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Rimowa carry-on polycarbonate vs. aluminum?

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by mcfmcf, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. mcfmcf

    mcfmcf Active Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    NYC/Atlanta
    I've seen incredibly mixed reviews of Rimowa's Topas aluminum line. It seems to me that polycarbonate would scratch/crack more easily, but I have not travelled with a Rimowa yet. I will be buying a carry-on and hopefully avoid rabid baggage handlers, but would of course like the suitcase to be as sturdy as possible.

    Also, any other suggestions/comparisons would be much appreciated. $1000 or less.

    Thanks!
     
  2. rollafan

    rollafan Senior member

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    Location:
    SFO/DEN
    In long term, your case will have dents (you can eventually even them out). However, they are quite strong. I think they are bomb-proofed.

    One of my Rimowas is the exact same model that was featured in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Awesome bag.

    Have you ever considered their "Salsa" line? It's not bad at all for the price.
     
  3. mcfmcf

    mcfmcf Active Member

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    Location:
    NYC/Atlanta
    Thanks for your reply and advice. I'm looking for what will last the longest. Do you have Topas and/or a Salsa? If so, how have they held up? Price isn't so much the issue as is durability. Appreciate your help!
     
  4. rollafan

    rollafan Senior member

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    I currently have both "Topas" & "Salsa" in different sizes. I have 2 "Topas" and 1 "Salsa". One Topas is only 3~4 months old, where as the other Topas & Salsa are probably more than a year old. I do like them all and if I really had to choose one, I have to go with "Topas" because it is stronger than "Salsa".

    As you know, the "Topas" line is more expensive than "Salsa" but there is a good reason for that. "Salsa" line is made with polycarbonate, whereas "Topas" line is made with aluminum. For an actual carry-on, "Salsa" line can be a great choice if you can actually take care of the luggage after your trip is over (cleaning the cover, fixing dents, purchasing covers, etc) and that you do not travel often. If you are quite concerned with the durability, I would probably go with "Topas". You can find them for less than $1k depending on models. Ramowa also has 5-year warranty, which is same as Tumi.

    The only downside that I might have is that their wheels are quite small (for the 4-wheeled ones), but I really don't care that much. I also have experienced that in order to avoid any hassle on the carry-on regulations with TSA agents / gate agents, it is a good idea to actually carry the official size of the luggage. It has happened to me only twice but the first time was quite annoying.

    Best wishes!
     
  5. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Been lusting after the Topas Stealth, kinda considering buying it now and never buying luggage again for the next 10 years.
     
  6. Xericx

    Xericx Senior member

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    The topas stealth is beautiful. Rimowa had a special type of matte black polycarbonate color with a slight sheen on it which was just pretty awesome in the polycarb but I've had trouble finding it lately, all the other colors of matte black don't look like what I remembered.

    To me, I like the Topas Classic over the Topas....its more old school and has a nicer lining. Leather on the handle.

    http://www.swedbags.com/art/rimowa-classic-flight?XBLG7868=d1f7df4a0377b1c10567985b29e48192

    I hate the multiwheel though. But I currently don't use rollers.
     
  7. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Yeah a German friend of mine has it. It looks sooooooo nice in person it ridiculous.
     
  8. Sallanf

    Sallanf New Member

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    Nov 23, 2012
    Location:
    Honolulu Hawaii
    DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT. We bought an aluminum case in Honolulu. We were talked into this unit by the salesperson as the unit that would provide the most protection, etc. Was damaged first flight, shape distorted, unit dented wouldn't close. Took 20 minutes to close it. Looked years old with dents because the material is so soft. 2nd trip handle broke off. Asked Jason Schmidt who is supposed to be regional VP to region to replace it with a polycarbonate unit or refund and we were after we had given it back to the store 13 days ago told he would only repair it. So in summary the product is all fluff and no substance and is overpriced and gets damaged in normal wear and tear situations. Very disappointed with this product.
     
  9. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    Boston->NYC->Helsinki->St.-Petersburg->Budapest->A
    I am looking forward to seeing you guys at the Korean Air check-in with your aluminum bags wrapped in protective plastic.
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    The Temple of Jawnz
    

    lol
     
  11. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    LOL! Nothing wrong with it though.
     
  12. CalTex

    CalTex Senior member

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    lol
     
  13. mcLouie

    mcLouie New Member

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    May 27, 2013
    Recently bought an Aluminium Topas. Thought it was a good investment for a frequent traveller...who knows!!! it was my worst investment ever! Right after my 1st trip traveling, there is a hole and dent on the body!! where is the QUALITY!! i am so disappointed ;( i think Samsonite has a better materials and better deals.
     
