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Solo trak or Bryce


Archie
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Hi folks. As title suggests I'm planning on investing heavy and want to get it right first time. Iv narrowed it down to those two after a lot of homework but question is which. My gut feeling is Bryce has best post driver and ease of controls. And tool chainsaw etc storage is where you would naturally look for them. However solo looks the better all terrain machine built on a very keep it simple basis. It's been topic on here before with both getting great reports. However has anyone chose one and regretted there choice. Any horror stories I should hear before purchasing. Is bryce as good on steep ground despite narrower track base. Is the post driver on solo just as clever as Bryce. As owners of either will appreciate it's a lot of money I'm a thinking on spending all honest feedback for or against will be much obliged

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Again both machines look good, especially now Bryce have bought out the pro version. I was looking at it at Lamma and would have been a bit miffed if I had bought an earlier machine after seeing this one. Solo track also good and built on a well proven morooka dumper. I run a mst 300 with a protech p400 and its an excellent machine. If you are working on steep banks then weight transfer and balance with these machines is key. I was working on steep banks last week and you almost have to drive the machine via shifting the weight all the time and the slew is essential. Although I don't have a full 180 degree working of the mast on mine I do have a good sized post rack and still a 90 degree slew which is more important to me. I wouldn't want all my posts on the front as it can make the machine clumsy and easy to hit things when operating from the back. I can also carry a load of posts on the front which is handy as I can carry a decent amount without carting posts to the machine all the time. When I change mine again I will be looking at an evo2.

Good luck and either will revolutionise your work!

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Steve

Hi thanks for your advice. Do you do much work on steep ground and if so do you find it fairly stable with the weight transfer system. It does look the best all rounder but it's track base width is my only concern for tough conditions

 

Goaty

Yeah Really should go for a proper look but really struggling to get time before tree planting season is over and cattle go to grass. Lot of fencing to do by spring hence the need to go tracked.

 

Mike

Protect have some pretty initiative ideas the evo series look clever pieces of kit. I felt Bryce and solo had the edge on robust build though. I could be wrong but my heads minced making this decision so had to drop them and vector from running. Although I'd like to hear from anyone with experience of new 5 ton 220 slew vector. Look solid but possibly clumsy.

 

Rccm

Got tractor and knocker at moment and planning on keeping it so not to concerned about going light enough for 4x4

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It would be rude if i didnt reply.

 

What ever make/ model you buy make sure it has slew.  Weight transfer is the key to working in awkward/steep spots and worth evert penny.

 

I did the same research and as you probably know brought the first Solotak R200 (with the swivel) after considering both machines.

Do I regret it? no way the machine is a beast.

 

What did I like/dislike?. 

Biggest complaint with the Bryce at the time was it was not dual control and it almost got dropped off the list immediately.  Bryce has sorted this now so it wouldn't be a issue.

 

The versatility of the Solotrak swung my decision in the end and the quality of the design. I'll try and explain.

 

As an example of design. All manufactures offer blades but their not all the same. The blade on the solotrak is twice as big in comparison to other makers but its still only just big enough.  The clearance under the blade is also important when working in rough conditions so you need to be able to lift it up out of the way. Bryce and protech blades are lower and located under  the machine where there more likely to catch when crossing ditches etc.

The Solotrak blade is able to carry a netting dispenser and tensioner rather than just a netting un-roller, which the other manufacturers supply. The blade can also carry forks/ post cradle for EXTRA carrying capacity. but all manufactures have this as an option

 

The solotrak comes with the option of either rock spike or auger and even though I didn't realise the benefits at the time I wouldn't want to fence without an auger now.  I'm sure Bryce are looking into it but jock was very much of the opinion the rock spikes are the greatest and you'll never need an auger. But after fencing with a Bryce and rock spike for three years I haven't used a rock spike since getting the auger on the solotrak even though I brought two different sizes :wacko:.

 

The other consideration if working in steep country is the availability of track grips. I don't know if their available for the Bryce track size but they are invaluable when you start going into the really tricky areas, where you don't want to get stuck. Its the weight transfer and track grips that really get you into awkward places .

 

I'm not going to check specs but I think the Bryce side shifts further out, handier when working on easy going ground, potentially more dangerous on banks.

 

I like the telescopic mast on the solotrak which will allow the monkey (weight) to knock to ground level. also useful for driving posts lower than machine when working on banks and lifting out posts.

 

I can only comment on what I've seen myself and other people will have different opinions. I spent my money and I cant see how I would have missed out without a Bryce.

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Steve

Ok thanks for that. It's steep ground capabilities was my only concern with Bryce but youv obviously tried and tested it in those conditions and it upto the job. Wouldn't like to spend that money and find I had to wear a nappy when driving it.

 

Tepapa

Hi good to have an operator of both machines on for advice. You make some interesting points. I would definitely go for slew and the solonet fitting is appealing. Had one quibble with Bryce and Steve has kindly reassured me that alls good. I have a few quibbles with solo if you could advise me on. First is I already work with a 400kg hammer albeit with no rockspike or auger. Solo has a 300kg which seems like I'm taking a backward step. However I'm aware overall lightness of machine is key to their ability. If it only means a couple of extra hits to get them down I'd be ok with that but would hate to find it hadn't the punch to go the depth in hard ground. Do you find 300 with spike or auger is plenty. Also the post cap. I know from experience Bryce is big brutal unbreakable and does what it says on tin. Iv only seen a solotrak on pics and vids on net but it does look light an possibly a bit of a fiddle. You had any problems with durability or function. And finally a bit petty this one but iv worked with vector and Bryce before. Like the layout way of working ect. Also when you stand at controls all tool holders are where you want them. Jocks got a master piece that way with hd180 with all tool holders perfectly incorporated into structure of machine. When I see solotrak on net it looks a bit as if there tools hanging all over the place. I know it can probably be custom designed but how do you find it's layout of controls and tool storage compared to Bryce. Oh one more thing. On net I don't see any sign of a hydraulic leg to stabilise mast. Does it have one. Apologies for all the questions. But I would rather the opinion of someone who's paid money for one as someone who's trying to sell me one

