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Old 12-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
Rok
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Default Deciding on which class B to buy.

O.K. So at the end of the year, my wife is going to retire, and shortly after I will as well. One of the things we have been wanting to do for some time is do some traveling. What we've decided to do is get some sort of class B motorhome and travel around in it.

Other than that, we haven't made too many decisions. What prompted this was a year or so back we saw a Roadtrek 210 (maybe it was a 200) 2001 with 35K on it for $35,000. We looked at it and considered it and because we were a year from retirement, we didn't buy it. It was immaculate in condition, but it had a little bit of a "musty" smell. The guy had put on a couple of mods like a big storage box in the back and an extra battery and some sort of camera system where it showed behind the van normally, but when you flipped the turn indicator, the camera view changed to the side of the rig that you were turning to. Bottom line, though, we didn't buy it.

Now we are looking at new ones, and are baffled by the choices. We've looked at the RTreks, and no one model really "smiles" at us. Last week, my wife drove a new Airstream while I rode in it (I have driven all sorts of rigs, but she has never driven anything that large. She thought it was great. It had a camera mounted over the rear view mirror that mimicked an actual rear view you would get from a normal rear view mirror. I think it was called an "Interstate" & was on a 3500 Sprinter chassis. It was also VERY expensive.

This coming weekend, we will be looking at the Roadtreks more, as well as some of the Pleasure Ways, and also an offering from Winnebago--I think it is called the ERA.

We have all too many options to consider, and I expect that we just need to dive in and find out if we even enjoy RVing in the first place--whether or not we can sleep in the rigs, etc.

Any suggestions to a couple in our situation would be welcome. I'm fast finding out that there is a lot more to making the decision than just which unit initially looks best to us.

Advice?

Thanks...............Rocky
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
O.K. So at the end of the year, my wife is going to retire, and shortly after I will as well. One of the things we have been wanting to do for some time is do some traveling. What we've decided to do is get some sort of class B motorhome and travel around in it.

Other than that, we haven't made too many decisions. What prompted this was a year or so back we saw a Roadtrek 210 1992 with 35K on it for $35,000. We looked at it and considered it and because we were a year from retirement, we didn't buy it. It was immaculate in condition, but it had a little bit of a "musty" smell. The guy had put on a couple of mods like a big storage box in the back and an extra battery and some sort of camera system where it showed behind the van normally, but when you flipped the turn indicator, the camera view changed to the side of the rig that you were turning to. Bottom line, though, we didn't buy it.

Now we are looking at new ones, and are baffled by the choices. We've looked at the RTreks, and no one model really "smiles" at us. Last week, my wife drove a new Airstream while I rode in it (I have driven all sorts of rigs, but she has never driven anything that large. She thought it was great. It had a camera mounted over the rear view mirror that mimicked an actual rear view you would get from a normal rear view mirror. I think it was called an "Interstate" & was on a 3500 Sprinter chassis. It was also VERY expensive.

This coming weekend, we will be looking at the Roadtreks more, as well as some of the Pleasure Ways, and also an offering from Winnebago--I think it is called the ERA.

We have all too many options to consider, and I expect that we just need to dive in and find out if we even enjoy RVing in the first place--whether or not we can sleep in the rigs, etc.



Any suggestions to a couple in our situation would be welcome. I'm fast finding out that there is a lot more to making the decision than just which unit initially looks best to us.

Advice?

Thanks...............Rocky
That old 210 was severely overpriced, good thing you passed. Everybody has different tastes in B's. Chassis type, kitchen side, sleeping setup, etc. We went in as blind as you, although we knew we liked the Roadtrek 190 Popular on a Chevy the best just by looking. We tried to find a place to rent, but it is hard to find one to rent, and very expensive if you do. We were in the process of trying to find a low priced older model to "test", to see if we liked the camping part of it (and would be able to sell it with minimal loss if we didn't like it, or if we liked it enough to move up to a newer one), when an extremely good deal came along on a two model year old, but new Roadtrek equipped just as we guessed we wanted. We decided to go with it, as it was so reasonable we wouldn't lose a lot if we had to resell (less than a two week rental of loss). It worked out well for us, and 4 years later, I will be retired in 7 weeks and will be on our way for real traveling.

Start with the interior layouts by getting in them, shutting the doors and curtains, moving around, etc to see if it feels comfortable. DW is somewhat claustrophobic and had big problems in some models and no problems in others. Hopefully, it will feel right when you hit the one that suits you best. Of course, renting is an option if you can find one to rent.

You also need to determine what you want to do. Tour the country, moving often and stopping at lots of places, or going to fixed locations for longer times. Boondocking, or mostly with hookups? Cities or wilderness? What you get should best suit what you plan to do. A B is small and not what I would want to "snowbird" in, sitting in a park in Mesa.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

There are a lot to choose from ..... and Ford will introduce the 2014 Transit later in 2013 just to add more choices



I think this is the current list of B manufacturers:

http://www.roadtrek.com/
http://www.greatwestvans.com/
http://www.pleasureway.com/
http://www.leisurevans.com/
http://erarv.com/
http://www.airstream.com/touring-coaches/
http://www.safaricondo.com/index_eng.php
http://new-west.com/eng/
http://www.westfalia-canada.com/EN/
http://www.sportsmobile.com/
http://www.advanced-rv.com/ (new company)

If you're going for new then maybe make a few basic choices:
20', 22', 24'
Diesel or gas?
Separate twin beds, queen/king size bed, electric sofa/bed?
Slideout? (only one model currently available)

Similar topic here for reading: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2343 4,000+ views! So lot's of interest in this type of topic.