  14. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    Aluminum dents.

    If you've ever handled a soda can you'd know this.

    Samsonite isn't a material. And they don't make aluminum rollers.

    Lastly, luggage aren't investments. Sorry if you were mislead
     
  15. Big A

    Big A Senior member

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    At your house, when you're not there
    Getting beat to shit is a bit of the aluminum Rimowa mystique. It hurts the first time, after that, not so much. That's why it's best to buy the stuff used.

    Occasionally the aluminum stuff takes a shot that damages it. In the past, If I couldn't fix it with a hammer Rimowa fixed it for free. The only downside is that it takes them months.

    I've considered replacing the stuff I have with polycarb, but honestly I just can't do it. First, if you want a plastic suitcase why pay the Rimowa premium? I like the look of the aluminum, and there aren't a lot of cheaper choices (the Zero Halliburton stuff isn't as good - I've had it pop open en route) so you can kind of, sort of, maybe justify paying the outrageous prices. But for plastic? Seems to me that one plastic suitcase is a good as another. For example, I've seen the Samsonite Black Label stuff look as good as the day it was born coming off the luggage carousel.

    In my opinion, with aluminum Rimowa you are paying a borderline absurd premium for the name but you are getting a somewhat unique product. With the polycarb, you are just paying a borderline absurd premium.
     
  16. Dragon

    Dragon Senior member

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    I travel with the Polys (large check ins and several types of carry ons) and think there are advantages to the plastic over hard aluminum. First, the plastic version weighs less, so when you are checking in your luggage, you don't have to worry about the weight. Second, the dents are not permanent like the hard aluminum. Maybe I should say the plastic is much harder to dent than the aluminum (hard vs soft surface). I have been traveling with the plastic for years and still don't have any dents (maybe I'm lucky, but I'm a frequent traveler and check in several luggage at once). I would not say that all plastic suitcases are as good as another. Rimowa is better for the functionality (mainly weight saving, Rimowa wheels, locks) and the difference between aluminum and plastic is mainly cosmetic preference. I would go as far to say that there is no advantage to buying an aluminum version other than cosmetics and that the polys are actually better to travel with as far as functionality because they are lighter and are much less likely to get damaged. All the other functionality such as the great wheels, etc. are the same no matter which version you buy. Maybe check in luggage in poly, since you save more weight and don't have to worry about dents when the luggage handlers try to dent your Rimowa on purpose, and aluminum for carry on, since you will always be handling it yourself, weight savings is not much of an issue, don't have to worry about damage and it looks cool.
     
  17. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    a few of my thoughts:

    1. even for rimowa polycarb (e.g. salsa), it isnt the best. instead of denting, they're prone to cracking (worse). and they do it often. for durability, go ballistic nylon
    2. rimowa locks arent that nice. 2 of mine busted. 1 sheared off by handling. the other somehow locked itself. (popped it off with utility knife. a 6 year old can do it... so its not that secure)

    fyi, lufthansa sells their version of the alum topas in both alum and stealth black at a non-unsubstantial discount
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  18. Dragon

    Dragon Senior member

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    Nylon is probably the most durable, but it weighs too much. If your check-in isn't large, there is no worry, but if you check-in large suitcases for long trips, the weight savings makes a big difference. I don't think I will change to aluminum for check in luggage. It's too much of an eye magnet for TSA theft and I can just imagine the baggage handlers throwing it around and trying to put huge dents in them on purpose. The downside to Poly is that they are so common now, that you have to make sure it is not mistaken at baggage claim :)

    I agree about the locks. 1 of mine broke for some reason, and another changed combination. Luckily I was able to open the changed combination because it was only 1 number away.
     
  19. Xericx

    Xericx Senior member

    Messages:
    1,990
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    May 24, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    any advice for buying Rimowa in Germany? going in about 2 months all over touring.

    I'm probably not going to be able to search for obscure stores, but maybe mainline retailers...looking at an aluminum classic line...just wondering how much the savings actually are than buying it outside of germany. just basically buy it, then get the VAT refund? will i save a lot that way?


    http://www.koffer24.com/shop/de/en/...a-by-rimowa-52cm-classic-flight?filter=detail
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  20. pt chance

    pt chance New Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Not Aluminum

    I have been traveling for 150-200 days a year for 10 years and bought a lager, 26" Rimowa Stealth one year ago. It has been the biggest mistake I have made in recent memory. Over the course of the year it has had a broken wheel, broken wheel bracket, broken handle and a shattered lock. It simply cannot withstand the rigors of being a check-able suitcase. I have used Tumi products for years with no problems. I am thoroughly disappointed a product as expensive as the Rimowa has been unable to handle the task.
     

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