A First Look At The New Briggs & Riley BRX Rolling Carry-On

You may see a bit of a new look on Pizza In Motion.  Thanks to Denny from the Boarding Area team for the new digs.Please let me know what you think of it.  There are a few tweaks to make, but I like where the look and feel is going.  Do you?

Briggs & Riley approached me recently about new suitcases they were launching and gave me a chance to have a first look before they were released for sale.

I posted a review on the new Express Toiletry Kit recently, and now I’m going to take a few moments to share my thoughts on the new international wide body upright that I traveled with for a month.

You can see the suitcase on their website here.

This suitcase is a bit smaller than the current one I carry, and has slightly different dimensions.  It comes in at 20 x 15.5 x 9, whereas my go-to Transcend is 21.5 x 14 x 8.

New Briggs

First, a quick run-through of the features.  There’s the standard piggy-back strap on the top so you can clip on another bag.  There’s a zippered pouch it can be stored in.

New Briggs

There are some straps on the side of the bag that allow you to attach another bag to the front as well.  Briggs has some soft duffels but I assume you could get others to work as well.  It’s an interesting way to think about rolling around more than one suitcase.  Doesn’t really fit business travel, but for longer leisure trips this is likely useful.

New Briggs

There’s a pouch on the top that easily holds a phone, keys, etc and another one on the side of the front that could hold a passport or other small items.

New Briggs

New Briggs

There’s a front pouch big enough to fit a bunch of files or other flat items, but not necessarily a pair of shoes like some bags.  Briggs advertises it as big enough to fit a 17″ laptop.  It is, but I wouldn’t put mine in there, just not enough padding.

Inside, there’s a panel that you can clip and cinch down to keep everything in place.  It works fine, though I prefer the elastic mesh in my Transcend.  The inside of the lid has a water-resistant pouch similar to the toiletry kit.  This is perfect for a wet bathing suit, plenty sizable.  Another pouch just below is big enough to hold a number of garments or possibly a smaller pair of shoes..

New Briggs

New Briggs

I took the suitcase on about half a dozen trips to give it a test run, some short, some long.  I found it was capable of holding the same amount of items as my Transcend.  From a packing standpoint, one of the things I really like about Briggs & Riley suitcases is that the telescoping handle is on the outside of the bag, leaving a flat bottom for packing.  Some folks decry this, because if you put the handle inside the bag you get a slightly bigger suitcase.  But, the rails end up on the bottom of the inside, which means you don’t have a flat packing surface.  Before I had my Briggs bag, I remember trying to roll up my underwear to fit in the spots between the rails to maximize storage!  At any rate, I love having a flat bottom to the bag.

I found the bag to be very stable when I rolled it through the airport and the wheels rolled very smoothly.  If you attach your backpack to your rolling suitcase, you’ll want to measure your backpack to make sure it won’t drag on the ground.  Since this bag is a bit shorter and wider than some rollaboards some taller backpacks may drag on the ground.

I was able to easily fit the bag into overhead bins on a variety of mainline jets (it should fit comfortably in all of them).  It does not fit in the smallest regional jets, like an ERJ145, but I did manage to fit it into the bins of a couple of the larger regional jets.

The bag weighs just under 8 lbs., making it comparable in weight to other high-end competitors like Rimowa.  The Accelerate backpack from Briggs & Riley fits over the handle if you prefer to carry a bag on top instead of behind, but because the top of this suitcase is soft as opposed to rigid, a backpack may not sit neatly (or pull behind well) when the suitcase is not full.

I worked this bag hard on half a dozen trips and it showed no ill effects, unsurprisingly.  Briggs & Riley builds a really great suitcase and backs it up with the best warranty in the business.  Essentially, if anything at all happens to your suitcase, you bring it to a repair facility (or ship it) and they repair it for free, forever.  If they can’t repair it, they’ll replace it.  It doesn’t matter if the airlines rip it to shreds, Briggs will take care of it.

I liked the bag a lot.  If I was starting over I’d probably consider this suitcase, but my Transcend is still going strong.  The bit shorter height makes it an easier fit on some planes where my Transcend can’t go.

List price on this suitcase is $320.  You’ll see some retailers discount Briggs & Riley bags from time to time, but they stay pretty close to list price.  They’re certainly not the cheapest bags but when you consider it as a true lifetime purchase, you can’t beat the value.

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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7 Comments

  1. It should be noted that the dimensions of this new bag exceed the size limits that United and American Airlines are currently enforcing. The maximum they will officially accept is 22 X 14 X 9

    1. JohnSD, I’d say using the word “enforcing” for what United is currently doing would be a vast overstatement. My current bag exceeds 2 of the 3 listed dimensions and has yet to be put in a sizer by any United employee since they ordered the new sizers. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever been checked for size in the entire time I’ve flown United. American has checked the size once or twice. But, this bag is shorter and doesn’t look like a big bag, so I think it’s highly unlikely it gets tagged for a sizer.

      1. According to the FT thread, the UA sizers are about 10x15x23. I haven’t encountered any forced sizing, although I’m sure it happens. I do think that height and “thickness” due to overpacking are probably the keys GAs tend to look for. A very few strict GAs may look at this bag and say it exceeds the width slightly and force it to be checked, but it probably would be a very rare occurrence, unless you’re in groups 4-5 and going to be forced to gate check anyway.

        http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1520594-new-united-carry-sizer-enforcement-policy-eff-1-march-2014-a.html

        1. Hmmm, wonder if UA has a sizer outside security at IAD. I could go run by there this morning before I ship the suitcase back and see if it fits.

  2. A comparable Rimowa case weighs from about 6 lbs (20″), so a lot less than this B&R smaller case. B&R is definitely still the Jeep of carry ons, they all still look like crap, but get the job done. Still two wheels, handle on the outside, but at least their world is evolving a little bit as they’ve lost a lot of weight. If you are a road warrior and want a classic style bag that’s made of nylon with a lifetime unlimited warranty, I’d save my money and go with a Travel Pro Platinum Magna series instead. Costs a lot less than this bag, around 200 bucks for the 20″, weighs less and lasts forever and also has that silly lifetime unlimited warranty if that floats your boat.
    Before I discovered Rimowa, I used Travel Pro and they are rock solid. Every Travel Pro I have owned are still going strong and are all usable. The lifetime unlimited warranty B&R has (and also TravelPro) kind of reminds me of why Korean car manufacturers have the best warranties: Because they need to convince consumers that their cars are not crap (but the are :p). Most other bags have 5-10 year warranty. By the time you’ve hit that spot as a road warrior, you’ve replaced the bag anyways (hopefully)

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