Tempted by 6xls? Take care
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• This year's vehicle taxation changes have made 6x2 tractors a tempting proposition—the extra up-front cost is offset by annual VED savings of up to 12,250.
But what are the issues involved in specifying a 6x2, and which layout should you go for: steer or non-steer, lifting or fixed, tag or mid axle? We looked for answers from Ken Moore, product manager for lveco Ford's heavy trucks division and a specialist on the subject.
The justification given for six-axle artic combinations is their low axle loading—fine for the road, but a potential headache for the driver in conditions of poor grip. Other disadvantages include increased turning circles, the potential for tyre scrub, and compromised handling at speed.
Each problem can be tackled, but the potential cost and weight penalties are considerable. Lifting or steering axles are heavy, and ground clearance can be limited. The operator needs to decide which factors are most important. For example, Moore says "the northern Europeans are paranoid about tyre wear," so Germans and Scandinavians tend to specify twin-steer outfits,