First half-track with full suspension offers a magic carpet ride

First half-track with full suspension offers a magic carpet ride

Photos
BEST OF BOTH: Wheeled operation with half-track traction, the new Class Axion 900 Terra Trac tractors boast a magic carpet ride experience.

BEST OF BOTH: Wheeled operation with half-track traction, the new Class Axion 900 Terra Trac tractors boast a magic carpet ride experience.

Aa

Your rookie pilot has checked the latest bid to crash the Australia tractor sale party by testing claims driving the new Claas half-track was like riding a magic carpet.

Aa

Your rookie pilot has checked the latest bid to crash the Australia tractor sale party by testing claims driving the new Claas half-track was like riding a magic carpet.

So we drove the 22 tonne Axion 900 Terra Trac as fast as we could at the biggest holes and puddles we could find.

Of course, that's hardly a test for these 355-445 horsepower beasts, pulling power is where it's at.

And last time we looked, most paddocks are boringly flat, making smoko meals last the day with GPS doing all the steering is the biggest worry.

The German manufacturer is better known for its tracked combine harvesters, something it has been making for decades.

It boasts only a small share of Australia's tractor market against the titans John Deere, Case-IH, New Holland and Massey-Ferguson.

Claas claims to have used all its combine knowledge to build a tractor which takes some of the nasties out of tracked machines.

Poor steering, rocky rides, even getting the power down to the ground while cornering or negotiating bumps - something tracked vehicles are known for.

The Claas answer was to keep the wheels at the front and widen the tracks at the back.

This latest offering is the world's first half-track with full suspension.

The cab has four point suspension as well, hence the magic carpet ride claims.

The Axion 900 has two models, the 930 and 960.

The bigger Axion 900 boasts 327Kw of power.

The engine is low revving but produces high torque which its makers claim gives better fuel economy on its 860 litre tank.

The suspension system means that power hits the ground, giving better traction as well as a better ride.

The tractors featured a continuously variable transmission which allow them to operate precisely at low speeds or over 40kmh for road travel.

The tracks are designed to offer greater soil protection.

What's the point of all that minimum tillage work if crawler tracks come thumping into the ground, Claas says its track drive provides a 35 per cent larger footprint with 50pc less ground pressure.

It's no surprise the cabin would make a Qantas pilot reach for his instruction manual, comfortable, all the gadgets, tons of information for the driver.

There's even an onboard air compressor to blow out any dust the operator might have tracked in.

While they have been available in Europe for a year or two, constructed in the Claas factory in France, it is the first time they have been offered in Australia.

The machines have done as much as 500 hours of evaluation testing in Western Australia, with more trials in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Local officials are bit cagey on price, saying it hasn't been decided yet and for those interested to contact their Claas dealer.

The new Class tractors were launched in Melbourne late last week.

And oh yeah, how did it go when we barreled through the potholes?

It rocked and rolled as you would expect of any tractor but with little fuss, just steady the Thermos.

Those who know say the ride is now like a tractor, not a tracked vehicle.

Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.

The story First half-track with full suspension offers a magic carpet ride first appeared on Farm Online.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by