We have already discussed in previous reviews that the ABEC rating is almost completely meaningless with regards skateboarding, but that hasn’t stopped a majority of bearing manufacturers still proudly plastering an ABEC rating on their products. Enjoi (a part of Dwindle Distribution) have dubbed these bearings as ABEC 7(teenish) as a nod to jailbait teens… So while i have a hatred for companies coming out with SUPER ABEC 9 360 NO-SCOPE SMOOTH PRO QUALITY EXTREME BEARINGS i can tolerate Enjoi’s product branding as i feel it’s more there as a set up for the joke more than anymore else. *insert “all the best things in life are illegal” joke here*…
While i’m going to brush over their actual rating, common sense does dictate that a bearing made to a tighter set of tolerances should be better than one with larger tolerances, in reality however, the most important qualities a skateboard bearing is almost always its lubrication and its ability to withstand the forces put on it while skating. We mentioned in our review of the Andale Swiss bearings that they are tested to withstand weights of up to 2 tons, however no level of testing can guarantee that you won’t ever shatter a bearing. All it takes is a little too much lateral force on any one of the ball bearings within a whole bearing for it to exit the races and it will either crack, shatter, or become misshapen depending on the hardness of the metals used. If this happens you can be waving goodbye to that bearing.
Why am I talking so generally about bearing failure? While these bearings are sealed units with pressed in seals that cannot be removed they do come with the benefit of being sold in a pack of 10 rather than the standard 8. Having those 2 spare bearings on you when out on a session could be a life saver, imagine getting so close to a trick you know you’ll get it in a couple more tries… But then you have a total bearing failure and the session is over… Massive bummer!! But imagine if you could just get your skate tool out and replace the defunct bearings and you’re good to go again. Brilliant.
So I can see the reasoning behind shipping bearings in packs of 10, it’s always good to have spares, but at the same time does this not suggest to your customer that you don’t have much faith in your product lasting? Are Enjoi expecting a quarter of these to fail quickly?
I have personally not had any problems at all with these bearings in terms of reliability during the time i have been using them – but this is something to be expected – not applauded!! They’re not particularly smooth or particularly fast… They do their job and don’t make any fuss about it. They’re simply put, unexceptional, they’re boring, a bit of a basic bitch. The saddest thing for me here is that this seems to have become a bit of a trend with Enjoi in recent years with much smaller and younger companies really stepping up their game and producing superior products to previously well respected companies.
In terms of actual performance, it takes most bearings a little while to bed in and start rolling the way you can expect them to for most of their life, and with a majority of bearings you’ll find that their performance after the first half an hour of use is far better than after you first put them in. With these bearings i didn’t experience this phenomenon, they don’t seem to have sped up at all since i put them in, and while they roll perfectly smooth they are by no means fast… Honestly, they’re quite slow.
In contrast to the other bearings we have looked at in recent reviews which can be fully stripped down and maintained, the Enjoi Seventeen(ish) bearings are stamped – meaning they are completely sealed and cannot be taken to pieces, cleaned, or re-oiled. This means that no matter what, the performance you get out of them on day 1 is the best you’re ever likely to get out of them as they eventually dry up and slow down. Obviously this won’t stop misguided kids spraying WD-40 at them or soaking them in 3-in-1 oil hoping to improve their performance. My advice? Don’t bother spending money on trying to oil stamped bearings, save your money and buy some more superior bearings.
You can buy this 10 pack of Enjoy ABEC 7(teenish) from our buddies over at SkateAmerica.com for only $12.49, so these quite cheep at only $1.25 per bearing in comparison to $4.30 for per Andale Swiss bearing i love so much… So if budget is a big concern maybe these could be a good option. For a childs board or somebody who specifically doesn’t want to go too fast these would be ideal, but if skating fast and hard is your goal, save your money and look elsewhere!