Had a chance to look this over at SCAA earlier this year but have not used or worked on it. Really interesting concept, very appealing form-factor, and some pretty fantastic features. I was intrigued and encouraged by what I saw but not rushing out to sell any of my customers on putting one in just yet.
Disclaimer: I've never been an early-adopter. Some of my thoughts, guesses, and questions are below, but please keep in mind that they are just that. Hopefully they lead you to some answers which you can then share with the rest of us.
Looks like they hit the La Marzocco parts bin pretty heavily and have had some tech support from them too. Scott stops in here occasionally and might be able to speak more to that.
With any low-production volume product early in its life you'll likely see a certain "handmade prototype" aspect. This could be good or bad, depending on who's doing the work - sometimes handmade means hacked together and sometimes it means Speedster. I suspect you'd see more like the latter. If you can find one in the wild it would be worth looking closely and playing with it to see how things fit and function.
If you're seriously considering this unit, it would be well worth making sure your tech is on the same page. I suspect that it is more dependent on correct and careful installation and setup compared with a GB5 (plop it on the counter and plug it in) or even Strada. Startup could be a little tricky. I'd also anticipate more in terms of site prep requirements. If you don't think either your tech or renovation GC are up for the task you may want to reconsider: a traditional machine, or maybe find a new tech or GC.
In terms of long-term ownership, I'd be curious to know if they did hit the LM parts bin for service parts. If so that would make future support easier. There is still a bit of extra challenge in terms of it being "something different" though, so you ought to not be surprised if repairs take a little longer and/or require some special order stuff. That's not a knock against ModBar, you'd have the same situation with a Strada, Kees, or even a lever machine. With a relatively new business there's always the question of whether or not they'll still be around in 5 years to provide tech support and repair parts. You may want to go ahead and buy a year or two's worth of spares for anything unusual and make sure you get (and don't lose) the service manual.
Nothing at all against ModBar here - they seem like sharp guys with a great concept and the support to make it work. These are the same sort of considerations I suggest to anyone that's thinking about building their business around an unusual machine. I support a couple of these in my market - some of the customers knew what they were getting in to and were prepared, making them happier overall with their choice. That's my goal with this post. Hope it helps.
Oops. To clarify:
...I support a couple of these in my market - some of the customers knew what they were getting in to and were prepared, making them happier overall with their choice. That's my goal with this post. Hope it helps.
That means that I support a couple of unusual machines (Strada MP, Speedster, et al.), not that I support a couple of ModBars. Personally I would be intrigued and happy to support one in my area, IFF the client knew what they were getting in to. If you're going to buy a Ferrari, you'll be happier if you don't go in expecting it to be as easy to live with and take care of as a Toyota.
Looks like a neat idea. I like the visual presentation. Thermoplan - the manufacturer of Starbuck's machines had a similar concept.
Here's an article on Modbar - http://sprudge.com/modbar.html Looks like LM has a connection.