I have loved everything about my new Trikke T8 Sport since I brought her home a month ago, but when I learned about a way to make her ride even faster and smoother, I knew I had to give it a try. The Trikke world has discovered what skateboarders have known for years; high quality wheel bearings make for an all-around better ride.
I decided to upgrade Rokk-It Red’s bearings after being inspired by two fellow Trikkers. My first introduction to the concept came from my friend Jeri Thompson, who writes the Trikker Chicks blog
. I could immediate relate to her fond childhood memories of sliding down a sliding board on wax paper, as she used this for an analogy of the improvement that ceramic bearings made to her Trikke.
The second impetus came from an article on Trikke World Magazine by Elise Bennett
. Elise did a lot of the legwork by analyzing the dizzying array of bearings available, and making recommendations that steered me in the right direction.
As much as I would have loved to obtain a small grant to sample and compare all of the precision bearings on today’s market, I settled for my tried-and-true approach of relying on internet research and reviews by actual users. The issue of choosing “ABEC Rated” bearings versus “Skate Rated” bearings was decided after reading this persuasive article
In short, ABEC-ratings indicate the tolerances the bearings are manufactured to, with common grades being 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. A higher number indicates a bearing manufactured to higher tolerances. Trikkes come standard with ABEC5 bearings, which rank them middle of the road for precision. The ABEC rating indicates little else about the bearing, omitting factors important to skating and Trikking, such as side loading and impact resistance.
By contrast, “Skate Rated” bearings are designed specifically for the needs of skateboarders. The carving motion of a skateboard’s trucks is not all that different than the carving motion of a Trikke, so I decided this would shape my decision.
|Bones Ceramic Super Reds
After more research, influenced by a combination of price, reviews, availability, and speed of delivery (because now I was getting to be like an impatient kid who wants their new toy now), I decided on Bones Ceramic Super Reds
. These had been highly ranked on a number of independent websites, and I was able to get them at a good discount from an Ebay seller with a great reputation.
I ordered my bearings Sunday, and was ecstatic when they arrived in my mailbox on Tuesday. A long workweek prevented me from installing them until Friday night. Impatient to try them out, I turned on my yard’s floodlights and Trikked up and down my driveway a dozen or more times, likely leaving my neighbors scratching their heads. This short stretch of asphalt was enough to delight me as Rokk-It Red rolled along smoother than ever.
|Stock bearing installed, new ceramic bearing next to it
I didn’t have to wait long to give the bearings a real-world test run as I headed to Warminster Community Park for our October LSM Ride
on Saturday morning. The bearing instructions advise you it will take an hour of riding to fully break in the bearings, and this ride did that and then some. It was a sheer delight to glide along the runway and paths at the park, feeling that I could put my energy into carving faster instead of just keeping the Trikke going. This will allow me to do even longer rides, as well as to keep up better with the more experienced riders.
I am happy with my decision, and I would encourage anyone interested to consider these bearings. You will only need to use 6 out of the 8 bearings in the set, leaving you with 2 spares for the future. You should also know that they will take a little more effort to clean and maintain than the stock Trikke bearings, but this can be easily done with some simple tools and supplies. Bones offers the following advice on taking care of your new bearings: http://bonesbearings.com/support/maintenance/
These are just one of many high-quality bearing sets you can purchase for your Trikke. If anyone has used any other brands, I’d love to hear about your experiences.