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Old June 18th, 2015, 07:07 PM   #21
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matguy's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 653

Yeah, greased will appear to spin slower than oiled when spun by hand in open air, but that's not the whole story. One, they'll certainly spin slower when new or recently greased as the grease is still distributing a fine layer on surfaces and depositing extra in to non-contact areas. After than they'll probably still spin just a bit slower when spun by hand and left to spin to a stop on their own, but in skating there'll be very little difference. What you do gain with greased is the self re-lubricating aspect as the lubrication on the contact surfaces wears the bearing warms up and the grease on non-contact areas liquefies and re-lubes contact areas. You also get a dirt collecting function as dirt and dust will get in to the bearings, it sticks to some of the grease that's near the gap in the seal; most useful for outdoor, but still handy if your rink is less than tidy.

If you're not seriously competing you likely won't notice the difference with skating indoor... unless the amount of time your wheels spin in free air is really important to you. Even for a casual+ skater, greased is fine and factory grease on a good set will last quite a while. Even plenty of serious skaters skate and race in greased bearings (especially outdoor marathon skaters if they're not using ceramics.)

Although, if you get a certain amount of Zen style catharsis out of skate maintenance and like a good cleaning and oiling regimen, sure, oil 'em.

In full disclosure, while I generally oil my inline bearings, I've had greased and they were perfectly fine after a brief break in period and it wasn't that bad out of the box. They're not greased now only because they needed to be cleaned and I didn't have any suitable grease handy, but I had good oil. Same with my quads. My wife's quads and my kid's inlines have sealed "red" (I don't think they're Bones Reds, just some random red shielded bearings that came on Sure Grip quads, but I can't read the markings on the shields) greased bearings and they're fine, too. My kid's inlines spin perfectly fine, practices and races on them all the time.
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