Infinitely variable gearboxes are unquestionably the hot tractor topic of the moment. Manufacturers are selling and promoting an increasing number of these more sophisticated transmissions, yet the big farmer question remains: Is this stepless technology worth the extra money? How beneficial is an infinitely variable transmission in practical everyday work? Here we present the results of a comparative test and add the relevant commentary

As more companies introduce their branded infinitely variable gearbox tractors, user interest in the technology inevitably grows, too.

Moreover, with ongoing measurements revealing that these variable transmission tractors do stack up in performance against their more conventional counterparts, the old efficiency argument also seems to be losing some of its weight. The bottom line is that overall tractor efficiency depends on a whole raft of key factors, not just the transmission.

Engine, gearbox, axles, weight, control systems – these and other components also play a big part in determining total tractor efficiency in the field. Following this overall theme, a very interesting dilemma arises when the buyer has to choose between identical tractors – all bar the transmission, powershift or stepless. What to do? Stepless enthusiasts argue that the extra investment is soon recouped in terms of increased productivity and reduced fuel costs.

Then there’s the additional operator benefit of freeing his focus on gear selection and enabling him to concentrate on the attached implement.

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