Bruce McLeod first saw the Ecorider when a friend ordered one over the internet from the manufacturers in Nairn, Scotland. “It was love at first sight,” says Bruce. “After putting the bike through its paces on our farm in Cederberg, and being well-versed in off-road driving, I had no doubt whatsoever this machine is unique, a very different animal to the conventional quad bike.” Since there are now more than 450 units operating in regions as far apart as New Zealand and the US , Bruce felt it was time South Africa had the opportunity to test this ‘no-nonsense’ workhorse’s potential. He and his partner Les Purdon are now importing and distributing the Ecorider through their Cape Town-based company, Ecorider SA . Dealerships are being set up throughout South Africa.
Leave quad bikes behind
Five years’ research and development have produced a machine capable of tackling a range of terrains with minimal damage to the environment. The first of its kind worldwide, the Ecorider is the brainchild of Manocher Salek, who’s created a unit combining a narrow profile with towing capability. Wide tyres, safe and easy operation and a sensible price make it an obvious choice for applications such as farming and forestry. Its towing capability gives it the potential for specialised uses, like retrieving injured animals from inaccessible places. It also enables hunters to explore difficult terrain, while giving them a means of bringing their trophies back. The power train consists of a torque converter and gearbox with high and low ranges and, unique in a two-wheel vehicle, a reverse gear. The automatic clutch, controlled by a twist-grip throttle, makes it easy to operate.
The Ecorider is remarkably manoeuvrable despite its wide tyres, tackling side slopes that would make a quad driver blanch. It’s a safe ride with a 40km/h maximum speed, exceptional stability even at very low speeds and effective disc brakes. The wide footrests enable the driver to operate the machine in a standing position over really rough terrain; they also protect the machine in the event of a fall. The Ecorider has good ground clearance and the wide, studded tyres provide excellent traction. Servicing is simple as the machine’s smart, flexible body panels are removable. “If you can service a lawnmower, you’ll have no problem,” claims Bruce. The Ecorider comes with a diesel engine (at R49 750 excluding VAT ), a big plus in agriculture, but is available with petrol (R39 950 excluding VAT ) and biodiesel (R52 500 excluding VAT ) engines on request.
The Ecorider recently won a silver medal at the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s (RASE ) machinery awards. In 2006 it was rated first in its category and won the silver award at the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s New Implement Awards. The latter judges remarked on its simplicity, versatility, practical features, low fuel consumption, minimal CO 2 emissions and low ground pressure. – Joe Spencer Contact Ecorider SA on (021) 762 0071 or 078 354 0919, e-mail [email protected], visit www.ecorider.com.