I was vary pleased with the RK Drum and the service that I received. I love being able to do large batches of coffee so I can keep my friends and family supplied with coffee.
Positive Product Points
Simple to assemble. Ron has quite a bit of information on his site/roasting forum. I have sent him several questions via E-mail and got answers with in hours if not minutes.
Negative Product Points
Getting the door open was a challenge at first. But with a little practice it goes much more smoothly now
I decided to order the RK Drum after reading the reviews on this site. I had been using a Hot Top which I love to use just needed larger batches. So far the largest batch I have roasted has been two pounds. Every batch including my first turned out excellent. I do plan to upgrade my drive motor to a 56 RPM Gear Motor. So I can do larger batches. Ron does not recommended using the standard 6 RPM rotisserie motor for batches over two pounds. It took me 45 minutes to build my BBQ set up. By reading the forum pages on Ron Site I was able to have everything I need to set up and do my first roast. Ron include instructions for set up and a basic roast profile which was pretty much on target. It was a bit of a challenge to get down the routine of pulling the pin and getting the beans in to the cooler quickly. The purchase of a pair of Zetex foundry gloves (heat rated to 650c) made that job a lot more comfortable. When I started I was using Lincoln Welders gloves from Home Depot ($12.99). I felt like a cow getting branded the first time I garbed that hot spit. I do look forward to getting the gear motor so I can do four pound batches. I should be able to pay for this set up in no time. After the purchase of the RK Drum a new Grill/rotiserie, diffuser, Char-Broil Diamonds, Temperature gauge and the Zetex gloves I was at about $520; which is about $65 less then I paid for my Hot Top.
I order my RK Drum on a Sunday afternoon; it was on my door step on Tuesday by noon. I received two E-mail from Ron Kyle before my drum arrived. And have sent him question Via E-mail and had answers with in hours if not minutes. I plan to buy a 56 RPM Gear motor from him in a week are so (I'm not much of a tinker are I would build my own). I had vary good buying experience. And would recommend his product.
Three Month Followup
Since I bought my RK Drum I have purchased a 57-RPM motor from Ron Kyle. Once again the customer service and support were superior, Ron has answered all of my questions via e-mail with in minutes.
As of November 15,2004 I have roasted 104 pounds of coffee in my RK Drum. I use it in a Charbroil 7000 35,000 BTU Grill. My Setup.
The drum is well constructed and I'm sure will out last several grills. The only thing I think need improvement or redesign is the pin. I removed the chain from my drum; to me it just got in the way. I did have the pin fall out when I was doing a four pound roast. About a pound of coffee dumped into the hot grill (talk about Smoke). Since that day I made another pin from a metal coat hanger, I bent it into the shape of a large safety pin. So there is no chance of falling out.
Roasting with the RK Drum is a lot of fun. I am able to do four-pound batches so I do not have any problem-keeping friends and family in coffee. I do think if you want to do large batches you need to go with the 57-RPM motor. Rons motor came ready to bolt on. It was almost adjusted perfectly from the measurements Ron requires you to send when ordering. It will take a bit of adjustment to get it level. The same is true if you use your standard motor and spit set up.
If you want to do large batches (four pounds in about 17 minutes) you can not go wrong with the RK Drum. I think most people that use the RK Drum have a dedicated grill for roasting. I would recommend that.
Ron Kyle is a good businessman and a dream to deal with. I would not hesitate one minute in recomending anyone to do business with him. I think the drum is a good value and will last for years. No circuit boards to burn out
One Year Followup
It's has been a little over one year since I purchased my RK Drum and about eleven months since I purchased the RK 57 RPM Gear motor. I checked my roast log today, I have roasted 280 pounds of coffee with my set up. I haven't had a problems with my set up since I modified the door pin to keep it from falling out at the higher RPM's. I have only had two bad roast in my RK. One when the pin fell out and one roast I ran out of gas just when I reached first crack. I have roasted with my RK in temperatures as low as 13 degrees and as high as 99 degrees. I prefer the cooler roasting temperatures. Over the past year I have contacted Ron Kyle with questions. He always replied promptly to my E-mails and provided me with the answers I needed. I am sure this drum will out last several grills. Once my currant grill needs replacing I plan to build a custom roasting chamber for my drum. If you are wanting to roast larger batches you won't go wrong with an RK Drum.