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Old 03-01-2016, 12:09 PM   #121
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I heard through the grapevine that Hymer had meetings with the dealer network while all this was in the "in between" time from when it was first announced as a partnership, and the final acquisition announcement, so it probably was never as "partnery" as Roadtrek and JH insisted to the very end.

Apparently, Hymer had some very good discussions with the dealers about what European style features would be good in North America and which wouldn't. Cassette toilets were pretty much hated by the dealers, I was told, so Hymer very likely could go to the more conventional in North America tank systems. The impression was given there probably would not be very rapid changes to Roadtrek, as most here also seem to feel, but that Hymer looks to be calling the shots for the future.
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Old 03-01-2016, 01:06 PM   #122
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I am very skeptical that current RV dealers understand the potential customer base for Hymer vehicles in the US. I think there is an untapped market of non traditional RV buyers for these products. Current dealers and RV shows and RV groups and RV publications are not going to reach these new buyers, it will take a different approach to market to this group. Younger buyers focused on outdoor recreation activities will look at these vehicles as daily drivers with weekend trips to places away from campgrounds. Dumping a cassette when you get home will be more convenient for them than finding a dump station.

I guess we will see but I think keeping the cassette toilet as an option might be a good idea.
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Old 03-01-2016, 01:11 PM   #123
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These Hymer ML-T vans look like they would be serious competition for the RVs built by Leisure Travel Vans. I gathered the info below from the web site and their online brochure. Since I'm paticularly interested in how well any RV suits a tall person (6' or taller), I noted bed length, interior headroom and the location of appliances relative to the floor.

All: They all have a tall refrigerator, mounted about 6-8 inces above the floor, with a freezer on top. A freezer on the bottom would be more convenient, since people get food out of the refrigerator more often than they get food from the freezer. A refrigerator on top means less frequent bending for a tall person. All models have a propane oven under the counter. I didn't see a microwave in any of them. None of them have the floor mounted appliances that are found on some Roadtreks.

1. Mechanics: It's not a dual-rear-wheel Sprinter. The good news is that they can offer Crosswind Assist, since Mercedes doesn't offer this on a dually. The questionable news is that it would seem to be less stable when fully loaded. The four rear wheels are probably there for a reason.

2. Exterior: There are no "swoopy-doopy" paint swirls on the outside. Personally, I hate those. The rear mast design and overall paint could be more elegant for my tastes, but at least it's not a dozen different colors wrapped around a fiberglass box.

3. Interior: The interiors have wood stains, fittings and upholstery that seem well chosen to make the interior look luxurious and calming. The cabinets don't look like Home Depot closeouts--they seem designed and built specifically for these RVs. There are 13 different fabric or fabric/leather choices. If you want carpet, there are 2 different ones to chose from. It seems like the photography of the interiors uses a lens that makes everything look much larger and more spacious than it really is. While Hymer isn't the only one using such a lens, their lens seems to distort more than others.

Interior specs:
Maximum headroom (Flat floor on ML-T 540 and ML-T 560, so it's the same throughout): approx. 198cm (78 inches). The other models have a small stepup to rear bedroom area, about 3-6 inches. The text for the series says that they all have a flat floor. The stepup shows in the 360 degree photos.

I'm not sure what "SA" that's mentioned in their bed size measurements means. I assume that it refers to the way that the front bed is oriented: it's aligned straight with the axle. These beds could also be specially made for space aliens ("SA") but I dunno. I just converted their specs, as is, into inches.

HYMER ML-T 540
Bed size rear L x W approx. 200cm x 145cm/122cm [78.74 inches x 58.09 inches/48.03 inches]

HYMER ML-T 560
Bed size rear L x W approx. 200cm x 148cm [78.74 inches x 58.27 inches]

HYMER ML-T 580 (Twin Beds)
Bed size rear L x W approx. 194cm x 80cm / 187cm x 80cm [76.38 inches x 31.5 inches / 73.62 inches]

HYMER ML-T 620
Bed size front L x B approx. 185cm x 110cm (SA) [72.84 inches x 43.31 inches (SA)]
Bed size rear L x W approx. 197cm x 80cm / 200cm x 80cm [77.56 inches x 31.5 inches / 78.74 inches x 31.5 inches]

HYMER ML-T 630
Bed size front L x B approx. 185cm x 110cm (SA) [72.84 inches x 43.31 inches (SA)]
Bed size rear L x W approx. 190cm x 140cm / 200cm x 140cm (SA) [74.8 inches x 55.12 inches / 78.74 inches x 55.12 inches]
As I recall, there are gross weight limits in Europe that limit the use of the 3500 DRW Sprinter configuration in some countries. While the 4x4 version of the Hymer is clearly not much of an off road vehicle there are advantages to single rear wheels for off road use. Here is a good video of the crosswind assist and the other driver assist features on the Hymer ML-T...

