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Is Rimowa as bad as people say?

Is Rimowa as bad as people say?

Old Aug 11, 18, 11:43 am
  #1  
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Is Rimowa as bad as people say?

Been browsing this forum quite a bit and it seems most people have issues with their Rimowa suitcases? If it's aluminum it bends and scratches until it's beyond repairable and apparently the polycarbonate cases cracks?
Are there really that many issues with Rimowa's cases? or is it a louder minority making it sound worse than it is?

I bought a classic flight cabin bag recently but was looking to add a checked bag to my collection too - however after reading people's experiences on here I must admit I am not too sure if Rimowa is the right choice anymore.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 3:59 pm
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If in doubt, do not buy any...!
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Old Aug 12, 18, 2:11 am
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People are usually much more vocal about bad experiences with a brand, whatever that may be. This is more so when it is expensive, even though statistically speaking, failure rates are lower than peers. I tend to discount poor reviews a fair bit, although damage can indeed happens with any brand. Rimowas are tough, but anyone buying check in bags should not expect it to look pristine with use.

I personally would prefer bags that are tough with strong hinges and wheels . Nothing is more annoying that having luggage arrive with handles or wheels damaged or having hinges blown out with many Samsonite Curv luggages. Rimowa hasn't disappoint in this regards. When u have to lug a faulty bag over long periods on foot, scratches or dents are the last thing on your mind. Dents in the Aluminum luggage happens and sometimes this can be remedied at the Rimowa store. I prefer a beat up luggage as they do not attract to much attention.

They are not perfect though, they can be heavy (along with a slew of disadvantages inherent with clamstyle hardcases) and in Asia, it seems everyone is carrying one. A few occasions on the carousel, I have seen people approach another traveller about taking a case (by mistake), usually the silver ones. Also they tend attract thieves who know they are expensive especially at certain airports.

If you do indeed get Rimowa, I'd go only for their Aluminum ones just like I'd only take B&R in their baseline softcase. Rimowa's polycarbonate ones are good but not as iconic and many other brands offer similarly good quality Polycarbonate bags.
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Old Aug 12, 18, 4:17 am
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If you are on the fence about your next luggage purchase, don't buy it, and save the remorse.

With any other purchase that requires a premium up-front cost, such as RIMOWA, you have to weigh the pros and cons.

Each buyer is different and weighs each pro and con differently, according to their own purchase criteria.

If you are worried about dents, wear and tear on hard-side luggage, then do not make the purchase.

Find out what is important to you in terms of features, specifications and build quality. Come up with at least three (3) pieces of luggage that meet your criteria in the same product range, and do a mini-test stroll on the sale floor.

You should be able to make a purchase decision with firm commitment and no remorse.

If you are concerned about buyer's remorse, find a retailer who has a return policy that meets your needs and gives you piece of mind.
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Old Aug 12, 18, 7:24 am
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Thanks for the responses so far.
I fully understand people saying that if I'm in doubt then I shouldn't buy it - but I am honestly in doubt about every luggage I look at, not specific to Rimowa.
I'm personally fine with dents and scratches and I don't mind the suitcase looking beat up if it still functions as supposed to - but unsure if Rimowa will last or quickly become damaged to a point where it's not repairable?
What are people's experiences with that?
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Old Aug 13, 18, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by bulbmogul View Post
If in doubt, do not buy any...!
Pictures of unused luggage answers his question how?

Originally Posted by oliverbrix View Post
Been browsing this forum quite a bit and it seems most people have issues with their Rimowa suitcases? If it's aluminum it bends and scratches until it's beyond repairable and apparently the polycarbonate cases cracks?
Are there really that many issues with Rimowa's cases? or is it a louder minority making it sound worse than it is?

I bought a classic flight cabin bag recently but was looking to add a checked bag to my collection too - however after reading people's experiences on here I must admit I am not too sure if Rimowa is the right choice anymore.
Thin aluminum deforms. Inelastically. That's just characteristic of the material. Happened to all my checked pieces. Never had it reach the point of irrecoverable failure, but it's been severely beat up.
If you've seen check-in sized pieces rolling around in mint condition, it's likely to have never or rarely left the closet

I have a local service center, where they can bang out the dents same-day, or within a few days for larger repairs. If you don't have easy access to such facilities, then the 5 year warranty doesn't do much good. IMO, that should inform the buying decision.
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Old Aug 13, 18, 8:23 am
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They recently significantly increased their prices, if it helps sway your decision.

