Whether made up of ceramics or steel, bearings can make a huge difference in the performance of a wheel. All types of wheels, whether it is that of a cycle, car, truck, bike, or skateboard need to have bearings in order to have an ideal performance.
Without bearings, your wheels cannot rotate as smoothly as they do with bearings in them. The bearings are present in the inner part of the wheel where the shaft gets connected to the part of the vehicle in the case of automobiles, cars, or bikes. In the case of cycles, you can see the hub having the bearings in them in the center of the wheel.
Skateboard wheels have bearings inside them enclosed in rings. Inside the races the bearings are present. The bearings roll inside the metal rings, the rotatory motion of the wheel occurs, and in turn, the vehicle moves. These small bearings used in a number of different types of wheels are not the same as they can vary in their composition and diameter.
If you think that there can only be steel bearings then you are wrong as they have ceramic alternatives. Don’t know which one is good for you? Here I have brought to you all the details that can help you end the ceramic bearings vs steel debate.
What Are Bearings?
The structure of a wheel is not as simple as it seems to be. There are many internal parts that are connected together to make up the whole system. This whole system cannot be functional without the bearings as they are the ones that decrease the sliding and friction to aid the whole wheel structure to rotate.
Actually, it is these small little balls inside the wheels that actually control the negative forces and make the wheels move. The whole weight, pressure, and frictional forces are canceled out by them. Rings of the wheels roll over the bearings, reducing any uneasiness and discomfort during motion.
What Are Ceramic Bearings?
Ceramic bearings are not much different in structure from that of the usual steel bearings. The main difference is that the material used in the making of these tiny little balls enclosed in rings and placed in the middle of the wheel is made up of silicon nitride.
The inner balls have a special composition that makes them lighter, yet stronger. The ceramic bearings in skateboards are more important as you can feel much difference when you are sliding through the streets or in a skateboard park. Other than reduced friction and improved rotation it adds more insulation to the wheels too.
What Are Steel Bearings?
The tiny, shiny, and circular balls present inside the wheels along with the races are called steel bearings. These bearings are not much different than ceramic ones. The main difference is because of the ceramic balls as the rings in both cases are made of metals.
When any wheel experiences a weight on it, the bearings in it will act as a medium to cancel out the force by rolling. That is why steel bearings are designed to bear a high amount of load.
Ceramic vs Steel Bearings
Now that you know what a bearing is, how it works, and what different types of it are. You might be willing to know which one is better than the other. Usually, a large number of people around the globe might not even have heard about ceramic bearings as steel ones are more common. But this by no means means that ceramic bearings are not worth it.
Here I have brought to you all the details of the two so you can find an answer to the ceramic bearing vs steel conflict.
Corrosion Resistance is an important feature. The ceramic bearings have an upper hand when it comes to this factor as the silicon nitride composition used in making these bearings shows that they are already an oxide. So, the chances of getting corroded are near zero. Whereas in the case of steel the chances of corrosion are higher than that of ceramic ones. The corrosion resistance of steel is ten times lesser than that of ceramic. This is why currently many users are preferring ceramic bearings.
Weight of the ceramic bearing is less than that of steel bearings. Steel is a metal and has more dentistry as compared to Silicone nitride which is evident by the fact that if you take two similar sizes of the two balls the weight of steel will be higher. The density of the materials is responsible for their weight. The difference in density between the two is around 35 to 40 percent.
Rigidity of the ceramic bearings is more as these small balls are much more stiff and strong. This rigidity is because of the strong bonds that are present in silicon nitride as compared to the bonds that are present in metals.
Prices of the steel bearings are in the affordable range as compared to ceramic ones. Ceramic bearings are somewhat new to the market and users, so makers charge slightly more. If you are not convinced enough then you don’t need to invest in ceramic ones as you will have to pay double the price. Steel bearings are reasonable and accessible for users all around the world.
Smooth Rotation is provided by both of the bearings but the amount of easiness provided by the ceramic ones is breathtaking. This is because the steel ones are somewhat less rigid, don’t have a smooth surface, have higher weight, and depend on lubrication.
When the force is applied to the wheel the ceramic bearings have to face the pressure but the smoothness eliminates 30 percent of the opposing force of friction and leads to smooth rotation.
Longevity of the ceramic bearings is more because it is tougher and also cannot corrode like the steel ones if there is poor maintenance provided to them. Ceramic bearings can be used at least 10 to 20 times more than steel. The steel ones can corrode or can break when the load on them is high.
Speed of steel bearings is less because it is denser, less smooth, and provides rotation at a lower speed. Whereas the speed provided by the ceramic bearing is high as ceramic weight is almost 30 times less, has a smoother stricture, and the friction elimination capacity is also more so the rotation speed of these bearings is high.
Resistance To Temperature
Resistance To Temperature is also important as the steel is a conductor of electricity and temperature then they do get the effect when used continuously for long days and hot weather. Whereas, ceramic can work best no matter what the temperature is. The tiny balls made up of ceramic keep going and provide smoother motion.
Are ceramic bearings worth it?
You don’t have to put much effort when you have ceramic bearings on your wheels. These bearings are a better choice in every possible way if the price is not an issue for you. You can get bearings that are smooth, give speed, reduce friction, have more corrosion resistance, and are more durable.
The beatings will not corrode even after less maintenance. The only issue can be that you have to pay more than the steel ones. But it is truly a buying one as it lasts longer.
Even though it can be difficult to choose one, after going through the article you can find the factors and contributors that make it easier to decide between the two.
Ceramic bearings are more recommended than steel ones as they are smoother, light in weight, less dense, more strong, have lower friction, and reduced conductivity, have higher speed, and are resistant to corrosion. I hope that now you have found the answer to the ceramic vs steel bearings debate.
Hi, I am Mian. I am the Owner and Founder Of Skateboard First. I am such a huge fan of skateboarding, and I am here to enhance your experience in skateboarding.