C GARS
Well we went to see a bunch of 2018 Retros 90 miles away today.  They are even better than I imagined.  Here's my thoughts:

First all models we viewed had the island queen bed and I have to say I was very comfortable even at 6'4".  I believe one of the Retros had an upgraded mattress because my wife commented that it was more comfortable.  So we will definitely include that option when the time comes. Also, I really liked the build quality of all models and my wife was amazed at all the storage and practical use of space.

Second we saw the following color combos.  Orange/Black (didn't have retro vibe), teal/white very retro, red/white classy look, red/pewter nice if have a darker TV and probably hides dust better than white, aqua/white which has retro feel and great pop of color.  While we didn't see this combo, we've decided that whichever trailer we choose, we are going to go aqua/pewter.  I have a dark red TV and the contrast actually looks great next to aqua and with pewter I believe it will blend the contrast well. I wish they would have had the Cobalt color available, but momma liked the aqua so probably not even an issue.  I can also attest that all the interior color schemes are nice although again we really liked the pop of the aqua.  The only thing that didn't meet our taste was the flower bedspread.  While nice, we preferred the stripes.

Now for models.

177SE is an awesome little TT.  For a quick get up and go for a couple with a smaller TV it is great.  The floorplan and use of space is great and feels bigger than it really is.  I was comfortable moving around with my wife and daughter also in the trailer.  However, at this time we are looking for something a tad bigger and probably with dual axles.

The 189R was a really good fit.  The rear entry away from front queen bed was nice. My wife liked that the bathroom sink was close to the entry door and outside the actual bathroom which is a great size. My wife and daughter couldn't believe that I could comfortably sit on the toilet and close the door. The floor plan felt more open than the 177 and 195.  The only downside was the smaller dinnette.  Both my wife and I were comfortable but not really suitable for more than two unless you are tiny.  We would prefer a table that could seat four average adults if wanting to play cards on rainy day. This is our second favorite based on our current wish list.

That brings me to the 195. Definitely a beautiful trailer.  The bedroom feels secluded from the rest of the trailer which I like.  The bathroom has ample space if that is a key feature for your needs.  And the front dinnette is huge.  I think I would be more comfortable sleeping there once converted to a bed because of my taller size.  The only thing that didn't fit for us was the narrowness between kitchen and restroom.  It really felt like a tight hallway and when moving around cabin we kept getting bottlenecked.  Again being that most of our time would be outdoors, not a deal breaker but places it just behind the 189R in terms of personal preference.

We also saw the 265BH.  Ten years ago when my kids were younger and not adult size, this would have been a slam dunk sign today.  With the slide, it opened up the central area.  The dinnette was comfortable and the bath spacious. The bunks still work for my daughter who is 5'5" and we figured my 6'2" son could contort comfortably but his feet would hang out of both bunks.  We loved that you could close off the queen bed area in front with dual sliding doors which exposed second entertainment nook on the opposite side of the main cabin. And the kitchen exceeded expectations. The only downside was that the entry door felt a little tight to the bedroom/entertainment wall.  Alas, this is more trailer than we are looking for today.  We just don't need that much anymore.

Now the favorite hitting all the right buttons.  I wasn't even considering this model but my wife daughter and I all felt like Goldilocks when we stepped into it as our last option.  The 199FKS.  Who knew.  The queen bed was perfectly situated in the rear and the kitchen with huge counter space in the front.  The slide out dinnette was exactly the size we needed and with the slide out, you can comfortably fit a twin air mattress on the floor for extra sleeping in a pinch if the tent gets flooded.  Don't laugh, as experienced tent campers we have seen a lot from flash floods to 48 hours non stop rain to a tornado flying right over our campsite (from inside the nearby shelter) dropping 6 inches of hail covering our entire site. (We made snowmen and cooled down the beer)

But I digress.  

The199FKS seems to hit all our requirements except one and that is where I need help from members.  

The website spec sheet says it has a tongue weight of 840 which exceeds my carrying weight of 650.  The dealer thought that seemed high but  with the slide being in front of the dual axel I  can see it being accurate and trust opinions of owners over dealers.  The GTW even fully loaded up is not a concern for my TV which weighs more than the TT and has a 6500 tow capacity with a GVWR of 6393 and a payload capacity of 1477.  The dry weight of the 199 is 4235 and even adding 1000 worth or water, propane and stuff,  I am well under capacity.

I'm wondering if with the proper WDH and sway control, if I can displace enough of the load on the tongue to fall within limits. I am new and respect real world experience when it comes to safety.  As I've mentioned previously in posts, I love my TV and don't want to have to upgrade just for the trailer.  We would choose another model first but really love the 199FKS.