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Old 03-01-2016, 01:16 PM   #124
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I guess most people think a cassette toilet is just a porta-potti. Some education might be helpful .I had one in a trailer and it was cleaner, easier and more convenient than a black tank and a hose. I wish my Travato had one and that the current black tank was more gray tank. Hmmmm....
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:05 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by gregmchugh View Post
I am very skeptical that current RV dealers understand the potential customer base for Hymer vehicles in the US. I think there is an untapped market of non traditional RV buyers for these products. Current dealers and RV shows and RV groups and RV publications are not going to reach these new buyers, it will take a different approach to market to this group. Younger buyers focused on outdoor recreation activities will look at these vehicles as daily drivers with weekend trips to places away from campgrounds. Dumping a cassette when you get home will be more convenient for them than finding a dump station.
I agree, and it certainly aligns with the interests of friends and co-workers around us. They're more likely to be interested in a quick deployment outdoor adventure vehicle, and one that can be quickly cleaned and dumped at home after an outdoor trip. It's a demographic that shops retailers like REI, Performance Bike, Eastern Mountain Sports or perhaps LL Bean, and they don't appear to be well understood or served by existing RV marketing channels.

Some of the European campervan designs do seem well suited to this clientele. But whereas Hymer North America appears to be targeting the glossy high-end ($100k+) market a more plebeian design like Possl's Globecar series or Westfalia Amundsen seems appropriate for the younger and active demographic.

Winnebago has done an admirable job loading the Travato with all the standard American RV accoutrements such as powered lighted awning, entertainment system with exterior speakers, tailgater propane hookup, generator, onboard navigation system, and the like. But it would be interesting if they also offered a more elemental campervan on the Promaster 2500 chassis similar to the European designs like the Globecar 600L. With a more basic equipment list a street price in the 60's seem possible for such a unit.

BMW surely wouldn't have been successful building the niche of sporty and luxurious smaller vehicles in the US if they had listened to Cadillac dealers and octogenarian Cimarron buyers. I hope some RV manufacturer will similarly expand the demographic boundaries of the current US RV industry.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:17 PM   #126
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I think Cassette toilets are easier to keep clean (the 400 series, not the swivel bowl series) and more convenient to dump than any other system.

We've had cassette toilets in our last two RV's over the last 12 years. I purchased my most recent cassette toilet for a Promaster conversion at Camping World so their not some quirky European only device any more.

Builders of large custom semi sleepers install them for the convenience of dumping. Truck drivers can dump at any highway rest stop or truck stop.

We've been able to dump at any gas station, rest stop, national forest cg, state park, national park, private home, etc. Anything from a pit toilet to a flush toilet to a regular RV dump station. Quick, convenient and clean.

I liked the Hymer we saw at the Tampa RV show last year and are glad to see another option available. We wouldn't buy any commercial RV that didn't have a cassette toilet and Seitz insulated awning windows.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:27 PM   #127
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Well, of course, the other up-and-coming demographic fact is that the kids don't want to own vehicles at all any more. Neither of ours has the slightest interest in cars. (Our son actually passed on the car we offered to buy him as a college graduation present!). Difficult as it is for many of us to understand, I have little doubt that this is the future. It is all going to be Uber and self-driving rental cars that will come to your house on their own--summoned from your phone.

So, stipulating this, what does it mean for the RV industry? Putting aside the striking image of sitting in the back sipping lattes while the vehicle drives us to the campground, will all the RV dealers turn into rental centers? Will folks fly to destinations and rent once they get there? Or what?
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:03 PM   #128
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Quote:
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I think Cassette toilets are easier to keep clean (the 400 series, not the swivel bowl series) and more convenient to dump than any other system.

