Backfire made a lot of moves in the past few months with the release of G3 Plus, Ranger X2, G2 Black and is now on IndieGoGo 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 otherwise known for being polished but affordable.
The question obviously is, what are we paying more for? Especially at this age when boards at $600-700 mark like the likes of Wowgo 3, Meepo NLS Pro and Backfire’s own G2T are all already very good.
Backfire G3 Plus At first Glance
First, a quick glance through the product page showed the obvious improvements on the G3 plus are the use of carbon fiber deck, 12s battery and ESC, stronger hub motors and the back truck is now too, Caliber II. Plus there are some minor aesthetic upgrades making it even more of an eye candy than its predecessor. Looking at it closely, G3 Plus did have that premium polish and looks that is worthy of its price tag. Oh ya! And they finally allow the turbo mode to be switched on without cooldown!
In the real world test, all this comes together, expectedly, to a pretty great riding experience. The carbon fiber deck, I think, plays a big part in it. The carbon fiber deck has a better flex than the Maple deck other Backfire G2’s use. It also has slightly more pronounced concave on 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, Backfire G3 Plus rides very-very comfortably in 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 make Backfire G3 Plus a ride that’s so relaxing that you can turn your brain off.
To those who wondered how different the new 12s Hobbywing ESC is to the Gen 2 Hobbywing ESC on G2T – Well, they felt the same – except, again, that turbo mode are now without cooldown, which is huge. Smoothness in speed change remains perfect. Braking strength too remains unchanged which though I think is perfect for the majority. However, those who like their brake real strong are gonna bitch about it. You know who you are. =P
Compare to other boards of the same price, one other thing big for G3 Plus is the option of 96mm wheels. Continuing the tradition of G2T, G3 Plus is going to ship with both 85mm wheels and 96mm wheels. This, again, is going to make G3 Plus a versatile board and makes both small wheels and big wheels lovers. 85mm wheels are what many think is optimum and 96mm are practically semi-AT; and many including myself like the safety in size. Big 96mm wheels and the flex in the carbon fiber decks also soaks up vibration quite well, making the board less uncomfortable in rough road.
Now, the lowlights.
Basically, I think Backfire did a pretty great job with the G3 Plus, but there are always things to nitpick on, and for G3 Plus they happens to be about the numbers. G3 Plus rocks a pack of 12s2p Samsung 21700 40T battery. It’s a 346wh pack that has a marketed range of up to 25 miles or 40km, which I manage to kill riding in Turbo mode in just 15miles or 24km with the 96mm wheels on. While the battery pack is objectively big and good, the ability to Turbo all the way probably means you can kill 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 for power user, expectations on the range definitely has to be lowered.
2nd nitpick I have on the G3 Plus is the topspeed, which is only about 27.5mph or 44kmh. Pushing for higher top-speed was never Backfire’s forte, and 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 kinda want my board to have top speed ceiling that I won’t hit. Well, at least there is little sag on the battery and G3 plus still able to hit 22mph or 36kmh at 25% battery level.
My one last final nitpick on the G3 Plus is that the LED ambiance can be annoying. 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 probably have to go with Shredlights for this one.
At the end of the day, Backfire G3 Plus is all about a comfortable and relaxing ride. It rides comfortably in good and poor roads, in high and slow speed. Although G3 Plus’s range and top speed is nothing to brag about, it’s by no means weak. As long as you have the correct expectations on the range, there is nothing not to like about the board.
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