I have recently started riding a new set of wheels, Northern Lights by Balance Skate Products. Northern Lights are new to the Balance line-up and were designed as an all around wheel with a knack for all of your freeride endeavors. Something really cool about these wheels is that the cores actually glow in the dark. Yes, you heard me right, the cores glow in the freaking dark!
Which means as soon as these wheels arrived at my house, before I even put them on board, I let them sit under a lamp for a minute then turned off all my lights. Northern Lights lay no false claims. They totally glow in the dark, which is just plain old fun.
Northern Lights are not really a downhill specific shape, however, I have taken them pretty fast more than a few times and was happy with the results. Coming in at 70mm makes these wheels a very typical size for longboarding but not necessarily for super downhill mode which normally rocks wheels around 75mm. Bigger 75mm wheels have a higher top speed than 70mm wheels so you probably aren't going to break any speed records on your Northern Lights.
I do a lot of skateboard commuting (despite the bitter winter cold) on my way to work every day. My commute to work is about two miles long with lots of hills, roads, sidewalks, curbs, cars, and people to maneuver through. I put Northern Lights through these motions every single day, two miles there, two miles back, on every dry day since I got them back in December. Two of the things I really liked when commuting on these wheels were the quick acceleration and the light weight.
I mentioned that having a light weight wheel was great for pushing around town, well I think that a light weight might be even more applicable to freestyle skating. If you like to freestyle as much as I do then you probably already know how beneficial a light wheels can be. Northern Lights are great for flip tricks because they don't weigh your board down very much, especially for a 70mm wheel, which means your spins or flips don't require a Herculean effort.
Like most people I have been getting more and more into freeride lately and am always questing for a fantastic slide wheel. Northern Lights have definitely hit a sweet spot for freeride. They break traction smoothly and consistently. These wheels do not drop an enormous amount of thane, which means they also do not wear stupidly fast. I can also say that they have been wearing very evenly and uniformly throughout my entire test phase with no flat spots or ovals. Now to answer the question on everyone's lips, "are they buttery?"
Every product has a downside or two. I would say that the biggest downside to Northern Lights might be the fact that they look so similar to other wheels on the market. I have heard people say that they are just Metro Motion knock offs. There are in fact many wheels on the market poured in the very same mold as Northern Lights.
However, to these people I would say, "Don't knock them til you have tried them." Because while you may have ridden similar wheels I promise that you have not ridden thane like Northern Lights.
Would I recommend Northern Lights to a friend?
I wholeheartedly believe that these wheels are a solid choice anyone looking to freeride and freestyle on their board (which is most people these days). They are light, slidey, and very durable. What more could you ask for in a wheel? Northern Lights are a great all around wheel, however, I think that they are at their very best in freeride. If you are looking for a long lasting wheel that can handle pretty much any type of abuse you can throw at, then I would consider Northern Lights.
Send it my way!
My Current Favorite Setup:
-Loaded Chubby Unicorn
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKP 50*
-NORTHERN LIGHTS 70mm 83a