics better than steel? ... Do they spin faster? ... Which bearings do you recommend? - Ilan Arviv, Israel

Hi, Ilan. It's a complex subject. I used to like one brand of bearings made in Germany. Then suddenly they did not seem to perform as well. I couldn't understand what happened until I read the small print on the package: production had been moved to Singapore.

These days where your bearings are made is probably more important than what they are made of. The best quality bearings still come from countries with reputations for precise engineering, such as Switzerland and Germany.

Ceramics are generally excellent bearings, but they are relatively expensive and not necessarily better than their steel counterparts. A set of fine quality ceramic bearings starts out at about $200 (USD), more than double what you would pay for comparable steel bearings.

If you opt for full ceramic bearings (bearings with ceramic cases in addition to ceramic balls), you're looking at about $800 per set. The advantage of all-ceramic bearings is that they do not rust so you can wash them with water.

I don't know which bearings spin faster. But I can tell you one that spins for a very long time: the Mini Jesa Bont ceramic. A few years ago, I watched as Luca Presti spun one of his Bont Crager wheels with a used Jesa ceramic inside of it. It went on spinning for 6 minutes and 34 seconds. I have never seen anything like it!

Ceramic bearings appear to spin longer when they are not bearing a load. But it's not clear whether they maintain that advantage under the weight of a skater.

Skaters used to believe that ceramic bearings were faster but that perception seems to be fading. My daughter is one skater who has done well with steel bearings. She won gold at the last two World Championships on Jesa Bont Swiss steel bearings.

Given the uncertain benefits of ceramics, I would recommend sticking with steel bearings, unless money is no issue. Two excellent choices are Bont Jesa Swiss and Bones Swiss.

Cheers, Bill"
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 02:01 AM   #3
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White Ceramics is not as good at Grey/Black Ceramic.

Silicon Nitride Cermic bearings is what you want.

BONES has it, so does Liberty Racing, and BONT I think.

The Libertly Racing bearings are sick, but I think they are sold out.

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Old October 2nd, 2008, 02:46 AM   #4
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Like this? http://www.vxb.com/Merchant2/merchan...=SkateBearings
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 05:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rwbskates View Post
Wish i could afford to try these out, 1/4 of the weight and 1/10 of the friction compared to typical steel bearings. http://www.vxb.com/Merchant2/merchan...=SkateBearings
Wrong. they are not 1/4 the weight. They are fractionally lighter, but not much. A Bones Swiss bearing weighs about 11.5 grams and these full ceramics weigh about 8.5 grams. The difference is negligable, and i am fairly certain that such a small difference would not even be noticable.

A guy i skate with has a half set of these and he likes them, but even then, he doesn't have a full set, which ought to tell you something.

I have a set of Ceramics that have solid ceramic balls but steel cage. They are really nice, and i don't think i'll ever skate anything else. In fact, i have a set or two of brand new Boss Swiss bearings that i might as well sell becuase i prefer the bearings with the ceramic balls.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 07:06 AM   #6
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I have a set of Ceramics that have solid ceramic balls but steel cage. They are really nice, and i don't think i'll ever skate anything else. In fact, i have a set or two of brand new Boss Swiss bearings that i might as well sell becuase i prefer the bearings with the ceramic balls.

We have an 18 year-old skater on our team who skates on ceramic bearings (just the balls, with steel cages). He likes them. When I see him skating, his bearings are noisy. I even have asked him if there was a problem with his bearings. He said they were OK.

Do you think, those bearings may need a light lubrication?
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 08:35 AM   #7
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Sorry about the weight thing, I watched a marketing video from bearing mfg and that is what there claim was. You are correct about the weight, mine were 11.6g dirty bearings but in a full set of bearing thats 1.69 oz. of weight difference. Lighter is lighter but its a pretty penny for a little weight savings, still curious about the roll on full ceramics. And they look good!!
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:44 AM   #8
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The bearings you use have far less to do with how fast you skate than your technique.
I have yet to see any credible study/evidence that proves ceramics are better.
it's all hype and nothing more than that.

The only reason to run ceramics are conditions (wet) and even then the only reason anyone uses them are becasue you can clean them afterward.
which you can do with far cheaper steel bearings as well.

