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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2013 :  1:59:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had a Lion bus here at my shop with presentation from the dealer.

A few quick point of interest.

The stepwell is surprisingly sturdy and it looks to be indestructible.

Same for the battery box.

The chassis looks to be very solid and well built. No real worries there.

The electrical system is clean and neat. Simple wiring, no multiplex.

I like the wider body, two drivers test drove the bus on our narrow city streets and made every turn... very nice wheel cut.

The drivers compartment is a little barren, our two test drivers liked the ergonomics though.

The body seemed extremely solid. The battery box door mounting and the rear door hinges could use some shoring up. The hinges are stainless though.

The engine compartment was tidy, the hood tilted easily.
Service accessibility seems on par with other conventional buses I've worked on.

Warranty.... my Cummins warranty will be the same, Allison warranty will be the same, Lion body warranty and Spartan warranty from the dealer.
Dealer states they are progressing towards Cummins and Allison certification for warranty work.
My Navistar dealer also states they are pursuing Cummins certification, they are already Allison certified but I take my warranty to W.W. Williams regardless.

All in all I really liked the bus and they will definitely be considered at our next bid.
I feel it is good to have another player in the game.

C.HARDY
Advanced Member

350 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2013 :  6:26:28 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Its just so ugly......sorry old school here

"Hardybusman"
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  10:10:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
They aren't too ugly. Put a horizontal grey bar grille in it and it would pass for an old FS65 Thomas.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  11:26:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our drivers and my boss like the look of the Lion.

I don't care.... when I first saw it I didn't like or dislike it's appearance.
My concerns about new buses lie elsewhere.
I they are low/best bid, my treasurer isn't going to care if I think it's ugly


Edited by - second.flood on 10/25/2013 11:30:59 AM
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Wolf0r
Top Member

USA
2177 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  12:39:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's the KIA of the bus world. Not bad looking to me, looks like the Magic Bus. Kids are gonna love them. Cute little Lion on the front and back.

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  12:56:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't understand the KIA analogy.

quote:
Originally posted by Wolf0r

It's the KIA of the bus world. Not bad looking to me, looks like the Magic Bus. Kids are gonna love them. Cute little Lion on the front and back.


Edited by - second.flood on 10/25/2013 1:10:54 PM
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Fastback
Top Member

955 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  12:56:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's the "mane" thing the kids are gonna love about them.


Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback
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Wolf0r
Top Member

USA
2177 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2013 :  5:45:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
KIA those cute little cars that look expensive but aren't.
quote:
Originally posted by second.flood

I don't understand the KIA analogy.

quote:
Originally posted by Wolf0r

It's the KIA of the bus world. Not bad looking to me, looks like the Magic Bus. Kids are gonna love them. Cute little Lion on the front and back.




“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2013 :  09:39:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK.
I haven't had Lion bid yet, but it sounds as though they are not going to be less expensive than IC.

The sales pitch I got was that the extra cost of a Lion was to be recovered in fuel mileage and lesser operational costs over the life of the bus.

So maybe they look expensive and will be expensive? haha





quote:
Originally posted by Wolf0r

KIA those cute little cars that look expensive but aren't.
quote:
Originally posted by second.flood

I don't understand the KIA analogy.

quote:
Originally posted by Wolf0r

It's the KIA of the bus world. Not bad looking to me, looks like the Magic Bus. Kids are gonna love them. Cute little Lion on the front and back.





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Carp_26
Administrator

United States
160 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2013 :  11:46:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Second flood I also had the opportunity to view the Lion bus and hear the sales pitch while I was at NAPT in Grand Rapids. I gathered the price is more comparable to that of a transit style school bus. In our market, those usually run $15,000 - $20,000 more than a conventional. My district just had bids and IC is actually the highest, with Blue Bird first and Thomas second. Since Lion was just approved for Ohio we didn't get a bid from them. I 'm sure we will on our next bid cycle. I think Lion is right in respect to the body. When I look at the amount of money we have spent on body work for our Thomas buses the higher cost would pay for itself over the life-cycle of the vehicle. I was impressed with the Lion overall.
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2013 :  1:20:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Carp, sorry I missed you when you picked up the books.
Sorry you had to meet the crabby old helper mechanic...lol
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2013 :  7:26:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would highly recommend you get a tour of the chassis production facility at Spartan in Charlotte, MI as well as the body production facility in Quebec. Both are very impressive, and they put a lot of hard work into the details. In addition, both Spartan and Lion are very receptive to feedback and suggestions, which is refreshing.

