Though bearings may be the smallest part of the skateboard, they enable the fun of riding unlike any other component. While many companies have taken a stab at creating their own versions over the years, the quality and performance of skateboard bearings have fluctuated over the years.
In the case of Dragon Bearings, however, searching for the right materials to craft the perfect bearings has been the primary focus since their 2016 inception. Recalling the origins of starting the brand, Founder, David Rajewski noted, "There were a lot of skateboard bearings out there, but very few brands actually took the time to learn what makes a bearing perform exceptionally well. I talked to numerous bearing experts in fields outside of skateboarding to learn what it takes to make a bearing long lasting and fast. In talking with these experts, I saw an opportunity to make a great product and jumped on it. It took over a year to get everything perfected and I am very proud of the result." Over time, Dragon has quietly but steadily grown to be one of the top selling bearing brands on the market today.
Small pieces and big close ups. Attention to detail at it's finest.
From a technical perspective, the standout points of differentiation for Dragon Bearings are centered around creating a long lasting bearing at a competitive price. To accomplish this, the team has taken superior attention to detail on developing a bearing with the right specs for lasting success. Starting with the outer facing sides, Dragon Bearings come equipped with dual labyrinth shields made with a material called Buna-N. Locked into the bearing, these shields play a critical role in keeping dirt and moisture out of the bearings by generating a greater distance for those elements to travel across before infiltrating the bearing.
Complex as it may seem, the anatomy of the Dragon Bearing is simple when you look at it.
In addition, all Dragon Bearings come standard with steel, 7-ball design to incite maximum strength. At the same time, their polished finish aims to minimize friction when rolling. In addition, the inner and outer races where these ball bearings travel is also polished. To keep this all straightened out, a nylon retainer (or cage) has also been added to the mix. Though these features are invisible from the outside, they have been carefully conceived with the help of bearing design professionals to give riders the smoothest ride possible.
The fiercely precise, oil-based bearings of the RACE series.
When it comes to lubrication Dragon Bearings are offered in two different formulas, each with their own unique competencies.
The RACE formula was designed for those looking for quick roll speed, straight out of the package. With a light, low viscosity oil, these bearings roll more freely than their counterparts. However, this lubricant washes out comparatively quicker than the ENDURE series. That being said, these bearings are best for situations like race days where new bearings are necessary for reaching the podium.
On the other hand, the ENDURE series was designed for more long term applications. Crafted with a heavier grease lubricant, this substance is designed to adhere to the inside components of the bearing to provide a more durable layer of protection. This protection, however, comes at the exchange of upfront roll speed. To get the most out of these bearings, they are best suited for cruising and commuting.
Inside this Fireball Scorch sits an ENDURE series bearing - perfect for cruising.
While these bearings are technically sound on the engineering end of things, it’s the team riders burning up the streets with these bearings that make them come to life. On the freestyle and dancing ends of things, manual master, Andrei Churakov, and ‘Smooth Operator,’ Abou Seck have put these things through flips, spins and whatever other motions they could think of. Hailing from Belgium and France respectively, these two have taken Dragon Bearings country to country and have stayed rolling no matter where they ended up.
From Blankenberge to San Diego, Andrei Churakov clocks miles on airlines and skateboards.
On the downhill end of things, Laguna local, Shane Sussman and New Jersey ripper Austin Manning have pushed the limits of Dragon Bearings from the mountain tops. Making good use of these bearings on both sides of the country, these longtime team riders have truly tested the longevity of these bearings on both the gritty ground of the East Coast and the picturesque passes of the West Coast.
Somewhere in the middle, the newest member of the Dragon Bearings team, Jacsen Kutik, stands alone, shredding every terrain he can get his wheels on. Equipped with a set of Dragon’s across disciplines, it’s not out of the question to see Jacsen shredding a skatepark on a freestyle longboard. It also wouldn’t be out of the question to see him taking his bearings to a downhill or freeride event the next day either. As one of the most promising young ATV skaters out right now, the Dragon Team is rounded out by up and coming talent to carry them into the future.
Jacsen Kutik may be the young gun on the team but he rips just as hard as the older heads.
In addition to continuing to support the team, the crew behind Dragon Bearings also plans on releasing a new set of built-in bearings in the near future. Designed with ease and speed in mind, David Rajewski explained his motivation behind rolling these bearings out by concluding, "Built in bearings are the clear choice for most of the downhill/freeride scene. They allow for easier and faster wheel changes since they have less parts. The new Dragon BUILT Bearings will give riders the same level of quality they've come to expect from Dragon within a built in design.”