I have a set of steel bearings that have seals, I've run through standing water, and on wet streets etc.. and have yet had any of them fail.

If someone says they were as fast, or faster than you becasue they are running ceramics is FOS. They are just a better skater that has less confidence in their ability, than they do their equipment.

Ceramic bearings are over hyped... if you spend more than 50$ on a set of bearings you are paying way too much.. and even that much is probabaly pushing it.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:36 PM   #9
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Well lets put it this way. I bought ceramic bearing in steel casing just for testing purposes from adamsinline (its "his" brand bearings). I tested them vs top mini steel bearings i'm using for races and results were following:
Slower speed - almost no diff
Medium speed - steel bearings rolled forever while i could feel ceramics have some more resistance
Time trail, or high pack speed - ceramics rolled forever, or when i felt steel are stopping me, i didnt feel that at ceramics. My times are about 1 second faster on ceramics than they are on steel but I'd also like to point out that i'm outdoor skater on outdoor 200m track with "flat" curve etc. so speed is something I only gain and gain and gain. On Linz marathon this year I had ceramics on. On downhill and smooth pavement i was passing people like nothing since I was on high speed and bearings just kept rolling, but then came sharp turn and i felt like bearings are gonna crack. So I took corners a bit smoother.

I'm off now so i'll add more detailed post l8r on today
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 02:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Letme View Post
Well lets put it this way. I bought ceramic bearing in steel casing just for testing purposes from adamsinline (its "his" brand bearings). I tested them vs top mini steel bearings i'm using for races and results were following:
Slower speed - almost no diff
Medium speed - steel bearings rolled forever while i could feel ceramics have some more resistance
Time trail, or high pack speed - ceramics rolled forever, or when i felt steel are stopping me, i didnt feel that at ceramics. My times are about 1 second faster on ceramics than they are on steel but I'd also like to point out that i'm outdoor skater on outdoor 200m track with "flat" curve etc. so speed is something I only gain and gain and gain. On Linz marathon this year I had ceramics on. On downhill and smooth pavement i was passing people like nothing since I was on high speed and bearings just kept rolling, but then came sharp turn and i felt like bearings are gonna crack. So I took corners a bit smoother.

I'm off now so i'll add more detailed post l8r on today


Not to pick nits here, but this an extremely unscientific test, and only anecdotal. Which is exactly how vendors hype them..
So and so did X with these bearings, just think what they will do for you.
Oldest sales tactic in the book.

Results will vary from one person to another, depending on skill, technique, and conditions.
So the jury is still way out on this.

You believing, and proving to yourself they are better does not make them better for all.

Are the gains worth it?
to the vast majority of skaters, I doubt it.

The perceived gains on ceramics are still unproven.
If they are that much better, it would seem that there would be some
scientific testing to back up the hype.. there is none that I am aware of.
Why is that?

IMHO improving ones techniqe will provide more gains than you ever will with a bearing type. That is provable.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 03:35 PM   #11
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I skate on a different bearing from that company for practice and outdoors.

http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/PRO...arings/kit7235
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 08:08 PM   #12
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Well I do not have GPS or some other smart device that would measure how fast I am going on different sections of lap etc., but I think feelings do tell you how fast stuff is going (and how much resistance bearings make) and on ceramic bearings i spoted:
  • less resistance on high speed (that means at times around 25 seconds for 250 meters)
  • more resistance on medium speed (that means times from 27-32 seconds per 250 meters) and
  • more resistance on low speeds (32-37 seconds per 250 meters).

Feel free to calc mph's I'm a bit lazy lately but that's what I can tell you. Why would bearings cost 800$ if they wouldnt be better is another question you could ask... Anyways its what I noticed as difference between steel and ceramic, and I can tell you that on MY cruising speed I take steel bearings on races (except Time trials where I go really fast).

And steel beraings are Powerslide BZ 688 AS, wheels were 100mms Supersonic on both, frame 12.8.

