The name Billy Goat® certainly suits the 4WD Outback Rider. This ride-on brush cutter tackled all terrain that was aimed at with ease. This machine is designed to access hard to reach rugged terrain and overgrown vegetation; engineered with a low centre of gravity, 4WD, quality build and components.
To start with, sitting in the machine, I felt secure with a low comfortable seat including armrests, grip on the floor and additional footrests to enable the operator to secure themselves into the seat on steep terrain. Handrails on either side also came in handy on rugged terrain, allowing me to steer with one hand whilst bracing with the other hand on the rail, thanks to the cleverly designed ball on the steering wheel.
From the operator’s seat, the dash is easy to read and select functions such as the PTO switch, steering tilt, cruise control and handbrake. The Diff lock activator is to the operators right along with the throttle lever and the height adjustor to the left, all are easily activated. A foldable ROPS is fitted with built-in sight markers indicating the incline. These can be easily read with a glance as they are coloured green/red to indicate safe incline operation.
The Outback Rider is rated at a 22-degree safe operating angle, and I can assure you that you can feel safe operating at that angle as I pushed the rider to the limits with no problems at all.
Powering the machine is a commercial fuel injected 26.0 HP Vanguard® V-twin engine. The EFI engine is particularly good in mountainous high-altitude regions as it compensates the air/fuel mixture to suit the altitude ensuing optimum engine performance in all situations. A two stage Donaldson® canister air filter is fitted ensuring clean air to the engine in what will always be extreme conditions if using the Outback Rider for what it is designed to do.
Driving the machine is a “Tuff Torq” 4WD system. This transmission system is cooled by a remote oil cooler with a fan located at the rear of the machine. There is easy access for maintenance around the engine with the rear cowl effortlessly lifting revealing ample space. The deck even has flip-up side lids for access to the swing back blades and for clearing debris.
A manual Diff lock is also fitted for added traction although even with the rugged terrain I encountered, there was no need to engage. The large wheels with agricultural tread, combined with a pivoting front axle to ensure maximum ground contact and the Tuff Torq 4WD provide a capable machine that did not slip, spin or lose traction on any of the rough terrain encountered.
With all of this, at the same time the machine was still slashing neatly with one pass over extremely overgrown grass and woody weeds. The cutting system comprises of a tough fabricated 36-inch rear discharge deck with heavy duty swing back blades that pulverised long grass, woody weeds, small saplings, and some unknown objects that caused loud thumps but did not compromise the cut.
Cutting heights vary from 5cm to 13.5cm over five positions. I was surprised at the neatness of the finish on such overgrown vegetation with just one pass. The wrap around front bumper provides protection to the machine, pushing down larger vegetation before cutting. A rear bumper is also fitted to prevent the inevitable knocks when reversing in thick, overgrown vegetation.
Overall, I could not fault this machine, it accessed areas with ease that I had originally thought would be a challenge whilst cutting wild overgrown vegetation with ease and neatness and would have expected to require multiple passes.