The all-rounder

It’s confusing enough that backhoes can mutate into skid loaders by shifting the digger mechanism to the front, but it seems that the machine’s key attribute – being able to cover a number

It’s confusing enough that backhoes can mutate into skid loaders by shifting the digger mechanism to the front, but it seems that the machine’s key attribute – being able to cover a number of general purpose tasks – is now seen by some as a reason to shift to a plethora of multiple specialist tools like the excavator, the mini excavator, the skidsteer and thespeciality front end loader. However, this construction workhorse is extending its usefulness in various ways. We check out some new models on the market

JCB backhoe loader round-up

JCB’s world beating range of backhoe loaders has moved further ahead of the competition with the unveiling of a new generation of machines which offer more versatility, productivity, cost efficiency and comfort. The company’s pedigree in backhoe loaders stretches back to 1953 when it first pioneered the machine – now two in every five of these machines sold anywhere in the world are made by JCB.

Ranging from the 100hp 4CX Super Sitemaster down to the 50hp Midi CX and 1CX, the hallmarks of innovation, quality and performance are prominent. Exceptional versatility enables an unrivalled variety of applications, ensuring JCB backhoes are the first machines on site and the last to leave.

4CX & 3CX

The flagships of the range, the latest 4CX and 3CX JCB backhoe loaders are the most efficient ever, offering customers average fuel savings ranging from six to 16% at typical daily work rates – and saving customers up to $10,000 in fuel costs over three years. The savings are largely achieved through the introduction of a new EcoDig system incorporating three hydraulic pumps. The new system now utilises three hydraulic pumps to provide the same hydraulic output but at lower engine speeds, itself delivering average fuel savings of up to 15%. Operators are able to select from two working modes, either Eco mode or low flow, to optimise productivity and improve machine control.

The new backhoes come with the existing EcoRoad options of Smooth Ride System (SRS) and TorqueLock to help boost productivity still further. TorqueLock reduces fuel consumption by up to 25% while increasing speed by up to 10 % and the Smooth Ride System maximises load retention around site for increased productivity and operator comfort. Furthermore, power brakes have been introduced on both 3CX and 4CX models. The system provides proportional braking throughout the pedal travel, providing operators with improved braking and reduced effort.


The JCB 1CX is a compact model with skid-steer manoeuvrability and the versatility of a genuine tool carrier. It is just 1.41m wide with the ability to turn on its own axis – enabling it to perform in the most confined spaces. It comes with full side-shift capability and, with a reach of 3.38 m, is able to dig a long trench with minimal need for re-positioning. Comfort and operator safety are paramount and features include a ROPS/FOPS operator environment with servo controls enabling easy operation. It incorporates fully hydrostatic transmission while the universal Quickhitch and a comprehensive range of skid-steer loader and backhoe attachments give excellent versatility.

Backhoes from Volvo

Designed and built with direct customer input, Volvo backhoes provide full front loader capacity and excavator digging performance. Redesigned with a true Volvo Care Cab it’s the versatile solution for a wide range of applications, including deep trenching, heavy lifting, loading, craning, material handling, construction, recycling, agriculture and more.

Top features for Volvo backhoes include:

•     Volvo Care Cab provides safe, ergonomic operation with plenty of personal storage and very good all-around visibility

•     Separate hydraulic valves for loader and excavator, provide load-sensing, flow-sharing hydraulic performance

•        Strong, reliable loader and excavator equipment, for powerful lift and breakout forces when loading and digging

•        Combined breaker and bi-directional hydraulic line, allow for maximum versatility with a wide range of attachments

•        100% differential lock on the rear axle, for excellent traction

•        Ease of service, with ground-level access to all maintenance and service points


The new Terex TLB840 Backhoe Loader

Terex’ new TLB840 backhoe loader is the most versatile, innovative and efficient Terex backhoe loader yet, designed to maximise customers’ productivity and profitability. It has been designed around the operator with a host of new features aimed at enhancing comfort, reducing driver fatigue and aiding productivity. A more spacious ergonomic cab provides closer interaction between operator and machine, with easy to use pilot operator excavator controls, adjustable steering column and centrally positioned instrument groupings. The operating environment has also been enhanced with an upgraded ventilation system, high performance air conditioning and opening rear windows for both ventilation and improved visibility when trenching.

The TLB840 has a new curved boom which provides greater clearance to reach over obstacles and load closer into trucks, whilst its reduced height provides increased transport clearance.  The boom also features a new “Deep Dig” outerslide extending dipperstick which allows for the clamping of objects between bucket and dipper.  An optional thumb attachment is also available for grab and grip applications. High dipper and bucket digging forces allow a dig depth to 5.4m (17’8”) whilst the extending dipper reaches up to 6.7m (22’) at ground level.

Powering the TLB840 is an economical and reliable 94hp (70kW) charge air cooled engine with a servo power syncro transmission.  This innovative system reduces driveline loss by 9%, delivering greater fuel economy and increased tractive effort for outstanding loader productivity. Superior handling is achieved via a new larger steering cylinder whilst braking performance is enhanced due to the larger diameter outboard mounted wet disc brakes, giving increased braking torque and a shorter stopping distance.


The JCB view

We asked JCB’s Middle East Regional Manager for his view of the backhoe loader market, given the company’s leading position in this sector.

“JCB is the world’s number one manufacturer of backhoe loaders with almost one in two machines sold made by JCB. Across the Middle East there is population growth and governments are focused on building affordable housing, where the backhoe is the ideal machine. Almost every construction site has a backhoe on it due to its high utilisation and affordability. In addition to versatility the backhoe also has the advantage of mobility around the site and from site to site.

In the Middle East, the backhoe is seen as the general purpose all-rounder. It is the first machine to arrive on site and the last machine to leave. Although for many customers its versatility is still a new concept. It all comes down to what you are doing. If you want to level a site, use and excavator. If you need to load into a truck, use a wheel loader. If you need a general purpose machine to build houses, use a backhoe.”


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