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Caliber III review – the best longboard trucks out right now?

The Caliber III trucks are the best cast trucks on the market – I don’t make that statement lightly. Find out what makes them so good in my review below.

Specs

  • Baseplate angles: 50°, 44° (w/ shim)
  • Width: 157mm, 184mm (either raked or no raked)
  • Construction: Cast Aluminium 
  • Rake: 5mm (some say 3mm)
  • Cost: $63
  • Upgraded bushings and urethane pivot

Caliber III trucks review

Summary

The new Caliber III trucks deserve to be called the best cast trucks on the market for good reason. 

These trucks turn good, lean good, feel incredible consistent through the turn, are very stable, and are easy to control. They come with a variety of configurations – with most able to get a setup that works best for them. They come with a ton of aftermarket bushings options too. 

I believe the plug barrel bushings are what allow these trucks to perform great. They allow for a smoother and direct feel to the lean and turn, giving you great support through the lean, adding some return to center, and adding a bit of stability. 

Cole trotta pro

You can feel this when you’re just cruising around, but the difference was most highlighted for me during downhill skating.

For downhill skating, I’ve felt the plug barrel adds a more consistent edge of traction. This has resulted in me feeling more confident doing fast stand-up slides on these trucks – I can rely on them to feel the same time and again in each slide. I can be as aggressive as I want, and the trucks react the same way. They’re consistent.

And when going over road imperfections at speed, the plug barrel helps reduce twitches and the trucks articulate a lot less. The hanger returns to center quicker, and this aids in stability a little bit. This results in confidence skating over all sorts of imperfect terrain.

The Caliber III come with great stock parts – featuring high-quality venom bushings and a 96a urethane pivot. This ensures great performance out of the box. The average rider may not need to switch out the bushings or upgrade them at all which is amazing.

Caliber III 50° trucks

However, the pivot is quite soft feeling and I feel it may wear down relatively quickly with heavy use.

The Calibers also turn a lot/aggressively. This isn’t an issue as the plug barrel allows for a controllable ride nonetheless, but is something to note.

Altogether I’ve had a very pleasant experience riding these trucks, and whether I have used them for cruising, or fast downhill, I have had an easy to control and stable ride. They’re certainly deserving of being called the best cast trucks.

If you’re looking for a set of great quality cast trucks, you can’t go wrong with the Caliber IIIs. 

Note, I will mainly be talking about the Caliber III R (Raked) versions. I didn’t run them negative rake as that’s just not my vibe. For more information on the rakeless versions, check out my review of them here.

Upgrades from Caliber IIs

The Caliber II trucks had no rake and had a restrictive bushing seat. This resulted in a stable feeling ride, but they didn’t turn very well. They also made bushings feel quite hard and you had to run them soft to get a nice feel.

Caliber ii trucks bushing seat front and back

The Caliber III non-rake trucks are essentially the same vibe as the Caliber IIs with the option to run tall bushings boardside, and the upgraded urethane pivot. They also feature the new Caliber III logo and have a slightly wider hanger.

caliber III rakeless bushings seat front and back

The Caliber III R (with rake) are the real upgrade.

They feature a more open bushing seat and some rake. This results in a lively ride that has an aggressive turn. In comparison to the II, the III R turn better.

caliber iii r bushing seat front and back

They also have a higher ride height thanks to the rake. And thanks to the plug barrel, there is no loss in stability even with the livelier ride.

Only the 44* baseplate has been updated. It features a removable shim you can remove to run tall barrels boardside. Otherwise, it is essentially the same as the Caliber II baseplates even featuring the same stamped logo.

How do they turn?

The Caliber III R have an aggressive turn and they turn a lot. They are the turniest cast trucks I have skated.

However, this turn is controlled thanks to the support you get from the plug barrel bushing through the turn. 

Without the plug barrel, this turning wouldn’t be as controlled. I touch more on this later.

riding the landyachtz drop hammer

You can pump them

Because they turn a lot, this means you can pump them quite easily.

I was able to get them up to a decent speed through pumping. This was on the stock bushings.

Nothing compared to an optimized pumping setup, of course, just impressed I could do this on the stock bushings. Your experience may vary though.

They have a direct feel (no slop)

Thanks to the plug barrel bushings, these trucks have no slop.

