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Old 01-23-2017, 02:07 PM   #21
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Thanks to all who helped with information about the super show itself; it was very helpful. As described the show was incredibly large. We spent two and a half days and only looked at maybe 10 to 20 percent of units; which was enough because we essentially limited ourselves to Class Bs and small Class As no bigger than 30 feet, plus took a quick look at suppliers.

The show was a lot of fun and gave us a better idea of what's out there to buy; and what's not. Overall it was well worth the trip.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:22 AM   #22
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Thanks to all who helped with information about the super show itself; it was very helpful. As described the show was incredibly large. We spent two and a half days and only looked at maybe 10 to 20 percent of units; which was enough because we essentially limited ourselves to Class Bs and small Class As no bigger than 30 feet, plus took a quick look at suppliers.

The show was a lot of fun and gave us a better idea of what's out there to buy; and what's not. Overall it was well worth the trip.


You experienced one of the biggest 3 RV shows in the country, along with Pomona and Hershey. You must have seen almost all the rigs available that approach your wish list. I was astounded by the number of motor coaches one rep told me that their company had sold in the first two days.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:00 PM   #23
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You experienced one of the biggest 3 RV shows in the country, along with Pomona and Hershey. You must have seen almost all the rigs available that approach your wish list. I was astounded by the number of motor coaches one rep told me that their company had sold in the first two days.
Of all the units at show, the two that came closest to our "wish list" were older models we've already seen many times over the last three years -- the Axis 24.1 Class A and Winnebago Travato Class B.

I was hoping Thor introduced a new Axis floorplan closer to what we want, but that wasn't the case. We also looked to see if any other manufacturer entered the compact Class A market with a (KISS) motorhome based on Ford E-Series stripped chassis, but that didn't happen either.

The show was great but a little too focused on selling units based primarily on (lower) price. There wasn't as much innovation as I had hoped. Price seems to drive transactions which probably explains manufacturers taking shortcuts that can affect quality. I was also a little disappointed with how the industry limits higher quality to larger motorhomes. Most Class A salesmen seem to think the only reason to buy smaller is if you can't afford a nicer larger MH. Class B salesmen at least understand that some buyers will pay a premium for smaller size when done right.

When I asked other manufacturers about whether they planned to have smaller motorhomes similar to Axis and Vegas, their responses were generally derogatory of Axis/Vegas, usually saying something about poor ride and handling. When I then asked why they sold Class Cs on identical chassis, they just sat there looking confused. I mentioned the E-Series chassis is actually more sophisticated than the F-53, but they didn't care. All they need to know is that the F-53 can support a BIGGER motorhome, which then makes it superior.
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:23 PM   #24
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When I asked other manufacturers about whether they planned to have smaller motorhomes similar to Axis and Vegas, their responses were generally derogatory of Axis/Vegas, usually saying something about poor ride and handling. When I then asked why they sold Class Cs on identical chassis, they just sat there looking confused. I mentioned the E-Series chassis is actually more sophisticated than the F-53, but they didn't care. All they need to know is that the F-53 can support a BIGGER motorhome, which then makes it superior.
I bet that almost all the salespeople are paid on some kind of a commission base, and they make more money if they sell more expensive coaches. They don't care if you like them once you bought them, because it is very likely that you never ever will buy a new coach from the same salesman again. I also doubt that they have much technical knowledge. It is very likely that their sales training is geared towards a marketing style approach showing you all of the bling of the brand new coach with its wonderful wallpaper, and the even more beautiful door knobs!
I bet that most of them would not even know the difference between an E450 and an F53!
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #25
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I bet that almost all the salespeople are paid on some kind of a commission base, and they make more money if they sell more expensive coaches. They don't care if you like them once you bought them, because it is very likely that you never ever will buy a new coach from the same salesman again. I also doubt that they have much technical knowledge. It is very likely that their sales training is geared towards a marketing style approach showing you all of the bling of the brand new coach with its wonderful wallpaper, and the even more beautiful door knobs!
I bet that most of them would not even know the difference between an E450 and an F53!
Agree 100%.

That still doesn't explain the lack of higher-end smaller Class As unless the industry just knows from previous years of experience that they won't sell in large enough quantities to make them profitable.

For example, Tiffin introduced a new small Class C at Tampa show based on Sprinter cutaway van chassis. I thought the build was very good as I'd expect from Tiffin, but if interested in a Class A, the smallest unit they make is much larger than the Axis-size. There is a huge gap in size.