Oh and one more thing: If i take one bearings, ride them for 30mins, take other bearings, ride 30mins, then on next practice i go first 30mins with 2nd bearings and 2nd 30mins with 1st bearings and compare differences I can tell you what i spoted (my technique wont change in that short time, plus with my 15 years on skates and 9 years on speed inline skates i think my technique is not changing that fast - i'd even say that with my trainings it wont change in year or so). It is not scientific and if you'd think how many money is spent in our sport I do not think anyone will do scientific comparison. I can tell you that you probably wont live long enough to get that tests done so people will need to relay on feelings.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 10:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Letme View Post
Well I do not have GPS or some other smart device that would measure how fast I am going on different sections of lap etc., but I think feelings do tell you how fast stuff is going (and how much resistance bearings make) and on ceramic bearings i spoted:
  • less resistance on high speed (that means at times around 25 seconds for 250 meters)
  • more resistance on medium speed (that means times from 27-32 seconds per 250 meters) and
  • more resistance on low speeds (32-37 seconds per 250 meters).

Feel free to calc mph's I'm a bit lazy lately but that's what I can tell you. Why would bearings cost 800$ if they wouldnt be better is another question you could ask... Anyways its what I noticed as difference between steel and ceramic, and I can tell you that on MY cruising speed I take steel bearings on races (except Time trials where I go really fast).

And steel beraings are Powerslide BZ 688 AS, wheels were 100mms Supersonic on both, frame 12.8.

Oh and one more thing: If i take one bearings, ride them for 30mins, take other bearings, ride 30mins, then on next practice i go first 30mins with 2nd bearings and 2nd 30mins with 1st bearings and compare differences I can tell you what i spoted (my technique wont change in that short time, plus with my 15 years on skates and 9 years on speed inline skates i think my technique is not changing that fast - i'd even say that with my trainings it wont change in year or so). It is not scientific and if you'd think how many money is spent in our sport I do not think anyone will do scientific comparison. I can tell you that you probably wont live long enough to get that tests done so people will need to relay on feelings.


Again every bit of your testing is you testing it.
You get ten people doing the same thing and I would bet that you would get 10 different results. some better some worse.
All of it is non scientific and purly anecdotal.
There is no way to duplicate what you are doing except by you doing it.
and even then there are too many variables.

Double blind testing with a larger sample than 1 would be the only true way to do it.

Simply because something is 800$ does not make it better.

You can buy two hooks to hang a 50lb hanging plant from.
One made of the cheapest stainless steel costing 1$ and
the other made from gold that cost 100$ both do the job
equally as well.. is the gold ring better for the same job,
or is it just more expensive?

Ceramics cost more because they cost more to Mfg.

I have to say it again.. If they were that much better, than there would be some pretty indisputable scientific proof to back it up, and would be the silver bullet these companies would use without fail in order to sell them,
especially @ 800$ a set.. even @ 200+ a set. None of them do that,
at least none that I've seen.

if they were that good, and gained that much time it would be an easy sell.

While I can believe that there may be some very minimal gains with using them, and some can possibly feel the difference.
They are hardly worth the money to the vast majority of skaters worldwide.

I'm with Kufman 59.95 for 100 bearings that are probably just as good if not better than the others that are 50-100$ a set or 200$ a set given the usage.

You have done a good job @ convicing yourself that they are better and I think that is great. but that is a far cry from indisputable prooof that everyone who buys them will get the same result.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 10:30 PM   #14
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For individual results (if you can).....do a blind test on those bearings. Have someone put in "A" bearings on one test without telling you which ones you are skating on. Then take down your times. Do the same for "B" bearings. Give yourself plenty of rest in between so your technique and body has time to recovery and be at its peak. Just a thought mate.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 10:37 PM   #15
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For individual results (if you can).....do a blind test on those bearings. Have someone put in "A" bearings on one test without telling you which ones you are skating on. Then take down your times. Do the same for "B" bearings. Give yourself plenty of rest in between so your technique and body has time to recovery and be at its peak. Just a thought mate.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 04:10 AM   #16
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...I'm with Kufman 59.95 for 100 bearings that are probably just as good if not better than the others that are 50-100$ a set or 200$ a set given the usage....
I'm glad that Kufman has some company, but i'm afraid that the rest of the pack is going to leave both of you and your cheap bearings behind. IMO, any bearing below about an Abec 7 is a recipe for diminished performance. And $1 bearings like Kufman linked to are most assruredly not made of quality steel, and even if the tolerances are sufficient to classify them as Abec 7, they still may be total crap.

