Backfire has been making a lot of business moves in the past few months, creating waves with its release of the G3 Plus, Ranger X2, G2 Black and it’s IndieGoGo campaign for the Backfire Mini. But the G3 Plus is extra special, as at $999 it would be the most premium street-board offered by the brand, which is otherwise known for offering products that are polished but affordable.
So, the obvious question is: Just what are we paying more for? Especially now, when boards at the $600-700 mark, like the Wowgo 3, Meepo NLS Pro and Backfire’s own G2T are all already very good.
Backfire G3 Plus At first Glance
A quick glance through the product page will show off the most obvious improvements that Backfire has put into the G3 plus. A new carbon fiber deck, 12s battery and ESC, stronger hub motors, and the back truck has been upgraded to the Caliber II. Plus, there are some minor aesthetic upgrades, making it even more eye-catching than its predecessor. Looking at it closely, the G3 Plus does have the premium polish and looks that make it worthy of the price tag. Oh yeah! And they finally allow the turbo mode to be switched on without cooldown!
In the real-world test, all of this comes together as expected, to equal a pretty great riding experience. In my opinion, the carbon fiber deck plays a big part in it. The new deck has a better flex than the older Maple deck that the Backfire G2’s use. It also has a slightly more pronounced concave to it, which I like.
The carbon fiber deck also allows the Backfire G3 Plus to be surprisingly light, only measuring in 16lbs or 7.2kg. This adds to the portability of the board. You can comfortably carry it around with your AlterBag.
Combining the deck with the Caliber II front and back trucks, the Backfire G3 Plus rides very-very comfortably at any speed. Stability and predictable is what caliber II trucks are known for, and combining that with the predictability and precision of the Hobbywing ESC makes the Backfire G3 Plus a ride that’s so relaxing that you can turn your brain off.
For those who are wondering how the new 12s Hobbywing ESC compares to the Gen 2 Hobbywing ESC on the G2T – Well, they felt the same – except, that turbo mode now lacks any sort of cooldown, which is huge! Changing speeds is still a perfectly smooth process. Braking strength too remains unchanged, which I feel is perfect for most riders. However, those who likes their boards to brake really strong are gonna bitch about it. You know who you are. =P
Compare to other boards of the same price, one other big change for the G3 Plus is the inclusion of 96mm wheels. Continuing the tradition of the G2T, the G3 Plus is going to ship with both 85mm wheels and 96mm wheels. This, again, is going to add to the versatility of the G3 Plus, catering to lovers of both small and large wheels. 85mm wheels are what many think are the optimum size and 96mm are practically semi-AT; many people, including myself, like the safety in size. The larger 96mm wheels and the flex in the carbon fiber deck combine to soak up vibration quite well, making the board less uncomfortable on rough roads.
Now, the lowlights.
Overall, I think Backfire did a pretty great job with the G3 Plus, but there are always things to nitpick on, and for G3 Plus that happens to be about the numbers.
The G3 Plus rocks a pack of 12s2p Samsung 21700 40T batteries. It’s a 346wh pack that has a marketed range of up to 25 miles or 40km, but I managed to kill it in just 15miles or 24km, riding in Turbo mode with the 96mm wheels on. While the battery pack is objectively large and good, the ability to Turbo the whole distance probably means you can drain it way faster than you are supposed to. You can get to the marketed range if you ride on Standard mode and on 85mm wheels, but power users will definitely need to lower their expectations when it comes to range.
The 2nd nitpick I have on the G3 Plus is the top speed, which is only about 27.5mph or 44kmh. Pushing for higher top-speeds was never Backfire’s forte, and the G3 Plus did nothing to change that.
Many will tell you there is no value having a top speed higher than that of 27mph but for $999, I would prefer my board to have top speed ceiling that I won’t be able to hit. One good thing is that there is very little sag on the battery and the G3 plus maintains its ability to hit 22mph or 36kmh even at 25% battery level.
My final nitpick on the G3 Plus is that the LED ambient lights can be annoying. The G3 Plus also doesn’t come with the canon LED light like the G2T does. I guess that’s because the spot on the nose of the deck is taken, so you will probably have to go with shredlights for this one
At the end of the day, the Backfire G3 Plus is all about a comfortable and relaxing ride. It rides comfortably on any road surface, good or bad, at high and slow speeds. Although G3 Plus’s range and top speed is nothing to brag about, it is by no means weak. As long as you know what to should expect for the range, there is nothing not to like about the board.
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