1 March 2002

Bobcats out to grip sales

More grip, more power,

more versatility – Bobcat,

with its tracked skid

steers, says it intends to

take a big slice of the

market with its latest T190

model. Andy Moore gave

the machine a workout

IF you thought skid-steer loaders were just for light loading work or utility jobs think again.

Enter Bobcats tracked T190, a machine, which boasts so much gripping power it could hold its own alongside a mini bulldozer.

The T190 loader is the latest addition to the companys tracked T200 and 864 machines, which came on stream 18 months ago. Such is the companys enthusiasm for the tracked format – which extends their working theatre from concrete to field – Bobcat is also set to launch a tracked version of one of its baby 400 series later this year.

Like the T200, which is a crossbreed of the 873 wheeled machine, the T190 inherits the same genes as the 773 model.

A Vertical Lift Path boom, designed to keep the bucket level throughout a 3m lift height, has a capacity of 860kg and a tipping load of 2460kg.

Driving force is also from the same four-pot Kubota diesel, yet a 102 litres/min rather than 63 litres/min hydraulic pump designates a High-Flow specification.

Use of the extra output, says Bobcat, enables the machine to power a wide range of attachments.

These include posthole borers, sweepers, chippers, and mowers, together with feeder buckets and even a fertiliser spreader and a rotary cultivator.

Equipped with a pair of 320mm wide tracks, the machine exerts a ground pressure of just 351g/cm2, which can be reduced even further when 450mm wide versions are fitted.

With such a light footprint, the machine could be usefully employed where it is essential to keep ground compaction and rutting to a minimum. Such applications may include loading drills or spreaders with bags of seed and fertiliser on headlands, or carrying bales or feed to livestock kept on heavily poached ground.

Cab-side, the T190 has Bobcats latest operator station that is supplied as standard from the 700 series wheeled models upwards.

In this department, creature comforts would appear to be satisfactory if not plush. Taking up the heater and rear wiper option would be a natural choice for most.

Visibility is good with the open front entrance – a door is optional – and the roof light provides clear views of the boom throughout its lifting arc.

So, lets have some action.

With the safety bar down, a twist of the ignition key fires up the 2-litre engine, which then rumbles quietly away on tick-over.

Wind up the Kubota block, shove the two direction levers forward, and the loader rocks backwards as the tracks grip hard.

Once on the move, the T190 is almost a "go anywhere" machine which can be pushed to the limits.

The tracks drive the machine effortlessly up and down mounds of soil and abseilable inclines, and through wellington-sink ground conditions.

All of which can be achieved with a reasonable amount of confidence even when the foot pedals are used to lift the boom half way and crowd the bucket.

Digging deep into saturated soil appears to do little to kill the tracks gripping power and the engine goes home long before they slip excessively.

The verdict: Lots of tractive power, a light footprint and diminutive dimensions could make the machine a valuable asset on a stock or small arable farm. &#42

Bags of traction… The T190 is supplied as standard with a pair of 320mm wide tracks.