Bearings. Shielded/Unshielded

Any difference? I dropped big $$ on a ceramic bearing to no noticeable difference. I’ve been regularly using the Dif-E-Yo Koncave. Seems fine. Is there a way to unshield this and will that have an effect on its performance? I’m sure it will get dirtier faster, but will it have increased performance? Not worth the effort? Easier to just buy an unshielded bearing? (Which one?) Also I’ve noticed a “10 Ball” bearing. If it’s not a ten ball what is it? 8? 9000?

I’ve de-shielded most of my bearings no issue and if it doesn’t say 10 then yes usually they are 8. There’s plenty of videos out there to do it. You really do it if you want to do maintenance on your bearing.


Bearing’s will never make a huge difference. The thing I like about ceramic is the reduced need for maintenance. I have some ceramics I simply do not maintain at all, as far as cleaning/lubing. Just blow them out with compressed air. At least one of these has been in consistent use for about 8 years now. Don’t buy expensive bearings expecting much difference.

You can find info on removing the shields and a plethora of other useful maintenance info here: Useful modification & maintenance guides - Axles,Clean, repair, tune, fix yoyos

I hold the shields of almost all my bearings (I have over 130) … prevent most dust and small strands of strings (due to wear) to go in and get caught between the balls … lengthening the very life of the bearing.

I have found that shields to the opposite, they trap stuff in the bearing causing failure. Complete failure where it will destroy stuff. The yoyo acts as a shield, and has loose enough tolerances to allow stuff to fall back out. Everything in the yoyo is being pulled away from the bearing because of the spinning force of the spinning yoyo. I have a bearing on a throw that has been in consistent circulation in my collection since 1997 or 1998, including many many years of teaching yoyo at my yoyo club. No shields no problem. In fact I have never had a deshieled bearing totally fail, where I have had probably 10 or so get bent cages and galled balls from shields trapping debris, inside the bearing itself.

then according to your theory, why the manufacturer would put the shields, if in addition to be worthless, also would create problems ???
to have unnecessary costs and complications?!?!
You do as you like but in my bearings shields will remain in place!

Manufacturers put shields on bearings because in most applications at least one side of the bearing is exposed to the environment rather than totally enclosed as in a yoyo. Manufacturers generally don’t make bearings specifically for yoyos because they are very small part of the bearing market.

bearings as a Central Track, DS, V-cave, or Pixel to such uses would target if they are specially designed for yoyo?!?!

That is a good question.

I suppose this debate will continue to come up, and have enthusiasts on both sides. I personally find that yes, if something manages to get into the bearing, shields do hold it in and make it less convenient to dislodge the particle. On the other hand bearings with shields in place tend to get particles inside them much less often. I seem to have much better luck overall with the shields in place. The vast majority of my longest lasting bearings are the ones that I have used with the shields in place.

Because that is how bearings are made? Just standard manufacturing practice I would presume, also not all of those are manufactured to be yoyo bearings. Just different available designs. Shields main purpose is to keep lube inside the bearing. Without them lube simply doesn’t stay inside. There is almost no use for a bearing that doesn’t’ include lube inside. Our use is a bit odd. At any rate like I said before I have bearing that have not had shields, and have had hard dirty use since the late 90’s. You will be fine without them, keep them if you wish, you will probably be fine there as well. However the logic that they are there so it must be to keep stuff out thus it is better is just flawed.

ok, explain to the other areas of use, outside of the yo-yo world, of a Central Track or a Groove of Crucial, or a Pixel of Caribou. I am very curious to know.

no, you’re talking about the shields (often made of plastic) are for bearings that are born with solid lubricants (fat) and shields are sealant. The bearings we are talking about are not sold with solid lubricants, only oily and their shields are not sealant… the correct name of these shields is “dust/dirty protect” and what is the purpose that

this is only yours theory and I do not think coincides with that of producers.

lol, okay buddy. give a bearing manufacturer a call. :wink: They will explain shields too you, if they don’t just blow you off. I deal with bearings alot, by trade basically, and have had bearing with grooves, concaved and even domed profiles. I have had them cone shaped, and square on the outside. They make precision bearings for all kinds of stuff, the outside of it is just a surface for mounting. Go take a shield off, put some grease in it, and spin it watch the grease fall out. Then take in to account that in nearly all bearing related use’s, there is a fairly large amount of heat/load, which then thins that grease. without the shield there would be nothing to retain the grease. The bearings that are shielded from outside debris have a rubber shield, for the most part, and those seal although way to the center. They are called sealed bearings. They keep out dust and debris, but the simple fact is dirt contamination although could be catastrophic in nature is not very common, thus the need for only a shield with tight enough tolerances to retain the lube, rather than protect from debris, since the bearing will be spinning it throws everything to the outside, thus retaining the lubrication. Basically you wouldn’t want a sealed bearing too much drag, which is what you think you have. Too be clear, I have in fact spoke with more than one bearing producer in the near 20 years I have been fixing electric equipment. I’m not mistaken. Now I want to be clear, just in case you didn’t’ really read what I wrote, and just had a knee jerk reaction, they do keep out dust, and it is partially what they are for, just not the primary purpose in metal shielded bearings. The point is the yoyo itself is in fact acting as the shield in the purpose, and only at a very slight bit less effective than having them right on the shield so slight, in fact, that there is near too no difference in 20 years of consistent use in a yoyo. The producers of the bearing also didn’t produce them to run with no lube at all. We are kinda’ outside the normal use of precision bearings. Mine get wet, dirty, as in drop in dirt, get home from work with so much dirt on my yoyos If falls off/out. I play 5A, and drop my throws on the regular, basically I am as hard on a throw as anybody if not worse, I teach class’s with my throws. They nearly all have no shields, I have no problems. If you are treating your yoyos worse than I am, you can hardly blame the bearing.

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Perfect, don’t change course.
The conditions and how I treating my yoyos you can see it from the link in my signature.

Well, to produce a dry or lightly lubed beraring with four extra parts that represent wasted time and material, doesn’t make much sense. I suppose the answer could be that yoyo bearings are such a small a piece of the bearing consumption pie, that it’s more cost effective to produce them without making this “special order” change. This doesn’t really make sense to me, as (as persson has pointed out) the shapes of the outer races along with shipping dry, are special order items. If shields serve no purpose other than “that’s the way we do it.”, then why not order them shieldless as well, and save on costs?

Also, there are bearings that come without shields. My hybrid Buddas came without them. This leads me to believe that there is some truth to what Schnayke is saying, but it’s not the whole story, and there is even debate on this issue among yoyo and yoyo bearing “manufacturers”.

Regardless, I’ve had a better experience with the shields in place, while others have had a better experience with them removed. Seems to be one of those personal choices…

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My feeling is that, if the shield produces no friction, then I’d keep it. So, I suppose the real question is… does the shield produce friction? I would think not, but I don’t know for sure…

I’ve also thought that yes, the yoyo itself acts as a shield. What’s really going to get in there, but is it enough of a shield to retain think lube. My gut tells me the difference is negligible, but the “techy gear head” in me always desires maximum performance. Lol

You can assume that a properly fitted shield does not produce friction. The main reason people remove shields is for ease in cleaning and lubing the bearing. If you don’t take them off permanently, you have to make the effort to remove and replace them each time you clean/lube the bearing.

And yes, Virginia, the yoyo effectively acts as a shield.


Just not as effective a shield as the shield itself, or at least not as effective as the shield and the yoyo combined in my experience.

the distance required not to make friction between the outer ring of the bearing and the seat on the shell allow the entry of many things (dust, fluff of the string, etc.) therefore no, the yoyo doesn’t work as a shield.