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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Busting the ILQ bearing myth

Twincam have been manufacturing "ILQ" rollerblade bearings for the past few years, they claim them to be superior to ABEC rated bearings. Here I will explain the true meaning of ILQ, and how they relate to ABEC rated bearings.

What is ABEC?

ABEC is a bearing standard set forth by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. The ABEC standard mostly measures accuracy in production. It does not measure bearing durability, or how well the bearing functions under a load - two aspects that are very important for assessing the quality of a rollerblade bearing.

What is ILQ?

ILQ is simply a brand name, as opposed to ABEC which is a standard. Twincame has successfully created the illusion that ILQ is a "standard" by rating their quality on a scale similar to the ABEC scale (ILQ-7 bearings compared to ABEC-7 bearings and so on). Other than the fact that an ILQ bearing has 6 balls, as opposed to the 7 in a regular ABEC rated bearing - Twincam has published no standard for ILQ bearings. We are forced to take their word that ILQ-9 bearings are better than ILQ-7 bearings.

A Grain of Truth.

Twincam rightfully claim, that a bearing could have a very high ABEC rating - but be terribely unsuitable for skating. A cheap ABEC-9 bearing from an unknown company is probably much worse than an ABEC-3 bearing from a trusted manufacturer.

Also, most professional rollerblade race bearing manufacturers never even apply for an ABEC rating for their high-end bearings.

The Bottom Line

ILQ in not a standard, it is just a brand name. An "ILQ-7" Bearing could be better than one companies ABEC-9 rated bearing and it could be worse than a differant companies ABEC-5 rated bearing.
I, for one, do not appreciate Twincams attempt to sell their impression of a "better standard" to inexperience skaters.
On the other hand - Twincam is an experienced and respectable bearing manufacturer. Having skated on them myself, I can testify that ILQ-9 bearing are pretty good bearings. On the other hand I'd say that my Kryptonics ABEC-7 bearings are just as good.

So don't rule out ILQ bearings - just treat them as you would treat any other unrated bearing from a professional inline bearing manufacturer.


  1. Keep a good job up!

  2. Wow! That's everything that I needed to know and more. I appreciate your objectivity: it's so important when doing comparisons like these. Good job and & thx a million!

  3. Parfait exellentes info !!
    Merci infiniment !!!

  4. Thanks for the info, I have a set of blades with ILQ-7 beaqrings in them. I like them, I find them much much better than the previous ABEC-7's I had. I would definitely reccommend them.

  5. Sean, you seemed to have missed the point.
    Think of it this way: ABEC-7 is a broad standard that covers many different brand - to use a food analogy, think of ABEC-7 as a hambuger.
    ILQ-7 is a specific model of bearings, made by one manufacturer. Using the same analogy - it would be a Big-Mac Hamburger made by McDonalds.

    What just you said, is the same as saying "The Big-Mac I ate today is tastier than the hamburger I ate yesterday. I think Big-Macs are tastier than hamburgers"
    Unless you've tried every other hamburger out there, it would be hard to say that your claim is valid.

    You may have been skating on "spin" brand ABEC-7 bearings, that were inferior to your new "twincam" brand, ILQ-7 model bearings.
    "BSB" Brand ABEC-7 bearings may be superior to your ILQ-7's
    While all ILQ-7 bearings are identical, many different brands make bearings that conform to the ABEC-7 Standard - some may be better than Twincam's ILQ's, some may be worse.

  6. Boaz,

    Thanks for the information. Has anyone done a study that compares different bearing manufacturers that rate their bearings using the ABEC scale as compared to Twincam or the SG bearings that Rollerblade is using? An independent rating/comparison would be the best. It seems that using good materials as well as design and construction are more important than machining tolerance (as long as the tolerance is not too loose) for providing a long lasting bearing that can handle the weight of a 200 lb adult and the side loads that this weight brings.

    Thanks Again!!

  7. I was wondering why I went to stores in Israel asking for "ABEC-9" and recieved an answer "today we are using only ILQ"... now i understand it a bit better.

    thnaks man,
    for sure, I'll look more into it.

  8. I wonder weather in mountainbikes is there a standard for bearings too? I ride mountainbikes since 1993, im a bike mechanic, i learned mechanics in school but i never heard anything about eather ABEC or ILQ and i already replaced some bearings in my frame and my hub. I just recently started rollerblading and i was amazed by the interest people give into the bearings they want to use. Frankly, im totally dizzy, i see that the ebay is full of abec7 and abec9 bearings in really cheap prices and im starting to wonder if they are original and good quality, or fake crap, not worth a dime. I truely dont know what to buy, so im just gonna go to a bearing store and ask for the best bearings they got for that size, hoping they wont ripp me off! LMAO... :D