Slop is the unwanted side-to-side movement of the hanger and it can result in a drop in performance. These trucks have slop almost totally eliminated.

What results is a direct feel. It feels as though the trucks match your exact input in the turn and in the lean.

This is confidence-inspiring and has a nice feel when you’re just cruising around. But I feel it pays most when you’re skating fast.

You feel more confident taking turns and skating aggressively and you can go into slides with full confidence.

Pays dividends over time …

Being full confident with the turning pays dividends over time.

On trucks with a little bit of slop, I never felt fully confident with my riding. 

I never felt fully confident about pushing the limits of my riding and skating fast.

I could still skate these trucks pretty well, but I couldn’t find the next level with my skating.

Only when I started skating precision trucks was I able to transition to this “next level”.

It wasn’t apparent then, but looking back it was definitely the trucks that held me back. Having skated those same trucks now, I know they were what prevented me from getting good.

Those little inconsistencies in the turn or at the edge of traction that would mess up my slide a tiny bit or twitch too much over road imperfection were what held me back. I was scared of skating closer to the limit …

Now, these Caliber IIIs (and my extension Bear Gen 6) with the plug barrels and significantly reduced slop, don’t suffer as much from these issues.

As a result, I feel I could have progressed further on these trucks. I would have been able to push my riding and skate closer to the limit with more confidence. 

I think these cast trucks have managed to bring the gap between precisions and casts closer. 

They’re not quite precisions, but you could progress quite a bit before truly needing to jump on to precision to keep progressing and finding new limits.

Are they stable?

They are impressively stable.

They have a strong center that they don’t deviate from unless they have deliberate input from the rider. It’s also quite easy to hold them on this center.

This results in a stable feel and you can take these trucks quite fast comfortably.

What aids in this feel is the plug barrel bushings and how they make the truck react to road imperfections and things that normally cause instability.

That said, they don’t have as strong of a center as precision trucks do. But they are quite impressive for a cast truck.

tucking on the cole trotta pro model

How do they feel over road imperfections?

The plug barrel adds a bit of support to the lean and aids in returning the hanger to center.

Practically, this results in the hanger being returned center quickly when you go over a road imperfection. 

In other trucks like Paris V3, going over a rough patch at speed can result in the truck twitching a lot and articulating deep before returning to the center. Resulting in a truck that feels unstable.

With the plug barrel, the truck reacts to the imperfection before returning to the center quickly. It doesn’t twitch a lot or very deeply. 

This as you can imagine, results in a confidence-inspiring ride.

How does the plug barrel affect the ride?

I believe the plug barrel is key to making these trucks work best. I believe they’ve been designed around them. 

You can use other bushings yes, but the plug barrel makes these trucks work best.

With plug barrel

With the plug barrel, it’s almost effortless to keep the truck going in a straight line.

plug barrel bushings on the caliber iii 44° baseplate

It is quite easy to keep the truck leaned over and to hold an angle of lean – the plug barrel supports and helps hold you at that angle.

You also get a lot of support during the turning and the trucks don’t dive suddenly or too quickly.

You get a great return to center. When you reduce your input, the plug barrel wants to pull the hanger to center. It’s like it gives the bushing more rebound but in the most controllable way.

The plug barrel reduces slop and you get a direct feel to the lean and turn, the truck matches your input exactly.

As you get to the edge of lean, the plug barrel provides a lot of resistance. With the open bushing seat design of the Calibers, I believe this is needed to give an “end” to the lean otherwise it can seem and feel endless. An end to the lean is needed for most, as it helps you slide.

plug barrel bushings

Paired with the reduction of slop, this end to the lean feels extremely consistent and results in a confidence-inspiring initiation into the slide. I’ve felt great sliding these trucks at all sorts of speeds. You also feel confident riding them aggressively as you know the truck will always behave the same.

Without plug barrel

Without the plug barrel, the Calibers don’t feel as good.

longboard bushings

The lean isn’t as smooth. The hanger isn’t supported and the turn isn’t as controllable. The truck just flops side to side.

There isn’t an end to the lean. The hanger just keeps going and it’s hard to get the trucks to kick out consistently. I had to go with really hard bushings just to make the truck feel good for doing slides. But then the truck would barely turn at all.

The trucks didn’t have much of a center.

They would react a lot more to road imperfections the way a truck without a slop-stopping system would.

