Hollow Wheel Production and Shipping Update #26: Factory completed the batch
I hope you have had a good start to the week and enjoying Juneteenth!
We have crossed a major milestone. The factory in China have completed the first production batch and the quality looks very good. The China team is still packaging the wheels together and doing final inspection, but are scheduled to board a shipping container boat to California this week.
I have a rough timeline of 6-8 weeks for the boat to arrive to at California and then we begin shipping. Some additional delays are related to customs clearance, paying duty and tariff, and some port congestion. Those things can take some time because I am working with third parties and money wire transfers and things like can take some time. Small delays in trying to get wire transfer information and getting wire transfers cleared then releasing the batch can cause multiple day delays. Also the customs division work at their own speed.
Here are some pictures of the wheel halves that are brand new and off the line.
Cost increases but not to those that have ordered already
I have been trying my best to keep costs low, but manufacturing costs and the weaker US dollar to Chinese conversion have meant that manufacturing costs have increased 50% from when I first started this project and created the initial price point. As a result, I am forced to increase costs of the wheel by 25% to stay competitive. However, I can't justify to myself to increase them till they are very close to becoming in stock.
As such, once the shipment hit the USA customs port, the wheels will increase in price by 25%. After they hit and pass the port of Long Beach, then usually it is about 1 week longer to get them in stock at my warehouse.
Those that have ordered and order until they pass the the Long Beach port (maybe 4-6 weeks from now) will be able to purchase the wheels at the current price. I will be sending a cost increase email then.
The money will go right back into research and development for other variations of Hollow Wheel, supporting operational costs, and to buying more Hollow Wheel inventory.
New Race Compound Wheel: designed for grip and more predictable sliding
I have been quietly developing another compound of the wheel purpose built for racing purposes. On the left is the new compound (looks more like a tire) and the right is the default compound.
Those that want more grip and more control at the limit of the grip, these wheel are for you. These wheels can have a very high limit of grip, but when they break traction, they are very easy to control and hold a slide.
From testing, they are about 20% more grippy than any compound I have tested and wear quicker a little bit quicker in the pursuit of grip. More grip = more wear. The chemical formula is pretty similar to a race tire, which is why I picked it.
I recently finished durability testing of these wheels and they hold up very well, but I am putting a weight limit on these wheels of 99kg (218 lbs) with rider + board weight.
I'll post more data on these wheels as I finalize all the marketing content. I'll dedicate a post for this. The material cost of these wheels are more expensive than the default compound so the price will be higher for these race Hollow Wheels. Those that want these instead will be grandfathered in and receive a discounted upgrade rate.
Moreover, I have been getting as much feedback as I can about these new wheels too. Here is what Jeffery Peralta thinks about them after some testing.
He was also saying this is more for people that know how to control a board, a more professional use case compound.
Video of Jeff Sliding: https://youtube.com/shorts/C1IUqMwlQfo?feature=share
One drawback: Bearing requires more force to insert into the race compound core. I am using a different core compound to get good chemical adhesion between the core and the tread so as to not have the delamination issues. As such, the shrinkage of the core material is a little bit more than the other compound used for the standard compound. As such, the bearing hole is a little tighter. However, I am using one mold for two different compound with different shrinkage rates. It isn't ideal and doesn't pose any durability issues, but something to people to know when considering this.
Thanks so much for your patience and support! Please let me know if you have any other questions!