Video: Mower test: Vicon Extra 632 T – Hi-tech muscle

The Extra differs in appearance from others on test thanks to its Z-shaped chassis, which makes it appear larger than it actually is. Vicon is well-known for its trailed conditioner mowers, and is unusual in the fact that it uses triangular discs for cutting.

 

Hitching and unhitching

The Vicon can be fitted with either cat 2 or 3 linkages and requires two hydraulic services, one single-acting and one double-acting. When unhitching, it’s important to lock the headland lift cylinder so that the mower is stable enough in park, which is via a clamp on the cylinder. Because it’s held in place by a tight spring, it can be difficult to flip it over. When hitching up again, you need to remember to unlock the cylinder before work.

In park, the mower sits on three stands as well as the cutterbar, while the first two stands are held in place with springs, and are located either side of the hitch. They need to be kicked down. The third is under the conditioner and drops with gravity, flipping back up when the driver moves forward into work.

Folding

The double-acting ram folds and unfolds the Extra, and there are no ropes to pull to put it in either position. In transport, the mower sits vertically at 125 degrees, and the driver still has good visibility to the rear.

Power transmission

Power is supplied by a 1000rpm pto shaft and is transferred from the tractor to a gear assembly via a universal joint fitted with a slip clutch. This drives both the cutterbar and conditioner and each disc is driven by a series of gear wheels.

Protection

Vicon uses a hydraulic protection system, so that when the mower hits an obstacle, the bed tilts backwards and then upwards thanks to the same cylinder used for suspension. It’s the only mower on test to have a plastic cover that absorbs the impact when it meets an obstacle, such as fence posts or the odd tree.

Suspension

Because the mower at mounted at its centre of gravity – it is, in effect, pulled from the middle and suspension is via a single-acting, nitrogen-charged ram, covered by frame that forms the arm carrying the mower.

The operator can see how much pressure is in the system thanks to a gauge, however it’s not possible to see this from the cab easily. Recommended pressure is 80 bar, however if you intend to drive faster, this should be reduced. A lockable valve is located near the gauge, and the same cylinder is also used to lift the mower at the headland. A third, smaller ram controls the pressure on the cutter bar when the mower is lowered.

Conditioner

The conditioner can run at either 600 or 900 rpm which is altered via an arrow-shaped lever under the gearbox, which is easy to do. There are 63 pairs of conditioning tines across seven rows, and the conditioner plate can be shifted between different positions, varying the distance between the plate and the tines between 2cm and 4cm.

Swathing

There is only one swath plate on the right hand side of the conditioner. An eyelet bolt enables you to slide it back and forth, varying the swath from 1.3m to 2.4m. The vanes can be altered in groups of four or five using two handles and eyelet bolts.

Cutter bar

The Vicon was the only mower to have three knives on each of its eight discs. This allows, says the company, greater cutting capacity at increased speed, which our French team verified by mixing up mph with kph, and travelling at the 25km/h maintaining good cutting quality.

Each knife cuts a width of 7cm and the measured cutting width is 3.18m. Each pair of discs contra-rotates, with a scraper fitted to each to avoid any downtime. There is a quick-change system available but not on the one tested.

Technical details

Working width: 3.17M

Weight distribution: 140kg/40kg

Number of discs: 8

Conditioner speed: 600rpm and 900rpm

Price:£16,995

Likes

Three knives on each disc

Hydraulic protection system

Access to components

Gripes

Parking position

Changing blades can be awkward

Can’t read the pressure gauge in the cab