Some nice things on the Lion Bus are that the frame rails are A.) 5/16" thick (while some other manufacturers have gone to 1/4"), and B.) Made in the great state of Ohio, not Mexico. There are tons of other positives as well with the bus, and it's nice to see others appreciate them.

They are a very well financed company and here for the long term. Great time to be in the business, people are tired of paying a lot of money for something that may not work in their best interests long term. You really do get what you pay for in this business, and if you want something that you believe in, simply write it in your specs and have the data to back up your point.

Edited by - RichBusman on 10/28/2013 7:31:41 PM
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CharlieFoxtrot
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2013 :  09:46:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit CharlieFoxtrot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I haven't seen one yet, but I've gotten quotes for a Lion and an IC. I'm reviewing them to see how they matched my spec before I comment on prices.

I agree that dealer service is very important, and if you don't have a Lion dealer conveniently located, that could be a factor in your decision. I don't have a problem there.

I'm at a private school, so I don't know how you public schools go out for bid, but in the Fire Service, some departments bias their bids by requiring certain features that only their preferred builder has. These features may or may not be relevant to the truck's performance, but they mean the other builders get dinged for non-conformance. If you wanted a Lion, you could spec corrosion-proof body construction. That'd mean a big ding for all the metal-body guys, and it could be a justifiable requirement. Spec a 5/16" frame. Justifiable? Maybe. Spec the Lion's wider aisle - I really like that one!

Then again, a Fire Dept probably has more autonomy and less chance of a builder protesting the spec and getting it over-ridden. If a Fire Apparatus builder did that, they'd be on the poop list forever.

Looking forward to seeing the Lion in person, and hoping that my bigwigs let be buy something, anything!

later
Kevin
(formerly vfr700f2)

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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2013 :  10:06:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kevin, those are some great point. I don't agree, however, with the part about "requiring certain features". If we were restricted from do that then we couldn't request a propane engine (not all manufactures off them) or, as you mentioned, the thicker frame rail (means nothing to me but in the rust belt it is important).

Bryan
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Fastback
Top Member

955 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2013 :  12:06:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CharlieFoxtrot


I'm at a private school, so I don't know how you public schools go out for bid, but in the Fire Service, some departments bias their bids by requiring certain features that only their preferred builder has. These features may or may not be relevant to the truck's performance, but they mean the other builders get dinged for non-conformance. If you wanted a Lion, you could spec corrosion-proof body construction. That'd mean a big ding for all the metal-body guys, and it could be a justifiable requirement. Spec a 5/16" frame. Justifiable? Maybe. Spec the Lion's wider aisle - I really like that one!




The problem with purposely writing the specs so only your preferred bidder can meet them is that you are telling your preferred bidder that there will not be any competing bids.

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback
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CharlieFoxtrot
New Member

9 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2013 :  1:27:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit CharlieFoxtrot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very true. I've only been on the selling end of a bid process, never the buying end, and I've been the guy trying to comply with the spec, not trying to influence it. I'm only commenting on what I've heard.

I don't have an official bid process here, but I do have some higher-ups that want the cheapest solution, no matter how crappy it is. If I can filter out some crap, I'll sure do what I can.

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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

350 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2013 :  4:40:57 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Its just not for me......I'm not knocking the bus at all
quote:
Originally posted by bwest

They aren't too ugly. Put a horizontal grey bar grille in it and it would pass for an old FS65 Thomas.


"Hardybusman"
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 10/31/2013 :  09:40:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just read where Lion has already had a recall. It affected one bus. lol Something to do with non compliant seats.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2013 :  4:21:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok guys. I had our bid opening today and IC won handicap and non-handicap. Blue Bird was close (+$4,000), followed by Thomas and Lion.

So it appears I'll have IC/Cummins.

Lion was about 25% higher than IC and missed some specs.

Oh well, I was willing to try Lion but I could never sell those numbers to my school board.
I think they will have a tough, if not impossible, time gaining a foothold in my area.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2013 :  7:22:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Was that 4k per bus on the BB bid?

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2013 :  8:12:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah Bryan.
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Dvorak
Senior Member

United States
52 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  03:39:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastback

That's the "mane" thing the kids are gonna love about them.





LOL! Where's the "like" button???
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  08:06:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by second.flood

Yeah Bryan.