We've been able to dump at any gas station, rest stop, national forest cg, state park, national park, private home, etc. Anything from a pit toilet to a flush toilet to a regular RV dump station. Quick, convenient and clean.
You can do all this with a macerator. Just pull up to any toilet and pull the hose out and turn it on. Just need a long hose.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:32 PM   #129
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You can do all this with a macerator. Just pull up to any toilet and pull the hose out and turn it on. Just need a long hose.
With a cassette you don't have to pull up to a toilet. Just remove the cassette. It has wheels and there's no hose to clean.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:34 PM   #130
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We've had cassette toilets in our last two RV's over the last 12 years. I purchased my most recent cassette toilet for a Promaster conversion at Camping World so their not some quirky European only device any more.
How much does the filled cassette weigh? I suspect I couldn't pick it up... scrawny female that I am.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:48 PM   #131
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How much does the filled cassette weigh? I suspect I couldn't pick it up... scrawny female that I am.
Water weighs 8.34#/gallon. Liquid waste is close to the same density, as is solid waste. So the Thetford cassette toilets run about 4.5 to 5.1 gallons or about 37.5 to about 42.5# plus the weight of the cassette itself.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:54 PM   #132
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How much does the filled cassette weigh? I suspect I couldn't pick it up... scrawny female that I am.
They hold about 7 gallons, so maybe 40 lbs. but they have wheels and a handle like airport luggage.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:20 PM   #133
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With a cassette you don't have to pull up to a toilet. Just remove the cassette. It has wheels and there's no hose to clean.
Exactly. You have to wheel around your heavy cassette of poo (which is small capacity, so you will be dumping often). Macerators only need a narrow hose so you can have a really long one. Cleaning is no sweat.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:21 PM   #134
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If cassettes are a good idea, then somebody should mount one OUTSIDE the vehicle. It could be pumped full from the black tank using the macerator. Wouldn't have to be dragged through the living area. Best of all worlds...

Just a thought.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:37 PM   #135
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If cassettes are a good idea, then somebody should mount one OUTSIDE the vehicle. It could be pumped full from the black tank using the macerator. Wouldn't have to be dragged through the living area. Best of all worlds...

Just a thought.
A lot of the rv's in europe, you can access the cassette and remove it from outside the van.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:41 PM   #136
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Here is an easy mount exterior cassette-like


camping toilet bumper dumper portable toilet hunting toilet

I think it would not be recommended for campgrounds.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:53 PM   #137
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If cassettes are a good idea, then somebody should mount one OUTSIDE the vehicle. It could be pumped full from the black tank using the macerator. Wouldn't have to be dragged through the living area. Best of all worlds...

Just a thought.
There is a small door on the outside of the RV that is opened to remove the cassette. You don't drag it through the living area.

Cassettes are a good idea.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:04 AM   #138
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Didn't know about the outside doors. That makes more sense. But, my real point was that cassettes and black tanks aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:14 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by gregmchugh View Post
I am very skeptical that current RV dealers understand the potential customer base for Hymer vehicles in the US. I think there is an untapped market of non traditional RV buyers for these products. Current dealers and RV shows and RV groups and RV publications are not going to reach these new buyers, it will take a different approach to market to this group. Younger buyers focused on outdoor recreation activities will look at these vehicles as daily drivers with weekend trips to places away from campgrounds. Dumping a cassette when you get home will be more convenient for them than finding a dump station.

I guess we will see but I think keeping the cassette toilet as an option might be a good idea.
I tend to agree. Dealers are probably more in tune with their existing customer base, but not in creatively attracting new demographics. If the new kids are averse to campgrounds and RV parks, then you may be right as that the cassette may be seen as something desirable to have.

Bear in mind that almost 100% of the pop-up trailers (which you'd be amazed at the numbers sold to newbies and youngsters) have a porta-potty. There isn't alot of push-back on it with this demographic.

This old fart would still like to see the swivel base coupled to a black tank. Best of both worlds really and opens up alot of interesting bathroom arrangements.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:44 AM   #140
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Exactly. You have to wheel around your heavy cassette of poo (which is small capacity, so you will be dumping often). Macerators only need a narrow hose so you can have a really long one. Cleaning is no sweat.
The point is, you don't have to drive anywhere to empty the cassette. You can stay at your 'campsite' and just wheel the cassette to a toilet. It's not heavy and it has wheels. If you're on the road, any rest stop will suffice. Just pull the tank, which seals automatically and drag it to the toilets. It has a spout and a vent button. I don't think you'll be dragging a hose from the parking lot to the loo.

True, the capacity is small. I think it comes down to how you use your RV. For me, it would be ideal. For you, maybe not so much. It would be nice to have a choice.
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