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Old 09-15-2014, 02:23 AM   #1
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Default Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

First off, best show I have been at to see class B's. About 18 to 20 units total to be seen. Let me get down some of my thoughts.

I was mostly interested in Sprinter models that seat 4 upfront, and came away from the show with some interesting observations on this. To me there were only three of the MFG that had 2nd row captain chairs that passed my test of having a forward facing seat with head rests tall enough for an adult. These were RoadTrek, AirStream and the ERA 70X on the Sprinter chassis. The LTV units forward facing seats were too short in an otherwise nice looking coach.

On 4cyl engines. Discussed this with RoadTrek and LTV. RoadTrek said that they may be possible in the future and seems like something they would be testing. LTV on the other had done some extensive testing with the new 2014 4cyl and found that it could not sustain 70mph on hills with their Sprinter chassis configurations. They also said that towing would be a problem, and that the 4cyl had additional idle vibration. I will need to look up more details on the differences in the 4/6 for towing.

Some personal observations on the LTV units and 4cyl engines. The quality and craftsmanship of these units are outstanding; but add a lot of weight to the coach. I would guess that they are 1500lbs more than similar coaches from say RoadTrek or ERA. This extra weight may account for poorer overall performance of the 4cyl as they tested it.

I did get to see and go over the RoadTrek prototype of the TS series coach, and a new RS with the XL option. Some notes from the mfg on the TS; but didn't add up for me.

The full E-Trek option is included with the TS; The order sheet options don't support this, as it is listed as a separate item. I do believe that "parts" of the E-Trek options are included with the TS, like the induction stove and such. I will need to get more info on this.

Coach-Connect is included with the TS; again the order sheet does not support this. It is an option I would not want.

The TS was a prototype, and it was easy to tell with the fit/finish of the door entry and headliner. On the other hand, what was shown; including the direction in materials that RoadTrek is taking the TS was outstanding.

Headroom has increased from the RS series due to the way RT is doing the TS LED lighting. It may only be an inch or so, but it is noticeable for me being 6'2 6'3 w/hat.

The cabinets both inside and out are sleek, strong and light. Metal trimmed, with molded interior plastic liners that remind me of over-head aircraft luggage storage areas. Items that might be damp or leak would not harm this surface in any way. The bathroom doors are also metal trimmed and mulch-hinged. While these doors still needing some finish work (like the bottom racks on the RS units) so that buyers don't poke their ankles with the sharp metal points, I can really see how these new materials are used effectively throughout the coach. Oh, best part; these new materials give a savings of about 800lbs. Nice!

The sink/stove locations have been swapped on the TS. The counter looks to be granite, along with the fold down portions. These are VERY heavy and should be changed (in my opinion) to something lighter like Corian or some other lightweight but high quality material. Why are we carrying "stone" in an RV.

Outside trim of the new TS looks better in person. This new outside trim should be standard on their entire line with the 2015 sprinter chassis. The painted front really looks good, along with all the other body colored items.

Black / Grey leather seats of the TS are good, and seem to be a higher quality feel than those of the new dark grey interior of the RS series that they had and I also like.

My final coach config would be the TS with E-Trek option; no coach connect. The E-Trek option really seems to have matured, and is a real differentiators for RoadTrek. I am sold on this and will also be eliminating propane/generator in whatever unit I purchase.

Pictures to follow.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Good report.

I'd agree with you on the Leisure Travel units. They are beautifully finished and probably heavier because of it.

I don't quite understand why quartz/silestone is not used in RV's. It can be cut to 1/4" thick and is pretty much impervious to stains, scratches, etc. It's used in yachts and even airplanes. Corian can be pretty, but it's easily scratched, and you can't put a hot pot on it.

I'm surprised nobody has talked much about Airstream Interstate. I found them quite disappointing when you can see them side by side with other makes. Considering the price premium, they are just not as nicely finished or contain the equipment you find on Roadtrek or Leisure Travel. If I was that Airstream dealer, I'd have been a little ticked if they put me right next to those guys at the show.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

I tried to like the AirStreams, but the technology in them was, well old. Limited, same for LTV. The other major issue with the Interstate, while the bathroom was bigger; it make the isle smaller, and only one moveable door to get into the bathroom made movement inside difficult.

