Those who have been following this blog for a while will know that I am prone to blabbering on about bearings now and again. The difference they make to a setup is negotiable but still I love them. Apologies go out to those who will find this post akin to watching paint dry…
Having raced them during two marathons (Goodwood, Rabbit Race) as well as having trained on them, I believe that I have ridden them enough to give a pretty accurate opinion. I’ve also found some pretty interesting review online that I will try to summarise here.
Out of the box these bearings at least look great, they feel really sturdy and the blue trademarked dust shields look the business. Once on the wheel good fit and built in spacer really gives you the confidence to tighten these puppies down. I got a little too carried away and managed to de-thread a lock nut, thankfully not the axel…
Performance-wise I’ve found that they run well. Here is a excerpt from the Tekton thread on Silverfish:
I don’t know why but the fastest feeling bearings I’ve used, such as Tektons and Rockin Ron’s have always sounded pretty noisy and a little loose. I’ve used Rockin Ron’s (the same set) for well over 2000 miles and they’re still going strong. They outlasted my LBL Pusher anyway.
Regarding the Tekton rusting issue, I had a set sent to my friend and I asked him to clean out the Siesmic lube and but in some speed cream (there were reports of the Tektons running slow with the original lube)…here is what he had to say:
Also, I cleaned and re-oiled the Tekton bearings and the Garvers last night. Funny thing with the Tekton’s, I dried them as soon as I could after cleaning with a hair dryer, but there was still some thin rust forming on the spacers! Crazy! So, I dried them, oiled each of them with 2 drops of speed cream, spinning each one straight after dropping the oil in, then oiled the spacers and outer races to stop the rust. I’ve never experienced that with any other bearing, and I’ve cleaned a fair few kinds!
The real test was the 2000 miles and 2 1/2 months of harsh riding…with Rain, severe heat, 4-9 hours per day of riding. For the first 40 days, I used literally no lube. None whatsoever. I just didn’t see the need because that little noise coming from the tektons never changed, and neither did the ease of pushing, even after they were completely submerged for an hour in a flooded tent. A few weeks after the flooded tent I decided to try some lube because, come on how could they not need lube after so long. There was a tiny bit of rust starting to form on the axel, so I lubed it all up. That was the last time I lubed the tektons because the lube was stolen a week later. The second half of the trip ended up being rainy as all tits, and everything rusted completely over within two weeks. The tektons were ruined and I couldn’t even change them because they were rusted onto the axles, permanently.
So it seems that they have a super-tendency to rust up – and quick! That said I really do rate their solid feel and will continue to use them as they feel better made than many bearings out there. At $35 for 8 the price isn’t bad either. We’ll see how they get on over the Winter.
Twincam ILQ X mr2
I don’t own these yet but they are pretty rated in the world of speedskating:
Here are some features:
- 29% lighter than 608 bearing.
- Exclusive design 7 ball nylon retainer with self-lubricated material.
- Inner ring with exclusive design “SCRS” (S-channel Rubber Shield) and “DCF” – Double Contamination Free.
- Provides the most maximum contamination free protection than any other in-line bearing in the market
- The ‘top hat’ style adaptors which allow these to be used with 8mm axels act as an additional dust seal
- Greater loading than standard 608 bearings
- Lubricant: TK Ultra Light Gel gives better protection inside balls and nylon retainer.
A fuller review is available here and on the manufacturer’s site. There are also ceramic versions available but at increased cost. The non-ceramic version shown above are priced at $45.50 for a set of 16.
Twincam ILQ-9 PRO (6 ball)
The original feature of these bearing is that they each contain 6 not 7 ball bearings.
Why are 6 balls better than 7? Less is more! The contact area between the balls and the inner and outer rings has been reduced with 6 balls, so ILQ-9′s spin with less friction that any other inline bearing. With larger balls, there’s also less void space inside the raceway, so the bearing can be filled with less lubrication, allowing more free spin.
