For many years since 1978, I have been a fan of the original LGB and over several decades have made three major incursions into these charming trains. The Richter family produced many fine European narrow gauge models, including the LGB/Aster live steam Frank S, of which I have owned two. I always preferred the Austrian, German and Swiss locos and cars, and rarely had any American locos, save the 4501 Mikado, which I briefly ran in front of a set of an Aristocraft aluminum streamlined consist. I currently have a modest collection of like-new original LGB (Saganer Strasse production), plus one PIKO trainset: their 2019 production BR 24 dampf lok and a set of three steel bier reefers. This BR 24 is a highly detailed 2-6-0 with large stainless 1 3/4" steel drivers, a nice tender with stainless steel wheels and an engineer figure in the cab. Smooth running 7 pole motor and constant voltage headlamps and tender backup lamps. Switchable smoke unit is also convenient. I am impressed with the quality of my PIKO engine and cars. I also have their "Clean Machine" battery powered 25 ton diesel model, and use their 5 amp Fahrreglar throttle. How has been YOUR experiences with the newer PIKO products?
I can say that I own only a single Piko loco, the 25 ton diesel switcher. Since I run battery power, I have converted all of my locos. The 25 ton switcher is a good looking locomotive. I like to run small field railway type equipment and it suits my purpose. The one drawback with it is the pulling power. It doesn't have traction tires so will only pull two or three small wagons on my garden layout. If I had no grades, it would surely do better. I have been thinking of purchasing the Piko clean machine 25 ton switcher as it does have traction tires and is already battery powered.
As far as Piko's other offerings, I haven't found much in the way of rolling stock. Most of it is too modern for my narrow gauge taste. I have heard from members of G Scale Central, a UK forum, on the Piko locomotives. They all say that the Piko offerings perform very well.
As for LGB, I believe it is second to none. My first foray into large scale was in 1991. I started with Aristocraft indoors. I was happy with it until I got permission to build a garden railway. Once outside, the Aristocraft FA diesels I had, did not perform very well. Mostly due to conductivity, as then I was strictly into track power. I contacted an LGB dealer who I became acquainted with at a train meet. After visiting his shop, I bought an LGB mogul. The difference between it and the Aristo loco was like night and day. I ran the side rods off that thing, literally. When one of them finally broke, due to wear, he sent it to LGB of America in San Diego. The not only replaced the drive rods but installed a whole new motor block. All at no cost to me except the cost of shipping it back to me !
Over the years I have accumulated mostly LGB locomotives. I also have some Hartland steeple cab switchers which run very well and are great for kit bashing. I have experimented with Bachmann locos but as nice looking as they can be, their engineering design leave something to be desired. I have several Bachmann trolleys. I particularly like the detail put into them. Once I swap outbthe motor block for a USA Trains block, they run like champs. By the way, if you're thinking about ever converting one of these, the USA Trains NW2 motor block is the best fir. The axle centers match the Bachmann perfectly.
I bought a Piko CRH high speed train set, the Chinese version of the German ICE train. So far its just a boxed souvenir of my travels on the real CRH trains.
Curiously, the PIKO 25 ton Clean Machine model has FOUR traction tires! Wonder why they did not include them on the other models?
That's the $64.00 question. It wouldn't be difficult to add some weight to the loco, but there's a limit to that option. The LGB Porters also do not have traction tires. But they are much better pullers than the Piko 25 ton loco.
That PIKO Krok is one beautiful engine!