I have had a polycarbonite Rimowa checked suitcase for the last 4 years and whilst I've been pleased with the smooth running of the wheels, I've been disappointed with the overall quality. The case itself began to deform within a year, and all but one of the raised bumps on the bottom have been knocked off, 2.5 years in one of the corners around the zip started to come apart and on a recent trip it cracked either side of the main handle leaving me worried a sharp pull from a baggage handler would cause the whole thing to come apart.

Since it needs replacing I was on the fence about another Rimowa anyway but the 50% price increase on my model made the decision easy.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 4:19 am
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Yes! I cannot speak for the Topas aluminum, but their polycarbonate breaks at the slightest shock.
Against all the raving, I have been sorely disappointed.
In 2006, as the airlines begain reducing their weight allowance, I decided to look for the lightest luggage available and Rimowa Salsa polycarbonate was the recommended brand. I invested in 7 pieces at that time. None of them have been used more than once a year, some even less, as the number of allowed bags was reduced, as my son no longer accompanied me to visit the family ...
Since that time, in no moe than 10 trips for any one piece, 3 pieces have broken: one where a wheel came off and it was fixed, and another that cracked just last year. And now, the bottom of a Bolero piece has exploded when taking it gently out of a car. The wheel has come off, and the bottom is cracked all the way across.
I have written to Rimowa and their answer is simply that the suitcase is "12 years old we cannot offer you anything out of goodwill." Yes, it is old, but it has only been lightly used. This means, that the cost of a Rimowa case, for use once a year over 12 years, is extremely expensive, and definitely not worth the cost.
Since 2006, a number of other brands, e.g. Delsey, Samsonite, Lipault ... to mention only a few, have come out with lightweight luggage at half the price. I will definitely be turning to one of these as my Rimowa cases crack one by one.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by MSDinParis View Post
Yes! I cannot speak for the Topas aluminum, but their polycarbonate breaks at the slightest shock.
Against all the raving, I have been sorely disappointed.
In 2006, as the airlines begain reducing their weight allowance, I decided to look for the lightest luggage available and Rimowa Salsa polycarbonate was the recommended brand. I invested in 7 pieces at that time. None of them have been used more than once a year, some even less, as the number of allowed bags was reduced, as my son no longer accompanied me to visit the family ...
Since that time, in no moe than 10 trips for any one piece, 3 pieces have broken: one where a wheel came off and it was fixed, and another that cracked just last year. And now, the bottom of a Bolero piece has exploded when taking it gently out of a car. The wheel has come off, and the bottom is cracked all the way across.
I have written to Rimowa and their answer is simply that the suitcase is "12 years old we cannot offer you anything out of goodwill." Yes, it is old, but it has only been lightly used. This means, that the cost of a Rimowa case, for use once a year over 12 years, is extremely expensive, and definitely not worth the cost.
Since 2006, a number of other brands, e.g. Delsey, Samsonite, Lipault ... to mention only a few, have come out with lightweight luggage at half the price. I will definitely be turning to one of these as my Rimowa cases crack one by one.
Conversely I have two salsa deluxes that I have checked on 30+ flights, mostly international in asia/africa, in the last two years with zero issues so far. They are scratched to hell but I've covered them in stickers anyway.
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Old Aug 16, 18, 12:38 am
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Inconsistency is a red flag

IMHO, when it comes to checked luggage, the fact that there is such great variance in experience (albeit small sample size), most likely indicates that either:

1. The quality of the product is inconsistent, or
2. The variance in the baggage handling (the application environment) is far more influential than the quality of the product in terms of long term durability.

Therefore, either....
1. Buying the product is a crapshoot - you may get a good one, or you may get a not so good one, or
2. There's little point in buying a "high quality" bag since that quality isn't all that likely to result in much greater service life.

