Do Kick Scooter Bearings Matter?
By: Nathan Ulrich
Some people argue that higher quality kick scooter bearings will allow your scooter to roll smoother and faster, and there are manufacturers out there hyping the ABEC-5 and ABEC-7 bearings debate for scooter and skateboard applications. This is, with some caveats, complete bunk.
To be labeled "precision" a bearing must meet the ABEC-1 standard (ABEC stands for Annular Bearing Engineering Committee). Any bearing that doesn't meet at least ABEC-1 (or the ISO equivalent) is not suited for use in a high performance scooter and will not last as long or perform as well as a precision bearing.
Higher quality bearings, going up to ABEC-9, are manufactured for use in very high precision equipment typically operating at very high rotational speeds. The characteristics required to meet these standards will have no effect on the performance of your scooter. They will not increase glide or reduce resistance, leaving the ABEC-5 vs ABEC-7 argument moot.
By the way, the common "test" of spinning an unloaded wheel and seeing how long it spins before coming to rest tells you almost nothing about how it will perform when you are riding. It tells you more about the size and inertia of the wheel than anything else.
For more information about bearings, see the following articles: