Roller skate maintenance is one thing that goes a long way in deciding your performance and safety on the skating rink. Special attention needs to be given to the wheel bearings because they are constantly exposed to extreme conditions.
Why use lube on skate bearings
The dirt and drying lube in the biggest killer of skate wheel bearings. Once they start collecting inside the bearing, they act as sandpaper and increase wear and tear. No one likes to ride gritty wheels and therefore you should regularly clean them and lube the bearings. Previously, we discussed cleaning your skate wheel bearings with alcohol. Now, let’s talk about different lubes you can use for skate wheel bearings.
Various skate wheel bearing lubes in market
There is a big market for lubricants dedicated for skating wheels. Some examples of it include Bones Speed Cream, Airlite oil, Sonicsuper bearing oil. Most of them come in small 1/2oz bottles that cost around $5.
Bones Speed cream is extremely popular among the skaters as its a high temperature, low viscosity lube. This means that it doesn’t dry up quickly even though it’s light oil.
Some people also like to use light grease in their skate bearings. The main reason for this it’s easily available in the market and it can increase the maintenance interval.
Skate bearing lube alternative
Majority of people use several oil alternatives for skate bearings. Some of my favourite skate bearing lube alternatives are lightweight motor oil (Under W30), Sewing machine oil, and baby oil. I often resort to them when there is an emergency and I run out of Bones speed cream.
Grease vs Oil
Oil is less resistive compared to grease: Many people notice that they can skate faster when the wheel bearings are lubed with oil. That’s because oil is less viscous and offer less rolling resistance. However, the main issue with using oil is that it requires cleaning more often.
If you don’t like cleaning your skates more regularly then grease is a good option for you.
If you are ready to clean and re-oil you skate wheels more often then lubing with oil has an advantage in terms of performance in during rink racing. I personally, use grease for regular use but switch to oil during competition races.
Use Grease for road skating: if you plan to ride on the road and that to for a long distance then you should do with grease. That’s because it’s more stable even at high temperatures. It will continue to provide adequate lubrication even when they get extremely hot.
Alternative oil like baby oil, on the other hand, might not handle such temperature and burn out of seep out from the bearings.
You should definitely consider getting dedicated skate bearing lube. A small bottle goes a long way as you probably need to re-lube the bearings thrice every year. And each bearing takes about two drops of oil. I recommend Bones Speed cream (it’s a oil not, really a cream).