After a brief hiatus, it’s fantastic to see Calibre releasing new bikes. Its latest hardtail trail ripper, the Line T3 29, keeps the brand’s reputation of producing great bikes at excellent prices alive and kicking, in what’s now a fairly competitive market.
Designed to take you everywhere, the T3 features up-to-date geometry with a future-proof frame, 29in wheels and trail-happy 140mm fork. The bike gets a well-thought-out frame and spec details. It looks sharp and handles admirably.
It will suit any mountain biker wanting to progress their skills on a capable bike without breaking the bank.
Calibre Line T3 29 frame details
Built from 6061 aluminium, the Line T3 29’s aesthetics look more refined than its price would suggest.
The slender top tube gives the bike a smart style and the square-section down tube neatly houses the externally routed cables on its underside.
Calibre has thought plenty about the frame’s upgrade potential. It features a tapered head tube to fit modern suspension forks and a Boost 148x12mm bolt-thru rear axle that will enable easy wheel upgrades in the future.
The seat tube features ports to house an internally routed dropper post, too.
There are water bottle bosses and an additional pair of lugs under the top tube for a place to secure tools and spares.
Calibre Line T3 29 geometry
The Line T3 29’s geometry is suited to its trail-thrashing intentions, and there are four frame sizes, from small to extra-large. I tested a size medium.
With the 140mm fork fitted, the bike comes with a capable 65.5-degree head tube angle and modern 75.5-degree effective seat tube angle.
There’s a short seat tube, of just 420mm on my medium test bike, that leaves plenty of space for a long dropper post.
It features a moderate 450mm reach and a 642mm stack height that should add confidence when the trail points down.
There’s a roomy 622mm effective top tube that will help make the seated position feel a little more assertive on trail-oriented climbs.
Its 440mm chainstays and 65mm bottom bracket drop should blend stability with snappy handling for a sure-footed yet engaging ride.
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||75||75||75||75|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||65.5||65.5||65.5||65.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||370||420||460||500|
|Top tube (mm)||600||622||644||672|
|Head tube (mm)||100||110||120||130|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||65||65||65||65|
Calibre Line T3 29 specifications
The SRAM NX 1×11 gears are mated to a SunRace 11-42 cassette and KMC chain that help save costs. It also gets SRAM Guide T four-piston brakes and a 125mm KS Rage i-dropper post.
The Line T3 29 rolls on Maxxis Rekon 2.6x29in rubber to help blend speed and traction.
The rest of the parts aren’t branded, but are functional with a short 45mm stem and wide 780mm handlebar. The Calibre wheels are tubeless-ready too.
This build kit tips the scales at 14.51kg.
Calibre Line T3 29 ride impressions
I tested the Calibre around the Forest of Dean’s vast trail network, littered with individual riding spots.
This gave me an ideal mix of trail-centre flow and natural tech spread across a range of different gradients and trail surfaces.
The T3 29 was easy to set up, yet I needed 110psi in the RockShox Recon Silver RL fork to get the support through the mid-stroke of the travel.
This was 20psi over what RockShox recommends for my 75kg weight. I set the rebound to four clicks from fully closed out of six.
The fork had a supple initiation and decent support in its mid-travel. Progression was firm at the end and I struggled to get full travel.
The Recon takes a fine balancing act to get good support and still reach full travel.
Calibre Line T3 29 climbing performance
Thanks to its well-thought-out geometry and sorted cockpit dimensions, jumping on the Line T3 29 feels better than you’d expect from a mountain bike costing less than £1,500.
The effective top tube length gives a relaxed seated position and has plenty of space to move around if needed. It sits aptly in the trail bikes category.
Seated pedalling was comfortable and its effective seat tube angle kept my centre of gravity nicely over the bottom bracket, enabling me to deliver a strong pedal stroke.
The large-volume Maxxis Rekon tyres help add comfort and grip on the climbs, and give the bike a useful turn of pace that doesn’t rob your effort.
The Line T3 29 can handle mellow and steep gradients without fuss.
The only issue I found is that on the steepest slogs, the smaller 11-42 cassette makes life harder than the latest 12-speed options.
