Motorhome designs
Posted: 6 August 2005 9:48 PM
Subject: Motorhome designs

Is it me, or are motorhomes being designed more for the showroom than for practical use? I’ve seen magazine features recently that condemn hobs for only having three burners (I only use four at home on Xmas day), one van praised for having no less than 22 different lights (more than in my house) and a 150 litre fridge is probably bigger than the one in my kitchen!. Equally, British vans are praised for their practical vinyl flooring whereas imported ones are slated for their cost-cutting lack of carpets; I guess it shows how individual tastes can be. Incidentally, I do have a “budget” Italian motorhome and you should see the extras that it has: automatic electric step, roof rack and ladder, positive-fastening lockers, blown-air heating, external locker access, two-inch wide waste water drain, large inboard freshwater tank…yes, of course they are not extras but standard, unlike many vans that are reviewed. But it does seem that motorhomes are generally getting more complex and correspondingly higher in cost; surely there must be a market for maintaining the essentials and then bringing costs down rather than having to find gimmicks for next year’s models. That way the world of motorhomes would be open to a much larger sector of the population. Ah well, live and let live.
Posted: 6 August 2005 10:07 PM
Subject: Motorhome designs

I fervently agree with you about the cost and complexity, and beyond that there is the issue of maintainability - all those fancy gizmos can go wrong, and Sod's Law says it will happen at the most inconvenient possible moment.

(Your electric step is likely to jam in the down position in the midle of Spain at the start of a week-long fiesta.)

Sometimes I wonder if motor-home designers actually have any training or skills at all, e.g. my rig has a roof light at the lowest point in the roof, exactly where puddles form every time it rains!
userMike C
Posted: 7 August 2005 12:45 PM
Subject: Motorhome designs

Hello Andy,

You and Bill make many good points and there is another aspect to all the "Extras" - Weight. I would guess that many buying a Motor Caravan have to go bigger than they want to get the payload to carry what they consider as essentials for holidays and breaks (bicycles, fishing gear etc.). More weight equals higher running costs and sometimes less stable handling.

This situation also exists in the Caravan market where to be able to tow many modern over-equipped and therefore heavier caravans one needs to buy progressively bigger and more powerful vehicles for towing, hence again more cost.

The suppliers have been reluctant, for probably what they consider as good manufacturing reasons, to give customers the options to choose the configuration they want. If questioned the answer is usually that "We supply a range of vehicles and it is up to you to choose the vehicle that best suits your need". Best suits is not the same as being able to get the configuration and equipment that one wants.

When it comes to design do not get me started. A point to make, one of the popular motor caravans has an exhaust just three inches above the ground and vulnerable to damage over traffic calming humps as well as site entrances etc. On mine I had to cut away 2 inches of the tail pipe to get access to a site without tearing off the exhaust system.

One day when the market is not so bouyant for them, the manufacturers may be forced to meet customer demands to get the sales until then I suppose we will have to sit and suffer.


Mike C.
userMike C
Posted: 7 August 2005 4:20 PM
Subject: Motorhome designs

Missed a bit.

Traffic calming humps on public roads can be a maximum of 100mm/4 inches high most are at least 75mm/3 inches. The speed humps on private sites can be higher as anyone with a low slung sportscar can confirm.