Quartz product could work; we have it in our home now and love it. Not sure how thin it could be; and it is a high end material. If it is used in airplanes, then it would be perfect for these coaches.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

If old technoligies wrapped up in pretty packages is acceptable to you than several B manufacturers are ok choices. i like the way mony of them look and they have quality with old style systems.

However-if you want modern and Onan eliminating technology you really have only one way to go.

Roadtrek and it's e-trek systems and partial e-trek systems right now has the advantage.

and of course the smaller boutique outfits that use similiar like advance rv
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

RoadTrek TS Pictures #1



















Attached Images
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Another good report.

Interesting about sustaining speed on grades with the 4 cylinder. We are getting different opinions about that now. I've probably gone through most of the major mountain passes in Colorado in both a 5 cylinder and 6 cylinder Sprinter. The 5 struggled more but not direly. I thought the 4 would be a tad better. There is a lot of enthusiasm more for the 7 speed transmission on the 4. Moot for me now since I am getting the V6.

I noticed too on the breakdown list price sheets of the Roadtreks I looked at this weekend there was no mention of the batteries or the E-trek features in any detail. It is kind of a proprietary trust me deal. I don't know how a customer, at least one seriously into it, would want to accept that.

Do you mean leather or Ultra-leather? Ultra-leather is the most common upholstery finish in Class Bs.

I have Silestone in my kitchen and I love it. There are some new products out there no one has used. I have quartz ordered on my next B. Silestone is a quartz component too. I am not too keen on granite or Corian. I do love the looks of some granites. Never cared for the Corian look.

If you eliminate the generator and the attendant propane tank, propane and accessories I estimate you eliminate at least 500 lbs. That is what I am doing.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:27 AM   #7
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

RoadTrek TS Pictures #2







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File Type: jpg photo 17.JPG (120.4 KB, 746 views)
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:30 AM   #8
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RoadTrek XL Trim







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Old 09-15-2014, 03:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

They were selling those flagpoles inside the Giant Center.

I overheard one guy buying one - $596 with the hitch mounted thing. Ouch!

Well Roadtrek is obviously spending a lot of money developing a generator free coach. I guess some people want all that technology.

But how about some more practical things that don't cost a lot to develop? How about silent, ducted air conditioning? I've yet to see a van with it.
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Another good report.

Interesting about sustaining speed on grades with the 4 cylinder. We are getting different opinions about that now. I've probably gone through most of the major mountain passes in Colorado in both a 5 cylinder and 6 cylinder Sprinter. The 5 struggled more but not direly. I thought the 4 would be a tad better. There is a lot of enthusiasm more for the 7 speed transmission on the 4. Moot for me now since I am getting the V6.

I noticed too on the breakdown list price sheets of the Roadtreks I looked at this weekend there was no mention of the batteries or the E-trek features in any detail. It is kind of a proprietary trust me deal. I don't know how a customer, at least one seriously into it, would want to accept that.

Do you mean leather or Ultra-leather? Ultra-leather is the most common upholstery finish in Class Bs.

I have Silestone in my kitchen and I love it. There are some new products out there no one has used. I have quartz ordered on my next B. Silestone is a quartz component too. I am not too keen on granite or Corian. I do love the looks of some granites. Never cared for the Corian look.

If you eliminate the generator and the attendant propane tank, propane and accessories I estimate you eliminate at least 500 lbs. That is what I am doing.
I talked to Don at LTV that told me about his experiences with the 4cyl. Millage of 16-18mpg was seen using the 4cyl. These number sound like they were towing something. Don said the mpg numbers were the same as with the 6cyl, which didn't have any problem going 70 up hills. Ability to tow would be important to me, even if I never do it as it would hurt resale on an item like this if I didn't have it.

I am sure I am describing ultra-leather; I was more concerned with colors and feel.

I have a separate brochure for the E-Trek, will need to review it; and determine if it is the same as what is online.

Granite was described to me on the TS, and that laptop shelf was VERY heavy. So much so I was checking out the hinges under it to see how well they would hold up. I was kinda doubtful they would if I put any additional weight on it. I don't think the shelf could be made any thinner, so having quartz would not help the weight any there. There was a drop down shelf on each side; the laptop work space was too high to be useful, it would need to come down several inches.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:00 AM   #11
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The Achilles heel of the Roadtreks are the design ergonomics.

