The Real Fargo

Sept. 1, 2006
Yah, you betcha I was looking forward to my first trip to Fargo, N.D., in late June to witness the unveiling of Bobcat Co.'s new utility vehicle, the

Yah, you betcha I was looking forward to my first trip to Fargo, N.D., in late June to witness the unveiling of Bobcat Co.'s new utility vehicle, the 2300. Truthfully, my only impressions of Fargo were based on the 1996 film “Fargo,” starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand. You know, the one that demonstrates the use of a brush chipper as an effective, though messy, way to dispose of a dead body.

Not only did I get to experience Fargo in the summertime, but I also operated the 2300 on a rough-terrain obstacle course. And trust me, rough terrain is putting it very mildly.

The Bobcat 2300 4×4 utility vehicle is designed with versatility in mind. The company's RapidLink attachment system allows it to mow, sweep, and move materials with just a quick attachment change.

“It's an ideal time- and labor-saver for nurseries, buildings and grounds maintenance work, and homeowners with acreages, farms and ranches,” says Brad Claus, utility product manager for West Fargo-based Bobcat Co.

The RapidLink attachment arm is designed to lift loads up to 500 pounds as high as 2 feet, and the 4-wheel-drive 2300 can be equipped with five Bobcat attachments — a bucket, mower, pallet fork, snow blade and whisker push broom. When not in use, the attachment arm can be removed for traditional 4-wheel-drive applications.

The 20-hp 2300 has many of the same features as the Bobcat 2200, including the IntelliTrak drive system, which automatically sends power to all four wheels when maximum traction is needed for climbing hills or traveling over soft terrain. The automatic locking differential engages when needed and disengages when turning, minimizing ground disturbance and wear to tires and drive components.

The company also introduced an entry-level compact excavator designed for the contractor and rental market. The Bobcat 329 has a maximum digging depth of 10 feet, 2 inches, and a maximum reach of 16 feet at ground level. Its hydraulic system features a dual-outlet piston pump that enables the 329 to maintain constant digging force by minimizing lugging. The system's torque-limiting piston pump is designed to sense and react to hydraulic loads for better utilization of the engine's torque curve. Turf-friendly rubber tracks distribute the operating weight of the 7,098-pound excavator over a larger area to lower ground pressure to 4.2 psi and minimize damage to landscapes, paving stones and other established areas. Steel tracks are also available for harsher terrain.

Designed for construction contractors who need to pick up and place materials as high as three stories, Bobcat introduced the V638 Versa-Handler telescopic tool carrier. The 6,700-pound maximum load capacity machine features a three-stage boom with a maximum lift height of 38 feet, 11 inches. An optional field-installed stabilizer kit improves side-to-side stability when lifting on uneven ground. Operators can shift-on-the-fly to transition smoothly from low to high speeds with the machine's hydrostatic transmission. Users can also control travel speed at any rpm with the inching pedal.

“For example, you can operate the boom at maximum engine rpm for fast cycle times while traveling at any speed within the transmission's speed range,” says Eric Brown, Bobcat Co. product specialist. “It's a real benefit when picking and placing materials, and you only need to move the machine just a little to reposition it.”

After successfully navigating the punishing obstacle course with the 2300 utility vehicle, I also had the opportunity to operate the 329 mini-excavator, the V638 tool carrier, and even the tool that “Fargo” made famous, a brush chipper. And no one left the proving grounds without all their appendages attached. I promise.

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