Additionally, the larger balls (4.5 mm diameter) allow ILQ-9′s to handle greater laoding rates. This means they are superior for heavier skaters, and for stressful activities like hockey, aggressive skating, or hihg-speed pushing and cornering. I know that Alex Bangnoi uses these and they seem to be working pretty well for him! More info here. $45.50 for a set of 16
Anti-abec rating and with seals that are “not perfect; just really, really good”…but also every bearing is purple and green giving rise to a hard choice (steezy side out or speedy side out)…
They have been, ahem, comprehensively tested:
Magics are FAST!!!! None of the current magic bearings have died, including the prototypes I’ve had since july. Rain, dirt, general abuse, they take it. I got rained all over yesterday, went through puddles of dirty brown road-rain-water and got all nasty and gross. This morning the bearings are still smooth, though a but noisier. Looks like rain for most of the week as well so we’ll see how they hold up. And I didn’t have the luxury of spinning the wheels at 30-40mph to keep the water out.
So in review people, you should buy them because:
1. They use Unicorn semen and angel tears as lube
2. They’re purple. The color of steeze and hustle
3. But they’re also green, the color of speed
4. B*tches love Magic
5. Seals and stuff
6. They’re centerset, so you can flip them.
7. I like to think they are made out of iron man.
8. They’re Magically self aligning. Even better than Tektons!
9. They make racecar sounds
10. The lube is pizza grease.
11. They are best for sliding
12. They will make you fast like K-Rimes
13. They’re magical duh
Like most years the Goodwood marathon is one of the top, if not THE event in my longboarding year. It certainly is the longest and most competitive distance event in Europe to my knowledge. This time around things were no different – I’ve been focussed on how I can improve my time since I started training back in April.
Tim Pritchard and I arrived early enough to set up a camp and generally collect our starter packs and get ready. The couple of hours before the race went by in a flash. I made some adjustments to my setup and after some stretching was ready for the off. Tim, Matt Elver and I made our way on to the track together and snaked through the masses of lycra-clad rollerbladers, many roller-derby girls and got pretty near the front. With a little bit of manoeuvring and some grumbling from those around us we managed to get our boards down. The race marshals counted down from 10 and we were off. After about 10 metres Matt got knocked or tangled up with another rollerblader but other than that the start was clean and problem-free.
Tim and I got into a fast pace and the first lap really flew by. During some sections of the first lap he pumped and I managed to keep up by pushing as hard as I could, but only just. I should have pumped too but didn’t want to loose valuable time changing my stance but I was already aching and didn’t feel like I’d warmed up enough. After crossing the line for the second lap we were soon passed by Matt who seemed on very good form. I was really taken aback by how fast Tim was pushing and really struggled to get into a rhythm. After turning into the section of the track where there was a headwind I was lagging further and further behind. Pausing to drink some water proved a step to far. Tim put in a few power pushes and just pulled away, I couldn’t keep up.
My breathing was all over the place and I decided to pull back a little, in the hope that if I maintained a high average speed then I could possibly catch up with Tim again in the later laps of the race. I had successfully done this the in 2010 with Alex Bangnoi. Soon after, I then also got overtaken by Ben Williams on a rather funky LBL Pusher V2 and Moe Neve. Shortly after that I managed to get into a good zone.
For the next laps, I pumped on every downhill and straight where the wind was behind me or in the downhill sections and and pushed the rest of the time. It is at this point that I versitality of the G|Bomb showed through. Being able to pump the board was a very welcome break from the pushing. I also found that I was much quicker when I was pumping compared to when I was pushing. This was most noticeable on the flat or gradual downhill sections of the circuit. Along these sections I maintained speeds of around 24+ kph (15mph) compared to 20-ish kph (12.5mph) when pushing normally. I felt really comfortable on the G|Bomb and I was pleased that I had adjusted to it in such a quick time. I have found my ultimate race board.
