Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Tue 27 Apr 2021

Kenís JCB Test Drive Experience

Never one to miss an opportunity to appear on this blog, long standing backhoe loader operator and enthusiast Kenneth Hatcher has been in touch once more to tell us about his recent visit to JCB in Staffordshire to test drive the latest backhoe loader products. This post has been written in Kenís own words and edited by myself for clarity.

Kenís JCB Test Drive Experience

Ken said, “As anyone who knows me will testify, I was a bit gutted to have to take a day off work and it also meant that for that day I would have to miss Mark Anthony’s Break Fast Show, which I really enjoy. But I had kindly been contacted by Julian Carder at JCB, to join some selected members of Colin Clifford’s Backhoe Operators Group on Facebook, to have a test drive opportunity on the new backhoe loaders.

It was an early start for me, on the road at 6am for the 160 mile drive up from South Wales to the JCB Quarry. Due to the ongoing Corona virus restrictions the event was only open to a small number of invited guests, which included, Grant Mckenzie, Andy Rennie, Wes Napier, Colin Clifford and myself.

The group was split into pairs to assist with social distancing, and Colin and I (both wearing masks) were taken down to the amazing JCB estate test track a few miles away, in the fantastic Mercedes mini bus which has the JCB 4 number plate.

Once we arrived, we were invited to take the machine for a spin around the lakeside test track at speed to experience the speed and power of the 3CX Sitemaster Pro which has a rated power output of 81kw and can achieve a top speed of 50kph. My initial reaction was of a very smart machine visually, with the black wheels and it was even sporting my favourite Michelin XMCL 50kph rated tyres all around.  

We were both very impressed by the new transmission and the engine, especially how smooth and fast it was, but also with the exceptional performance from the braking system.

We were then taken back to the JCB Quarry to test drive the 3CX Sitemaster Eco and the 4CX models.

I was quite impressed with the digging power on the Eco servo-controlled machine, considering its only got a 3-cylinder 55kw engine fitted.

I also loved the auto levelling jack leg function, which got me thinking, wow, where was that 35 years ago when I first started on the backhoes! On that machine I also really liked the rear grab bucket, which I thought would be very handy if you had a bit of sorting out to do on site.

Incredibly time flew by and in no time at all it was 12 O’clock and time for dinner, we were treated to the famous JCB soup, filled rolls and the equally famous JCB Crème brûlée, which was very nice, just a shame there was no JCB pizza though, as those who know me well, know I’m rather partial to a bit of pizza!  

After the lunch break was over, I had a go on the 4CX Servo controlled model, what a fantastic 4x4 and 4-wheel steer loading machine which was fitted with the new Michelin Bib load tyres.

Not so good in 2-wheel steer mind, dreadful turning lock but apparently that’s only really designed for roading work. Trying out the new safety lock on the servo levers looked a bit strange at first but seems to be a good idea one you use it.  

All the new Sitemaster machines come with the new full colour dash display is similar in many ways to those fitted in the X Series excavator cabs, with a few new features, including various help videos.

I also liked the air conditioning that was fitted in the models we tried out. All the cabs were very comfortable and a really pleasant place to spend time in in my opinion.

We then had a bit of question-and-answer chat with the very nice JCB staff, who seemed very interested in me being an influencer with my 35-years of experience on the backhoe”.

Summarizing Ken said, “For me then the long 3-hour drive home to South Wales, anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t like long periods of driving, however, it was all worth it, as I had a very interesting day out and felt very lucky to have been one of the first to test out the new backhoes, so I would just like the opportunity to thank JCB for the opportunity.”

Lets take a look at the machines in action in this promotional video from JCB. 





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