And now the FM6

Farms & Farm Machinery - - New Equipment Test -

Honda plays around a lot with trans­mis­sions, but there’s good rea­son.

The FA6 gives the auto/ man­ual op­tion, but a vari­ant – the FM6, has a wholly man­ual trans­mis­sion. Apart from the dif­fer­ence in trans­mis­sions, the ma­chines are iden­ti­cal. But the man­ual is slightly cheaper. The FM6 comes in at $13,700 and the FA6 at $14,200.

But who buys a man­ual in­stead of an auto? Mostly op­er­a­tors who in­tend to keep the ma­chines for a long time and work them hard. Dairy farm­ers are the hardest on ma­chin­ery, Craig Hart­ley says, “be­cause they work 24/7 in a very acidic en­vi­ron­ment, and of­ten in aw­ful weather”.

Dairy farm­ers and their hard core col­leagues of­ten pre­fer man­ual ma­chines like the FM6 be­cause they’re less com­pli­cated than the hy­dro­static model – no speed sen­sors, no elec­tric shift mo­tors, fewer switch­block con­trols on the han­dle­bars, and so on – so they’re less prone to me­chan­i­cal fail­ure, how­ever small.

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