As the counter on my GPS climbed above the 43km mark at around the 2 hour mark, I started to wonder how many laps I’d done. One error was that I didn’t carry a pen with me and being focused on pace, I’d not really paid attention to the number of laps I’d done. I really didn’t want to be one lap out so decided to do another, in hindsight I did this perhaps unconsciously to honour Alex Bangnoi with whom I’d raced around with for an extra lap at Goodwood in 2010. ;-)
In the end I finished in : 02:00:15, in 4th place – not bad!
A great podium picture of the top 3 finishers – well done guys! Check out the funky Skatefurther banner!
Here are the readings from my GPS for both 2010 and 2011.
You can see from the above pictures that I was 1.4kph (0.86 mph) off last year’s pace.
Since the race I can’t help wondering why I was slower. I’ve tried to change many things in preparation for this year’s race, from looking into different techniques by reading the Chi-Running book to uphill training with the aim of improving strength. I perhaps made too many changes and don’t think that I ate right on the day. The previous day I hadn’t managed to resist a couple of beers either – schoolboy error!
Additionally, given my time in 2010 I may have been a tad over confident, it may have also been the headwind too. Who knows. One thing is for certain, I really feel that I got the setup right this year with the G|Bomb although I may tweak a couple of aspects. I will also look at the pushing and tucking method, especially for use in headwinds. I also want to train for longer distances and give up on the grueling short uphill strategy as this isn’t fun. Regardless of my performance I had a really great time with everyone and had a great day.
This is the complete setup I used:
- Board: Subsonic G|Bomb Illuminati in light flex
- Front truck: Bennet 5.0 with Lime 80a Reflex barrel bushing boardside and Orange 86a barrel roadside (with rounded edges), with bushing saver fix
- Front wheels: ATOBE Wigglers wheels 77mm 82a
- Back truck: Seismic 30° with red springs tightened to 2.5 turns
- Rear wheels: ATOBE Bonneville wheels 76mm 78a
- Siesmic Tekton bearings
- PSD FWD+ Short footstop
More importantly, Goodwood like the other longboard events that are too-few, is also an unmissable opportunity to meet and get together with fellow longboarders. It was great to see such people as, Keith O’Leary, Tom Parker, Nick Randall, Zoltan Nagy, Ben Williams, Moe Neve Jon Steel, Chris White, Gary Ewens, Matt Elver and not forgetting Tim Pritchard. Laura Hatwell was sorely missed though as were the other members of the Skatefurther family who weren’t able to make it.
Another awesome aspect was that the PSD footstops was really well received and deservedly so. Quite a few people bought a one on the day and all feedback on them was great. Here are several in action.
It was really nice to have to time to chill with some of the others after the race. After a good rest Tim, Keith and I went for a chill lap in the Summer sunshine. The circuit really is an amazing skate…
Keith, Chris and I took the opportunity to ride the super smooth circuit for one last lap. All 3 of us pumping and using my footop’s which was another great feeling. I took a ride on Chris’s G|Bomb Illuminati, extra low brackets, Bennett front 17* Seismic red springs -7* and AToBe Wigglers/Bonnevilles. It was far more stable than my top mount LDP and return to centre equally, turning equally and less like a fish weaving. The pump feels much more centred, you kind of make longboard type turns, and it pumps/accelerates and you can make tiny pumps with your toes/heals dipping. The height is really low which felt pretty normal, until I stepped back on my board which felt enormous. The G|Bomb certainly has potential for a true pusher/pumper, but, I may well stick with my Pulse? The mega quick alteration of angles on the G|Bomb is also a massive advantage, I’m sure we all agree, especially front and back for us LDPers. I’d love a G|Bomb, and I have no doubt that it could be my ideal board for a race, but, I may never know.
New strategies, more training but the same board – bring on next year already! Tim’s write up of the day can be seen Pavedwave and all the results of the day’s racing are here. A big thanks goes out to the organisers for putting on such a good event!