One of the new products on display at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon in January was Winnipeg-based Evolution Wheel’s all-steel wheels for skid steer loaders. At first glance they might evoke memories of old steel wheel tractors, but they’ve been developed to meet a very modern purpose, says Derek Hird owner of Evolution Wheel.
There are now several models of rubber-tracked skid steer loaders on the market which offer significant traction and floatation improvements over wheeled machines, but they come with a much heftier price tag. Hird says his steel wheels are an excellent — and lower cost — alternative to buying a tracked machine. They can be a big help around the farm, because they solve many of those traction problems producers experience with wheeled machines.
“Manure cleaning is a big one,” Hird says. “In the snow they do pretty well, also working in the mud. A lot of guys in the market have trended toward a track machine to solve the 20 per cent of jobs they couldn’t do with tires. Now they have this option that’s a third less cost for an upgrade and virtually no maintenance costs versus high maintenance costs down the road for a track machine.”
The steel wheels simply bolt onto hubs the same as an ordinary tire and rim. They also offer a 60-40 offset design so they can be mounted two ways, one to narrow up the loader’s track width or reversed to gain more clearance between the wheel and loader body.
“The nice part about the wheels is they’re easy to take on and off, two guys, 20 minutes and you have your tires back on again,” says Hird. They’re the same size as a 12 x 16.5 tire, except we’re a little bit wider to get some extra floatation.”
Because of their all-steel design, tire punctures won’t be a problem.
A complete set of four retails for $6,000. Check out the company’s website evolutionwheel.com, for more information and to find a list of dealers.