Review: LGB and PIKO G R1 Manual Switches

Published: 22 January 2012
Latest update: 11 June 2016


Introduction:

PIKO offers several track elements and accessories in G scale, and I wanted to try out their R1 switch to see how it compares to the LGB switches.

LGB offers their R1 (radius 600 mm) switches in both a manual and electric version, while PIKO only offers a manual switch.

An overview of the available items:

  • LGB 12000 Manual Switch, R1, 30°, Right – € 39,95 (MSRP 2012)
  • LGB 12050 Electric Switch, R1, 30°, Right – €59,95 (MSRP 2012)
  • LGB 12100 Manual Switch, R1, 30°, Left – € 39,95 (MSRP 2012)
  • LGB 12150 Electric Switch, R1, 30°, Left – €59,95 (MSRP 2012)
  • LGB 12010 Electric Switch Drive – € 25,95 (MSRP 2012)
  • PIKO G 35220 G-WLR1 Manual Switch, R1, 30°, Left – € 40,00 (MSRP 2012)
  • PIKO G 35221 G-WRR1 Manual Switch, R1, 30°, Right – € 40,00 (MSRP 2012)
  • PIKO G 35271 Electric Switch Drive – € 26,80 (MSRP 2012)

Review:

For this review, I compare the LGB manual switch with PIKO’s switch. Both have been used for more than a year on an indoor lay-out. Let’s take a look at some pictures.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

PIKO’s box is a little sturdier, but it doesn’t make much of a difference really. Most people throw them away anyway.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

What’s in the box, is more important of course.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The LGB switch comes with manual switch drive. The curve is a 30 degree 600 mm radius R1 curve. The straight is 300 mm long.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

I have removed the little protection cover from the LGB switch. Nothing to see here, unlike on PIKO’s switch, what you’ll see later in this review.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

Plastic frog.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

A little cover protects the switch drive arm from dirt.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The electrical connections on the bottom of the switch are metal strips.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

PIKO’s manual switch comes with a plastic handle for manual operation. The curve is identical to LGB’s switch, the straight track section is slightly different. It measures 320 mm, which is 2 cm longer than the LGB switch.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

PIKO made it 320 mm to match their well-thought-out track geometry. The example below shows how you the PIKO switches lign up perfectly when swapping one of them around. When doing the same with the LGB switches, you will need a small piece of track to make it fit.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The litte plastic handle clicks onto the switch drive arm easily.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

Below the plastic cover is a small metal spring, which makes sure the points are aligned properly for either straight or curved operation.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

Simplistic, but it works.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The frog is plastic. While the electric connections on the bottom of the LGB switch are clearly visible, PIKO has fitted a plastic cover for protection.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

A close-up of the sleepers. PIKO’s sleepers are less rounded than LGB’s sleepers, but the simulated wood grain looks a lot better on PIKO’s switch.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The switches next to each other.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

The spacing between the sleepers is different. PIKO placed them a bit closer to eachother.

review lgb piko r1 switch 12000 12050 12100 12150 12010 35220 35221 35271

After using both switches for more than a year, both switches have performed flawlessly. I like the idea of the manual operation of the PIKO switch, which works very well. Both switches feel high quality, I think the PIKO switch even feels a little more solid.


Conclusion:

PIKO offers an R1 switch that is ready to compete with LGB’s switches offering. Both switches are similar, except the fact the PIKO switch is slightly longer.


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