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Old 11-03-13, 01:10 PM   #1
gringo_gus
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B and W hard case review: the case and its use. Hmmmm ?

I am just back from a second trip to the US from the UK with a B and W hard case with a Brompton inside, and thought I would share feedback on its use and how the case stood up.

So, first of all, it was great having my bike with me, and gave a lot more freedom in the places I was staying (Ann Arbor and East Lansing).

However, the travel itself was a hassle. You can actually squeeze a lot in the case - clothes, books, s-bag. However, fitting is one thing, being at or under an airline 23 KG weight restriction is another. This time I ended up buying a second case and paying excess baggage on the way home. Some airlines are cheaper than others. Mine - Lufthansa - was one of these - but the cost was still $150.

Moving around on buses with a case and largish backpack was ok, but if I was to do it again, I would get something that was a lot more rucksacky - you want to keep both hands free, and my bag kept slipping off my back. AMTRAK was a real pain, because the platforms are so low compared to the train door, took a bit of strength actually getting the B and W on the train. But it was great having a bike in Chicago. With the B and W and another suitcase, life was a real hassle getting in and out of lifts etc. If you know you can get a trolley, fine, but at both ends of my journey there weren't any, or I didn't have the right change.

I am really disappointed with the build of the case. One of the wheels must have rubbed against a wall or siding while it was on a belt (this was at Detroit - it was fine when I had to take it through customs at Newark before rechecking). Anyway, it now has a centimeter or so flat bit, which on a wheel aint too helpful. It doesn't role as well, and makes an attention seeking kind of machine gun sound as it does. Having had my attention drawn in this way, I couldn't help checking against other folks' wheeled luggage, and the B and W wheels looked smaller and less tough. Their fitting seems rivetted on, so I am not sure if it can be replaced. Also broken was the bumper thing on the bottom which sits the case upright, opposite the wheel. On my last journey back the velcro straps kind of ripped off a bit at the back, too.

So, how do I feel about all this. Well, it was really great having a bike on my travels.. But when I look at the hassle and the grief, I may investigate hiring, or even buying a clunker off cragslist. If it is going to cost min 150 bucks every time, I have a benchmark price comparator.
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Old 11-03-13, 10:28 PM   #2
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I traveled once with Brompton + B&W and did not like it so sold it on craigslist. The case is almost as heavy as the bike. Next time I will try a Samsonite or a Porter Mini.
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Old 11-03-13, 11:05 PM   #3
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It can be an endless discussion, but for me the B&W case is a basic everyday tool. I fly with it whenever I need to take a bike over (used both for Brompton and Dahon) and it works for me as any other suitcase. I had no problem with a wheel in B&W, but I had in multiple other suitcases - just an everyday occurrence that you deal with. Could there be a better case than B&W? Yes, but B&W is very good.
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Old 11-05-13, 07:49 AM   #4
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It can be an endless discussion, but for me the B&W case is a basic everyday tool. I fly with it whenever I need to take a bike over (used both for Brompton and Dahon) and it works for me as any other suitcase. I had no problem with a wheel in B&W, but I had in multiple other suitcases - just an everyday occurrence that you deal with. Could there be a better case than B&W? Yes, but B&W is very good.
Well, I can see the argument that my particular usage, which involves lots of on-ground moving about as well as air-travel doesn't show BandW at its best. But the wheel/stand damage make it all but useless for pulling along the ground any distance now. And I do have to disagree. For sure I have had cases where the wheel has gone, but they were cheap, and the B and W wasn't. I've also have cases where the wheel doesn't go. Look round when you are the airport next and compare. Something like this really shouldn't happen. And likewise to the belt round the middle.

So, if anyone in the NW of England is interested in a damaged BW case at a nominal price compared to new, send me a pm.
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Old 11-05-13, 11:53 AM   #5
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And I do have to disagree. For sure I have had cases where the wheel has gone, but they were cheap, and the B and W wasn't. I've also have cases where the wheel doesn't go. Look round when you are the airport next and compare. Something like this really shouldn't happen. And likewise to the belt round the middle.

So, if anyone in the NW of England is interested in a damaged BW case at a nominal price compared to new, send me a pm.
All my suitcases are tank-like. I do not use cheap things for travel, because I cannot afford it. All items I carry in travel are dedicated. E.g. my travel clothes are about 3x as expensive as clothes I wear everyday, because my equipment needs to be utterly reliable since I have nothing to fall back on during travel. Still the nature of travel is such that things break. Incidentally I normally carry tools along that can allow me to fix a luggage wheel - not always, but often. Anyway, as I said, this can be endless and I pull myself out of the discussion. If I were closer I could have taken the case off your hands
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Old 11-15-13, 05:27 AM   #6
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True enough, can be endless, but like you I am a fairly frequent traveller, and believe in spending for quality travel goods/wear, just didn't get it with the b and w, which seems irreparable to me. But enough said.
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