Once we collectively began to dabble in new directions in sliding, we found inside ourselves want of the new and different wheel. Our existing lineup of freeride wheels (the Durian, Stimulus, and Fat Free) maintained a conservative balance of traction and driftability that is intended for downhill freeriding. The current emphasis is around the power to grip and hold a line through corners at speed. The slide aspect of these wheels is focused on losing speed (inside a pragmatic fashion) as well as to begin exploring progressive freeriding.
The Balut is the results of our desire to investigate the other end of the grip-slip spectrum: a freestyle slide wheel which allows for longer drifts and quicker, more numerous rotations with minimal speed loss. This is a first step in a new direction for all of us, and we’re excited to find out where it will take us.
Baluts is going to be available worldwide on Thursday, February 2nd at $54 per set (MSRP).
Diameter: 72.5 mm
Contact patch: 35 mm
Width: 44 mm
Durometers: 80a, 83a, 86a
Weight: 4.7 oz (per wheel)
Bearing seat: centerset
The Baluts are centerset and symmetrical, enabling maximum flexibility when rotating and flipping to advertise even wear on all wheels. By using a larger spoked core and removing significant amounts of urethane involving the bearing seat and outer fringe of the core, we had been in a position to reduce the overall wheel weight for increased agility in slides and freestyle tricks alike.
The core found in the Balut is pretty wide in comparison to the wheel. Along with a stiff and rounded lip profile, the core provides a lot of rigid support for the contact patch and facilitates smooth slides with a predictable release and hookup.
Inside the development process, we quickly realized that the first protos of the shape lent themselves to unreasonably long standup slides and thus demanded a urethane that could withstand the inevitable abuse and was right for this specific (narrow) shape. The form was dialed almost a year ago, but we’ve been suppressing about the release to locate this magic thane. And so the Euphorethane formula was created, offering exceptional durability and flatspot resistance while still retaining an easy, predictable drift and reliable (albeit nominal) speed control.
Good rotation habits will help balance out wear patterns and dramatically extend the life of your wheels. Bear in mind, though, that wheel rotation could possibly get just a little confusing, especially since wear patterns often change from rider to rider.
The simplest suggestion to keep in mind would be to swap your most worn wheel together with your least worn wheel, swap the other two wheels, and flip when appropriate.
Beyond that concept, here are some suggestions and info tidbits that we’ve found useful when you are our sideways smile sessions:
Uphill wheels (on your heelside rail for heelside/frontside slides and on your toeside rail for toeside/backside slides) often cone (faster wear internally lip), while downhill wheels often reverse cone (faster wear on the outside lip).
On a board with a centered stance (snowboard style) most of the rider’s weight is typically on the front truck, so expect the front wheels to wear faster compared to rear wheels. Over a board using a rear stance (e.g. ridden with the back foot mostly on the kicktail) there is usually far more weight put on the back truck, therefore the rear wheels often wear faster than the front wheels.
On a directional setup (ridden mostly in a single orientation) we generally recommend rotating your wheels diagonally (front left with rear right, front right with rear left). On a symmetrical setup (ridden equally in both orientations) we generally rotate wheels on a single hanger (front left with front right, rear left with rear right).
A symmetrical centerset shape also lets you flip each wheel to counteract coning. If you rotate your wheels, determine if many wheels are beginning to cone and flip them as required. Make sure to look at the wheels’ new positions on the board as well as your personal riding habits (if you do more heelside slides than toesides, you may expect your heelside wheels to cone and your toeside wheels to reverse cone).