Still, climbing out of the saddle feels stable, with no unwanted flex and plenty of space for my knees.
Calibre Line T3 29 descending performance
One of the most impressive traits of the Line T3 29 is its ride feel. It’s stiff and direct, but doesn’t beat you up and helps mute bumps well for a hardtail mountain bike. The large-volume tyres help here too.
It can roll over trail imperfections with ease, and doesn’t get hung up on repeated bumps robbing trail flow, encouraging you to push the pace and hunt fun lines rather than the easiest ones.
Turn initiation isn’t the quickest due to its tall stack height, which means the Line T3 29 needs a little authority at the beginning of a turn.
However, it can be leant into corners confidently thanks to its low bottom bracket and large-volume tyres that have a round shape and smooth transition to the shoulder threads.
Occasionally, I noticed the top tube knocking my knees when really trying to crank it over, and the standover height feels a little tall, but it was only on more technical and awkward sections of trails that this was an issue.
When the trail is flowing, there’s decent stability, while the bike still has an eager ride feel that enables you to pump and jump your way down the trail.
I found the Line T3 29 stable in the air and predictable, whatever I threw at it. A longer dropper post would be a nice touch to inspire more confidence when hitting jump lines.
It’s good to see four-pot brakes specced. However, the 160mm rear rotor is a bit underwhelming on steeper trails and the organic pads don’t have the strongest bite.
That said, it’s an easy upgrade to sintered pads for a performance boost.
The RockShox fork impressed me with good initial-stroke suppleness and mid-stroke sensitivity.
However, progression is firm and getting the required mid-stroke support hinders the fork’s ability to reach full travel.
Another highlight was the bike’s silence. Even without thick rubber chainstay protection, there wasn’t any chainslap or a hint of cable rattle.
The grips have decent comfort too, underlining that Caliber has really thought about the details.
The Line T3 29 felt confident wherever I rode it and you can get some serious mountain biking done. Its performance and trail demeanour are more impressive than its price tag would indicate.
How does the Calibre Line T3 29 compare to the Trek Roscoe 7?
These two bikes are close on paper and on the trail. Both use a RockShox Recon Silver RL 140mm-travel fork, have a head tube angle of around 65 degrees and roll on wide 2.6in tyres. Both use modern bolt-thru axle standards and a dropper post.
The Calibre feels a little more park-bike confident due to its taller stack and lower bottom bracket, while the Trek is more trail-focused with a posture that offers a touch more front-end aggression.
The Maxxis tyres on the Calibre also feel less vague when pushing hard, compared to the Bontrager rubber on the Trek.
There are more frame sizes on the Trek, so you’ll be more likely to find a size that fits you well. If you’re more XC and trail-oriented, the Trek is perhaps a better fit. If you want to thrash around your local woods and hit jumps and berms, the Caliber will have your back.
Calibre Line T3 29 bottom line
Calibre has knocked it out of the park for a bike of this price. The Line T3 29 has capable trail geometry with kit that overall does a great job.
A few small tweaks would make this bike even better. Fortunately, Calibre thought about the details and made it future-proof.
From flow trails to natural singletrack, the T3 29 will be a great companion for those looking to get into the sport or stick to a budget.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, GBP £1300.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 14.51kg (M) – without pedals, Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Calibre|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, S, M, L, XL|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, External 73mm BSA|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, SRAM Guide T, 180/160mm rotors|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Sunrace 11 speed, 11-42T|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, KMC X-11|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Calibre crank, 32t|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, RockShox Recon Sliver RL, 140mm travel|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, 6061 aluminium|
|Grips/Tape||br_gripsTape, 11, 0, Grips/Tape, Calibre Trail, soft|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Calibre Trail, 780mm|
|Headset||br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, Semi-integrated, ZS44 / ZS56|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, SRAM NX 11-speed|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Calibre Trail|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, KS Rage-i Dropper post|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, SRAM NX 11-speed|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Calibre Trail, 45mm|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Maxxis Rekon Dual Compound EXO 29x2.6in tyres (f and r)|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Alu double wall rims, 35mm internal rim width on Formula hubs|