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New-generation skid steer loaders

Over the weekend UK equipment maker JCB invited journalists to its North American headquarters in Savannah, GA, to see the unveiling of a new generation of skid steer loaders and compact track loaders. The new line is composed of seven skid steers—four wheeled and three tracked models—that have an operating capacity of 2,600 lbs. plus.

JCB launched its first skid steers in 1993. These models were famous for their single-arm, or monoboom, design, a concept carried over from the company’s telescopic handlers. The design was claimed to be safer and more productive than conventional two-arm skid steers, allowing for better visibility and a side-entry door that kept the operator clear of the attachment and loader arm.

This latest series follows that same design principle and adds a new twist called “vertical lift.” This allows for increased reach at full lift height by eliminating the “arc effect” inherent in the conventional “radial-lift” design (see illustration).

Karen Guinn, JCB’s PR and communications manager, explains:

“With radial lift there is a fixed pivot point on the machine so that when you lift a load or bucket of material, the lift pattern follows an arc,” Guinn says. “Because it takes that arc pattern, you need to allow space for the loader arm to fully extend.”

 She says a vertical lift machine, in comparison, has a torque cylinder on the arm that allows the arm to lift straight up. So when a load is lifted to full height, it is also at full reach. You don’t need to reposition your skid steer to be able to dump into the truck.

The new skid steer line will be the first of the company’s products to be designed and manufactured in North America. John Patterson, deputy chairman of JCB, says the move was designed to better serve the needs of North America, which he says accounts for 60% of the skid steer market.

Price of the new skid steers ranges from $35K to $60K, depending on model and configuration. The company plans to introduce 11 more models in coming months to offer customers a complete range of wheeled and tracked machines, both radial and vertical lift, ranging from 1,300 to 3,500 l bs.

For a head-to-head comparison of how JCB models compare to Bobcat, Caterpillar, John Deere, and New Holland, visit To find a dealer near you, call JCB’s North American Headquarters in Savannah at 912-447-2000 or visit

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