Last year I got my hands on Bones bearings. If somebody do not know – it is a brand that is focused almost solely on skateboarding market, where it is a synonime of quality. Almost thirty years of history, and bearings that were used and still are, by some of the best skateboarders ever. Of course, skateboarding is almost alternative reality to rollerblading – it isn’t a secret that there is friction between two subcultures (more because of marketing strategy skateboarding companies choose than anything) and there are not many companies that made anything aimed at the both groups – even when we are talking about things like clothes…
But bearings in standard size 608, would always be just bearings, no matter what ayone made up in their heads. They fit skateboards, rollerblades, and scooters alike, and many others less popular sportsgear you can see on street and at the parks. That will not change – all ouf our wheels are spinning thanks to the same construction.
Bones REDS were often recommended on British inline fourm serpentineroad.com – freeskaters and speedskaters alike said these are in many cases faster and stronger than products made/labeled by inline skating brands. So when I saw tiny black box with red phrase, my expectations were high. And not only I was not disappointed – I was actually surprised how good these bearings truly are! Even though REDS are lowest, cheapest and most basic bearing from Bones – I definitelly would not say these ride like a budget bearings.
Bearings are of standard size 608, made of chrome steel, with nylon ball holder. Cover is coated in rubber, and there is only one – bearings are open from one side at all times. These are fully serviceable, you can take them apart and clean them without much problem.
Standard grease is olive, which makes them insanely fast, but it do not last long – dozen hours of skating, and they must be greased again. If weather condition was good, and you did not skated in the rain, or through dusty streets, or on wet/dusty spost – you can simply drop some oil inside and do not worry about anything more. It is for sure nice eature for speedskaters, or “park rats”.
If you are freeskater, or aggressive skater, and skate street – it would be best to clean these from olive using petrol for example and apply more heavy-duty grease that will last longer. I used teflon grease, and of course bearings are a bit slower – but you can’t really say they are slow at all, they roll smooth, and are much quieter (they are kind of noisy when greased with oil).
When it comes to resistance to dust and water – it is very high. Rubberized cover keeps away most of pollution away, and even protect these bearings from water to some degree. Once when I was skating through city with a buddy, a sudden cloudburst caught us – we had to skate about 200 meters in heavy rain to neares bus stop. He had Powerslide Twincam ILQ 9 bearings in his skates, I had REDS in mine. Day after that my bearings still rolled smooth, but made a lot of noise of course. His bearings were stuck and needed heavy cleaning to be usable again. And it is good to note there is also SUPER REDS version – which comes with more rain-tight covers.
Skating using these is very fast and smooth.
Bearings let you accelerate quickly and easy, and they maintain your speed for a reasonable period of time without pushing. It feels like I do not have to put so much strenght in push, compared to skating on other bearing I’ve used (most recently Powerslide Twincam ILQ7 Classic).
I’ve tested REDS in a few frame/wheel combos. Wheels were: Roll Line SKIL 80A wear down to 74mm, 80mm UC PB Standard 88A, 76mm UC PB Team 88A, and frames were: 255mm RB Fusion alu frame, Kizer Advance, Kizer Level 2. In theory, Roll Lines in Advance frames should give slowest and softest setup (wheels were smalles and softest, frame was least rigid out of three and shortest), but these bearing gave such “boost” I did not felt like skating through mud (it happened with cheap bearings used in similar setup).
To sum it up – these are definitely worth their price. But price can be only downside, but not because it is too hgh for product f this quality – it is simply higher than high-end price of bearings from some of freeskating and aggressive skating brands. It is not very likely that rollerblader will buy skateboarding company bearings priced higher than often praised and recommended Twincams, labeled with SEB or Powerslide print… or the likes. These brands are known and skaters trust them. Bones is brand they do not know, or barely remeber from playing first three Tony Hawk games on PC or console years ago, as a kid. But even thought it is almost “no-name” brand for skaters – it is worth to give them a try.
Who I would recommend these to? Anyone, who wants to spend a little more on bearings, and have ones that ride like they cost almost double of asking price. If you like fast, durable bearings with a good roll, easy to clean, these are for you!
+great, smooth feel of rolling
+they work good with olive and more thick greases
+easy to clean
+high precision of manufacturing
+resistant to contamination
+great price/quality ratio
-not very much of them…
-maybe lack of dedicated, precision spacers in a set?
-if you want to be really picky – they are noisy when greased with olive.
Bearings were provided by Jakub Zico Ciesielski and his skateshop zicoracing.com – of course you can buy these bearings there, or other BONES bearings types, if you want, too!