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I can neither confirm nor deny that Stef and I have started discussing what our next RV will look like – after Lance.
If we had started such a discussion, the new Solis 59PX would be on our short list. Watch the video below and you’ll pretty quickly see why. BIKE GARAGE!
So here’s how this whole thing went down. Winnebago contacted us earlier this summer and asked us if we’d be interested in test-camping a new Class B floor plan that had a bike garage… Well DUH!!! OF COURSE we’re interested! Unobtrusive, dedicated bike storage is hard to find in a camper van, so we jumped at the chance. And since – you know… 2020… – everyone was scratching their heads about how to reveal or announce this new RV, we offered to use our review to help out. And with that, a plan was born, and we were off camping.
We had the new Solis 59PX for about two months, and in that time we got to try out all of the major systems, and take it on a couple camping trips. Most of what we know about the new Solis is in the video, but if you’re looking for a quick summary of what we liked and didn’t, here you go.
Things We Appreciated
The Bike Garage -We might as well begin and end this list right here because dedicated, indoor bike storage in a Class B van is our holy grail in van design. Not only that, by putting the bike storage in the very back, we weren’t tripping over bikes, or bumping into greasy chains, or experiencing any loss in functionality with the bikes inside. True, the way we had them stored, we couldn’t put the bed up and down – but we really hate “puzzle beds” anyway, and would have left the thing made up all the time even without the bikes. This one feature alone gets the Solis a place on our list. And while I suppose you could store things back there besides bikes… I really wouldn’t know anything about that.
The Air Conditioning – We had the Solis on loan in June and July… and we live in the desert southwest. It was over 100 degrees pretty much any time we took the Solis out, so we were super glad that an air conditioner was included. (We’re not nice people without air conditioning.) Also, the air conditioner was the quieter Coleman Mach 10 NDQ model, so we were able to sleep with it on (and over our heads) with no problem.
The Generator – OK. We’re not huge fans of generators. But the Solis is not available with an integrated lithium system, so if you want to power the air conditioner… you need one. As far as RV generators go, this thing was pretty darn quiet. I was impressed. Not impressed enough to rip out our lithium system in Lance, but still… impressed.
The Water Service Panel – This gizmo on the back of the van really makes it easier to handle a lot of the “water based” chores inside the van. Rather than running all over the van hunting down levers for a water heater bypass, or thinking up a way to sanitize the fresh water tank, all you have to do with this panel is follow a color-coded map. It even provided a way to “gravity-fill” the fresh water tank. One caution here, the fitting did leak a tiny bit when connecting or disconnecting the hose. But I’m thinking I could take care of that with a quick-connect.
The Storage – I’ll be honest. We took this thing out for 4 and 5 day trips a couple of times, and we had trouble filling up the available storage. We found ourselves stuffing towels into the cabinets to keep things from rattling around in the mostly-empty-spaces while we were driving. I even took work stuff along on one trip and we still didn’t come close to filling up the storage. For two people, we had way more than enough room.
The Lack of an Awning – An Offbeat Look at Why I Don’t Like RV Awnings. Enough said.
Things We Were Less-Than-Thrilled With
The Cassette Toilet – It’s no secret that we don’t exactly love cassette toilets. We had a terrible and traumatic experience with one when we tried it out. But then we had one on our European RV Trip, and it was either learn to use it… or hold it for two weeks. The experience in Europe is a lot different from over here – they’re set up for the cassettes. Anyway, we probably would have preferred something else in the bathroom. BUT… we weren’t going to pass on a camper van with a bike garage just because we didn’t like the toilet! We’re all about moving things forward, and we see the bike garage as a huge step that we want to encourage. IF (and that’s a big if) the Solis was to be our next rig, we’d probably give the cassette the old college try (they work a lot better if you use eight times the recommended amount of chemicals). And if we didn’t like it after that, we’d change it out for something else. Remember who’s writing this – there’s pretty much nothing on Lance that’s unchanged from the original 59G, so I think I could handle a toilet swap. Plus, it’s a lot easier to remove a cassette than it is to remove a standard RV toilet… there’s no 3 inch poop-hole in the floor to cover up! OK. That’s enough about toilets.
