|Long Name||Bones Bearings|
|Products and Services|
|Retail Products Sold||Bearings|
|Founded||December 1, 1981|
|Founder||George A. Powell|
History of Bones Bearings
By George A. Powell
In the early 1980s, skateboarding was at a low ebb and it was difficult to find top quality bearings. American bearing companies like Fafnir had vacated the bearing market because the Japanese produced vast quantities of lower cost bearings and U.S. companies could not compete at the price Japanese bearings were selling for. The Japanese bearings were of good quality but were not very fast. German bearings were better, but many skaters wanted an even faster bearing to help them go higher on vert ramps or to roll farther with each push.
Seeing this need, I set out to find the best bearing I could that would still be affordable to skaters. I looked in America and in Europe. My search ended at a small, custom bearing manufacturer in Switzerland. Their bearings were faster than any we had ever tested before and, at the time, only a little more expensive than German bearings.
I worked with the Swiss manufacturer to optimize a bearing for skating. I changed from a standard stamped metal ball retainer to a high speed precision molded plastic one that could be removed by skaters to allow better cleaning of the bearing. We left one shield off so skaters could get to the inside of the bearing without any tools to clean and re-lubricate it. Next, we adjusted the tolerances and clearances to allow the bearing to take the combination side and vertical loads imposed by skating better than normal bearings do (which are mostly designed for electric motors). Finally, we replaced the usual lubricant with a special one we developed ourselves called Bones Speed Cream™.
Re-engineering this fine bearing for skating produced the fastest, most sought after, most competition successful bearing in the history of our sport. In fact, it is still the fastest bearing you can buy for skating even after all these years and after many other companies have packaged and hyped you to buy their ABEC-1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 “super bearings” with cartoon characters, racy names or whatever.
We test all these bearings with custom equipment we have made to compare the important qualities of bearings like drag and vibration at high speeds and extended roll at low and medium speeds. Then we have our team ride the bearings until the bearings “die” to see how long they will last and how they perform in actual skating environments. Some of the bearings you will see advertised or sold in shops are junk and some are pretty good, but no bearing we have ever tested has equalled the performance of Bones Swiss.