The New Winnebago Solis 59PX – The Reveal and Complete Review!


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 AwningAn 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!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    49 thoughts on “The New Winnebago Solis 59PX – The Reveal and Complete Review!

    1. Tito Craige

      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!

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth

      Thanks so much for the review. Very helpful! Without an inverter, what does the solar power? The lights? The refrigerator? Thank you again!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
    3. Sherry bennett

      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?

      thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
    4. Chris

      Hi – great review. Thank you. Can you share what bike mounts you used and if you needed custom hardware for the installation?

      Reply
    5. Dan

      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?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          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?

        2. James - Post author

          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.

    6. Ken K.

      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.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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…

        Reply
        1. Marc Marrie

          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.

        2. Ken K.

          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!!!

    7. Casa Rocinante

      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!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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!

        Reply
    8. Marshall

      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.

      Thanks.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
    9. Truong

      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?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
        1. Jimmy Cleveland

          > 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?

        2. James - Post author

          Not necessarily.
          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.

    10. Lynnt

      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?
      Thay

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
    11. Matt

      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)))

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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…

        Reply
    12. Rex Anderson

      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.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
        1. Bob Chapman

          I’m curious if there’s any discussion at Winnebago about offering a hardtop version of the Solis (no poptop)? Solis Solo?

        2. James - Post author

          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.

    13. Marc

      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!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
    14. Lynn Trzynka

      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!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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!

        Reply
    15. Sandra T.

      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.

      Reply
    16. BobB

      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?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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!

        Reply
      2. Lynn Trzynka

        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?

        Thank you!

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          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.

    17. Maj Ivarsson

      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.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        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.

        Reply
      2. Chrissy

        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.

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          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.

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