Bobcat has introduced three new models to its lineup – the S630 (pictured) and S650 skid steer loaders and the tracked T650. All three are powered by four-cylinder, turbocharged Kubota engines rated at 74hp and have transmissions offering an infinite speed range up to 19.8kph for the wheeled machines and 10.6kph for the tracked.
The S630 is equipped with a radial boom which lifts loads in an arc created by the pivot point, while the S650 and the T650 have a geometry which raises the load vertically with little lateral movement.
Lift capacity is rated at 989kg for the S630, 1220kg for the S650 and 1166kg for the T650. Lift heights are a little over 3m, which will see them tipping into most farm trailers but clearly struggling with higher sided lorries.
One of the biggest changes is to be found is the cab, which is now further forward than before and has a door on the front. Bobcat says this new forward position and use of larger glass areas results in significantly improved visibility.
The new cab is also claimed to be quieter – although most would still strain to hear the radio – and having a door means it can be slightly pressurised to keep out dust. The big surprise though is that air conditioning, which most would consider essential in such a cab, is available only as an option.
Attention has also been given to an improved engine cooling system and providing easier access to the radiators for cleaning. The engine compartment too, is now more accessible – the large rear door opens to reveal all service points and generous amounts of room for more detailed inspections.
In terms of performance, all three machines turn in a pretty lively performance – fast and nimble, and easy to operate using the two joystick controls for steering, and two foot pedals for loader control.
With a skilled operator there is clearly scope for impressive work rates – cleaning out poultry houses, pig sheds and a host of other yard-based activities where a telescopic handler might be too large – these machines are 1.8 metres wide and just over 2m tall.
The wheeled versions are in their element on concrete but for off-road work the tracked version is probably a better bet and, for the record, one which also provides a significantly smoother ride.