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Old 09-16-2015, 02:17 PM   #1
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Axis/Vegas or other small A

I know that most people here have made the Axis/Vegas choice but I am still trying to get to that point. I have been looking at other 25ft gas A coaches. The FR3 appears to be along the same line but with the f53 chassis which includes the V10 3 valve engine. Did anyone consider a different coach and what made the difference? Price , Quality, Style ? Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:38 PM   #2
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Like you, I'm still looking, and only see one FR3 floorplan in the same length range as Axis/Vegas; and the one thing that jumps out is that the wheelbase is 158 versus 188 inches. I'd be far more concerned about that difference (pro and con), and also the FR3's front axle with leaf springs versus the Axis/Vegas' Twin I-Beam with coil springs.

Obviously the FR3 is a heavier-duty chassis, but may ride a little more like a truck. And one would have to guess fuel economy would be significantly lower too. Compared to the somewhat similar 25.3, it does look much roomier though.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
Compared to the somewhat similar 25.3, it does look much roomier though.
Sure because of the dinette slide. In fact this looks pretty close to the floorplan I had suggested in the other thread LOL.

The interesting thing here, though, is that both of those slides move about twice the distance as any of the slides in the Vegas/Axis units (perhaps that could also be the difference between the E-350 frame used in the Axis/Vegas units vs the F-53 in the FR3).
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Old 09-16-2015, 06:13 PM   #4
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Yes, and there is a big difference between a 16,000-pound GVWR chassis and one limited to 12,500 pounds.

In addition to having two slides, I'm sure the FR3 also feels much bigger because it's 99.5 inches wide instead of 94 inches, and the overall height is almost a foot taller (12'-2" vs 11'-3").

Other than length and one similar floorplan option these motorhomes have little in common from my perspective.

I'm biased towards the Axis because I prefer smaller motorhomes, and if anything would want either Thor or someone else to build an even smaller/simpler/lighter Class A on Ford E-350. I'd like one without the chassis stretch (would still be much longer than FR3 158-inch wheelbase), and a lower overall height. The more I research it, the less I understand why the Axis is so much taller than some Class Cs built on Ford cutaway.
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Old 09-16-2015, 07:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chance
In addition to having two slides, I'm sure the FR3 also feels much bigger because it's 99.5 inches wide instead of 94 inches, and the overall height is almost a foot taller (12'-2" vs 11'-3").
Looks like that additional height is on the bottom: Look at the FR3 pics; they have more stairs to climb to get into the coach. Most likely because the "load floor" for the F-53 chassis is higher than the one for the E-350.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
The more I research it, the less I understand why the Axis is so much taller than some Class Cs built on Ford cutaway.
I think its because they were going for a "Class A" look/design which are taller.
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post

....cut....

I think its because they were going for a "Class A" look/design which are taller.
Agree. But is it looks at expense of function? Modern Class As are now much taller, but that wasn't always the case. As they got bigger the design shifted to make them look more like the higher-end taller buses. Floor height is up and so is headroom.

On the other hand if Thor was after creating a new category with the much smaller Axis/Vegas -- sportier and more fuel efficient -- why the need to follow other designs?
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:20 AM   #7
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The height has to be due to the tie / wheel size and the amount of frame section needed to support the structure above it. The f53 chassis is on the low end of its weight class while the E350 is maxed out for an A class coach. Is shorter wheelbase better for turning radius?
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:03 AM   #8
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We're back to different strokes for different folks. My car choice likely wouldn't fit your preferences, nor yours fit mine. The type of car I drive has changed with my circumstances, life stage and room in the budget. Same with our RVs.

A lot of us have had bigger Class A's and found we prefer to sacrifice some storage, both inside and out for having a more nimble coach. It is tricky to get your choice right until you figure out how you will be traveling. It usually is a changing ideal, as your needs and preferences change.

We considered smaller rigs, including the Sprinter based ones, but for us there were too many sacrifices. The price point on the Vegas was a deciding factor for us. We couldn't see spending more $ for more than the RUV gives us.

Good luck with your choices. Enjoy the journey!
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:22 AM   #9
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Shorter wheelbase reduces turning radius assuming everything else is equal. But shorter wheelbase also has some cons.

