Breaking Bearings In
- Category: Bearings
Breaking bearings in means that after a certain number of hours the balls have created tiny grooves and changed the condition of the contact surface in the raceway. Once this has occurred, the bearings will roll noticeably faster and function at their intended optimum performance. The length of time depends on the steel and surface finish of the balls and races, roughly 10-20 hours, which means maintaining bearings during this waiting period is crucial in order to reach peak performance.
It's often said that breaking in a bearing is when it starts to make that cool "hissing" sound. A lot of skaters believe this fallacy. The hissing caused by vibrations from metal-on-metal contact creates that illusion when rolling a wheel off the ground. When there is nothing slowing a bearing down, like lubricants or contaminants, it might make the hissing sound and roll fast. However, riding on bearings in this condition causes high friction, corrosion, rust, slow performance, and a trip back to the shop for a new set of bearings.