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Well, I went and bought one. After spending probably 50 odd hours online researching over the last few months, I could find precious little in the way of useful reviews about these machines. I've hired the heavy duty deisel hydrostatic drive version before, but those are way too much machine for my purposes, both money wise and weight wise. This is from a crowd called AgriEuro, in Italy, was €2700 Inc Vat and delivery to Ireland. From payment to delivery was about 10 days, I think, will check later. I had to generate a fake Italian social security number to complete the purchase, apparently this is a matter of course for buying anything online from Italy. There's a website that does it for you, and it's legal, just one of those weird things. My intention is to fill the information gap online about these machines as I use it, and update this thread as and when. I was so disappointed at the lack of in-depth info, just bunch of low-res, wobbly YouTube vids. There has been some brief mention on here about mini dumpers, but not really exhaustive by any means. If you find this thread in the future, please feel free to bump or message me, for info, and I will be delighted to tell you everything I can! Ok, I've had a couple of screwdrivers (vodka and orange) so this post may ramble a bit, but what can you do? Ok, the machine arrived a few days ago, and I put it to work this afternoon, moving a pile of logs from the bottom of a field to their final destination. Can't say the distance as I didn't measure it, but boy oh boy was I impressed. The power of this thing...compared to pushing a wheelbarrow, like going from a Fiesta to a Bugatti Veyron. I didn't take pics, sorry, but had the sides extended and loaded up with logs, probably four more times than what I could move with a 2-wheel wheelbarrow, and when I unloaded, weighed each log with a digital luggage scale, the whole load was 150 kilo. And I though that was a big load. The rated capacity is 550 kilos (500) uphill. Well, grand, I think I'll avoid going full capacity for the sake of longevity, unless flat ground etc. But I was more than happy with the performance. A job that would have taken 4-5 hours and knackered me by hand took and hour and a half with nearly no effort. Full petrol tank at start, I checked at finish and couldn't see any difference (though it was getting dark). The chassis is made in Italy, 100%, by Italian law, if it says made in Italy, it is. Ands it's heavy duty. Welds look good, metal is box, about 3mm, will check with calipers and confirm. Motor is Honda GX200, made in Thailand. Gearbox made in Italy. Tracks are from ITR America, the AgriEuro website says made in Japan, but I can't confirm this. The ITR website says continuous cable etc, so they're bound to be ok. I went for the manual tipper over the hydraulic version as it was €600 more, and the kind of stuff I do don't need to tip often and if I need extra power I'll just use a cheater bar on the tipper handle. I'm going to make a proper detailed video of this yolk, if there's anything you want to see up close, let me know. Plan is to use it as an equipment carrier for saws, fuel, hand tools, hand winches and rigging and so on, to bring everything from the van to the worksite in one go, instead of hiking ten times back and fourth across fields. Also for light skidding of logs and pulling brash piles, magnitudes larger than what a man can pull. Also as a mobile work station so all the gear is in one place, instead of strewn about getting lost. I have cunning plans for building attachment points for chain and rope, mounts for clamping saw bars for filing, work lights, umbrellas and so on. The only criticism I have so far is the gear changes are very sticky, and the instructions were in Italian. Used the Google translate camera app to figure it out, you have to very lightly engage the drive clutch to get the gear lever to shift. It's a pain, but I expect it will loosen up as the gears break in.
Dermot here, stumbled on the site while looking for a winch..... read some of the treads and was well impressed, same attitude as i have, see if you can help someone and share info.... i do a small bit of tree felling, thinning etc, ive a stihl ms660, 029, 192t and a kombisystem km130r with pole pruner... drive a hilux also have a major tractor saw and built my own log splitter... I have a job coming up that i will need a skidder so im thinking of a thwaites 3 - 6 ton dumper with a rear winch.... cheap and unbreakable combination or am i missing something?? thanks for views, criticism, all taken on board... thanks!