The Bathroom – I found the bathroom a bit small. Stef didn’t mind it, but I was a bit cramped. But I suppose if you have to sacrifice space somewhere in the van, the Bathroom is probably the smart place to do it.
The Pop-Top – I know this feature is everything to a lot of potential buyers, but it doesn’t do anything for us personally. We deployed the pop-top only for demonstration purposes. Except that one time, I tried to put our cat Mel up there, and he tried to claw my face off. So yeah…
The Dinette Table – While we loved the dinette seats, the table was a bit small for 2 people to eat at comfortably. It was fine for one person working, but two plates were a bit tight. If we were to have the Solis, I’d probably rig up some kind of table for the cab passenger seat – that’s a pretty easy mod.
And that’s that. There’s plenty more about the Solis 59PX, but you’ll just have to watch the review for that. Any questions, sound off below!
I realize this is an “old” post, but looking at a bargain new “last year” 2022 Solis 59PX (on 2022 Promaster chassis, yeah!). Would be coming from large 33 ft Class A gas (2015 Jayco Precept 29UM). I was concerned about the lack of vent fans in the bathroom. I know from experience how things go without a vent fan, both from a toilet “event” and from the steamy shower. How did you 2 handle that since I don’t see any roof vent fan anywhere on the pop-top Solis?
Thanks for the still very relevant review in 2023!
We just opened windows!
There was a small unpowered vent in the poptop in our unit. But we didn’t use that much.
We are anxiously awaiting our Solis XP….Question about bike garage. We have two mountain bikes with 27in wheels. A Thule Elite rack has been ordered but wondering just how convenient it is to put bikes inside. It seems that you would always be moving them. Thoughts on this.
Mountain bikes have the wider handlebars – we never tried putting them inside the Solis. I suspect you’d have to turn the handlebars sideways to get them in.
That’s a key difference, and, believe it or not, I think it might actually make them *less* annoying to have inside. With the handlebars turned, they wouldn’t be blocking the upper cabinets or hanging over the bed.
It’s true you might have to move the bikes to get anything out of the under-bed cargo area. We were able to access almost everything we needed there without removing the bikes. You just learn to adapt.
So, we didn’t (and wouldn’t) wind up moving them all the time, but it all depends on what you bring and how much access you need to that cargo area.
Thank you! We have been waiting for our Solis XP for 5 months and getting anxious!!
We recently bought a Solis P59X and are huge MTB’rs. Your video on this van helped really sell me. (I still really want the Ekko, but we’ll see when they exist a bit more in the wild before we take the bigger $$$ plunge into camper vanlife).
We can put 2 29r MTB’s in the bike storage area exactly like you put the road bikes you travel with. Handlebars turned sideways means you can access all cabinets above the bed just fine. We also found we can lift the bed up and down with the bikes installed inside which is great for getting to the under-bed cargo area from inside the van, vs. accessing via the rear doors.
My only issue with the setup is the constant tightening/untightening of the handlebar stem/headset each time you ride. I like to get my cockpit setup just right and tighten things down. Now, the number of times I stop out on the trail to adjust the handlebars 1 degree to the right or left has gone up considerably! 🙂 Small tradeoff to get the bikes inside!
you can fashion an attachment for the weboost that would mount to the top hinge on the back door. take the hinge off, add your mounting bracket, and reattach the hinge. I used a piece of flat stainless steel about 2in wide, drilled hole into it to create spot to put hinge bolt thru. then attach the weboost to the top of the stainless steel post, and run your cabling the roof port. use the spring loaded attachment from weboost install kit to make it a little flexible. also, make sure you pad the stainless steel post near where it is bolted to the hinge so that you do not have it vibrating against back of solis and scratching it.
Didn’t that mess with the alignment of the rear doors closing?
Hey guys, we love your videos and as former triathletes with an outdoor bent we naturally think your advice on RVs is gold. We now have 2 elementary-schoolers, and will leave the bikes at home. We are considering the Solis PX or Ekko pop top in the future, and for now will be trying some rentals out of SLC area this summer to see which we prefer. I’d like to know before we start though – with the need to sleep 2 in the poptop in the Utah summer, is the lack of A/C venting to the top going to be awful, or do you think a USB fan blowing up through the hole (or some dryer duct) will make summer sleeping for four tolerable using the A/C? Thanks!