With a bushing like the Hardcore barrels, these trucks worked a lot better. But they didn’t feel as good as a proper plug barrel bushing.

hardcore barrel bushings

Just the plug separate

Some people may choose to cut out the plug and run it separately, using non-plug barrel bushings.

cut off plug barrel bushings

This kinda works and gives decent performance, but doesn’t compare to a proper plug barrel. It’s like 50% as good as the plug barrel.

If you have no other choice, then go for it. But if you do have access to a plug barrel, do yourself a favor and get it.

Also the plug above is from a 90a Bear bushings. I simply cut it off.

Tall vs short bushings

The Calibers come with a removable shim that allows you to run tall bushings boardside.

When running tall bushings I felt the truck had a bit more lean and turn. It had a more juicy feel as well.

tall bushing boardside on the caliber trucks

There weren’t any performance advantages to this. But it felt nice. 

If you like to run tall bushings, this truck accommodates that. 

Do they slide well?

Yes, they do.

My favorite thing about these trucks is the consistent edge of traction before you slide.

It’s very confidence-inspiring and I would be happy to use these trucks for very fast freeride.

sliding on the prism trotta pro and caliber iii trucks

Are they good for dancing?

I’d imagine yes. The lively feel and support during the lean and turn make me think they’d be good.

But I don’t dance (not yet at least) so I can’t confirm. But many riders are killing it on Caliber trucks.

Are they good for cruising?

Yes, they are amazing trucks for cruising.

They are stable, smooth, and turn good.

carving on the caliber iii trucks

Do they come with good stock parts?

The stock parts on the Caliber III are the best of any in the industry.

They come with a good pivot and with high-quality 90a Venom HPF bushings. 

The bushings are especially good. Most people upgrade to the HPF bushings when looking for the best feel from their trucks. The average rider will not need to upgrade their bushings at all.

However, if you are really lightweight or heavy, you may have to upgrade them to get an appropriate feel from the trucks.

rakeless caliber 44° trucks

What I didn’t like?

The plastic shim should be replaceable. I reckon a lot of people will lose theirs. I’m sure they will replace them if you email them, but yeah. Maybe being able to buy them on the website might be a good idea.

the shim on the caliber trucks

You don’t get a ton of aftermarket options with the plug barrels. I wish there were options softer than 85a and harder than 95a and available in the Venom SHR formula.

I also hope they make the plug barrels available separately. Right now you can only buy them in pairs. Many of us already have a variety of bushings at home. We don’t need the extra barrel, only the plug. I think this is an added cost that may prevent people from buying them over time.

Caliber III Vs Paris V3 trucks

With the plug barrel bushings, the Calibers are better than the Paris V3 trucks.

The plug barrel allows for a more consistent ride that is quite similar to the way a precision truck performs. 

This results in better stability, a smoother lean and turn, a more consistent transition into sliding, and more support in the lean for the Caliber trucks.

Caliber III Vs Bear Gen 6 trucks

Though quite similar as both use the plug barrel, these trucks are quite different.

Calibers have a lower ride height, a more aggressive turn, and feel a bit more lively.

Bears lean a bit more (thanks to the open bushing seat), and give you a very leany, carvy feel when riding.

Both are amazing. However, Calibers win over the Bears because you can easily use the plug barrels from Venom in them with no issue (and the Calibers come with great stock bushings too).

caliber trucks vs Bear gen 6 vs Paris V3

In the Bears, you have to sand the tip of the plug to get it to fit and work properly. The bushing seat on the Gen 6 hanger is a bit thin and a non-sanded plug barrel sticks out a bit on the other side which impacts performance a little bit. This isn’t an issue with the stock plug barrel, and you’ll note that it is actually a bit shorter than the Venom plug barrel.

But yeah, to use the Gen 6 most effectively, you have to sand down the tip, which is just a bit of extra work for you the rider.