99% of all kitchen cabinets are standardized at 36" high. Roadtrek in order to put a rather small refrigerator under the counter that sits on the floor is about 38" high. This is not a good working height for anyone under 6 feet tall.

The refrigerator, as small as it is, is smack down on the floor. That's terrible. With the CS they created a tall cabinet to put in a larger refrigerator but to my surprise they again put the refrigerator door right down on the floor and the freezer door above. It should be the reverse if done that way.

An under counter microwave is not a smart thing to do either but that's what they do except for the CS. It is awkward and everyone knows a microwave is often used by watching results through the window as to when to stop it. On the CS it is up high but now too up high at the ceiling. For most women or anyone under about 5'-8" it is too high. I wonder if they think when they design. I am an architect. This common stuff was my livelihood. If you disagree, well you don't know or never had to satisfy hundreds of clients.

They remain insistent on putting most of the glass windows on the service side of the B facing the adjacent campground rather than their side. The Winnebago 70X and Airstream is guilty of this as well. The CS now has tall cabinets on both sides. They maximized space but cut down on openess. Still it is better than their head knocking Chevys.

The bathroom is the narrowest of all the Bs. It is too narrow so they opted for a door when in use had to awkwardly stick out and was difficult to latch inside. Even after doing that, it was still too constraining compared to just about everyone else. What is on the outside of those doors? A magazine rack for no man's land? Yeah, I know why they are there.

Black88mx6 wants 4 seats and sleeping for 4. That's his criteria. The only thing I can say to that is use the "right tool for the job". For that, better and cheaper solutions are Class Cs. Bs just don't have supporting capacities for four people. If used as car like for cheap overnight stays to get to a destination, maybe OK. But setting up for sleeping is about as bad as putting up a tent and its limits of everyone climbing over each other. Want to get up at night? Forget it.

The only company with extensive experience with a decked out 4 cylinder Sprinter is Advanced RV and they reported an overall average of 19.4 mpg on an extended trip from Ohio to Arizona and back. Avanti, on this forum has a 4 cylinder Great West Van Legend and he might have more information.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
If old technologies wrapped up in pretty packages is acceptable to you than several B manufacturers are ok choices. i like the way many of them look and they have quality with old style systems.

However-if you want modern and Onan eliminating technology you really have only one way to go.

Roadtrek and it's e-trek systems and partial e-trek systems right now has the advantage.

and of course the smaller boutique outfits that use similar like advance rv
No doubt that there are several pretty packages, they are tempting. On the surface they look good, but looking further into how their systems work then the limitations pop up. You want to run the back AC while traveling down the road; nope, only on shore power or while running the generator. Why do we still need to worry about leveling? Open flame propane burners inside an RV? Forgot to full up that propane tank? Power generation; separate unit, and need to change the oil in it too. Heating, separate system with noisy fans.

Simple systems, with minimal maintenance; increased functionality, eliminate weight; fewer shell cut-outs, stealth looks (HOA's?) sounds good to me.

We need more options than just RoadTrek and A-RV.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The Achilles heel of the Roadtreks are the design ergonomics.

99% of all kitchen cabinets are standardized at 36" high. Roadtrek in order to put a rather small refrigerator under the counter that sits on the floor is about 38" high. This is not a good working height for anyone under 6 feet tall.

The refrigerator, as small as it is, is smack down on the floor. That's terrible. With the CS they created a tall cabinet to put in a larger refrigerator but to my surprise they again put the refrigerator door right down on the floor and the freezer door above. It should be the reverse if done that way.

An under counter microwave is not a smart thing to do either but that's what they do except for the CS. It is awkward and everyone knows a microwave is often used by watching results through the window as to when to stop it. On the CS it is up high but now too up high at the ceiling. For most women or anyone under about 5'-8" it is too high. I wonder if they think when they design. I am an architect. This common stuff was my livelihood. If you disagree, well you don't know or never had to satisfy hundreds of clients.

They remain insistent on putting most of the glass windows on the service side of the B facing the adjacent campground rather than their side. The Winnebago 70X and Airstream is guilty of this as well. The CS now has tall cabinets on both sides. They maximized space but cut down on openess. Still it is better than their head knocking Chevys.