The AC fan won’t blow up into the pop-top, obviously. In the summer, I’d probably opt for higher-altitude campsites if you have to use the pop-top.
It cools off at night usually.
We never really tested this when we had the solis, other than anecdotally noticing that it was always hotter in the pop top when the AC was on.
Sorry I don’t have a firm answer for you. It’s not something we have tested really.
Hi James & Stef.
Brand new to RVing and just got the Solis PX. I’ve bumped into a similar issue to Christy’s above re installing a WeBoost. I’m considering installing a ladder and am here seeking advice.
First, I’m thinking about placing the ladder on the driver’s side of the coach, as opposed to the back, so it doesn’t interfere with the rear doors. Are there any hidden dangers to that idea? Or is there some type of ladder that can be installed over the back doors that still allows you to open those back doors?
Next, how important is roof access to an RV? Alternative to installing the ladder is to simply install a short metal rail or handle and attach the antenna to that. Certainly easier to install, but then more difficult to get up there if anything needs to be fixed (or for cleaning the roof).
Curious your thoughts. Like I said – brand new to RVs and have been gobbling up your vids. Big thanks for all the wisdom you’ve shared.
You know, I think this may have already been done. You may want to check out the Solis Owners and Wannabes group on Facebook. Owners there may have posted this as a mod.
Briefly though, I don’t see any particular problem with a ladder on the driver’s side. Just put it forward enough so that it won’t get hit by the doors if you swing them all the way open. And you probably don’t want to put it in front of a window either. So probably outside the bathroom is the best bet.
But there are ladders that attach to the RV doors directly and still allow the door to function. See the Travato and Revel models for one possible solution – you could just buy the Travato model and it should fit, since the rear doors are the same.
And since I’m me, I like to get up to the roof often to tinker with things. But if that’s not you, then maybe it’s less important.
Great video. Enjoyed it immensely.
You guys did a great job I did want to know however, what is the mpg and max miles per tank.
Thank you for all your amazing reviews! They have really guided us in finding the right Campervan for our family. Can a TV be installed in the Solis?
Well, anything is possible.
What would you be doing with the TV? There’s no antenna or wifi router in the Solis, so you’d have to install something for your TV to connect to as well…
Will Wnnebago add a sofa bed for PX instead of the murphy bed?! How much will it cost to change the bed to sofa bed privately?!
I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing not.
Anything is possible aftermarket, but it would be a very significant effort.
Thanks, its really helpful. We are considering purchasing new Solis XP and have a concern about a possible upgrade that might be needed. Since NPS restricts use of generators at night we are wondering about adding an inverter and lithium batteries to support running the A/C at night. Not sure how involved that would be or who might give us advice on best options and what is needed.
That’s a topic that gets pretty involved pretty quickly.
I’d recommend you consult a specialist like AM Solar, or a local marine electrician.
One youtube review I watched claimed that the Solis generator (which is fuel-injected) is THE only one certified for use in National Parks so if you’ve not already added the lithium batteries, you may not need to.
I wasn’t aware that the NPS was certifying generators. Interesting.
We previously had a Travato, but regretfully sold it and were looking to get back into a Travato 59g until we saw your review of the Solis and your process of looking for a new RV. We love the dinette layout of the T, which the Solis seems similar to, but agree that the table is a bit small (as you pointed out). Does the Solis seem as roomy as the T and would it comfortably allow for a larger table top to be installed? We like a lot of what the Solis seems to offer (or not offer) compared to the T. Does the Solis seem more or less roomier and open than the Travato?
The layout in the solis – particularly the mid-bath – makes it a bit different from either Travato model.
I do think you could fashion a larger dinette table and it would fit just fine.
Stefany enjoyed the back of the Solis quite a bit, and it certainly seems roomier than a Travato G. About the same as a Travato T in overall feel in the back.
We were originally set on getting a travato 59g but we just placed an order on solis px in large part due to your detailed video review so thank you for that. My biggest initial concern was the cassette toilet. We decided to learn to deal with it and find other restrooms as needed to extend small tank. We were hoping to eventually swap out for a compositing toilet. Do you think one would fit in the bathroom? The cassette toilet already has rotating seat for legroom. Maybe design the install so toilet could be removed temporarily when showering. Do you have any ideas how you would attempt composting install? Thanks again
I do think a composting toilet would fit in the bathroom. However, that swiveling bowl is more necessary than you might think. If you put a composting toilet in such that you had ample legroom, you would most likely need to completely remove it to shower.