That's incredible! There had to have been something not correct in the bids. I have never had BB that far away from the winning bid if they are not the winner themselves.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  09:15:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The actual difference is $3770 per unit with trades factored in.
The bids are fine, other than BB did not meet specs on door opening(27" vs my 32"), no one piece floor covering (3 piece), no hidden or stainless hinges, and refused warranty spec that "all warranty work shall be done by the dealer on our premises or the dealer is responsible for transporting bus to and from the dealers repair facility".

Edited by - second.flood on 12/11/2013 09:21:25 AM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  2:25:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Those are pretty strict guidelines, you think anyone could meet those except IC?

Bryan
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  3:52:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What engine in the IC? Cummins, MF7, MFDT?

Errr.... whoops, I see you mentioned that they had Cummins. I saw that IC was also less with the Cummins on the New Jersey bid. I believe it was around 3k less.

Edited by - RichBusman on 12/11/2013 4:00:13 PM
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2013 :  7:14:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
bwest,


What is strict about the guidelines?




Personally, I would have loved to give Lion a go. I would not even start a conversation with our treasurer about a bus that is $25,000 over low bid. I think Lion is a great product. I could maybe argue for Lion at $85,000, $100,000 not a chance.





quote:
Originally posted by bwest

Those are pretty strict guidelines, you think anyone could meet those except IC?

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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2013 :  06:40:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was just talking about doing warranty work on premises or the dealer transports. You wouldn't say that to Ford, Chevy, etc. if you had a fleet of cars. I do all my own work on warranty items that aren't drive train related anyway. Historically (prior to our first IC purchase) we seldom had drive train problems anyway.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2013 :  07:33:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure why you think that is favoring IC?
Lion dealer is 25 miles away.
IC dealer is 58 miles away.
BB dealer is 106 miles away.
Thomas dealer is 131 miles away.

I have IC/BB/Thomas all in my fleet and they have all done warranty work in my yard in the past.I do minor warranty work myself as I'm sure nearly all shops do.
I have 34 buses, 8 trucks and a backhoe to maintain by myself, so I don't have the luxury of doing my dealers warranty work for them.

My Allison warranty is done at WW Williams, Cummins warranty is at the bus dealership or at a location near WW, about 50 miles out.

Give me your email Bryan and I'll send you my specs so you can check them out. I've always wanted an outside opinion on my specs.

My white fleet is Chevy, and they do transport for warranty (they are only 1 mile away though :)





quote:
Originally posted by bwest

I was just talking about doing warranty work on premises or the dealer transports. You wouldn't say that to Ford, Chevy, etc. if you had a fleet of cars. I do all my own work on warranty items that aren't drive train related anyway. Historically (prior to our first IC purchase) we seldom had drive train problems anyway.

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Tb4020
Senior Member

United States
65 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2013 :  11:21:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Did Thomas meet your specs? Sounds pretty heavy towards IC to me also, we can spec stainless stepwells and it blows IC out of the water and Thomas didn't offer it. Thomas used to tell us to spec overslung wipers because only they offered it at the time therefore rejecting the other two bids. I guess just be glad they ask your opinion but, it is hard to compare price without being somewhat similar. We are finally almost a one breed fleet after having a mixed bag it's so much easier!
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2013 :  12:04:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I did spec SS or composite stepwell.

IC offers SS.

I try to keep the specs as neutral as possible.

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JRob
Senior Member

181 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2013 :  1:20:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit JRob's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Curious to what real advantage is gained by the "one-piece floor rubber"? When you think about it, the only seams you are eliminating are the 2 seams up the aisle. You still have a seam around the side walls, wheelhousing,and back walls of the bus. You still have multiple floor penetrations with the seat bolts, and you still have seams at the front of the bus in the driver's area & step area. I just don't see that this feature has any real benefit over the fact that it sounds like a good idea.
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2013 :  1:40:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Easier to sweep and no trim to either corrode or have screws break.
It is a good feature.
My summer wash and wax crew loves the one piece floor.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2266 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2013 :  07:28:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with the easier to sweep without the trim pieces going down the isle. We used to get that part deleted but I wasn't aware of any companies doing that any more. So, do your buses have the ribs down the isle as usual? How does the one piece floor work?

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2013 :  08:44:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's just one solid piece wall to wall. It does have isle ribbing.
We use koroseal.

http://www.korosealmatting.com/TransitProducts/Flooring.html
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