The technology of Ride on Power Trowels has advanced drastically over the past 10 years. Out of this has come hydraulic riders, which were made to make steering and operating a ride on easier on the operator. Some people swear by them, while others stick with the mechanical riders for a few main reasons.I am not saying that hydraulic riders are bad machines, but they are not ideal for every situation. In this blog I will highlight a few reasons why it may be better to buy a mechanical ride on over a hydraulic.
Before we get into the specifics, here is a brief description of mechanical and hydraulic riders:
Mechanical Trowels: Most common riders on the market, steer by pushing levers connects to spiders. They’re lighter and cheaper than hydraulics.
Hydraulic Riders: Bigger, more expensive trowels that are steered using hydraulic joy-sticks. Suited for very large slabs.
The biggest reason mechanical riders are a good investment is because of the initial cost. Hydraulic riders are thousands more than mechanical trowels, and can do essentially the same job. Because if the amount of extra parts and engineering that has gone into the hydraulic riders, they are also much more expensive to fix if you have any issues.
Depending on what kind of slabs you are working on, dishing out a lot more money than you need to doesn’t make sense. If you can save thousands on your equipment and still get the same job done, you will be much more profitable.
FEELING THE SLAB
One of the great features about mechanical riders is that you are able to feel the slab when trowelling. This is a great feature because this will help you to know how the troweling process is going by more than just look. The veteran finishers tell us that feeling the slab you’re working on is one of the keys to using a rider efficiently.
Because hydraulic riders are controlled by joy-sticks, you don’t feel the slab at all. Not saying that you won’t get as good of a finish, but you have to go only by the look of the concrete. It’s like buying anything; depending on your preference, different options are available.
If you’re a pro who really wants to feel the slab when finishing the concrete, a mechanical ride on trowel would be the way to go.
RISK OF HYDRUALIC LEAK
When using a mechanical rider, there is little that can go wrong when you’re on the slab because the technology is fairly simple compared to a hydraulic version. The one potential issue with hydraulic riders is the potential of leaking hydraulic fluid. If this happens, it can ruin the whole slab you are working on.
This is not something that happens often, but will cost you a lot of money when it does, so it is something to be aware of.
With a mechanical rider there is no chance of this happening.
SO, WHY SHOULD YOU BUY A MECHANICAL RIDE ON TROWEL?
The reality is, it really depends on what kind of jobs you plan to be working on. If you are doing a variety of small – large jobs, a mechanical rider would be the best option because it gives you the combination of reasonable up-front cost and will work well on small or large jobs.
The only reason to buy a hydraulic rider would be if you are doing huge slabs on a regular basis. These machines do well on these slabs because there is little operator fatigue and you can get very large riders.
In most situations a mechanical rider would be the best option for most people because it allows for the most versatility and best combination of features, but ultimately, you’ll want to make sure you buy what is best for your business.