Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer
Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer The rear doors open to reveal storage space underneath the U-shaped lounge. Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer
Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer
Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer
Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer A stainless steel single sink and drainer, and a three-burner hob with a glass cover occupy the main benchtop. Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer
Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer Motorhome review: Transtec Duet Tourer

Transtec is one of those low-profile brands. It's been around for 15 years now, quietly beavering away in Thames. Among its devoted followers, however, it has a much higher profile and with good reason, writes Bill Savidan, who reviews the Transtec Duet Tourer.

Glen Donaldson is a kitchen designer by trade who began fitting out RV's in Thames on the Coromandel around the start of the new millennium.

He did a variety of work on motorhomes, buses and campervans before contracting to fit out Fiat Ducato vans for the rental company, Gateway, who served the tourist market entering New Zealand through Auckland International Airport.

They wanted a quality fit-out in their rentals and Glen met that demand by using a panel product called Duralite he had developed himself that was light, durable, and easy to use.

When he was asked to fit out a Ducato for a private buyer, Glen realised he would have to evolve his product to suit this new market. The layout stayed much the same but refinements were added. The business landscape had changed, too.

Glen's son Matthew, a teenager when he joined his dad in 2006, made such good progress learning the ropes that in 2010 he took over running Transtec.

Glen concentrated on his Duralite range, and the work he enjoyed the most — design, as well as selling the finished Transtec product.

The Transtec Duet Tourer

The Transtec Duet Tourer under review is built into the standard six-metre Ducato van. The Duet's rear lounge offers twin single beds that convert into a large double if required. Transtec also builds into the 6.4-metre-long Ducato – its Luxury Tourer – which offers a permanent bed layout as well as the standard rear lounge configuration.

Gone is the slidey 'whizz bang' side door. Half the length of the old door has been replaced with a neat fibreglass moulding, complete with a window above the kitchen bench. The rest of the gap is filled in with a regular RV habitation door from Dometic, complete with window, and a neat little rubbish receptacle.

When opening a 'whizz bang' door, the door moves away from the van, creating big gaps so that when it's windy, cold, and raining, the van interior and its occupants are exposed to the elements. The new door is easier to open and close and offers more protection from rain and wind. It also provides more wall length for mounting the kitchen bench.

Straight ahead as you enter is the 90-litre Dometic fridge, mounted at eye-level with microwave above, neatly housed in custom-built cabinetry. Immediately to the left is the passenger cab seat which rotates, allowing it to be used as part of the habitation space seating.

Transtec _Duet _4

The lounge/bedroom

The U-shaped lounge has proved to be popular with its customers. For many, it reminds them of the bigger motorhome they have downsized from. They like the fact you get in through a regular door, not a 'whizz bang' at the front, and walk through to a U-shaped lounge at the back.

At night you can make the settees up as two singles (the driver's side is 130mm longer at 1930mm) or the table forms the base for a large double. Glen came up with a neat folding board that increases the width of the single beds and he informed me you get a much better sleep on the wider bed.

Bathroom

As you'd expect, the bathroom is shower, handbasin, and toilet all in one. The handbasin, which folds upwards out of the way when not in use, is part of a combination set that has a cabinet above the basin.

The Duet's shower tray is fabricated from stainless steel. It is shaped to drain into an offset plughole, with sufficient slope that it should drain satisfactorily — even if the van is not parked perfectly level.

There is an electric fan hatch through the roof, essential in a small bathroom where towels and small garments are hung to dry during the day. A full-length towel rail is fitted almost at ceiling height, so the towels hang unobstructed and the ducted hot air can dry them.

Kitchen

Glen's experience in the kitchen business shines through in the Duet kitchen. He has fitted a 'big' kitchen into a small space. A stainless steel single sink and drainer and a three-burner hob with a glass cover occupy the main benchtop.

There is no actual bench space until you lower the glass hob cover and raise the bench extensions at each end of the bench — then there's plenty of bench space.

Under the hob is a Triplex griller/oven. Big enough to be able to grill steak, cook a chicken, or whip up a batch of scones, it should satisfy most owners' cooking aspirations. There is a nice big pot store under the oven and three large drawers beside it.

The Duet offers a big kitchen in a little space, with a surprising amount of storage.

Transtec _Duet _3

The verdict

The Transtec doesn't look flashy and up to the minute. It’s classic traditional Kiwi styling has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.

All Transtecs come certified self-contained, with gas and electrical certification and an electrical WOF. The van reviewed had TV set up with a satellite dish for Freeview. The 19.5-inch Avtex LED TV has a built DVD and a slot for a Sky card.

There are monitors for the batteries and water tanks, and a Redarc battery management system to charge and monitor the batteries. The windows and hatches are locally supplied Dometic so should you need a replacement, it shouldn't be a problem.

Since it began, Transtec has fitted out around 80 units, including 18 Duet Tourers/Luxury Tourers in Fiat Ducatos for private clients. This equates to a steady business from a low profile, no frills, small family enterprise that is in there doing the business of creating a well-made New Zealand product.

The Transtec Duet Tourer as reviewed currently retails for $127,500 on the road. For more information, contact Matthew or Glen on (07) 868 8818.

For the full review, check out issue 121 of Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine. Subscribe here.

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