27 Aug The Australian Arbor Age Test Drive of the Vermeer CTX160 Mini Loader
“When we here at The Australian Arbor Age heard about the new Vermeer CTX160 Mini Skid Steer Loader, we knew it was going to be worth taking a good look at.”
Arborists around Australia will probably be more familiar with Vermeer’s range of wood chippers and stump grinders. Still, the reality is that the Vermeer range is hugely diverse across numerous industries, including Horizontal Directional Drills, Boring Systems, Mixing Systems, Track Trenchers, Terrain Leveller Surface Miners and of course Mini Loaders.
The Vermeer CTX160 Mini Skid Steer Loader is designed to tackle such jobs as moving heavy material, working ground-engaging attachments and efficiently manoeuvring in congested operating conditions, including passing through a standard gate. The CTX160 is sized for challenging, landscaping, hardscaping, rental, utility and general construction work. So, with that in mind, I figured the perfect man to help us put the CTX160 to the task was landscaper Kelly Burton from KBL.
Kelly’s initial feedback was his enthusiasm to see the impressive high-lifting 225.4cm, remarkable operating capacity 725.7kg and substantial auxiliary hydraulic flow – all of which being delivered in a machine width of 106.7cm. Kelly shared: “Having a vertical lift path design is perfect for heavy lifting of materials up into trucks and other similar areas. This machine is packing some real power with both its hydraulic flow and being driven by a 40HP (29.8kW) turbocharged Kohler KDI diesel engine. By removing the diesel particulate filter (DPF), the engine is less complex, which in turn reduces cost.”
The chariot-style operator’s platform offers both comfort and visibility, and the inclusion of an operator presence system means the mini loaders ground drive is disengaged when the operator steps off the platform, and the padding around the knees in the area is excellent. Straddling the work platform are dual fuel tanks which will deliver and 8 hour day without requiring a refuel.
One of the first areas I was interested in finding out about from Kelly was the controls of the machine and the ease of the operation, to which Kelly answered: “It’s a good system to operate, the single pilot-operated joystick was smooth and intuitive. You can flick the switch between high and low flow with the dual auxiliary system for ground-engaging attachments and optimal control when the low flow is required. Changing attachments is very easy and fast with the universal mounting plate. For our test site, we had the log grapple attached, which worked perfectly to allow us to lift some impressive girthy sections. There was one log I thought may have been above the machine’s capabilities but, once I got the balance right, everyone on site was thoroughly impressed with the CTX160’s lifting capabilities.”
Kelly continued: “I think mini skid steers are at their absolute best when they can tick as many boxes as possible like power, lifting capacity, versatility and control. From what I’ve seen today, the CTX160 definitely ticks all the boxes. Our site was muddy for the test, and the 22.8cm wide tracks even with a significant load provided excellent control. Another thing all owners and operators are looking for is a company that stands behind their product. I was happy to see that Vermeer provides a 3-year/3,000 hour limited warranty on the loader arms.”
So onsite we had plenty of good-sized material for Kelly to rip into. From a mixture of smaller and mid-sized cuts to grab, along with some beautiful mid-sized hardwood sections and one or two large palm sections. Across the range, the balance of the machine looked great – partly to do with the well-designed machine and the counterweights that neatly fit on the rear panels of the skid steer.
You don’t have to look very hard at all to see the build quality that has gone into the CTX160. The steel frame and boom are visibly sturdy and the welds are nice and thick. You only need to jump onto the Vermeer website to see their full range of large/heavy-duty machinery to understand their pedigree.
Watching the CTX160 navigate the site, it is obvious its ground speed and zero-turn capabilities that make this a very nimble machine for even the tightest worksite while, when having the room to move, it can cover the ground exceptionally well also.
In wrapping up this review on the Vermeer, CTX160 it strikes me as an extremely versatile machine that would fit perfectly into numerous industries. From carrying substantial sized logs across properties to load into the Vermeer chipper, to moving massive sandstone rocks and alike across landscaping jobs, to fitting one of the impressive numbers of attachments for groundwork, the CTX160 will impress. You will struggle to find more power and capabilities squeezed into a smaller machine.