Installing a composting toilet is usually really easy. But you typically vent them out the roof. That would be an issue in the Solis due to the pop-top. You’d have to vent it out the side or the floor. It could work, but it will put any odors closer to your campsite.
We love your videos – they were super helpful in selecting an RV. We just put a deposit on a Solis 59PX and are now looking to outfit it. I don’t remember in which of your videos you mentioned the Bestek power inverter or what you used it for, especially since you have lithium batteries (but maybe the Bestek was pre-lithium). Could you please clarify.
We’ve never made a video on this.
If you’re talking about the portable inverter that Stef took a picture of recently – that was in the Solis Owners and Wannabes group on Facebook.
That picture was taken in a car – it’s an old inverter we had and no longer use in the RV.
Thanks. Makes sense.
For those of us aspiring to be Digital Nomads, I guess we will need to have a web boost. Who does aftermarket installations or could I do this?
I would like to retrofit with Lithium batteries. How is that possible? I’m not sure I could figure that out!
WeBoost installation is not that hard.
You can see me do it in this video: https://www.thefitrv.com/rv-tips/tips-for-using-winnebagos-new-roof-port/
As for lithium, if you’re not comfortable, battery or inverter suppliers should be able to direct you to a proper shop for that.
Thanks so much for the review. Very helpful! Without an inverter, what does the solar power? The lights? The refrigerator? Thank you again!
Think of solar as just a way to charge the batteries.
SO… everything on the 12v side (lights, Truma, pump, etc.) has the potential to be powered with assist from the solar panels.
Great review on the solis and I was wondering about insurance. Is it rated as a motor home or just a van by the insurance companies?
Well, I can’t speak for your insurer, but ours treats a Travato as a Travato… an RV.
There’s also special RV insurance you can get if your regular insurer doesn’t meet your needs.
Thank you so much for the info
Hi – great review. Thank you. Can you share what bike mounts you used and if you needed custom hardware for the installation?
Look 9 comments down. There’s a link.
(I think it’s 9 comments…)
Given any tradeoffs, would you replace Lance with a new Solis 59PX or a newer Travato 59G. I say compared to the 59G because I don’t think you could compare the Pure 3 on the GL to the Solis. And why?
If we had to get a new RV tomorrow, it would be this Solis 59PX.
I wouldn’t relish having to add a lithium system again, but I could.
The inside bike storage wins it. We could take bikes and our cat without having to pull a trailer.
Plus, the Solis doesn’t have a bunch of the baggage that we don’t need – TV, outdoor speakers, etc.
That’s what I am leaning to as well. My only question then would be why do you think Winnebago chose not to have a city or fill on the outside? Like what do they expect us to do, always have a door in the back open to get water either from hookup or to fill?
One less hole in the sidewall of the van.
I think what they intend is for people to use the Solis the way we use Lance. We literally *NEVER* hook up to campground water. We only use water sources to fill our tank when we need to, and we run off the tank 100%. Leaving the door open to fill the tank isn’t as big of a deal.
Love your videos! Thanks for the great review. Do you think one could install bike fork mounts on the floor of the garage rather than the side walls? That would seem like a nice alternate setup, but is presumably far easier/more convenient with a dropper post mountain/gravel bike than road bikes. What do you think? This rig is certainly easier on the bank account than a Revel.
There is L-track on the floor. And if it isn’t where you want it, you can always add a fork mount somehow.
The problem with mountain bikes in that storage area is the crazy wide handlebars. You’d have to turn the bars 90 degrees to get them inside.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way…
Did those fork mounts on the L-Track in the bike garage come with the Solis or did you buy them aftermarket. If you bought them may I ask where you found them? I’ve seen perpendicular mounts that seem like the way to go for mountain bikes so you don’t have to loosen the stem and turn the bars. Wonder if those would work.
Bought them aftermarket. Here: https://diyadventurevanco.com/products/l-track-fork-mount
I don’t think they’d work in the Solis for an MTB as they are. You’d need to rotate the fork mount.
Looks like that same link you posted (diyadventurevanco.com) also has L-track fork mounts rotated 90 degrees, just like you suggested. They call them ‘perpendicular mounting plates’ and the pictures look like those would work great for 100mm/110mm thru axles. Thanks so much!!!
Glad you found something!
(We have no relationship with diyadventurevanco, btw.)
Given you know so much about bikes and RV’ing, we’re wondering about the best bags to protect our bikes if they are out back of the ban on a rack, as opposed to riding inside comfortably on your bike gurney or inside this intriguing Solis 59PX. Do you have any faves for that situation? Let’s say, the bikes were mounted on the Winnebago rack, or on the Fiamma?
Thanks for any suggestions you might have!
Honestly, I’ve never looked into the bike bags. I know there was one that Fiamma made for a time, but I never figured out how to order one to try out. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
Helpful review! Our family of 4 is looking for an RV to facilitate an alternative semester during the pandemic and this checks a lot of our boxes, despite the fact it will be tight (small is one of the boxes we need to check).
Questions: 1) Is the ground clearance with the generator ever an issue? We’re picturing some forest service roads. 2) Possible to mount a receiver hitch on the front for carrying a bike rack? Would love to leave the rear doors accessible.
Glad you liked the review!
Everyone worries about that generator, but it’s not much of an issue. The Winnebago Travato has had – for years now – its generator mounted in exactly the same place. I’m sure someone has damaged a generator by going somewhere they shouldn’t have, but those reports are fairly rare, and there have been millions of successful miles with that generator right where it is. If it really bothers you, you can add something like Sumo Springs and get an extra inch or so of lift out of the suspension.
As for the front rack. I know that’s possible, but it’s not something I’ve ever considered personally.
Hi, great review! Does the Solis have an inverter so we could use the 120V plugs or microwave without generator or shore power? What can we in practice use without having inverter? Is there option to add inverter? Could we run AC overnight?
There is no inverter included in the Solis. Just the generator on the 59PX.
Without an inverter or generator, what you can use is just about everything in the van except the air conditioner (remember, there’s no microwave). The 120v plugs won’t work, obviously, but everything else does.
You could certainly add an inverter – that’s a project, but one that lots of others have done.
You wouldn’t be able to run the AC overnight on the batteries on board in the current Solis. You could run it overnight by using the generator.
> The 120v plugs won’t work, obviously, but everything else does.
So if I need to power a laptop all day, or a 4G extender, I’d need to have the generator running?
Most 4G boosters designed for mobile use run off 12 volt power. No inverter or 120v power would be needed.
Small inverters capable of powering a laptop that plug into a cigarette lighter plug are readily available. That’s what I used for years.
How *long* you could run both for depends on the state of battery charge, solar output, etc.
But in a word – no. You would not need to run the generator all day.
I assume Lance has Kona shocks. How did you feel Solis performed without them? Would you add them if it were your vehicle?
Do you have any experience with getting a lift on suspension?
Lance doesn’t have Koni shocks. Rather, he has an entirely new suspension system from VB Air Suspension. It’s not really fair to compare that to the stock suspension… but I did in this video.
As to the Solis, it drives fine just as it is. There’s no sense of urgency to replace suspension system components – that’s a matter of personal preference.
Thanks for the great review and I am with you on a lot of the pro’s and con’s. Now call me lazy, but I would not accept the hassle of dismounting the front wheels on both of our heavy electric bikes before I could store them in the garage.
And the steering next to my face would also disturb me, as well as having to crawl over each other to go to bed or to the bathroom.
I would prefer to have the bed(s) mounted longitudinally (lengthwise) in the van and maybe a tad higher and then just push the fully mounted bikes lengthwise into the garage from the back door.
But this would probably require the longest Pro Master chassis or the longest, highest Sprinter that you can get, which probably hampers nimbleness and maneuverability.
And the garage would have to be 1.20 meters high (4 ft) by 2 meters long (6 1/2 ft) in order to fit fully assembled bikes and this would maybe not leave enough headroom in the beds.
Too many wishes for a given space)))
Hey Matt –
It sounds like you’ve got some realistic expectations for van design. Your trade-offs are spot-on.
There might be other options for storing bikes that we didn’t explore. Once we got ours in there, we called it good and didn’t experiment further.
I suppose there’s always a hitch mounted rack option available for the bikes…
Nice job, in the video it looked like there was more of a smaller rectangular portal up to the pop top, so guessing it was not as open to the galley as the old VW pop tops that opened up the entire ceiling above the galley to give great ventilation from the screen windows above. Was there any noticeable improvement in air circulation with the pop top up or was it any cooler with it up than with it down? It’s a bit hard to test. We used to park in the shade, pop the top, and the dogs were fine. Can’t do that with the Travato without the AC being on.
Hey Rex –
We only deployed the pop-top to demonstrate, film, and look around. It was brutally hot while we had the Solis, so we weren’t going to chance it.
You are correct in that the whole ceiling over the galley is more or less intact, and the opening to the top is a rectangle over the dinette.
But – two of the three windows in the pop-top can open to mesh screens.
They would most likely help the air flow – at the expense of climate control.
I’m curious if there’s any discussion at Winnebago about offering a hardtop version of the Solis (no poptop)? Solis Solo?
I can’t say for certain. But I know that they’re always listening, and you’re not the only ones to request a non-pop-top option.
How much difference in parking, drivability, etc. does that extra 1 foot really make. I love that interior bike storage area. It really seems like that would be so helpful to keep the precious bikes safe when city traveling, etc. Just really need the vehicle to be not ridiculously hard to park at groceries, etc. when traveling across the country. Love your reviews and videos!
That extra 1 foot makes no difference at all to us. We’ve been driving this same chassis at the longer length in Lance for 5 year, and there’s no Starbucks parking lot we wouldn’t attempt. 🙂
Grocery stores are no problem.
Unless you’re planning on driving very severe switchbacks with walls on the sides of them, don’t sweat it.
With you on the pop up!
Really excited about this van. A couple more questions… Ventilation is a big question and I would hate to run generator to get fan setting on ac.
I like to sleep with fan on and windows open. Are there screens on the windows? I wonder if you could install 12 v fan in window? Any thoughts?
Not perfect but IT CARRIES BIKES!
There are screens on all the windows, as well as the side and rear doors.
I’m sure you could rig up a 12 volt fan or something. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Loved the video review! And Mel, photobombed as much as possible-he is an amazing cat. Yes, the bathroom looks small-unlike your Travato. So win some, lose other space, I guess.
This new “quiet” generator? On a previous FitRV video you examined and measured generator noise. Have you (or will you) measure this new model to see how it measures up to the NPS standard?
Yep – we’ve done that. We gave the video to Winnebago to use on their social media channels, so you’ll see it there. But just quickly, the new generator was quieter at 20 feet than it needed to be at 50 feet per the NPS regulations. A pretty impressive result!
Great video. The bike carrying is golden for us as well. A few questions:
Is the generator propane of gas? Approximately how much fuel usage with AC per hour?
We hope driving will charge battery. Right? Can you advise on how long it took to charge from a given (say down 25% -how long to get to 100%) depleted level?
Could we charge our electric bikes on 110 plugs while using generator?
Was this on the new 2021 chassis with new safety features or 2020 chassis?
The generator is gasoline powered, and it runs off the vehicle fuel tank. (But will stop before you run out of fuel.)
The generator uses about half a gallon of fuel per hour under load.
Driving will recharge the battery, yes.
We didn’t do any tests of battery charging or depletion. Too many variables there anyways…
Yes, you could charge electric bikes while the generator is running.
Don’t know what year the chassis was. I suspect 2020, but can’t be sure.
Hi from Sweden.
We think it is a nice RV with room for e.g. bicycles. Is the caravan that long from the factory, or does Winnebago extend the car? Can you get it as a 4 season RV, with waterborne heat type ALDE heat. Greetings from us in Sweden. Maj Jan o LOKE.
The body of the van is that long from the factory. (Think of it like a long Ducato.) Winnebago does not modify the length of the van.
It’s not available with ALDE heat. But it does use a Truma Combi, which you should be able to find over there in Europe.
Is there anywhere simple on the roof to mount a weboost? Without a rack or ladder I do not see options but you video didn’t have any pics of the top, probably because of no ladder being present.
The roof of the Solis is tough, due to the pop-top. There’s no rack to mount things to.
You’d have to rig something up, perhaps with VHB tape.