I happen to like ceramics. I haven't read any "indisputable proof" as you say, but that does not diminish my belief that they are faster. In fact, i am quite sure of it. And i am only talking about solid ceramic balls with steel cage, as that is all i can afford. And i am quite sure that most bearings below Swiss grade are noticably inferior, though i do think that most skaters could squeak by on Abec 7s if they (the bearings, that is) are not too old and are maintained well. But bearings in the $1 range, well, good luck to you, but not on my skates.

And from my experience, cheap bearings don;'t last, and better quality ones do. I think that good bearings are actually cheaper in the long run becuase they last almost forever and maintain good performance throughout their long life.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 10:07 AM   #17
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And from my experience, cheap bearings don;'t last, and better quality ones do. I think that good bearings are actually cheaper in the long run becuase they last almost forever and maintain good performance throughout their long life.
This. I have multiple sets of BSB swiss, for example, some that have been run in the rain, rusted over, broken loose and beat to hell for almost a decade..and they still run fast and roll forever. They're also loud

To play devil's advocate though....the Bont 'buck bearings' I got from Glenn DO compare quite well with the tired BSB and fresh Bones swiss I run usually. For a $16 set of bearings, being probably 90% as fast as an $80 set is pretty impressive. They won't survive abuse however, and they don't last nearly as long.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:49 AM   #18
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I'm glad that Kufman has some company, but i'm afraid that the rest of the pack is going to leave both of you and your cheap bearings behind. IMO, any bearing below about an Abec 7 is a recipe for diminished performance. And $1 bearings like Kufman linked to are most assruredly not made of quality steel, and even if the tolerances are sufficient to classify them as Abec 7, they still may be total crap.

I happen to like ceramics. I haven't read any "indisputable proof" as you say, but that does not diminish my belief that they are faster. In fact, i am quite sure of it. And i am only talking about solid ceramic balls with steel cage, as that is all i can afford. And i am quite sure that most bearings below Swiss grade are noticably inferior, though i do think that most skaters could squeak by on Abec 7s if they (the bearings, that is) are not too old and are maintained well. But bearings in the $1 range, well, good luck to you, but not on my skates.

And from my experience, cheap bearings don;'t last, and better quality ones do. I think that good bearings are actually cheaper in the long run becuase they last almost forever and maintain good performance throughout their long life.

I Respectufully disagree

There is not one lick of fact out there other than you thinking so that makes what you are saying true. Same as LetMe.

I won't go into ABEC, and the total hype that goes along with that rating.

I have two 50$ sets of steel bearings that I have yet to take apart and clean after almost two years of use. a set of each for indoor and outdoor, as I hate swapping bearings between sets. they still spin free and are quiet as a mouse.
So I've spent 100$ on sets of bearings that I think at this point will last longer than my legs will...

The only people leaving me behind are better skaters, not their bearings.
I will never look at it that way, they are just better skaters. None of those better skaters are running ceramic bearings that I am aware of.

I said this earlier and I'll say it again.
If someone says they were as fast, or faster than me becasue they are running ceramics, they are FOS. They are just as good, or a better skater that has less confidence in their ability, than they do their equipment.

Put another way.. In your last race, did the guys that finished ahead of you, do so because they were better skaters, or did they have better bearings?
And, did the guys that finished behind you do so because of your bearings, or were you just better than they were?

Bottom line is people will buy/use what works for them. If ceramics work for you, that's great. But to translate that into they are better for the same purpose for everyone, and are worth the extra expense is a major stretch.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 02:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Bottom line is people will buy/use what works for them. If ceramics work for you, that's great. But to translate that into they are better for the same purpose for everyone, and are worth the extra expense is a major stretch.
I agree with Hoffmonster. I believe, ceramic bearings work like placebo.

If I was doing a double blind test, I would also need ear plugs, so I could not guess what type of bearings were in place.

In terms of what elite skates skate on, many of them do not have to pay for bearings because manufacturers will provide those for free.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 02:30 PM   #20
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I paid a lot of money for a couple of sets of ceramics about five years ago. I am still using them and they have been through thousands of miles and a lot of rain.


Cheap bearings that I have bought sometimes haven't made it through one rain...and they have more drag IMO.

Having said that I probably wouldn't spend the extra money on ceramics again...just buy some good steel bearings. I wouldn't buy any cheapo bearings though...not worth it to skate on crap.
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