I have a couple ways of being able to tell the difference between my bearings. The ten ball has a few key characteristics that tell it apart. The first and most obvious thing is taking the shield off and counting the individual balls. But, a couple ways to tell the difference just by sight and not messing with it is: The Ten ball is usually really shiny metal. I mean shinier than the dull color of most bearings like the AIGR and the YYF spec bearing., Even after you have used them for a while they still have a pretty good shine on them. Another thing is the edges. It seems alot of bearings have edges that are sharp and not beveled. What i mean is, if you have the bearing standing up facing you, you can see that the edges are a sharp 90 degree angle. Its not so with the Ten ball. It has beveled edges. Not every bearing that isn’t a ten ball has 90 degree angles, but once you see what i’m talking about you will be able to discern the ten ball from the rest. So those two things should help you be able to identify them. The shininess alone is enough for me.
I took some pictures to illustrate my point…
This one is a YYF spec on the left and an OD ten ball on the right. If you examine the edges closely you can see that the spec has sharp flat edges and the ten ball has beveled edges. See the rounded edge of the ten ball?
Now bear with me, i know it’s hard to tell because of the bad lighting, but if you really look you can tell the difference. In this one the Ten ball is on the left and the SPEC is on the right. Note the dull sheen on the Spec bearing versus the high shine on the Ten ball. Can you see the difference? Every ten ball i have ever had, has that shine. Even after months of use. No other bearing has that shine that i have tried. AIGR, YYF, CLYW, SPYY, none of those bearings have that shine on them. That’s the defining characteristic to me.
Now if you look out for those two things when sorting through your bearings you should be able to tell the difference. And if all else fails just take off the shields. Though you should avoid that if you can, unless you are cleaning them. It’s easy to lose pieces, AND its just a pain in the butt…
I hope i was of some help!!!