Kaltik Stealth Flat - Test

Kaltik Hardware is a brand from Ireland, established in 2002 by Connor Manweiler. At the beginning it was small clothing company, known only locally, yet with releasing it's first frames (Kaltik freestyle) it got the attention the wider audience. However with so big competition on the market, the Kaltik product had a tough mission with getting a name for themself. The company didn't stop trying to design new stuff. The result came sooner that we expected – Kaltik Stealth Flat frame – the innovative product that would allow easy grinds with Flat setup (four wheels of the same size in one frame). Does it really work?

We all skated flat at the beginning – it was common back in the day. The tricks were done much slower and lower. With time the style and the approach changed, the middle wheels were replaced with the smaller and harder ones or completely removed (freestyle). The history likes to be repeated – it seems that today freestyle frames are not so hyped anymore, people try different stuff and Flat setups are much more frequent again. Personally I tried to skate Flat again few times (with Kizer Fluids III and Slimlines) but usually the first grind “corrected” my urge – the basic BS royales stucked on ledges and effectively kept me away from four wheels...Skating Flat with normal frame is so much harder yet it does not give you any better sense of accomplishment etc.

First pics of Kaltik Flat frame could be found on the web about year ago – the middle wheels were well hidden inside the frame, while groove had a weird, unseen shape. As with most innovations in our industry I was a bit skeptic, but first edits and riders` opinions and finally the fact that the product will be a signature model of Aaron Feinberg give the second thoughts and eventually I bought a pair of Kaltiks just to test them out.

The other reason of the purchase was a strong need of trying something fresh and new – the winter time in Poland can be a pain in the ass – the vision of skating only 2 or 3 indoor parks for a few long months can and is boring as hell. The Flat frames open so many doors – you are so much faster  and maneuverable, the gaps are way more easy to land.. The Winter time was a perfect for experimenting.

At the beginning we come across a first problem – buying eight wheels and two sets of bearings can be expensive. Although in Flat setup the wheels wear much, much slower so it's not necessary to buy the most expensive wheels on the market. Personally I picked the cheapest and the smaller wheels I could find – some USD Team 56 mm wheels. I`m mentioning the size in purpose due to the fact that 56 mm are the most optimal size for the frame (the frame can have wheels up to 60mm). Bigger wheels means more “bite”, while 56 mm are fairly easy to avoid all stucks. 

It's already the third month I have been skating new Kaltiks and I can say it loud – it works!! Copings, square or round ledges, rails – tricks can be done just as with my old FTL 2 frame with anti rockers. Few days of insecurity and strange feeling “will I eat s#@$t if I try this?” and it's all good. I won't say that they are THE SAME as Anti Rockered frame though but I can bet that it's the very first frame on the market which everybody will be able to skate four wheels flat without problems. Most likely when you try them you won't come back to your previous, 2-wheels frame...

The groove is deep but it was designed with lot of precision. The „wings” which extends the groove smartly hide the wheels inside, giving you the freedom while doing magic tricks and quick switch ups. The material used is something between Fluid and Create Originals – so rather hard. The height   also resembles the Co frame – it's higher than usual which is fine with me. Topsides are easier to hold up longer, and good groove depth mentioned above doesn`t require to bent your knees more than usual – all backslides or torqs are just pure pleasure with them!

Kaltiks do look heavy and bulky – still take the frame and have a closer look. You can easily tell that the designer did a good job, all unnecessary material is removed – narrow channels at the top makes the frame almost hollow inside! Nonetheless the first session will have the “heavy legs” feeling – the eight wheels with bearings makes a difference. If you are not skinny as hell there is nothing to worry about though.

Disadvantages. Yes, the product has some cons. As the frame itself is OK, the hardware is  just terrible. With the first look you can tell that the screws and rockerings are made of some cheap alloy. The Alan key wholes are not even, while one of them simply just didn't match the tool. Even strong tightening doesn't help, the screw gets loose all the time and frame is noisy with all that clapping etc. I know there are ways to avoid it or just to replace them with any other frame bolts but when I'm buying a product I expect that such basic stuff like hardware should be OK since the beginning. Fortunately I got a pleasure to talk with Connor personally Kaltik owner) during the Winterclash and I was assured that from now on the hardware will be the same as in Ground Control frames which is awesome news!

Final word – if you ever wanted to try Flat setup, the Kaltik frames are by far the best way to check it. No other frame right now will allow you to skate four wheels with so much ease – Kaltik frames are great innovation and let's hope they will start a new trend that other companies will follow, giving us even more options!!!!

Edit: Sebastian Gruba
Photo: Przemek Madej
Text: Sebastian Gruba