The bathroom is the narrowest of all the Bs. It is too narrow so they opted for a door when in use had to awkwardly stick out and was difficult to latch inside. Even after doing that, it was still too constraining compared to just about everyone else. What is on the outside of those doors? A magazine rack for no man's land? Yeah, I know why they are there.

Black88mx6 wants 4 seats and sleeping for 4. That's his criteria. The only thing I can say to that is use the "right tool for the job". For that, better and cheaper solutions are Class Cs. Bs just don't have supporting capacities for four people. If used as car like for cheap overnight stays to get to a destination, maybe OK. But setting up for sleeping is about as bad as putting up a tent and its limits of everyone climbing over each other. Want to get up at night? Forget it.

The only company with extensive experience with a decked out 4 cylinder Sprinter is Advanced RV and they reported an overall average of 19.4 mpg on an extended trip from Ohio to Arizona and back. Avanti, on this forum has a 4 cylinder Great West Van Legend and he might have more information.
A class B is a compromise in every way, especially the Sprinter chassis. Tall people, short people, refrigerator high, low, sleeps 2,3 or 4. Bathroom too small, passage too small; it's all subjective. Why are cheaper class C's better for us? Because they are safer? Nope. Stealth features for HOA and passenger van plates. Nope. Better gas millage for both travel and everyday use? Nope. Small and nimble where my wife can drive it? Nope. Minimal maintenance with fiberglass shells. Nope.

If the kitchen needs to face the other side of the camp-ground... well turn it around.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:41 AM   #14
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The Achilles heel of the Roadtreks are the design ergonomics.

99% of all kitchen cabinets are standardized at 36" high. Roadtrek in order to put a rather small refrigerator under the counter that sits on the floor is about 38" high. This is not a good working height for anyone under 6 feet tall.

The refrigerator, as small as it is, is smack down on the floor. That's terrible. With the CS they created a tall cabinet to put in a larger refrigerator but to my surprise they again put the refrigerator door right down on the floor and the freezer door above. It should be the reverse if done that way.

An under counter microwave is not a smart thing to do either but that's what they do except for the CS. It is awkward and everyone knows a microwave is often used by watching results through the window as to when to stop it. On the CS it is up high but now too up high at the ceiling. For most women or anyone under about 5'-8" it is too high. I wonder if they think when they design. I am an architect. This common stuff was my livelihood. If you disagree, well you don't know or never had to satisfy hundreds of clients.

They remain insistent on putting most of the glass windows on the service side of the B facing the adjacent campground rather than their side. The Winnebago 70X and Airstream is guilty of this as well. The CS now has tall cabinets on both sides. They maximized space but cut down on openess. Still it is better than their head knocking Chevys.

The bathroom is the narrowest of all the Bs. It is too narrow so they opted for a door when in use had to awkwardly stick out and was difficult to latch inside. Even after doing that, it was still too constraining compared to just about everyone else. What is on the outside of those doors? A magazine rack for no man's land? Yeah, I know why they are there.

Black88mx6 wants 4 seats and sleeping for 4. That's his criteria. The only thing I can say to that is use the "right tool for the job". For that, better and cheaper solutions are Class Cs. Bs just don't have supporting capacities for four people. If used as car like for cheap overnight stays to get to a destination, maybe OK. But setting up for sleeping is about as bad as putting up a tent and its limits of everyone climbing over each other. Want to get up at night? Forget it.

The only company with extensive experience with a decked out 4 cylinder Sprinter is Advanced RV and they reported an overall average of 19.4 mpg on an extended trip from Ohio to Arizona and back. Avanti, on this forum has a 4 cylinder Great West Van Legend and he might have more information.

Davydd the head knocking chevy that i will get has the microwave up top. all chevy roadtreks do
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Someone should make a microwave drawer like you see in high end homes. It would be a good solution, just scaled down to RV use.

If you are going to use a B as just a people mover and a tailgater, you might be better served just getting one of those vans that is converted to limo-duty. Something like this:

[youtube:1dmog4xu]Flj5eRxZRCY[/youtube:1dmog4xu]

I'm all for making simpler systems. The Euro vans have lots of great ideas along these lines.
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
Someone should make a microwave drawer like you see in high end homes. It would be a good solution, just scaled down to RV use.
Did I not mention that the RoadTrek TS is using a microwave drawer? Will add photo later.