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Dont worry about asking, will help if can. Firsly you can choose the size of weight Upto 340kg which mine is. When i first got mine i though i could see a difference in weights between 400 and 340 but the speed of the hydraulics is ao much faster compared to the tractor it makes up for it. I can put posts in better and deeper with 340kgs and an auger then i can with 400 and spike. Ive left strainers a foot high with the bryce as i couldnt get them any deeper without splitting, and been back with solotrack and auger and got them full depth. I find theres also more feel for light knocking with the solo. The cap is a different design and "floats" (has a lot of free play) compared to the Bryce which means theres less stress on the cap and shouldn't crack welds. Its got nearly 10" capacity and ive only had one utility pole it wouldnt fit, but it is only two bolts to remove the cap and you can use the hammer directly.

Tool storage can be customised and i can carry everything i need with me on the machine. I have three locations to put spades, bars etc and two for wire pullers etc. Remember tool storage is simple it doesn't need a fany gadget just a piece of box steel will usually do. All the pics of machines on the net wil be customised slightly to where the fencer wants his own toos. I can say though that it doent have a hammer holder by the control's which is good as it should be on your belt and with you when you need it not on the machine.

Controls are slightly differnet layout but you get used to that quickly.

Theres no hydraulic leg as such and hardly ever need one, but if you do need stability you can drop the blade which usualy works but if not as the mast is teliscopic you just mast down to the ground level and hey presto a hydraulic leg.

I wont knock the bryce it is a good machine but i would would feel hard done by if i had to use one after owning the solotrak.

Hope i didnt miss anything.

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Tepapa

 

Nope don't think you've missed anything there. That' pretty much answers all my queries. 340kg hammer is ok. I can live with that. My OCD about tool storage seems to be in order. No mast leg. I can see what you mean with mast down. And when it's raised the blade should stabilise the whole machine. And so long as post cap hold post without cracking that's all I want from it.Thanks for your help. Only problem is it's still a difficult choice. Was almost hoping someone who had either one of the machines would come on and say mine is rubbish. Both machines still putting up a good fight for my hard earned cash. Still I'm pretty much reassured that whichever one I go for that cash should be easier earned. Ok thanks folks. Decision time is looming. A few more sums to do. Should have chosen by end of week.

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Just my opinion but when working on steep side banks more often than not all that keeps my machine from tipping right over is the mast leg! I find you use a lot of the sidehift as you are trying not to slide into the fenceline and this makes it less stable.I have a 350kg weight which is ample and any more will just muller the posts if its that hard. If its that hard the post becomes the weakest point and will just mushroom over or snap. You need an auger or spike if your going contracting and a big weight wont make up for either of these. Again I think post storage is a key point as if its only the tracked machine you can get on site then you need this for hauling the materials too as well as knocking and this is where these 180 degree machines fall short. Also if you are serious about working on steep banks all year round you WILL need track cleats or else!

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Hi mike.

I am a bit wary of no mast leg. Think I'll ask if it can be fitted. But iv just discovered Bryce don't do blade anymore for reason tepapa has pointed out. It reduces ground clearance. That could be a deciding factor as iv seen the 0-60 time of a runaway dumper. I notice solotrak post storage is bang on centre of tracks with knocker at back with little overhang. And engine over front looks well balanced and capable of laying out materials on hill ground with no cradle attachment overhanging. Out of curiosity what machine are you using. Not that I want to confuse myself more

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Good points MikeW. The solotrak does have a mid deck for post carrying unlike the bryce which only has a front craddle. If working on slopes im not sure id want all that weight hanging on the front and possibly unbalancing things. The blade is useful as a brake or to slow/control movement.

The solotrak doesn't side shift as far out as the Bryce and possibly protech and with less weight in the hammer makes it more stable without the need for a mast leg.

Track machine work best working straight up and down slopes and facing down hill. If working across slopes its best keeping the weight on the top side. If you have to work with the weight on the lower side, don't side shift out too far.

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Yeah it will all be about getting the feel for the machine bit by bit until you know it's limits. The no blade is quite an issue with me as when I first thought on going tracked I'd pretty much made up my mind I'd put blade on it. I saw dumper go before and driver abandoning ship. When they go they go and think I'd prefer a blade hovering above ground level on the steep stuff. At end of day a mast leg if it is needed shouldn't be a huge deal to fit. And can't see it hampering machine performance. Where as Bryce has stopped fitting blades as it was hampering it performance. I like Bryce machines but that could be it out to be honest.

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Yep, track grips will take you that bit further where tracks would just spin. I dont use them often, every couple of months but their invaluable when u need them.

You will see in one pic where i am using the teliscopic mast as a leg. Again i only ever need to once or twice a month for really awkward posts, uaually with the weight straight out back and down hill, dropping the blade for stability usually works.

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A piece of timber put in the ground after a pilot hole with a rock spike has far greater hydraulic suction than that installed after an auger, the controllability on the hydraulics and the 400kg have definitely been an advantage for us when installing large limber and using the rock spike.

 

There's been a lot of discussion about putting timber in the ground but not a lot about taking it out. The hydraulic rock spike fitted on the Bryce comes with an insert and a chain, when used in conjunction with the hydraulic stabilising leg, this will extract most timber including straining posts and gate posts. I have found it more powerful than a 3T excavator.

 

We are based in the North West, if you would like to come and look at or try a machine and talk to the guys who use it on a daily basis, you are more than welcome.

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