Stolen from erikamaris.com. See? I have chemicals!
For those of you playing at home, I often pretend to be a grad student that works in a Materials Science and Engineering lab when I'm not skating. Of course, I spend all that time at work thinking about skating. After a few of hours swimming through the internet, I came to to the following conclusions:
- - It really doesn't matter what ABEC your bearings are. Unless you are a super pro speed skater, you aren't going to miraculously win every jam by spending $200 instead of $10. If anything, the more precise the bearings (higher ABEC rating [milled to more precise dimensions]) will be more liable to get stuck and damaged with the least amount of dirt. So just get the ABEC 5 or 7's and call it a day.
- - Bearing cleaners are solvents, like acetone or orange oil (Goo Gone). Yes, you can buy specialty crap, or not. Whatever you do, make sure you dry them out very well before oiling. Some require rinsing with water, which can rust the bearings and tracks if not properly dried.
- - Oil vs Grease. Well, most people are divided on this subject. Grease stays inside the bearing better, but will also be more viscous and cause drag. You only get a benefit from grease if you are going very fast for a long time, like an industrial machine that heats up. So just stick to mineral oils, available wherever they sell bearings for just a few bucks.
So what all did I do to ready up for the bout? Let me count the steps ^_^
- Pull out the bearings from the wheels. I highly recommend a bearing pulling tool, seeing as how I crimped the shells on two of my bearings. If you have the ones with removable plastic sides, you can just push them out with your axle and a bit of determination (or a screw driver).
- Wipe them down with a rag, preferably lint-less.
- Stick them in a jar with industrial strength acetone. Swish it around until the liquid stops getting yellow/brown.
- Pull them out, spin them while holding them in the rag, and blow out in fume hood.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with toluene.
- Stick in vacuum oven at 140˚ for half an hour until you are sure everything is dry.
- Lay flat on towel and add three drops of oil on each bearing. Wait a few minutes, swivel, flip, add oil, wait, swivel and done.
- Reinsert in wheels, making sure to keep any you completely fuck up for trophies.
- Make sure you do this with at least one practice before a bout. You have no idea how dirty your bearings are until you see the difference!
Stupid ideas I had that were corrected by experienced skaters:
- - Teflon spray will make everything awesome!
- Don't do it! It will make the bearings lock up.
- - WD40 is cheap and available!
- Some girls love it, some say to stay away from it.
- "Aerosol lubricants such as WD-40 and '4-way' sprays do not have anti-friction properties. Squeaks are only temporarily stopped because the spray wets the surface and then quickly evaporates. These sprays are good for releasing frozen nuts and bolts, but not for lubricating."
- - If I spend all the money in the world and switch out my equipment every month, I will be the bestest derby girl evar!
- Bitch, please! Just chill and check in with reality every once in a while. Pay a little bit of attention to upkeeping what you already have and you can be as good as the best. Dedication will get you so much farther than your credit card ever will.
Here are some people that I plagiarized and stuff: