By Tony Barthel
Keystone has just introduced a new brand of fifth wheels and a new number of innovations, the first of which is a new chassis design. Under the name Arcadia, these new fifth wheels were introduced via a live video stream at the Tampa RV show and really impressed some viewers, based on the responses to the livestream.
At the foundation of this new brand is a new chassis called NGC2 (Next-Generation Crawlspace Chassis). The Arcadia frame drops the cross members 3” below the two 10” I-beams that run the length of the frame. The result? A cavity that runs the length and width of the coach – like the crawl space foundation of a home. On the road-side, the Arcadia cross members are convex (like the bottom of a boat) to both make room for tanks and add tension to keep the protective corrugated panels smooth and sound.
Keystone highlighted some other details of the chassis, from their press release:
- Systems engineered without compromises. Heat ducts, plumbing, and electrical no longer need to navigate around stamped cross members and can be laid out for optimal efficiency and performance.
- Residential heating with direct-run furnace ducting. Full flexibility to keep heating vents in the floor – just like your home, with complete flexibility to place them discretely in low-traffic areas. Arcadia will never, ever ask its owners to give up cabinet space to include ducting and vents.
- Introducing THREE layers of insulation below every Arcadia floor. Beneath every Arcadia cabin are two heated chambers and three layers of insulation. Waterlines and heat ducts are surrounded by block foam in Keystone’s Hyperdeck™ on top and a second layer of block foam insulating the bottom of the crawl space. Underneath the frame, there is yet another layer of Astro-foil insulation as well as heating pads to keep tanks protected.
- A center spine for the most secure build. The NGC2 chassis features a center hat channel that runs the length of the coach and is designed to increase floor rigidity and strength. Ultimately flexible, this spine can be moved to any position (or divided if need be) to best suit each floorplan.
Keystone started an Innovation Lab which is specifically tasked to create new and innovative aspects to their RVs and they’ve been hitting quite a few home runs of late. One of those is the HyperDeck flooring.
Stronger, lighter and more resilient than traditional laminated floors, Keystone’s patented HyperDeck water-resistant floor receives additional stability from NGC2’s center spine. The Arcadia floor should feel as solid and comfortable as your floor at home.
Space Saver upper deck and front cap
Arcadia uses a Space Saver upper deck design which replaces a series of 2” x 6” beams with one 6” x 6” header beam, allowing for a flush-floor walk-in closet. But they didn’t stop there… By reducing the pitch of the front cap and raising the height of the cap’s “nose” (the most forward point), Arcadia owners are treated to a spacious en suite walk-in with shelving, a full-length hanging rod, and hookups for either side-by-side or stackable washer and dryer.
A new brand
Keystone already has brands like Cougar, Springdale, Outback and others. Arcadia represents a whole new line for the company, which indicates how important innovation and branding are to this.
Keystone repeatedly cited automotive levels of design and build quality and, from the video, there are a lot of things that do seem automotive in nature. An example of this is the completely finished storage bay – no visible framing, plumbing or wiring.
I was impressed watching the video that there was no carpet whatsoever in this unit. The slide rooms have almost no visible boundary between the floor and the slide room itself.
There is a lot of storage aboard – but I absolutely love the big L-shaped couch in the back of the “half-ton” version.
I was also pleased with the interior styling of this – the choice of materials and colors were very clean and modern but also very, very tasteful by my senses. While I’m really looking forward to seeing an example of this in person, my initial impression is favorable.
My one issue with this, which I addressed with Keystone, is that they’re still using swooshy graphics on the outside. With all the fresh, innovative and forward-thinking aspects of this rig I wish they would either ditch the disco or offer an exterior that is as forward-looking as the rest of this coach. But, that’s okay. An afternoon with a hairdryer and those graphics can be ditched.
Keystone has set a positive direction with its ideas and foresight. I think the Arcadia brand is going to be another very strong brand for the company and I know I’m looking forward to seeing one soon.
A video interview with Keystone president Jeff Runels by Jason Epperson of RV Miles: