Bobcat machines help to blaze a trail in mountain biking

A Bobcat B730 backhoe loader and E55 mini-excavator have been credited with playing a key role in helping to construct some of South Africa’s best ever mountain bike trails.

Working on land forming part of the Vuurberg wine farm in Stellenbosch, the machines have been used to construct trails with jumps of a magnitude never been seen before.

One of the most notable tracks was built for the international DarkFEST 2020 Mountain Bike (MTB) event held earlier this year on the Stellenbosch site, which involved competitors from 11 different countries. The Bobcat machines assisted course builder Sam Reynolds to design and construct the biggest ever jumps seen at an event like this.

Sam said, “We used the Bobcat B730 to help build the DarkFEST jumps. It has been super useful for jobs around the farm for moving dirt around in the tighter places where you can’t get in a larger excavator, digging drainage to make sure the water doesn’t run on the jump. It has a super powerful turbo engine with over 100 horsepower and we would not have been able to build the DarkFEST trail without this beast.”

The Bobcat B730 can be configured for a range of job applications including digging, trenching, breaking and materials handling. An enclosed cab with optional HVAC system is also offered.

The E55 owned by the Vuurberg Farm is also said to be ideal for trail building. The machine is built using computer-assisted design techniques, durable materials and structures which are endurance-tested under extreme conditions.

Justin Novella, a mountain biker and professional trail builder, described the E55 as his desired machine for constructing the Hellsend trail, one of the other MTB trails on the farm. He said, “The E55 features an improved boom swing control. The boom swing is controlled by a thumb wheel located on the left joystick, instead of the pedal control used on many competitive machines of this size. This feature offers the benefit of improved controllability of the boom swing function while creating more floor space for the operator.”