Compact Equipment

JUN 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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Page 27 of 47

Let's Operate the R105 and V420 The overall market for skid steers has plateaued, but it remains a classic American compact machine for both weekend warriors and professional contractors, and I wanted to feel the experience from both sides, starting with the basic model. The R105 is a standard skid steer, but it's integral to Gehl's lineup as it pursues a bigger piece of the rental market, a prime target of Bonnaure and Hanson, both of whom have deep ties to the rental business. "Our way to market is important," Bonnaure said. "We are working to strengthen our dealer network as well as organizing ourselves to address the large rental companies with enhanced direct service. We are looking to align our dealer market with broader market opportunities, looking at the largest markets — California, Texas and Florida. A lot of our dealers are legacy companies in dairy and closer to factory manufacturing. We're looking into larger equipment sales markets to make sure we have a solid network to serve and support the larger markets in North America." Key to a rental machine is its durability, ease of use and price point, and the value conscious R105 checks all of these boxes making it a good fit for smaller applications and rental customers. As someone in that weekend warrior set, I appreciated the purposely de-featured design. It was easy to hop in and intuitively figure out the T-bar controls, which — big shocker to me — I preferred over the joystick controls of the V420. Obviously, joystick controls are the trend for professionals today and are extremely responsive and low effort. If I was operating equipment every day, I could see becoming a Picasso with those. But for a novice like me, in the time- frame I had to get comfortable, the joystick seemed almost too responsive, at least after having started out on the R105. Bottom line, whatever your control preference, Gehl has it ready. "What's not as commonly known is our control option availability," said Nathan Ryan, global product manager for excavators, skid loaders and track loaders. "We are flexible and offer a T-bar control system, joy stick and hand foot, and we even offer a kit for H pattern. If you're accus- tom to a given style, we can accommodate you." The V420 came about after Gehl paused in producing its largest skid steer at the time, the V400, to upgrade to the current Tier 4 Final engine. Customer feedback indicated they should also extend the machine's reach. The 400 was reborn as the V420, the largest skid steer in the world, and it lives up to all parts of that claim. Looking up at the bucket at its highest point, I definitely forgot I was in a skid steer. But I quickly remembered when backing up and easily maneuvering within a compact footprint. The Gehl team recognizes this won't be a high volume seller (the 200 Series is the most common skid steer size) but being the largest in the cat- egory is a point of pride to tout as well an asset to specific niche customers that need hydraulic power, zero turn and low operating height. Think larger material movers, ag and tree trimming applications. "We also see this used in land clearing, asphalt and recycling," Ryan said. "Those looking for high performance and a robust hydraulic center for attachments such as cold planers and brush cutters. Some small tele- handlers and tractors can match the hydraulic performance of the V420, but you won't get the same zero turn radius and low operating height." All Gehl loaders, from the smallest to the largest, are equipped with industry-exclusive hydraulic attachment systems (All-Tach on the R105, Power-A-Tatch on the V420) and are ideal for less-than-ideal conditions — great responsiveness in cold weather (as I discovered since Wisconsin generously greeted me with a huge mid-April snow storm) and when mud is caked on the attachment plate. Changing attachments from inside the cab is a breeze. GEHL Test driving a barebones R105 and a fully loaded V420 was a glimpse into life at opposite ends of the operating spectrum. 28 Compact Equipment JUNE 2018 OPERATIONAL ADVICE By Nathan Ryan, Global Product Manager for Excavators, Skid Loaders and Track Loaders Skid loader operators can follow these few simple guidelines to mini- mize cost of ownership. To extend the life of the tires, practice gradual turning when space allows, versus sharp counter-rotation. To lower fuel consumption, use the foot throttle to increase engine RPM only when you need it, instead of operating with a wide open hand throttle. To prolong the life of the machine, follow routine maintenance guidelines and regularly grease the components.

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