There are many high-end more expensive Class Cs in the 26-foot and shorter size, but as I recall there are none built as a Class A. If some buyers are willing to pay well over $100k for Class Cs (more like B+) in the 22 ~ 26 foot range, then why not As also?
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:20 PM   #26
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I was hoping that another manufacturer would build on the stripped E-450 chassis, but no luck. The only other coach we saw that we liked was a Forest River FR3 30DS. It offers more room than the Axis/Vegas, but at a slightly higher price point. The small class A field is wide open if someone would do it.
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Old 01-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #27
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The 30-foot FR3 with leveling jacks, 2 A/Cs, 5,500 watt generator, and 50-Amp service for $89,995 was probably the best value we saw at show. It was just too large for us.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:28 PM   #28
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The 30-foot FR3 with leveling jacks, 2 A/Cs, 5,500 watt generator, and 50-Amp service for $89,995 was probably the best value we saw at show. It was just too large for us.
We looked at the FR3 a couple years ago...unless Forest River has improved their build...the quality of the build is worse than any Thor product we had seen !
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:33 PM   #29
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Last year we looked hard at the FR3 and decided the same thing - that it was just too large for us. We could not see where the extra space gained us much except "space" and the negatives of the extra length and width over the E-450 Axis were large negatives for our traveling and camping style. I cannot think of once in our two month trip last summer that I wished I had purchased an FR3 or other F-53 based RV -- or any time in the last three years that we have a Vegas/Axis, for that matter. Just personal choice. Many others find the E-450 way too small.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:07 PM   #30
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At the show they had one 24.1 for $69,995 if I recall correctly. Compared to the larger FR3 for $89,995, I would apply the extra $20,000 towards:

Full body paint
Rear molded cap
Extra length to 27-feet
Upgraded TVs
High efficiency air conditioners
Solar panel
Lithium batteries
2,000 watt inverter/charger
Upgraded door latches


At a manufacturer's level, these upgrades could be purchased for $20k with money to spare for other upgrades. The end result would be similar or nicer than a Winnebago Reyo but on gasoline Ford chassis.

I'm sure many buyers wouldn't spend the extra $20k for these types of upgrades instead of going larger, but I would.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:16 PM   #31
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Except for the extra length and molded cap, you could do all those upgrades yourself for less than $10k, I would think.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:36 PM   #32
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At the show they had one 24.1 for $69,995 if I recall correctly. Compared to the larger FR3 for $89,995, I would apply the extra $20,000 towards:

Full body paint
Rear molded cap
Extra length to 27-feet
Upgraded TVs
High efficiency air conditioners
Solar panel
Lithium batteries
2,000 watt inverter/charger
Upgraded door latches


At a manufacturer's level, these upgrades could be purchased for $20k with money to spare for other upgrades. The end result would be similar or nicer than a Winnebago Reyo but on gasoline Ford chassis.

I'm sure many buyers wouldn't spend the extra $20k for these types of upgrades instead of going larger, but I would.
Interesting choices. I am alone with my dog, and feel that my almost 31' long unit is just right for me. I want a full size bed, and for purpose of making it, I want to be able to walk around it!
You can have all the TV's you want, I have two of them in my unit and don't use a single one. I have a front and a rear molded cap, but do not see any advantages or disadvantages with them. And what good does full body paint do for your comfort level? And why the upgraded door latches? I have the inverter/charger, and could agree to the lithium batteries and solar panels, but neither would be a deal breaker for me. Space would be one!
Good that we all want some different stuff, otherwise the world would be really boring!
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:54 PM   #33
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Except for the extra length and molded cap, you could do all those upgrades yourself for less than $10k, I would think.
I was thinking it would take much closer to about $20k. There was a restoration company at Tampa show that does motorhome painting, and a rough estimate starts at $10k for a small Class A in good shape. A quality inverter/charger about $2k, $1k for solar, $3k for lithium batteries (400 Amp-hours), $1k to upgrade to two 11,000 BTU/hr high efficiency air conditioners, plus a few other upgrades and profit. It adds up.

A molded rear cap would give a compact motorhome a much more finished look. If mass produced I'd bet Thor could do it for less than $1k.

Please understand I'm not suggesting they should do these upgrades to Axis/Vegas line -- the lower entry level price should remain available for buyers in that price range. Ideally I'd like to see a new model similar to Axis but slightly upscale with these kinds of features. The problem with upgrading after the fact is that it always cost a lot more.

By the way, in my opinion a painted rear molded cap like on this 6-year-old Reyo makes a big difference in appearance, and it can't be that costly a design upgrade.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:26 PM   #34
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The Thor upgrade to full body paint for a 30' ACE was $8500 and the full body paint upgrade for my 25' Class C was only $5000 - but that was 5 years ago. You're right, the lithium battery, inverter, solar upgrade is expensive.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:39 PM   #35
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Our 25' B+ Dorado had a completeldy molded body...I must say it looked awesome ! and I will agree the Axis would look sleek with a molded body. However our Axis performs well ...the mods we have done and have on the list for this season will make it that much more to our liking. I must admit...20 yrs ago when we got into our first motorhome, I would have never guessed we would be sporting at $70-$80k camping vehicle !!
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:34 PM   #36
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....cut.... And what good does full body paint do for your comfort level? ....cut....
It's always difficult to justify luxury items. A Honda can get you places as easily as a Mercedes, so why spend more? For what it's worth, I drive Hondas.

In the case of full body paint, I agree that it doesn't add to comfort directly, but it may add to comfort indirectly in making it easier to keep MH clean (less work). I may be wrong, but expect dirt is easier to wash off paint. Mostly you are correct that paint is an unnecessary luxury. Still, I like the painted look.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:39 PM   #37
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Thoris offering a lithium ion option on the ACE? Please elaborate.
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