Booster has offered some good advice above.

I'd probably favor the first four in the list above because they're well known, well established, etc.
Airstreams are nice but the prices (MSRP) are way up there

Retirement finances are different for everyone. Relatively low rates and long terms can make even the most expensive unit seem affordable until you try to sell the unit yourself. Retirement also affects everyone differently mentally/emotionally. I'd be cautious putting a ton of money at risk jumping into a new lifestyle. Have you ever traveled in an RV or tent camped etc.?
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Thanks for the comments.

We don't really know what the difference is between a 22'er, a 24'er, etc. The 20 foot ones seem a bit small, but who knows. What is the longest that you would want to park say, in a 7-11 parking spot? I've heard that there are some municipal restrictions that prohibit vehicles beyond a certain width. Has anyone encountered problems with the local authorities about such issues?

To answer a few questions: No, I haven't ever camped out or stayed in a motor home ever. My wife on the other hand has camped out, but in the wilderness. (Actually, I take that back, I did camp out one time and it was 4 below 0. The condensation from our breath dripped down onto us from the top of the tent. It was NOT a pleasant experience.

We have a few places around here (Seattle area) that rent units, but they are very expensive. I guess that would let us know if we could hack it in such small quarters.

When we test drove the Airstream Interstate, we were told that the Airstream was the top selling class B now, and has been for the last 2 years. I've read where the Winnebago Era was the top selling model. I've also read that the Roadtreks have over 50% share of the Class B market. They can't all be the #1 seller. Can anyone make sense of this for me?

Thanks again for your posts.

................Rocky
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Re: current market share

Quote:
Through October (2012), Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. retained its lead in Class B sales, owning a 36.6% market share, while fellow Canadian builder Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. was second with a 19.9% share. Thor Industries Inc. was the top U.S. manufacturer for the 10 months, holding the No. 3 slot with an 18% market share, followed by Winnebago Industries Inc. at 16.2%.
Thor = Airstream

Hopefully some others will post about length. I haven't been in any of the extended (24') Sprinters. The 22' seem spacious to me. My van is only 20'.

Palm Desert, Las Vegas, San Diego would all be within range for you to take a quick warmer weather get-a-way in a Class B.

Storage space is something to consider as well. If you golf for example make sure there is space for golf clubs in the van.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

While I bought the best deal I could fine because new ones are so expensive I also looked at some new ones and I came down to the two I liked best being Roadtrek only because their popularity and leaning towards Sportsmobile because you can custom build your own. I also see where Marco posted several makes that I never knew of including a new company that is almost in my back yard. I guess I will have to check more out. I figure many components are shared between all the different makes so their reliability should be the same.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.

All four of the Canadian converters Markopolo listed are excellent quality. You don't appear to be ready to consider the design your own Sportsmobile route. If you want to buy American (seems important to some) and want the best price the Winnebago ERA should be given serious consideration. I personally put them above Airstream and they will definitely have the best price.

My personal order of preference to consider at this time if I were in the market today would be:

1. Advanced RV in Willoughby, OH
2. Great West Vans Legend in Winnepeg, Manitoba
3. Winnebago ERA 70A plan only, Iowa
4. Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit in Morden, Manitoba
5. Pleasure-way Plateau, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Some of the converters that Markopolo listed can't be bought in the United States. Interestingly, unless it has changed again recently, you couldn't buy a Canadian converted Great West Van Legend in Canada. That was last year.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:01 AM   #9
Rok
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.

All four of the Canadian converters Markopolo listed are excellent quality. You don't appear to be ready to consider the design your own Sportsmobile route. If you want to buy American (seems important to some) and want the best price the Winnebago ERA should be given serious consideration. I personally put them above Airstream and they will definitely have the best price.

My personal order of preference to consider at this time if I were in the market today would be:

1. Advanced RV in Willoughby, OH
2. Great West Vans Legend in Winnepeg, Manitoba
3. Winnebago ERA 70A plan only, Iowa
4. Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit in Morden, Manitoba
5. Pleasure-way Plateau, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.


The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
Ok, this is the third time I've tried to reply to this post: I'm gonna give up if this one doesn't work.

Thanks for the reply Davydd,

I didn't plan on making my decision based on the sales figures, but rather to see if my salesman was lying to me. If he can just bold-face lie that easily, how can I trust anything he says?

I didn't like the floor plans of most of the R-Trek Sprinter units, either. Ditto for the Airstream. If you could give me a synopsis of your posts on the subject, I would really appreciate it. I've see posts about how some people like to be able to see out the right side of the van from the driver's seat, so they like layouts that have the toilet on the driver's side somewhere. Others like it in the back somewhere, but let's face it, there isn't a lot of room in a Class B to put much of a bathroom anyway.

Again, thanks for the reply.

...........Rocky
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