In my books I address the issue of potential pitfalls with a brand new motorhome, and I'm asked on a fairly regular basis about what to consider when buying new. My stock reply to the mind bendingly frustrating issue of delivery date, is that due date and delivery date are not the same when it comes to motorhomes. (In just the same way as a real live human baby doesn't bounce into a family exactly at the time predicted by the charts and graphs of doctors, midwives and other associated healthcare professionals.) Humans, though - unlike motorhomes and (quite obviously) aren't coming off a production line, and therefore a margin of error can be expected. So, is it just bespoke manufacturers such as Wildax that suffer from production delays? Surely a huge company such as Rapido could be expected to match up due date and delivery date? Well, the answer to that is a resounding "No, they can't". Our baby was due mid May, this was extended by a month to June and we finally went and collected her the second weekend of July. Is this acceptable? Probably not, but we didn't take it up with the manufacturers or suppliers, just resigned ourselves to it and accepted it as one of those things.
How about the nagging feeling that surely a motorhome's gestation period should be less than a year? Bigger than an elephant, (which in the case of an Asian elephant, takes 645 days. Fact. Just Googled it if you don't believe me). Well, we placed our order in January and were very lucky to secure a production slot for less than a year. The going rate is in excess of twelve months off the factory line and when we ordered ours in January every place at Rapido had been taken for the whole of 2015.
The next major issue with a brand new beast of a motorhome has to be its readiness for departure upon collection. In other words, "We just spent over 70 grand, surely that's the full cost?" Well, guess what? It's a resounding NO in answer to that question too. So as well as Mike and I working extremely hard to buy the beast we also had to slog on a bit longer to pay for the extras. The solar panel and digital display were cannibalised off the Wildax, which we traded in as a part of the deal. After that we had to buy a TV system, refillable gas cylinders, an inverter, sat. nav., dash cam, reversing sensors and alarm system. We were a bit gobsmacked that a TV wasn't included and even more gobsmacked that there was no alarm, so rest assured we set about getting some answers to the whys and wherefores which I will address in future posts.
Mike also wanted a motorbike to complete the ensemble and as the vehicle has a garage underneath the bed he set about researching the possibility of taking one inside with us rather than on a trailer. It seems incredible to me, but less so to the more knowledgeable ones of you out there, that a motorbike does fit inside! So now Mike has traded in his Honda Silverwing scooter for a Honda CB125F which he is very pleased with. No teething troubles or gestation period to worry about there. Just a minor issue of having to put 600 miles worth of baby steps onto the speedo for its first post run-in check up. Luckily he's had the weather for it and has been whirring along Norfolk's highways and byways to complete the mission. I would have gone on the back with him, but I think the strain on the suspension and associated nuts and bolts may have been too extreme at this early stage in the bike's life.
That concludes today's post, I will be updating regularly and sharing our experiences with you. If you're reading this because you're thinking about buying brand new, do consider a visit to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for the Motorhome and Caravan Show. I'm going to have a mooch about on October 14th. Maybe see you there.
Happy travels, Ali