View Poll Results: Which is your favourite Roadtrek, or which one do you think is best overall?
210 Popular (Chevrolet Express) 6 27.27%
SS Ideal (Sprinter Van) 0 0%
SS Agile (Sprinter Van) 3 13.64%
RS Adventurous (Sprinter Van) 1 4.55%
210 Simplicity (Chevrolet Express) 0 0%
190 Popular (Chevrolet Express 3500) 7 31.82%
190 Simplicity (Chevrolet Express 3500) 1 4.55%
170 Versatile (Chevrolet Express 2500) 0 0%
Any others I missed? 4 18.18%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-26-2011, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Hi, as I've been looking at Roadtreks, the Popular 190 S seems to be the most common one here in Ontario, Canada. But I recently received Roadtreks brochure, and I can see that there seem to be advantages to the other models. And the 170, though shorter, may actually be more practically designed.

Being a newbie to RV'ing, I'd love to hear from others who have experience with Roadtrek, and learn which one they think is best or enjoyed the most.

Thanks

NOTE: You can vote for more than one model!
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
Hi, as I've been looking at Roadtreks, the Popular 190 S seems to be the most common one here in Ontario, Canada. But I recently received Roadtreks brochure, and I can see that there seem to be advantages to the other models. And the 170, though shorter, may actually be more practically designed.

Being a newbie to RV'ing, I'd love to hear from others who have experience with Roadtrek, and learn which one they think is best or enjoyed the most.

Thanks

NOTE: You can vote for more than one model!
It all depends on how you are going to use it, and your personal likes and dislikes, so I don't think there is a best or worst that is universal. We have an 07 C190P.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Do you have any idea how you will be using the vehicle?

How many people will be traveling?

How long will you be on the road?

Will you be boondocking?

Paved roads only, or will you have long trips on washboard dirt roads?

Do you want to cook inside or outside?

Do you want to shower every day, inside?

Will you have a cook stove or BBQ or both, for cooking outside?

We have a Roadtrek that looks just like Booster's, but ours is the 2009 C190V (Versatile instead of the Popular).

You sleep cross-wise in the Versatile and length-wise in the Popular. Because of this difference, the Versatile has a little more storage. But, I am only 69" tall, and I have to sleep diagonally across the bed. This works OK, since the DW likes to sleep curled-up, on her side. If this would be an issue for you, the Popular would be a more comfortable choice.

We leave our bed set up for sleeping, and don't use it as a couch or an eating area. So; we don't need all the mechanisms necessary for the powered-couch/bed. We also don't want the bed/couch to be in the middle of the van.


If I could change anything about these Class B RV's, it would be:
1) Use good quality plywood instead of fiber-board, for all the cabinets.
2) Use a better design and higher quality in all of the cabinet-door latches.
3) Install some sound deadening materials under the floor areas.
4) Improve the suspension, to properly support the added weight of the RV equipment.
5) Better mattress padding for the bed (ours is a couch that turns into a bed).
6) I would also like a more efficient refrigerator with an AC/DC Dan-Foss compressor.

I can solve all these problems, except the cabinet material choice.

The new Simplicity seems like a great idea. I just wish they had a few different versions, as I don't care for Roadtrek's choice of included and deleted equipment. But, I am certain that the current Simplicity model would be perfect for many people.

Which model is better for you? Can't say. There are benefits to each of these models.

At home, lay out the things you may want to have with you. Measure the larger items.

As others have said, go check them out. Sit, stand, lay down, pretend, etc. Measure the storage spaces to see if your larger items will have storage location.

Happy hunting.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Thanks so much booster and Photog for the thought-provoking questions and great info! First-hand insight is so helpful.

Here are my answers. Let's see if anyone else can relate...

I'm a first-time RV'er. I rented an RV recently (Majestic 17', Class C) for a 3-day trip to see what it's like. It was both fun and stressful, insightful and yet somewhat impractical (as we would've been better off renting a cottage for such a short trip to only one location, but it did give us the 'RV experience').

I should also mention that there is likely no way I could afford a new/newer Roadtrek, except if I could obtain financing for it, which I doubt at my income level.


1) How will I be using the RV:

- It'll be my 'first home' for all year-round. (Is 'boondocking' the same as drycamping? If so, then yes.)

- I'd like to be able to drycamp in the city most of the time, tho' occasionally sleeping at my parents' place. Then, go RV'ing to campsites throughout Ontario and beyond in the summer, and maybe a trip south to the U.S. for a few weeks. As I get more confident, I might travel for months at a time across N. America, then come back to home base in the city (which has 4 seasons).

