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Bones® Bearings — An Introduction to the Legend

Posted by Angel Chen on

Bones® is a manufacturer & distributor of high performance and competition skateboard bearings since 1983. Bones® Bearings are the skate industry leader and favorite choice of professional skaters, and have been since their development in 1981.

George A. Powell, founder of Bones®, studied engineering at Stanford University and became a stalwart in the skating industry after tinkering with homemade skateboards in his spare time besides his day job in the aerospace industry.



"In the early 1980s, skateboarding was at a low ebb and it was difficult to find top quality bearings. American bearing companies like Fafnir had vacated the bearing market because the Japanese produced vast quantities of lower cost bearings and U.S. companies could not compete at the price Japanese bearings were selling for. The Japanese bearings were of good quality but were not very fast. German bearings were better, but many skaters wanted an even faster bearing to help them go higher on vert ramps or to roll farther with each push.

Seeing this need, I set out to find the best bearing I could that would still be affordable to skaters. I looked in America and in Europe. My search ended at a small, custom bearing manufacturer in Switzerland. Their bearings were faster than any we had ever tested before and, at the time, only a little more expensive than German bearings.

I worked with the Swiss manufacturer to optimize a bearing for skating. I changed from a standard stamped metal ball retainer to a high speed precision molded plastic one that could be removed by skaters to allow better cleaning of the bearing. We left one shield off so skaters could get to the inside of the bearing without any tools to clean and re-lubricate it. Next, we adjusted the tolerances and clearances to allow the bearing to take the combination side and vertical loads imposed by skating better than normal bearings do (which are mostly designed for electric motors). Finally, we replaced the usual lubricant with a special one we developed ourselves called Bones Speed Cream™.

Re-engineering this fine bearing for skating produced the fastest, most sought after, most competition successful bearing in the history of our sport."


You can read more about the history of Bones® development here, and more about Powell and the famous team of pro skaters known as the Bones® Brigade here.

The most established product by Bones® are the Swiss Bearings. Over the past years, Bones® Swiss Bearings have become legendary because of their superior speed quality, and longevity. They have the best reputation in the skateboard industry, and have had this honor for the past 33 years because of their performance and quality. Everyone who rides Swiss knows how fast they are, and most also comment on how long they last, typically several times as long as low cost bearings. Skaters who use Bones® Swiss do so because they want the very best equipment they can get and they know the difference between ordinary and exceptional.


Bones® also produces a variety of bearings at different price points and performances, so let's start at the entry-level one and work our way up.





Bones® REDS® are the most value for money bearings you can buy. They were developed to be an affordable alternative to Bones Swiss inline bearings. Bones® quality at a very very good price. Comes in a pack of 16. Bones® REDS® are manufactured in China to Bones Skate Rated™ specifications in a manufacturing facility dedicated to producing the highest quality skate bearings in China. They are inspected twice before being shipped to skaters and offer the greatest combination of performance, durability and low cost in the industry. Because they offer near Bones Swiss performance at a fraction of the cost, they have become the best selling bearing brand in the U.S.A.
  • Optimized bearing for skating
  • Very low friction, and made from the same fine materials with the same specification as Bones Swiss.
  • High speed precision molded nylon bearing retainer
  • Single rubber shield for easier access to balls and reduces weight
  • Retainer and shield are removable to allow for better cleaning
  • Polished Chromium steel balls and races
  • Specially formulated Speed Cream™ for superior lubrication




Bones® Super REDS® are designed from the ground up to be the best bearing on the market at this price point. Super REDS® are not just a REDS® bearing with better super finishing (surface polishing). Super REDS® are a superior quality bearing, using higher quality steel races, better quality and grade balls, and a superior surface finish. The result is a bearing that is as fast as REDS® but quieter, smoother, and longer lasting. Super REDS® use a black shield and laser engraving to differentiate themselves from original REDS®. 

  • Made for inline and skateboarding
  • Round steels balls that is more polished thats decreases friction
  • High speed precision molded nylon bearing retainer
  • Single rubber shield for easier access to balls and reduces weight
  • Retainer and shield are removable to allow for better cleaning
  • Polished Chromium steel balls and races
  • Laser engraved races
  • Specially formulated Speed Cream™ for superior lubrication and protection against dirt



Bones® Ceramics Super REDS®. These bearings are made with grade 5, silicone nitride, hot isotastic-pressed ceramic balls making it so smooth and fast! Comes in a pack of 16.

Bones Ceramic Super REDS® are lighter and provide faster acceleration because the balls weigh much less. They create less friction and are thus faster than Super REDS®, with or without lubricant! When you get dirt into your Ceramic Super REDS®, the ceramic balls will help to re-polish the steel races flat again, providing a self-healing benefit because ceramic balls are so much harder than steel. Finally, ceramic balls will not rust, further lengthening their life. Ceramic Super REDS® use a bone colored shield with laser-engraved outer races for identification.

  • Top Quality, Ultra High-Performance Bearings without the high price tag
  • Lighter & Faster Acceleration 
  • Weighs lesser
  • Less Friction due to Ceramic Balls make for Faster Speed
  • Ceramic Balls help to Polish Steel Races Flat Again
    • Provides self-healing benefit as ceramic is much harder
    • Don't rust resulting in prolonged life




The Bones® Swiss Skate bearings has been in the market since 1983 and has since secured its place at the top the bearings category. It is by far the fastest, smoothest and most durable high quality bearing in the market. The choice of professional and speed skaters, the Bones Swiss has become a standard to which all inline skate bearings are measured. Bones Swiss have earned their name through years of proven, dependable performance from the best skaters in the world.

  • Contains 8 Bearings or 16 Bearings
  • Best used for skateboards and Inline Skates
  • Improved tolerances and clearances to allow the bearing to take heavy pressure and weight.
  • High speed precision molded plastic bearing retainer 
  • Single rubber shield for easier access to balls for maintenace
  • Polished Chromium steel balls and races
  • Specially formulated Speed Cream™ for superior lubrication and to protect against dirt
  • More precise than industrial rated bearings



Bones® Swiss Ceramics
. One of the fastest bearings under Bones. The bearings are build using Bones precision ground and polished races, fiber reinforced high speed ball retainer, Cerbec silicon nitride ceramic balls, Speed Cream™ racing formula lubricant, and a frictionless, non-contact shield. The advantages of using ceramic balls are that they are non-corrosive, lighter weight, harder & stronger than steel, have lower rolling friction, and last longer. This makes Bones Swiss Ceramic bearings accelerate faster, roll farther, and last longer than polished steel ball bearings. Its the best a ball bearing can get. Comes is a pack of 16

  • Fastest Speed and Acceleration
  • Lowest Friction, Longest Roll
  • Lightest Weight
  • Self-Mending, Longest Lasting / Pre-Lubricated with Speed Cream™
  • Easy Cleaning & Relubricating
  • Removable High Speed Nylon Ball Cage
  • Non-Contact Removable Rubber Shield
  • More precise than industrial graded bearings

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