Like many things, you get what you pay for. You run a cheap pack, balance that sucker every time you charge it (the Hyperion is nice as it charges all cells individually, at the same time). If you run a well matched pack and stay within spec (not over amping it, not cooking it, etc.) you can get away with not running a balance charge every time. I usually run better packs as I get more consistant performance from them, usually run cooler (for me) and I don't abuse them. Up until recently, I had a pack with over 300 cycles on it, only balanced it maybe every 10 cycles and when I sold it, was still within 1% of rated capacity.
It really boils down to what you buy and how you run it. Abuse your pack, or run no-name/cheap packs, balance them often (read that as in all the time). If you buy good stuff and don't beat on them, you don't have to balance that often.
I personally run an Apogee pack from http://pfmdistribution.com/
I haven't ballanced it yet. I'm going by what the OEM of the company says on the page. So far this pack has been great! I check the cell voltage every now and then, and no problems. I think they're great batteries, and it's too bad, they're not more popular.