Bobcat machines help build some of the world's largest mountain bike trails in South Africa


In South Africa, a Bobcat B730 backhoe loader and E55 mini-excavator have proved themselves to be the machines of choice for constructing some of the best mountain bike (MTB) trails ever seen in the country and anywhere around the globe. Not too long ago, cycling was a niche sport, and the industry comprised a handful of retailers selling a narrow range of bike brands and specialist gear. Today, it is the largest participation sport in South Africa.

Working on land forming part of the Vuurberg Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, the Bobcat B730 and E55 have been used under the direction of professional trail builders to construct trails with jumps of a magnitude that have never been seen before, providing an unequalled challenge to riders from all over the world.

One of the most notable tracks involving the Bobcat machines was that built for the international DarkFEST 2020 Mountain Bike (MTB) event held earlier this year on the Stellenbosch site and involving top competitors from 11 different countries. The Bobcat machines played key roles in assisting course builder, UK MTB star and Red Bull Rampage best trick award winner, Sam Reynolds, to design and construct the biggest ever jumps seen at an event like this.

Bobcat South Africa supplied the Bobcat B730 backhoe loader for the works on the new DarkFEST trail, working together with the E55, which is owned by the Vuurberg estate and was purchased from the Capetown branch of Bobcat South Africa.

Commenting on the role played specifically by the Bobcat B730 backhoe loader, Sam Reynolds 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."

Justin Novella, another mountain biker and professional trail builder, spoke about the E55 as his desired machine for constructing the Hellsend trail, one of the other MTB trails on the farm: “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.“

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