Also hot food should never be above countertop level; microwaves that are placed high block what cod oversize be a good view; but are dangerous also.i
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:12 PM   #17
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The drawer microwave is a recent development. I think kitchen designers struggle with where to put a microwave and the manufacturers came up with the drawer type. I'm not sure it is a very satisfactory answer though. It helps with the bending over to put things in and take out but it still doesn't answer the desire to look in the window to judge when to stop the microwave which is what a lot of people do with microwaving foods.

GerryM5, Your right about the microwave but the refrigerators are still smack down on the floor. They get the microwave right in the Chevys but I am 5'-8" tall and sitting on the back sofa, getting into the cab seats and exiting the side door all take careful awareness not to bump your head. Then that wet bath looks impossible. A Sprinter and Promaster don't have those issues. Did I tell you I'm smart enough to duck now going out the Ranger side door but still scraped my back.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The drawer microwave is a recent development. I think kitchen designers struggle with where to put a microwave and the manufacturers came up with the drawer type. I'm not sure it is a very satisfactory answer though. It helps with the bending over to put things in and take out but it still doesn't answer the desire to look in the window to judge when to stop the microwave which is what a lot of people do with microwaving foods.
Maybe on your new rig you can get Mike to put a video camera in a drawer microwave and display it on the Silverlight touch screen.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by black88mx6
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
If old technologies wrapped up in pretty packages is acceptable to you than several B manufacturers are ok choices. i like the way many of them look and they have quality with old style systems.

However-if you want modern and Onan eliminating technology you really have only one way to go.

Roadtrek and it's e-trek systems and partial e-trek systems right now has the advantage.

and of course the smaller boutique outfits that use similar like advance rv
No doubt that there are several pretty packages, they are tempting. On the surface they look good, but looking further into how their systems work then the limitations pop up. You want to run the back AC while traveling down the road; nope, only on shore power or while running the generator. Why do we still need to worry about leveling? Open flame propane burners inside an RV? Forgot to full up that propane tank? Power generation; separate unit, and need to change the oil in it too. Heating, separate system with noisy fans.

Simple systems, with minimal maintenance; increased functionality, eliminate weight; fewer shell cut-outs, stealth looks (HOA's?) sounds good to me.

We need more options than just RoadTrek and A-RV.
Great West Van was building Bs with multi-batteries, solar, and large capacity inverters on customer special requests before Roadtrek. They were the first B Sprinter to offer diesel hydronic heating and hot water as well as a standard. For years they were the only ones with sliding door screen doors. Great West Van has a Promaster design that will drive four in captain chairs and sleep four without turning the van into a locked in sleeping arrangement you can't get out of bed and step outside or go sit down and read. I just don't see where you can store enough stuff for four people.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:32 PM   #20
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Default Re: Black88mx6 Report from Hearshey RV Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The drawer microwave is a recent development. I think kitchen designers struggle with where to put a microwave and the manufacturers came up with the drawer type. I'm not sure it is a very satisfactory answer though. It helps with the bending over to put things in and take out but it still doesn't answer the desire to look in the window to judge when to stop the microwave which is what a lot of people do with microwaving foods.
Maybe on your new rig you can get Mike to put a video camera in a drawer microwave and display it on the Silverlight touch screen.
The microwave will be at the correct height at conventional eye level and not tight to the ceiling like the Roadtrek CS.

The only thing in a drawer will be the induction cooktop. We opted to go with a portable we could use outside if we desired or even at home when not on the road. That way we keep the counter clean for the 90% of the time that it is used when parked as a "junk" counter. If we built it in we would lose the drawer we plan to store the cooktop. One customer leaves his in the drawer with a hole and had an outlet put in inside the counter where he could keep it plugged in and use it by just pulling the drawer out. I don't think we'll do that. We will pull ours out and place on the counter. We don't cook inside all that much.
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Davydd
2015 Advanced RV Ocean One Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Previous Class Bs:
2011 Great West Van Legend Sprinter
2005 Pleasure-way Plateau TS Sprinter
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