Sunday, December 4, 2022


RV Review: Brinkley RV is a new company with great ideas


Today we get a sneak peek at a brand-new RV from a brand-new RV company—Brinkley RV. The model we’re looking at is the Brinkley RV Model Z 3100, a mid-profile fifth wheel that is just built very, very differently. But wait, you ask. Who is Brinkley RV? 

Brinkley RV

Brinkley RV is a new RV company put together by veterans in the industry. This is a story that has been repeated several times recently, most notably with Alliance RV and then Ember RV.

From an article in the Goshen News,

Ron Fenech is the former RV senior group president for THOR and a co-founder of Grand Design RV. Fenech will serve in an advisory role while the day-to-day will be handled by the other three co-owners of Brinkley: Ryan Thwaits, formerly of Red Rock Supply and Indiana Transport, and Nate Goldenberg and Micah Staley, both formerly of Grand Design.

“What drew me most to this opportunity with Brinkley was the chance to work with Micah, Nate, and Ryan,” Fenech said. “I’ve worked with all of them and know how talented they are. Micah and Nate are two of the best product guys in our industry. And Ryan is a very successful businessman who knows how to get things done. I trust each of them and I know our dealers do as well. Our goal is simple: to be the best. This is going to be fun.”

Since the above article, Bill Fenech has joined the ownership of Brinkley RV. He previously worked for Grand Design RV, and will reportedly take an advisory role with the company.

Apparently, the initial prototype was taken out and used and abused by the team in actual real-world camping situations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked decision-makers in the RV space how something came about and they fully admit they do not go camping, so don’t have an answer. The Brinkley RV folks went camping. 

What Brinkley RV did

There is so much going on here and so many places where I said to myself, “Finally, someone did that.” I hope you have your morning Bloody Mary. We have stuff to see. 

First of all, features. If you hate dumping tanks because of the tank valve contortion, your problem is solved. The prototype Z 3100 incorporates electric gate valves so you just connect up one hose and push a button. There are a lot of fifth wheels that have remote tank pulls—but these fail so often they could be political promises. 

There’s also a fresh water hose on a reel built into this rig. All the exterior baggage doors feature magnetic hold-backs, but these magnets are color coordinated with the exterior. It’s like the Force—you can’t see it but you can feel it. There’s also a rear storage compartment on this model that is the perfect size for things like camping chairs and that sort of stuff. 

This example is riding on H-rated tires mounted to 17.5” wheels and sprung with a MORryde CRE suspension system. 

MORryde also supplies the Safe-T-Rail entry handle that I have on my own RV. I absolutely love that thing. I wouldn’t have an RV without it after experiencing it. 

What’s inside the Brinkley RV Model Z

Once we’ve stepped inside, you’ll notice that the interior has a really different feel. Why is that? 

First of all, the build quality on this is precise enough that there isn’t a crown molding to hide rushed wall builds. 

The windows are something I’ve never seen before. They’re square frameless windows but they swing upward significantly. They incorporate both night shades and retractable screens. Very different and just better. Much better. 

The feel of this interior is almost mid-century modern, but I’m sure there will be a few choices. In the example shown, there are individual chairs at the dining table that face an ottoman with a backrest built in. The table has a drawer underneath it, which is pretty useful. 

That ottoman has storage in it. But the top can also swing upwards and be used as its own table—for example, if you move it over to the couch at the back. On either side of that couch are larger flat tables, but then there is space under each side for “stuff,” as well. 

Of course, there’s a theater seat and that faces the road-side wall—where you’ll find a televator. When the TV’s down, the counter top is flush with the kitchen—so you could make a huge buffet. You’ll be able to make said buffet with the stove that incorporates a cast grate and also a huge oven. 

Storing all your supplies is no problem with a larger pantry cabinet at the front of the space that sports adjustable shelves. There are drawers all over the place. And, if you look carefully, you might even find the one under the kitchen island that has two pet dishes in it. Oh, that island has a metal structure. 

More storage is in the larger 12-volt compressor fridge. 

Up stares

Getting to the second floor, you’ll see floating steps which are the perfect spot for shoes. Once upstairs you’ll likely appreciate the 6’ 7.5” ceiling height. 

If you’re in the bathroom, you’ll notice a lot of storage there, too. Also, the bathroom door locks. That’s not very common. 

The shower features a ludicrous shower head that has a body spray function. But no worries about hot water. It’s a tankless system so you can drain the 90-gallon holding tank—if you’re willing to bear the complaints from the rest of your crew. 

In the bedroom there’s a cabinet on the camp side. That isn’t unusual, but the sliding top is. I’ve seen lots of these tops hinged at the back, so that means you have to take all your stuff off if you want to get in there. 

There are also plenty of drawers here, too. All the drawers and cabinets in this rig not only feature soft-close mechanisms, but magnetic catches, as well. 

A choice of either queen- or king-size beds is available. I’ve also noticed that, where it makes sense to use these, there are household outlets that also feature both traditional and USB C plugs all in one enclosure. 

There’s also space for a stacking washer and dryer. 

More details on the Brinkley RV Model Z

The unit I saw is a prototype, so not everything is settled just yet. What they showed is truly impressive, indeed. It’s not just the specs, per se, but the attention to detail in things people will come to appreciate over time. The price will reportedly be in the upper $90,000 range.

I do know that this decor is going to be very polarizing. While I love it, I know that’s not going to be a universal sentiment. But I would be all over this interior. 

As more details and models come into place, we will keep on top of things—just as we have with Alliance RV and Ember. 

I have to say that the exterior of this trailer is absolutely tasteful and modern. It’s not at all carnival float styling, and I, for one, sincerely appreciate that. 