- At times, it'll be me on my own or with my parent and our pets. I'd like the flexibility of sleeping 2 to 4, if possible, and seating 5 or more safely. I guess in the latter case, it's cos I do dream of bringing some relatives along for a trip south to visit family in the U.S. It'd be nice to have company, and not become an RV-hermit.

- Mostly driving on paved roads I think, but 4WD is tempting/freeing! (tho' not a must)

- I'd cook both inside and outside, and probably want a cook stove and BBQ.

- Indoor/outdoor shower is preferable (again, I like flexibility and cleanliness)

- As for sleeping, I'm 5' 4" and most of those who may travel with me are under 5' 9".

- Like Photog, I think I prefer the bed at the end, and it's nice to leave it set-up for extended times. It's helpful knowing that you do find the couch cushions not as comfy as a regular mattress. I did wonder about that. Mind you, I'm used to sleeping on atypical bedding, so it's not a huge issue for me.

- One final thing is, I'm a bit stuck on the fridge size. The Majestic RV we tried out had a 4 cu ft fridge, and I feel like it's really the smallest I can go. I like my food, and I'm not a good cook, so sauces and being able to stock up on things is important to me. When I saw a 3 cu ft fridge, I really couldn't imagine eating out of that for any length of time, much less cooking for 2!


I found Photog's wish-list very interesting - esp as Roadtrek's marketing talk begins to convince one that the van is absolutely flawless. I myself don't know anything about the tech/mechanics of things, but I can appreciate the points you raised and it opens up my awareness of what to look out for.

I did think some models had Maple cabinetry, and I'm not sure if they meant solid wood, and if it's only in specific vans as upgrades.

I did test-drive a Roadtrek ('98 Popular 190) briefly, and we found it *creaked* a lot and felt heavier at the back, which in a storm on a steep road might concern me. I read about www.New-West.com Class B RV's using a single piece of fibreglass interior body to prevent creaking.

Even though both makes are Canadian, I can find absolutely no info about New-West vans, except on their website (which only came out with an English version a few days ago, even though the company is at least 8 years old or longer), and hence, no comparisons with Roadtrek. It'd really be great to hear some comparison experiences between the two.

Another camper van that seemed inviting is the VW Vanagon/Eurovan/Westfalia? I like the pop-up top and being able to sleep people there, have more light and air, etc.

Anyway, I digress. For many reasons, Roadtrek is a more likely choice and the best/most complete camper van with its indoor/outdoor shower, toilet, etc. I'm disappointed by the fridge size, though.

Thanks for highlighting the Versatile and the Simplicity. I'll look into these more. The brochure says Simplicity is the same as Popular 'but without all the extras.' Not quite sure what that means.

I think I'd be inclined towards the Versatile 170, though frankly all I see on the used market here in Ontario is Popular 190.

Thanks again. Cheers!
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Gspark,
Boondocking is dry camping. If you are going to boondock in the winter, you will need to be concerned about freezing the water lines. There are ways to deal with this, and they are discussed elsewhere in this forum.

It is easy to travel with two people, or two adults and a child or two, but trying to travel in a Class B, with more than two adults will be difficult. For sleeping arrangements, it would be best if there were some outdoor quarters. And consider what it would be like, to travel long distances in any seat, other than the front two. If you convert the bed into seating, there needs to be seat belts. People can't be up, wandering around. With more people, you will need more storage space, except that space that could be storage, is now seating for the extra people. Now you need a trailer. I suggest you keep the passengers to a minimum. Just a suggestion.

Cooking indoors can lead to a smelly van. Try to cook the greasy stuff outside. The steamy stuff can be cooked inside, but you need to run the vent fan, to prevent condensation in the winter. If you want a cook stove and BBQ, for outside cooking, you will need storage for both.

Although you may be comfortable on atypical bedding, your companions may not be so happy with it.

The cabinet doors in the Roadtreks (and others mfg's), are made from solid woods, but the cabinets are fiberboard, with a wood vainer, or a simulated wood vainer. As they get older, the screws may need to be tightened, or even have some of the joints glued, to prevent squeaks & creaks.

You will find more "Popular" models available, because they are, well, more popular. The 170 is missing a few things (mostly space and equipment), but there are some couples that are able to make that work for them. Compare the amenities of the 170 to the 190. It's not just a shorter version of a 190.

If you like sleeping in a pop-top, then a http://sportsmobile.com/ is also an option. They make one of their models with the same floor-plan as a Roadtrek. 4X4 is also an option that many Sportsmobile buyers choose. 2x4 & 4x4 are available on the "used market".

I have never heard anything about New-West. Language barrier, maybe?? Can't tell much by looking at a company website, but they look good. I don't see much room for storage. I found their videos. They seem to have good concepts, and the quality looks good too (from the videos).

I agree about the refrigerator space. A compressor type fridge could easily provide more interior volume, as a replacement for the 3-way fridge that these vans come with.

Keep us posted.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

We have a 2001 Roadtrek 200 Popular, Chevy Express 3500 base.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Do you have any idea how you will be using the vehicle?

How many people will be traveling?

How long will you be on the road?

Will you be boondocking?

Paved roads only, or will you have long trips on washboard dirt roads?

Do you want to cook inside or outside?

Do you want to shower every day, inside?

Will you have a cook stove or BBQ or both, for cooking outside?

We have a Roadtrek that looks just like Booster's, but ours is the 2009 C190V (Versatile instead of the Popular).

You sleep cross-wise in the Versatile and length-wise in the Popular. Because of this difference, the Versatile has a little more storage. But, I am only 69" tall, and I have to sleep diagonally across the bed. This works OK, since the DW likes to sleep curled-up, on her side. If this would be an issue for you, the Popular would be a more comfortable choice.

We leave our bed set up for sleeping, and don't use it as a couch or an eating area. So; we don't need all the mechanisms necessary for the powered-couch/bed. We also don't want the bed/couch to be in the middle of the van.


If I could change anything about these Class B RV's, it would be:
1) Use good quality plywood instead of fiber-board, for all the cabinets.
2) Use a better design and higher quality in all of the cabinet-door latches.
3) Install some sound deadening materials under the floor areas.
Or, move the water systems to the rear under the floor and move the generator forward. If I might try to guess
where you're coming from there. It would be nice to move that noise as far from the sleeping area as possible.
I'm surprised they didn't think to try that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
4) Improve the suspension, to properly support the added weight of the RV equipment.
5) Better mattress padding for the bed (ours is a couch that turns into a bed).
6) I would also like a more efficient refrigerator with an AC/DC Dan-Foss compressor.

I can solve all these problems, except the cabinet material choice.

The new Simplicity seems like a great idea. I just wish they had a few different versions, as I don't care for Roadtrek's choice of included and deleted equipment. But, I am certain that the current Simplicity model would be perfect for many people.

Which model is better for you? Can't say. There are benefits to each of these models.

At home, lay out the things you may want to have with you. Measure the larger items.

As others have said, go check them out. Sit, stand, lay down, pretend, etc. Measure the storage spaces to see if your larger items will have storage location.

Happy hunting.
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
Thanks so much booster and Photog for the thought-provoking questions and great info! First-hand insight is so helpful.

Here are my answers. Let's see if anyone else can relate...

I'm a first-time RV'er. I rented an RV recently (Majestic 17', Class C) for a 3-day trip to see what it's like. It was both fun and stressful, insightful and yet somewhat impractical (as we would've been better off renting a cottage for such a short trip to only one location, but it did give us the 'RV experience').

I should also mention that there is likely no way I could afford a new/newer Roadtrek, except if I could obtain financing for it, which I doubt at my income level.
Used works if you're thorough while looking. There are lots of used Chev 190 Populars out there, some that have many
miles left in them, and probably some which don't.
You have to figure out which is which. It's just like buying any other big ticket item, do your homework!!! Read, ask questions, google the websites with RTs for sale and bookmark the ones that look interesting. Always remember, if it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so watch out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
1) How will I be using the RV:

- It'll be my 'first home' for all year-round. (Is 'boondocking' the same as drycamping? If so, then yes.)

- I'd like to be able to drycamp in the city most of the time, tho' occasionally sleeping at my parents' place. Then, go RV'ing to campsites throughout Ontario and beyond in the summer, and maybe a trip south to the U.S. for a few weeks. As I get more confident, I might travel for months at a time across N. America, then come back to home base in the city (which has 4 seasons).

- At times, it'll be me on my own or with my parent and our pets. I'd like the flexibility of sleeping 2 to 4, if possible, and seating 5 or more safely. I guess in the latter case, it's cos I do dream of bringing some relatives along for a trip south to visit family in the U.S. It'd be nice to have company, and not become an RV-hermit.

- Mostly driving on paved roads I think, but 4WD is tempting/freeing! (tho' not a must)

- I'd cook both inside and outside, and probably want a cook stove and BBQ.

- Indoor/outdoor shower is preferable (again, I like flexibility and cleanliness)

- As for sleeping, I'm 5' 4" and most of those who may travel with me are under 5' 9".