Ride quality can be harsher because the motorhome will have a greater tendency to "pitch" easier. Hard braking will also affect weight distribution to a greater degree -- more weight will shift forward.

A shorter wheelbase also means a longer rear overhang, which can be detrimental to towing or cross winds (everything else being equal).

There are pros and cons to both long or short wheelbase. I personally don't like the wheelbase to be so short that the rear overhang looks out of proportion.
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:51 AM   #10
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The 25DS floorplan seems to have a long rear overhang. I would prefer the longer wheelbase of the Axis. I believe this is the right model that is comparable.
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:38 AM   #11
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I know you're looking for gas, but in diesel the Itasca Reyo/Winnebago Via are the same length as the shorter version of the Axis/Vega (25'6")--although they unfortunately carry a considerably higher MSRP: Winnebago Class A Diesel Motorhomes, Coaches, RVs

The smallest class A I've come across is built in Germany and naturally sold only overseas, the Dethleffs evan--something like 18' or less in length!

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Old 09-28-2015, 01:18 PM   #12
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After seeing a few small Class As on European roads, I wish we had more "compact" choices here too. A few seem to be nearly as long as an Axis/Vegas, but much lower and typically without slides. Weight ratings are very different compared to American Class As also, with 3.5 to 4.0 tonnes not unusual. Practically all pictures show single rear wheels in sizes below 25 ft or so.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:51 PM   #13
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And a little longer
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:55 PM   #14
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Longer yet. The point being that there are many Class A options in other countries where we have very few, and practically none below 25 to 26 feet in length.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:54 PM   #15
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Hymer, the well known German motorhome company (with some nice small class A's that go down to under 20') actually has plans to begin marketing in the U.S., not with imports, but vehicles made in the U.S. Their first offering is supposed to be a class B Promaster, the Grand Canyon, built in Michigan:

Hymer has a U.S. website now, but info on it remains sketchy....
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:16 PM   #16
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In fairness we should also mention that various American motorhome manufacturers or entrepreneurs have built small As for at least 50 years and for whatever reason there were not many takers.

I'm glad to see the Axis and Vegas succeed to the level they have. While not all that small by historical standards, they are small compared to other present-day Class A offerings. I'm hoping mainstream manufacturers like Thor will see this as a sign there is interest and keep developing even smaller Class As.
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:08 AM   #17
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Hymer partnering with a U.S. company that's already well versed in class A chassis building makes me hopeful their models planned for the U.S. market will include some smaller class As.
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Old 10-06-2015, 05:25 AM   #18
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Being a new potential RV buyer, I'm only now seeing how late I've gotten onto this story about Hymer's supposed entry into the U.S. market: Hymer also announced the same plan nearly three years ago (and who knows, maybe even before that too.) It's starting to look like it's only a recurrent fantasy on their part.
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #19
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I'm not surprised it's taken Hymer almost three years and they only have the Grand Canyon Class B ready. It takes time to set up manufacturing and adapt their design to US standards.

I'm also guessing that it doesn't help that their plans for Class A and C motorhomes are based on the RAM ProMaster (our version of European Ducato), which was just being introduced into US market at time of initial announcement. If ProMaster failed and was withdrawn from market, where would that leave Hymer in US?

Another detail is that many European motorhomes of all sizes that are based on Ducato chassis have the frame modified to lower it and install independent rear air suspension. The larger motorhomes get twin rear axles similar to old GMC motorhomes. As far as I know the company that builds the frames is European and would need to start fabrication in US.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:36 PM   #20
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Good points, Chance. I am a fidgety and unreasonably impatient newbie for sure! I will say the Jan 2013 RV Business piece mentioned, "HYMER plans a gradual rollout of towable and motorized U.S. products – maybe two this year [2013] and two the next." That's what made me think their U.S. program had gone awry.

Procuring stateside the AL-KO chassis frames Hymer uses in their Ducato-based designs in Europe shouldn't be a problem since AL-KO also has plants in the U.S. (although AL-KO North America was recently bought out by Dexter Axle).

Spartan also has plenty of experience of their own fabricating low floor frames for cutaway cabs (and that's in a more demanding RWD application).

It is encouraging to scroll down this page and see that Spartan now owns U.S. Trademarks for "Hymer Car," "Hymer North America," and "Grand Canyon"--hopeful signs this joint venture is still gestating.
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