I’m curious what your take is on the styling and features of this rig.  

More from Tony

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


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1 month ago

We watched the video for the new Brinkley. Love it! Quality is awesome. But a few things to change.
1. Needs outdoor kitchen
2. Needs table that converts to bed. (Like the no knee hitting)

1 month ago

I kept my 2021 Reflection for one year, luckily sold it after huge repairs and multiple items falling apart. A very disappointing experience. It was our 3rd new purchase from them, I have now detached from GD and am in the market for a new brand. I am sceptical but curious with this model, love the exterior lines, my wife really likes the modern colours, materials. I like the Azdel construction, I will gladly wait and research for a couple years before I feel I can trust any build.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jmac
1 month ago

I think it needs two air conditioners.

C Botner
1 month ago

Looking at the photos, I felt like I was more inside a small apartment than a trailer. It really is the next step in the evolution of RVing.

2 months ago

We had our hearts set on a Solitude! 3 years of extensive research, calls back to the factory. “Oh we aren’t selling out.”. Then comes along the buyout with Winnebago and the quality of Solitude went down. One co-owner leaves for Alliance RV to build “a better unit”. Now another leaves as an “Advisor”. Yup, they are all the same.

Bob M
2 months ago

I have a Thomas Payne swivel rocker recliner in my travel trailer I bought from Amazon and it’s not to comfortable. The dining bench and tables don’t seem comfortable. For a $90.000. RV, I’d expect comfortable furniture.

Diane Mc
2 months ago

Good things cost $$. Our 20 yr old coach, which we ordered, has dual pane windows. In the beginning when we would read about all the moisture inside RV’s, never understood the issue. We just wanted dual pane to keep out the hot and cold. Thank you dual pane! Strange, though, the driver side window was not dual pane. It was also noisy. When we upgraded our coach at the factory, that was one of things we did. So much better.

Richard Chabrajez
2 months ago

As said before; floor covering is cheap, thin and already warping. Real RVer questions for the exec’s; Anything novel in frame rigidity? Labeled wiring harness? Plumbing shut offs and access for repairs? Dedicated battery space (without compromising existing storage? Condensation issues? Sealed insulated areas around door & window cutouts? Simplicity of service on appliances? Full time warranty? How do you intend to keep experienced personnel and avoid the plethora revolving door assembly line defuses that contribute to abysmal RV quality?

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard Chabrajez
2 months ago

I notice the slide flooring is warped on the front door end, you can see it really well at 8:03 and 8:11 on the video. What is up with that!

Last edited 2 months ago by MattD
2 months ago

Love the bright and modern decor, especially the trim around the windows. I like the shaker cabinets which keep it from feeling ultra-modern. I also like how the furniture doesn’t match exactly. That gives it a more homey feel. They’ve addressed a lot of those annoying little inconveniences that some RVs have. Looks like a winner!

Steve Murray
2 months ago

Another Company that was formed to Build Grow and Sell to a Mega RV Company.
I’d give the Win to Luxe Fifth Wheel for Quality.

2 months ago

Without understanding the actual construction methods and materials and the company’s planned quality control systems and checks, it’s hard for me to have much of an opinion on if this is truly better or just more of the same. A few bells and whistles don’t make for a revolutionary RV! And, I hate surgical interiors….ugly!!!

Just this week my wife and I were looking at two of what, in theory, are top name “luxury” 5er brands. One bragged about all the insulation, but what I saw was a plethora of huge single pane windows dripping with condensation on the first cool morning or allowing the hot sun to send tons of heat through them. I liked that it had windows, but nothing beats dual panes for thermal resistance. Fakey looking wood cabinets and a “stick on” fake tile backsplash!

This one looks about the same on the surface.

Carol C
2 months ago
Reply to  Spike

Spike, I’m guessing you work in quality. Are you an auditor? Which RV makes do you recommend?

Linda H
2 months ago

Love my Grand Design so the new Brinkley is very interesting to me. I applaud some of the changes (floating steps, excellent stove and counter setup, hose reel, extra exterior storage) and the interior design is beautiful! Can’t wait to see the final results!

2 months ago

Where can the commoner purchase the SAFE-T-Rail. Not available yet from MORyde (coming soon), not available on Amazon or E-trailer.

I have Torklift Glowsteps, and just purchased their handrail. I would send it back and buy the SAFE-T-Rail if I could.


2 months ago

It will be very expensive and within two years gobbled up by one of the major manufacturers, just as all the rest.

2 months ago

Looks to ME like “More Of The Same”!

Different company same old out of touch industry player’s involved!!!

Nothing New Here!

How about building a QUALITY PRODUCT, shipped without defects, with materials built to outlast the warranty and a sizable parts inventory on hand when and if there is a warranty issue.

That Pie In The Sky Dream would be a true revolution in the RV industry!

Edward Wilkinson
2 months ago
Reply to  bull

Yep! Changes in the bones and organs of the industry is what is needed, I think. You are right, Bull. Get that foundation right and all else will follow. But monopolies are interested in status quo. Not, for heavens sake, product innovation and quality. Or consumer oriented business practices, for that matter.

Kinda takes all the fun out of RV shows, though.

2 months ago

As a Montana owner I notice some great ideas here! Judging from the couch with side tables, this is a wider 5th wheel and I would consider that a negative that would keep me from buying this product.

2 months ago

Absolutely love the clean interior design and those windows! So much light. The ottoman/bench is brilliant. If we were a 5th wheel couple instead of Class A I’d be signed up. The exterior is classy and clean. Add in the standard solar and the extra touches like the water hose retraction etc…. nice. I’d like to see Class A manufacturers take some interior design tips from Brinkley!

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