The stiffness of a rolling bearing is characterized by the magnitude of the elastic deformation (resilience) in the bearing under load. Generally, this deformation is very small and can be neglected. In some cases, however, e.g. spindle bearing arrangements for machine tools or pinion bearing arrangements, stiffness is important.
Because of the contact conditions between the rolling elements and raceways, roller bearings e.g. cylindrical (fig 1) or tapered roller bearings (fig 2), have a higher degree of stiffness than ball bearings. Bearing stiffness can be further enhanced by applying a preload, see the section Bearing preload.