Transporter BTR 550

Tackling slopes at full load? No longer a problem
 

The BTR 550 transporter is a professional machine ideal for use on all types of terrain and also in tight spaces. Its load capacity is optimal.
 
We are in Trinità, Canossa, in the Italian province of Reggio Emilia. The area is steeped in history for these were the lands of the Countess Matilda. In the background Canossa castle can be admired, where in 1077 Emperor Henry IV had to spend three days and nights in front of its entrance gate before being received by Matilda’s guest, Pope Gregory VII, to have his excommunication revoked.
 
It is surrounded by the gentle slopes of the first hills of Reggio. It is a splendid sunny day at the end of July, enlivened by the chirping of cicadas. We are in the company of Giovanni Morini, a small farmer who lives in a local cottage, for an appointment to test drive the BTR 550 transporter, the professional machine from Bertolini.
 
To start, we decide to drive it down into a small wood where Morini has his woodpile: we have to tackle a long slope first over concrete, then bumpy terrain covered in scrub. The transition is smooth because without a load a transporter can tackle a inclination of 40°.
 
“This is an ideal machine for slopes: the tracks are quite wide and hence ensure a good grip on all types of surfaces,” says Morini. Also the machine has a low barycentre, in that it is only a few centimetres off the ground,” (6.5cm, author’s note). From the safety angle, as soon as the tester lets go of the control lever, the clutch disengages automatically and initiates the expanding brake function, which comes in very handy in dry and dusty environments such as the one on which we are testing now.
 
The entry into the wood is also smooth, despite the presence of bushes, small shrubs and the proximity of trees amongst them, the BTR 550 transporter proves itself to be an extremely easy to handle machine. Its mere 200kg weight and tight turning radius, guarantee absolute freedom of movement.
 
The woodpile consists of large trunks, to be turned into logs by a woodcutter: so as well as being heavy, the pieces of wood are also extremely cumbersome. For greater ease in operating and optimizing the load, Morini decides to remove the side rails – which can be telescoped anyway – and to secure the wood to be transported by two straps. The weight of the load is around 400kg out of a maximum capacity of 550kg.
 
We head up from the wood to the garage where Morini intends to store the trunks before chopping them up: our tester is completely satisfied by the performance of the 5.5CV petrol engine. Accustomed to tough rural work, Morini easily tips the loading surface, which can achieve a maximum tilt of 50°. The BTR 550 transporter is also available in a version with hydraulic dump box, known as the BTR 550 D.
 
Morini also wants to try out the BTR 550 transporter on softer ground, to load up a bit of compost. During the journey towards the vegetable garden, over apparently flat terrain, he changes speed more than once, engaging the reverse gear: to try out the six speed (4 forward and 2 reverse) transmission, with gears bathed in oil. This time, during loading, the side rails ensure the perfect grip on the loading surface.
 
On the whole, Morini’s verdict is extremely positive: “The Bertolini BTR 550 is a powerful but easy to handle machine, ideal for safe use on all types of terrain and also in restricted spaces. It has an optimal capacity and a loading surface with removable side rails also allowing for the transportation of heavy and extremely bulky loads, saving the operator the effort of having to do several trips”.
 
 
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