- Like Photog, I think I prefer the bed at the end, and it's nice to leave it set-up for extended times. It's helpful knowing that you do find the couch cushions not as comfy as a regular mattress. I did wonder about that. Mind you, I'm used to sleeping on atypical bedding, so it's not a huge issue for me.
You might be interested in the Versatile model, as it normally has one extra seat with belts, making a total of 4. The Popular model normally has 3 seats, with seat belts, although some can have additional seating configured in the sleeping area by adding a steel support beam across the rear inside the doors, which supports the seat belt anchoring, for that area. I'm not sure about sleeping 5 people in any RT, in anything close to comfort. I've only ever traveled with another person, but have transported several people, by using the extended seating capacity in my 2002 190 Popular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
- One final thing is, I'm a bit stuck on the fridge size. The Majestic RV we tried out had a 4 cu ft fridge, and I feel like it's really the smallest I can go. I like my food, and I'm not a good cook, so sauces and being able to stock up on things is important to me. When I saw a 3 cu ft fridge, I really couldn't imagine eating out of that for any length of time, much less cooking for 2!
It is what it is. If you want a large fridge, and a freezer, class B isn't for you. The money you save on gas, insurance, taxes/mortgage/utilities (except maybe mobile internet and mobile satellite TV?) you can spend on take out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
I found Photog's wish-list very interesting - esp as Roadtrek's marketing talk begins to convince one that the van is absolutely flawless. I myself don't know anything about the tech/mechanics of things, but I can appreciate the points you raised and it opens up my awareness of what to look out for.

I did think some models had Maple cabinetry, and I'm not sure if they meant solid wood, and if it's only in specific vans as upgrades.
Cosmetic. As long as it looks real, don't worry too much about it. Few people will know it's veneer, and fewer will care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
I did test-drive a Roadtrek ('98 Popular 190) briefly, and we found it *creaked* a lot and felt heavier at the back, which in a storm on a steep road might concern me. I read about http://www.New-West.com Class B RV's using a single piece of fibreglass interior body to prevent creaking.

Even though both makes are Canadian, I can find absolutely no info about New-West vans, except on their website (which only came out with an English version a few days ago, even though the company is at least 8 years old or longer), and hence, no comparisons with Roadtrek. It'd really be great to hear some comparison experiences between the two.
I've never heard of New-west, but they look similar to another Quebec based class B. If you speak French, or just like French RVs, have a look at Safari Condo RVs. Sort of a GM poptop or Sprinter based van like the new-west or VW vans you mentioned. No idea how pricey they are. I see them all over the place in Canada, and the odd one in the US, but usually with a "Je Me Souviens" plate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
Another camper van that seemed inviting is the VW Vanagon/Eurovan/Westfalia? I like the pop-up top and being able to sleep people there, have more light and air, etc.

Anyway, I digress. For many reasons, Roadtrek is a more likely choice and the best/most complete camper van with its indoor/outdoor shower, toilet, etc. I'm disappointed by the fridge size, though.

Thanks for highlighting the Versatile and the Simplicity. I'll look into these more. The brochure says Simplicity is the same as Popular 'but without all the extras.' Not quite sure what that means.

I think I'd be inclined towards the Versatile 170, though frankly all I see on the used market here in Ontario is Popular 190.

Thanks again. Cheers!
The Simplicity is fairly new and I doubt you'll get one cheap, yet. You may want to look for something with lower mileage around 10 years old, with little corrosion, and get the RV systems checked by someone who knows RV systems (an RV shop, preferably that sells and/or services class B vans) and get the chassis checked out by one of the manufacturer's dealerships. Preferably one that you trust not to tell you it's in perfect condition so you'll buy it, and then have to spend a fortune on it at their shop. On a used class B van, be prepared to spend some money on it after you buy it. It almost always works that way.

As Photog says, "happy hunting". Good luck.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by gspark
I did think some models had Maple cabinetry, and I'm not sure if they meant solid wood, and if it's only in specific vans as upgrades.
Cosmetic. As long as it looks real, don't worry too much about it. Few people will know it's veneer, and fewer will care.
My concern is not about the looks. Even the Pleasure-Way plywood cabinets have veneers over the plywood. My concern is the strength and durability.

Paved roads are not smooth, and dirt roads can be very abusive, especially with the corrugations & washboards. These rough bumps and vibrations will eventually destroy the particle-board structures in our RT. I will probably have to start adding reinforcement to some of the structure.

If good paved roads are the limit of the travels, then I think Mike is correct. Only cosmetic, no worries.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Which is best Roadtrek all around? Or favourite

I don't think Roadtrek uses any particle board, except perhaps, in the laminate covered tables, which are very heavy. All our cabinets are made of vinyl woodgrain covered lightweight plywood, which is 5-7 ply and around 1/2 or 12mm. It is pretty strong stuff, very light, but does not hold screws well. In the critical areas they use T-nuts and machine screws. Corners of the cabinets and the doors are maple on ours, cherry on ones after the middle of 08 on Populars, anyway. If the cabinets were made out of particle board, or even regular weight plywood, you would be losing a lot of cargo carrying capacity.
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