Hardly a month passes in the travel industry that we don't catch wind of a new piece of luggage, but Travel-Light's latest is something that's got our attention. One quick look at G-RO and you'll see that the rollaboard has an entirely different kind of wheel -- plus some other thoughtful, practical features.Traditionally, wheels are one of the first components of a suitcase to get damaged. So rather than tacking a couple of roller skate wheels or spinners on the bottom, G-RO relies on a pair of positively huge discs. In their newly launched Kickstarter campaign , you'll see that the company takes a lot of pride in having made these wheels from scratch, rather than relying on existing designs and the typically used materials, and makes a lot of promises in regards to durability and maneuverability based on the new "aviation-grade polymer" wheels.
When we took G-RO out for a spin last week in the rough streets of NYC, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the giant wheels do seem to spread and diffuse impact, just as advertised. We went smoothly from carpeting to cracked sidewalks, off the curb and over grates, without having to yank and exert extra force like we typically would, even with spinners. Even more unexpected? It felt like we were rolling around a half-empty carry-on -- when if fact there must have been about 10 pounds worth of stuff in the suitcase. (If you want to get technical, the explanation here is that the larger wheels bring the luggage's center of gravity closer to the traveler.)
Thanks to the industrial materials, Travel-Light says, the G-RO wheels are also contraction-resistant and should better weather fluctuating temperatures. That's not something we were able to verify on our test run, but we do know that there's a lifetime guarantee for the wheels.
There a few more interesting features that show that G-RO creators have spent time channeling today's travelers and their habits. An extra-thick handle (another traditionally vulnerable component) is designed to support the laptop or tote bags that many of us like to plop on top of our suitcases. And while a hardshell model is in the works, per today's trends, the first G-RO release features ballistic nylon -- and front pockets -- for easier access. With business or simply hyper-organized travelers in mind, the interior has been engineered with two distinct sections, one for work and one for play, as well as a suit insert. There's also an optional electronic module with a 23,000 mAh battery, location tracker, and wireless detector.
The first early-bird pledge of $199, which gets you one G-RO suitcase, has all been snapped up -- but the next tiers of $219 and $249 pledges are up for grabs. 10/15 Update: This campaign has raised nearly $300,000. The lowest pledge you can make now is $279 for one G-RO (or $729 for four). G-RO is expected to deliver in August 2016, and once it hits the markets, it's expected to retail for $499.