Any insight to my dilemma is greatly appreciated.  Also, if anyone has 199FKS please reply as to any positive or negatives you have experienced.  

Thanks all.
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Alabama Jim
Thank you for the excellent review of the new Retros.  Looking at them is always exciting.  As to the TV, I think you will "Probably" be okay, but I would feel more comfortable with a little more TV.  If you can't buy both at the same time, you could try pulling your new trailer on a few short trips and see how it does.  You can always upgrade the TV later if you find you need to.  So glad you found the unit that is best for you.
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C GARS
Thanks Jim.  

After many hours of research and calculations this evening, I am pretty confident my TV will be fine with the right WDH and sway control. The 650 TW is based on 10% of the manufacturer's 6500 GTWR. (Conservative)  I found numerous sources including the manufacturer's website and my owners manual that says TW should be between 10% and 15% of GTWR which gives me a range of 650-925. The dry weight of the 199 is 4235 and carrying capacity is 3600.  That tells me the  axles can handle 7835 which is impressive.  I have no intention of ever carrying that much weight.  But I can certainly add weight to rear storage to help balance the added tongue weight from the  front slide if needed.  And with WDH and proper packing, I am sure we can find a safe balance.  

Part of the joy we are hoping to experience is the journey, not just the destination.  Slow and easy is my speed these days. Even driving up North to see the Retros today, I couldn't believe how fast everyone was driving.  I still have the ability, just not the desire to set land speed records.  Believe me I will baby this investment on the highways for safety first and gas mileage second. 

A crazy thing happened when I got home. A dealer 10 minutes from my home emailed me to let me know he was the new Retro dealer in the Detroit area and has a full inventory coming by the end of the month. I'm guessing this is because I emailed Riverside last week with some questions and they probably passed my email along.

I wouldn't trade today's adventure with my wife and daughter.  Beside seeing the Retro, we also stopped and spent the afternoon in Frankenmuth.  If you ever make it up to Michigan, that is a must visit spot.  I do find it partially ironic that a dealer close to home contacts me right after I get home from 3 hour round trip drive but also as a sign that a Retro is meant to be in my future.  If you listen He does communicate His will and Grace for each of us.
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frank_a
One thing I've learned over the years hauling big boats, car haulers and travel trailers is to exceed specs.  If the trailer you wants calls for 840 tongue load, I would think it is time to trade up your TV.  We're looking at a 195 (I'm not a fan of slide outs, too many problems) and will be trading up to a 3/4 ton pickup to haul it.  I want to tow over the Rockies, and don't want problems, so my rule of thumb is twice the tow capacity for whatever the gross tow is.  If you can afford diesel, so much the better!

Just my opinion.  We've done a bit of looking for an upgrade to our small fiberglass trailer and you can't beat these travel trailers.  Good luck.  
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Alabama Jim
C Gars, if Jesus is every upset with you then ask his mother for help.  A son has a hard time turning down his mother.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is always willing to listen.
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C GARS
Thanks Jim. I'm in regular communication with the whole family. 
[smile]
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fireblot
C GARS:
The 199 FKS is a beautiful camper..... you should go for it!
Jim and Frank both make good points. You can tow almost anything if you are within spec and loaded properly, but you might not be comfortable at higher speeds or on long uphills. I tow a 181b with a Nissan Titan and although it tows easily with no fuss, I still wish for a bigger, better TV. I think "TV Upgrade-itis" just comes with territory!

Peter
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C GARS
I appreciate all the input.  Does anyone have the pewter/aqua or pewter/indigo combos exterior color combo?  If so please share photos.
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sunvalleyjoe
I would look into Trailer life back issues about towing weights. Many articles about this issue  . If the TV is too light the hitch makes no difference. You have to consider what the tow vehicle limits are. I have a HD Off road Tundra 4x4 pulling my 150. Sometimes in the wind on mountains roads I wonder how they make the claim you can pull them with a Mini Cooper. Not somthing I would want to try. See if the deal will let you take it on test run.Toyota claims 7850 lbs  my 150 loaded never more the 2250lbs. Good luck
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retro195man
 We're looking at a 195 (I'm not a fan of slide outs, too many problems) 


I chose the 195 for the same reason. I like the extra room with the slide out, but don't want to accept the issues they can provide. 

Besides... when you stop at a rest stop,  sometimes the slide out makes it difficult to move around without extending them. And sometimes you just can't do that. 
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retro195man
Great review by the way.  Thanks
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