My Dad and I run a 800-acre mixed arable and sheep farm in Warwickshire. Our current ATV is used on a daily basis, so we're a great place to bring a new bike to be put through its paces!
Day-to-day duties include winter feeding and all-year-round management of the 650-ewe flock, slug pelleting arable land, boundary spraying, spot treating weeds and turning out during lambing time. Our farm also has a shoot and in the lead-up to the shooting season the ATV is used to fill hoppers and check birds and on shoot days it will be used to tow the game/beater trailer.
Terrain varies from heavy clay low-lying arable ground through to ironstone hillside and woodland. So traction, towing ability and stability will all be tested to find the bike's strengths and weaknesses, especially on our steep grassy banks.
Since we've had the bike, we've been feeding the in-lamb ewes on the hills and on the low ground in the mornings. This usually involves towing our logic quad trailer (see the pic) fully laden with half a quadrant of hay, and mineral blocks (and the spaniel!).
So far, the bike seems to be man enough for most hurdles we put in its way - including pulling the trailer up steep inclines to hay racks on the hill.
Accleration is rapid, much more responsive than our old Polaris. When you need the power - it's there. Grips pretty good, too. Even under load, when you push the throttle it doesn't lose traction.
But, a minor annoyance is that you can't put a bucket on the rear or front cargo racks as they tip over. We've adapted this with a bungee cord. And, the drawbar is so far under the frame that it's a pain to get the trailer hitched on without smacking your chin on the rack.
A great feature is that it fits through bridle gates as it's narrower than the Polaris, but the seat's pretty darn hard when you've spent a bit of time on it slug pelleting!
The tank does three days of feeding before needing filling up - which usually totals 10 miles a day easily, and the way I drive it's pretty toughly driven.
A few days after getting the bike, we had a lot of rain and we had to rescue some of our ewe lambs on lower lying land (pictures below!). In deep water, the bike didn't seem to cough or even splutter - which was a bit of a relief!
If we had the option, we'd definitely go for the 12v socket - as this comes in handy lamping.
I'll keep you posted on what we've been doing over the weeks, and if you've any questions just post them on the end of this blog!