Conor Mannweiler is a man of persistence. After all, he has been putting out products, from t-shirts to frames and wheels, under his brand Kaltik for 16 years now, a lot longer than more than a few other rollerblading companies that came up, saw their star shine and went out. When I met him at this year’s Winterclash, he was always focused on getting stuff done, so we exchanged only a few words during the three day madness. But, looking at his friends that held the Kaltik tradeshow stand, I got the impression he’s really the man in charge. And he’s a man of vision. His Kaltik flat frames might not have been the first flat-specific frames that hit the market, but they came at a time when there was a significant market gap and Kaltik’s frames introduced a lot of kids that started skating in the 2000s, after UFS was already the single available frame system on the market, to flat skating. Soon enough, every other frame brand followed suite and today, we’ve got a lot more stylish bladers, actually skating up to spots, thanks to flat frames. Conor has supported the global blading scene, sponsoring skaters from almost every continent except the Antartic and Kaltik has a renowned and impressive pro team. So, it was time for a little chat with the man. And instead of talking about history, we’re jumping right in medias res, the new large wheel freestyle frames, another Kaltik innovation.
Words: Josip Jagić
Photography: Zima Balasz
Tell me about the new frames that you just recently put out? How did you decide on this large wheel concept for freestyle frames?
Some of the guys on the team where modifying the frames and there skates to take bigger wheels and they asked me when I could update the frame to take a bigger wheel, it’s all on that big wheel craze right now.
How long did the testing last? I’m always interested in product development.
Around 9 months to a year. These things always take much longer than anticipated. I had some teething problems with the tooling and die casting of the oval washers but its all 100 percent proper now.
How did you decide you need to make a wheel to come with it?
Kaltik Wheels are something I should have done years ago! I sampled lots of wheels, a lot of them are all the same, I sent out samples to team members, and sourced some molds that where used in the nineties and have some interesting sizes available, I knew from all the feedback and my own experience skating the wheels they where the ones to use! I couldnt be happier with the quality.
Will you also be making wheels for the flat frames?
Yes I have a 60mm rounded profile coming in a few weeks with some cool graphics.
How do you feel about the competitions products in that range?
It’s always good to have competition more products available gives bladers a bigger choice and pushes brands to release new products, it was nice to see so many companies follow with their flat frames after Kaltik released the flat stealths in 2010. There needs to be more thought and creativity, loads of room for change put into blade products it can help our sport grow.
I have been working on the new flat frame for almost a year now, and the first images of the samples will be online soon, just sampling, funding and the tooling process slows down the overall process, I’m still not sure to modify the tools that make the flat frames or make two new tools, I am also considering a Gofundme project to speed up the production.
You have arguably the best park skater ever, Roman Abrate on the team, as well as some other extremely heavy hitters. why haven’t you made a proper team video yet?
As it’s really hard to even get clips or pictures for promo for Kaltik from most of the team. We did release Green Grows DVD a few years back and the first kaltik DVD was released in 2005, an up to date Team DVD or VOD is on the cards.
Who is your favourite skater on the Kaltik team?
Ohhh it’s too hard to say and choose just one. Winston Wardwell for his street skills , massive vocab of tricks and crazy hammers , Remy Meister for his unique skating and style. I did recently begin to support Matthieu Heinemann with product and he has always been one of my favourite bladers since I first seen him skate at the real street Amsterdam Comps, I can’t wait to see some new material from him.
Is there somebody you would love to get on the Kaltik team soon?
Mmhh… well the Kaltik team is already so big now but I do believe I need one big pro from the USA , we will wait to see.
We’re leaving you guys with this teaser for upcoming stuff from the Mann, you’ll hear more about Kaltik and the team soon. In the meantime, check out www.kaltik.eu