My Caliber III setups

Setup 1

  • Deck: Landyachtz Freedive
  • Wheelbase: 23.5 inches
  • Trucks:  Caliber 
    • Hanger width: 157mm R
    • Baseplate angles: 50/35 (Randal plate)
    • Front truck
      • 87a/90a Plug Venom HPF barrels
      • Flat washers
    • Back truck
      • 93a Plug/95a Venom HPF barrels
      • Cupped washers
    • Riser: 1/8inch 
  • Wheels: Remember Collective Savannah Slammas
Landyachtz Freedive with cal iiis

Setup 2

  • Deck: Trotta pro
  • Wheelbase: 25inches
  • Trucks:  Caliber trucks
    • Hanger width: 158mm or 180mm R
    • Baseplate angles: 44/44
    • Front truck
      • 90a Barrel /93a Tall Barrel Venom HPF barrels
      • Flat washers RS/ Cupped washer BS
    • Back truck
      • 90a Barrel /93a Tall Barrel Venom HPF barrels
      • Cupped washers
    • Riser: 1/8inch 
  • Wheels: Various
cole trotta pro with caliber trucks

Setup 3

  • Deck: Landyachtz Drop Hammer
  • Wheelbase: 27.25 inches
  • Trucks:  Caliber 
    • Hanger width: 184mm R
    • Baseplate angles: 50/50
    • Front truck
      • 90a Cone/90a Plug Barrel Venom HPF
      • Cupped washers
    • Back truck
      • 90a Cone/90a Plug Barrel Venom HPF
      • Cupped washers
  • Wheels: Orangutan 78a Kegels
landyachtz drop hammer with caliber iii trucks

Calibers are Randal compatible too

Calibers share compatibility with other trucks that use Randal geometry.

You can use them with a Randal baseplate (which is why I can run a 35* and 28* plate with them) and other precision plates that share a Randal geo.

A-tier Customer Service

I tell you what, Calibers customer service, A tier. Truly a company run by people who are actually in the scene and are a part of it. It’s not just some dudes, hired to sit in an office and respond to emails. These are dudes who go beyond that. They’re watching the same content you’re watching, skating the same hills, and sometimes even watch your stories.

Tom who works at Caliber, saw my Insta story complaining about an issue, reached out, offered a solution for it, and to help me out beyond that. That’s A-tier. 

Now, of course, they sent me a product to review, so perhaps they want me to see them favorably. 

But, Caliber has been following me since 2018(?) – before anyone knew who I was – and before I was known for reviews or making articles … I was just that guy from Kenya who skated. But in that period, I actually corresponded with them, sent them pictures and they were super chill.

And it’s not the first time I’ve interacted with their customer service. Back in 2017, I had a messed-up baseplate – contacted them as I hadn’t caused the issue. They sent me a complete truck (from California to Leeds, UK), to have it replaced. The process was straightforward as hell.

Long story short, top-tier guys. And they all shred. Few companies can flex that.

Did you enjoy this review of the Caliber III?

I hope y’all enjoyed this review and found it insightful. I think trucks using the plug barrels are the future of cast trucks.

Big thanks to Caliber truck co. for sending me these trucks to review. 

Big thanks to all my patrons for the support – David, Squirrels Adventures, Mike, Jed, Mowgii, Jan, Josh, Jay, Jay, Bryan, @owencampbell777, @dkwan, Alex, Kasajja, Domnik, Reuben, @pablo.vega.andrade, Vlad, Asa, Helge, DeLacoste, Peder, Josh, Mike, Anthony, @issishreds, Greg, Jackson, Slipa, Louisa, Bill, Steve, Brain, John, Austin, @bomber_p_, Brian, Jeffrey, Jules, Henry, Austin, Philip, Oliver, and Justin. I couldn’t write articles like this without you guys’ support.

Have any Question or Comment?

3 comments on “Caliber III review – the best longboard trucks out right now?

Alex McGregor

Hey Abuga, a great review which answered all my questions! I’ve just ordered a pair of 184mm 44 degree raked for my topmount setup.

I’m a big fan of plug barrel bushings from a couple of sets of Bears but it is a PITA to trim the plug (I use a scalpel). I also wish Venom would make them in SHR formula. I’ve tried Blood Orange plug barrels; they’re lower rebound than Venom HPF and don’t fit in the Bear’s large cup washers, very disappointing! I’ve also contacted Riptide who say they haven’t any plans to make plug barrels unfortunately.

Stay safe & have fun!

Reply
Alex

Hey, nice review, really interesting.
I asked you questions on your e-mail bugsyaroni, I don’t know if you saw it.
I need another pair of trucks, but I still hesitate.
If you can answer to me it would be nice 🙂
Thanks

Reply
AbugaA

Hey bro, i got your email! I’ll respond on Monday! Been taking it easy last week

Reply

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