So, I try to 1. never check bags, 2. will not buy"spinner" type check in size bags, and 3. Try to buy good quality luggage that should withstand lots of "normal" wear and tear. I won't however spend 2x-5x for a lifetime no questions asked warranty that covers abuse. If my bag fails while traveling, I'm not sending it off to get fixed, and I'll be damned if I'm dragging a busted bag all over the Earth to bring it home to get fixed... I'll buy another $200ish bag and be happy to get a good 2-8 years out of it. I simply don't accept that the $1K bags last 5x longer than the $200 Travelpro, delsey, Kirkland, etc.

The larger spinner wheels on the rimowa do roll better though.
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Old Aug 16, 18, 10:24 pm
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I see a fair number of banged up and dented Rimowa's on my travels. I like luggage to last. for me a dented and banged up suitcase looks like it is ready for replacement. I like my luggage to last, and for me that equates to not looking tired.... I never check luggage, so that eliminates the major damage point... That's all....
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Old Aug 16, 18, 11:44 pm
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Originally Posted by timfountain View Post
I see a fair number of banged up and dented Rimowa's on my travels. I like luggage to last. for me a dented and banged up suitcase looks like it is ready for replacement. I like my luggage to last, and for me that equates to not looking tired.... I never check luggage, so that eliminates the major damage point... That's all....
If the suitcase doesn't look banged up it's probably because the contents are taking the blows. Not a big deal if all you're carting around is clothing I suppose.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 3:01 am
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Originally Posted by cowculator View Post
People are usually much more vocal about bad experiences with a brand, whatever that may be. This is more so when it is expensive, even though statistically speaking, failure rates are lower than peers. I tend to discount poor reviews a fair bit,

That is nonsense. The problem is that reviews are far too positive. Just look at ebay or whatever, the average seller has a rating of 99.5% positive or so. Or check out Kayak where reviews of "mediocre (2+") are completely unheard of. The vast majority of hotels are "excellent (8+)" and "good (6+)" which doesn't make sense as the median hotel should be ranked as a 5-6, which should then have a connotation of something like fair, run-of-the-mill, or average.

Most reviews are biased to be overly optimistic. I think it doesn't make sense to discount just poor reviews a fair bit. It makes sense to discount all reviews quite a bit (or at least try to correct their over-enthusiastic sentiment).

By the way, it has been studied theoretically and empirically quite a bit why most reviewers are dishonest by being too positive.

EDIT - To apply this a bit more concretely to the question, I do own luggage from Rimowa, Tumi, and such. And, considering the premium I paid, I do expect more from that it from run-of-the-mill luggage sold at most big retail chains.
I recently had a Tumi bag with a defect after just six months of use and it's tilting me a tad bit away from the brand. My personal experiences with Rimowa have thus far been stellar.

Last edited by 1flyer; Aug 17, 18 at 3:09 am
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Old Aug 18, 18, 7:55 pm
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I have a set of 2-wheeled B&R plus a 2-year-old Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Hybrid polycarbonate cabin bag. For carrying on, I much prefer the Rimowa to the heavier B&R so my B&R cabin bag has been collecting dust since I got the Rimowa. I keep that bag and itís siblings in case I need to check a bag. I would never check my Rimowa. I donít care about scratches, but I feel it would only be a matter of time before a wheel broke or the shell got cracked. I love the Rimowa but I donít know that Iíd love it as much at the new price.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:08 am
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Iíve had two Tumi Alphas over the last 10 years. A two wheel A1 that goes in the hold when it has to, and not when I can help it. Itís done upwards of 800 sectors, is a bit beat up, but keeps on going. The second one, spinner Alpha2, was added a year and a half ago (about 110 sectors), is doing fine, but gets checked in more than Iíd like on short haul flights in Europe.
I added a Rimowa Bolero (bought with points from Lufthansa) cabin trolley a couple of months ago, and love it. No one has tried checking it in for me, it rolls wonderfully, and I find the interior configuration and straps ideal for my weekly commute. Not sure what state it would be in if I checked it in, but as hand luggage I canít fault it. I spent a long while considering the equivalent Tumi case, but just wasnít convinced by it: just seemed a lot flimsier and a cheaper build, for much the same price.
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