Product Thrash: Caliber Trucks
By The Numbers
- Hanger Sizes: 165mm, 184mm
- Baseplate Angles: 44°, 50°
- Stock Bushings: 90a Blood Orange Barrel/Barrel (44°), 90a Blood Orange Barrel/Cone (50°)
- Stock Bushing Washers: Cup/Cup (44°), Cup/Cone Cup (50°)
- Kingpin: Grade 8 Steel
- Hanger Facing: Yes
- Available Colorways: Raw, Blackout Black, White Gold, Purple Funk, Blue Dream, Grenade Green, Midnight Green, Acid Melon, Red Rum, and many more
Caliber Trucks come in two options: 44° and 50°. I will be providing information on both baseplates, as well as pros and cons and so forth. This review will also go into some details about the 180mm vs 165mm hangers.
Now, let’s start off with some basic information about Calibers. In general, Calibers tend to be some of the nicest cast trucks you can find on the market. They are cast extremely cleanly, and feature very little slop. They feature faced hangers, and very clean casting all the way around.
Not only are Calibers the closest cast truck you can find to precision, but they are also some of the strongest and most durable cast trucks available. The slightly bulkier hanger design allows for added durability, so you should have no problems with hangers bending. I have put several sets of Calibers through tons of stress, and never had a problem.
Even if you do manage to break/damage your Calibers, Caliber is always more than happy to replace the broken part for free. Just as with most trucks, Calibers come with 8mm axles, axle nuts, speed rings, kingpins, kingpin nuts, pivot cups, a 6-hole baseplate (drilled old school and new school).
Basically, everything you would expect a truck to come with. I have found that on occasion, the pivot cups will fall out of the baseplates. I don’t believe this makes any difference during riding, but you can always upgrade to some Riot Cups.
As stated above, Caliber makes both 44 and 50 degree baseplates. To a novice rider, choosing between the two can be a difficult task. There are a few main differences I would like to cover between the 44 and the 50 degree baseplates.
The main difference I would like to cover is turn versus lean. A lower degree truck will provide more lean than a higher degree truck. A higher degree truck will feature much more turn and immediate response to movement. So if you are going in for a right turn on 50° trucks, as soon as you start compressing the bushings, the trucks will begin to turn, and move the board in the desired direction.
With a lower degree truck, you are very likely to experience more lean than turn. This is signified by the bushings fully or partially compressing, but the direction of travel changing very little, or not at all. So when going into the same right hand turn on lower degree trucks, the bushings will need to be compressed more before the direction of travel is greatly affected.
In the longboard world, the industry standard trucks is usually around 180mm, and features a 50° baseplate. I myself even started longboarding on 50° trucks, and occasionally still do. For the most part, 50° trucks tend to be feature a lot of turn with minimal lean (see above). When freeriding 50° trucks, slides are typically done in one, quick, fluid motion.
Because the trucks immediately start turning, the board immediately starts turning. As a result, minimal carving is done prior to initiating the slide.
I personally found learning to freeride on 50° trucks quite difficult, as I love to get lots of lean out of my trucks prior to initiating the slide. When participating in downhill, 50° trucks tend to be avoided as a result of the twitchiness that may ensure. Each small movement made by the rider is sent directly to the trucks, so speed wobbles are more likely to occur.
However, an experienced rider who is capable of demonstrating immense control over his board and trucks will greatly appreciate the immediate response offered by a 50° truck.
44 Degree Baseplates
My absolute favorite trucks at the moment just so happen to be 44° Calibers. As a beginner, I was always told to stick to 50° trucks when going slow.
As a result, I never even considered purchasing trucks that featured baseplates beneath the 50° mark. I’m not entirely sure how it occurred that I found myself on 44° Calibers, but I fell in love the moment I tried them. As I stated above, I love getting tons and tons of lean out of my trucks prior to actually initiating a slide.
The 44° Calibers allowed me to do just this. I personally run Riptide APS Barrels in my Calibers in order to absolutely maximize the lean I can get out of my trucks. The 44° Calibers are my go to truck for freeride as they are extremely strong, well-built, and leany.
Not only do 44° Calibers excel in freeride, but they are just as great at downhill. The 44° baseplates helps to eliminate some of the twitchiness that can come from a 50° truck. As a result of the trucks being a bit more stable, they are slightly less responsive, so not washing out when gripping a turn is a tad bit easier.
Those partaking in competitive races commonly prefer lower degree trucks, such as 44° Calibers. I always use my 44° Calibers to satisfy my downhill needs, and have been more than satisfied with the results.
The vast majority of Caliber trucks you will see out in the streets are the standard 10", 184mm version. Caliber has, however, released a 165mm hanger as well. If you are undecided about which size to get, take a look at the width of your deck.
I would recommend 180mm for any board 9-10"+ wide, and the 165mm version to any deck 9" or shorter. This is just a very general recommendation, and I will elaborate upon the subject below.
In the longboarding world, the 180mm trucks is basically the standard go-to size for truck hangers. The Calibers do come in at 184mm, but the extra 4mm is not at all noticeable. For the most part, the 184mm hanger is going to be a bit less grippy than the 165mm hanger.
With that being said, the 184mm will still provide plenty of grip, and are pretty much the standard for downhill/freeridng. However, the turning radius of the 184mm truck won’t be quite as tight as the 165mm.
The 165mm Caliber hanger is going to be slightly smaller than a standard 180mm truck. The slightly narrow hanger is going to be more grippy than the 184mm hanger. The 165mm will feature a tighter turning radius, so you will be able to take tighter lines during those competitive races.
Usually, I recommend throwing the 165s on a board around 9" wide or so, but they are definitely viable on trucks around 10" as well. Please note that on a wider board, the 9" trucks may tip over rather than lean/turn, as a result of having too much leverage over the trucks.
In the time I have spent longboarding, I have ridden just about every single truck on the market, cast and precision. I can easily say that Calibers are some of, if not the, most durable cast truck on today’s market.
The combination of a bulkier design with extremely precise casting make Calibers extremely durable. Remember, if you manage to break/damage something, Caliber will be more than happy to replace it for you.
So to wrap things up, regardless of your skill level, if you are looking for some new cast trucks; I highly recommend grabbing some Calibers. If you are a novice and are still unsure about what degree baseplate to get, or what size hanger to get; I advise finding someone who will let you try out theirs.
To wrap things up, Caliber is a super rad company with awesome products and great customer service. Now put down the chicken wrap and go pick some up over at Stoked!