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Good / bad Pisten Bully
Topic Started: Feb 22 2009, 07:53 PM (11,866 Views)
Greggie
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Hi,

We are looking to upgrade our groomers for next season. We groom between 400-500 hours a year. We are interested in a new or almost new Pisten Bully. What do they cost? As far as I know they are the best 2 track groomer in the world, is that true? What are the good or bad things from a Pisten Bully? How expensive is the yearly maintenence? What type of Pisten Bully would you advice for a 9 feet drag?
Thanks,

Greg
Edited by Greggie, Feb 23 2009, 04:16 AM.
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cowboy
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Greg, if you get to spend time in a newer one you'll fall in love, I did. Really have no desire to switch.

You've opened a bit of a can of worms, maybe I can help with some of your ?'s.

Couple of ?'s first.

- How wide can you go, a fullsize alpine cat (200,edge,300,400,or 600), the blade is about 14'.5" closed. The tiller cuts 14'2", and finishes 17'8". Track width is 12'10" or 13'8" depending. There's quite a few good used alpine machines that show up for 1-200K depending. Upwards of 150 new machines (PB and BR)are sold in N America yearly. Many alpine resorts run 10,000 hrs plus on these machines without real problems.(same holds true for Br and Prinoth cats as well.) As long as they're maintained and operated well.

- do you have to run a drag? have you thought of a tiller?

- have you ever run or ridden in a newer one?

Okay,,,

As for them being the "best", subject to debate, they're VERY nice.

Cost,new big cat, 12-way blade and tiller, around 250k(ballpark), 8-10' pb100 w/12way and tiller, 150K(ballpark). I have no idea on the non-tiller "trail" version's.

Last I heard you've got the "trail bully" and "edge trail" in the new, non-tiller cats( we'll see if both these and the current 100 get rolled into one with the new version of the 100 in a year or so). Both come in 8 or 9' versions, rubber or steel tracks in 8', and steel only in 9'.

Maint, PB has a spring sale and you can get filters and such for couple hundred depending on cat. (about 15% off) Oil, 2 fuel, 2 hydro (or3?), air, and brake, are the normal ones. About 6 gal good ATF, 2gal+/- Syn gear lude for splitter box and planetaries. Engine oil. Service the Moog servo's, gaskets and fluid(it's a bit expensive).Overhead on engine every 1200hrs(valves). Grease, that's about it for normal yearly cost. Check your hydro pressures, tracks, wheels, sprockets, bearings, seals, "teach in" the drive card,etc,etc, as needed. De-track in summer.(it forces you to check tracks and running gear)

Belting goes about 3000hrs+(run on snow not rocks, snirt, proper tension,etc). Sprockets, bit less. Grousers, life of cat assuming above warning.

That's about it for "maint". Everything breaks, PB's are no exception. Being hydrostatic and very computer/electronically controlled, every thing in this area is expensive. This is a "bad" part, regarding repair cost. Most things can't be found at NAPA

Bad's-
-Repair can get expensive.
-They are a 2 track, one track does most of the work in a turn. Hard climbing corners are worst.
- Yes they do "porpoise", so does a D10 dozer and an M1 Abrams tank. Like the dozer, they "work" with the blade down cutting it flat.(hence the ? about a tiller, since you're cutting it up front, do you really need to cut it 11 more times in the drag? Tiller does the same thing.)
-they might work better with a gooseneck drag. some people don't care for goosenecks. If you run a tiller or packer bar on a "stinger", you have to have a gooseneck.
-they don't fix as easily along the trail as say, a tucker.

Good's-
-well thought out and engineered machine, pleasure to run.
-new cat option list is small, most every creature comfort is standard. Xenon light's, front High pressure valve, diesel fired engine heater and some real special stuff is about it for options.
- outside the 100,(it's a bit tail heavy,really limits uphill performance) all are well balanced. lot's of power.
- you need to get in one if you're serious to see for yourself. call your nearest alpine area that runs them and ask for a ride, you'll be impressed.
- PB put's on a "service school" every summer and fall through your dealer. It cost's, but what you learn is invaluable.
-In fullsize form, with a tiller, they're amazing. A 17-20,000lb cat, putting down 1 psi, with 280 to 400 hp(490hp on the 600 polar) they're studs. One of these cats can supply more hp to the tiller than a 100's engine produces. The grooming speed difference between good snow and bad, and uphill and down hill is reduced. As is hrs spent grooming.

For your use, I'd stay with the 5-axle cats.(fullsize or cut-down, and the trailbully and trail "edge"). The 100 is fine with a tiller, you won't care for it with a drag.(hence the reason it's no longer made in "trail" form)

Hopefully I've helped in some way..

BR's do the exact same thing, you might look at them also.
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Greggie
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cowboy
Feb 22 2009, 10:31 PM
Couple of ?'s first.

- How wide can you go, ?

- do you have to run a drag? have you thought of a tiller?

- have you ever run or ridden in a newer one?

Hi,

We can't go wider then 9'6, 9 feet is preferable.

Now we are using a drag and everyone around is using a drag. What are the bennefits of a tiller?

Have driven a Pinroth last year what runs also fine. Most clubs in this area have PB's if they go for a 2-track groomer.

I know that Kässbohrer made also buses, they can drive easy more then a million kilometers. Their products was always top of-the-line. How is Pisten Bully now compare with Pinroth and PB?
Thanks,

Greg

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30yrgrmr
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We received a new 9'6" Trail Bully w/aluminum/rubber cleats, at the start of this winter. It's a very good machine, pulls a 9'6" X 20 LaCross drag very well.

Maintenance is fairly easy/cheap, so far. Operator training is fairly fast.

Engine/Transmission access is the best!

Downside.... It has onboard computers. They may be a pain in the A** later!

Grooming speed is fair, 5-8 MPH, with proper drag setup. Manuverability is great. Operating is comfortable w/wheel. Porpoising is minimal with plow down on skids. Fuel usage is excellent, depending on drag type. Deep snow capability is great. Rear vision(Drag), is not great , as with any forward cab unit. Six-way plow is exceptional.

Dealer was great. Without dealer support, you are screwed, no matter what you buy!

Fit and finish is excellent.

We have put on 2000 miles/350 hrs so far with NO problems.

Cost was $146,000!

Tillers don't work well on trails because of tractor porpoising and the higher speeds of sleds compared to skiers. Small bumps/waves become HUGE at 60 MPH on a sled! Some drag manufacturers have begun adding tillers to drags to further process snow. The jury is still out on these hybrids.

Overall, the Pisten Bully seems to be a very good machine. We are happy.
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Greggie
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I saw in your profile you have also a Sur-track TM125. If you compare it with the Pisten Bully what are the good and bad points? Which is stronger? Why did you move away from the Sur-track systems?
Thanks,

Greg
Edited by Greggie, Feb 23 2009, 11:27 AM.
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cowboy
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Greg

The reason about width, well maintained alpine cats come up used all the time. If you can use one as is, without cutting down, removeing tiller parts, etc. You can save quite a bit of money, a service and check-up is pretty cheap for a dealer.

They can handle sled trails with ease, with a tiller.(lots of tiller cats in the deep snow areas of the western US and Canada). If you have no real issues pulling a drag in your conditions, you're probably better off with a drag, don't need a tiller. Tillers are best suited to the "steep and deep" type stuff. Most alpine operators can cut a pass through some pretty nasty stuff that you couldn't tell whether it was done by a drag or tiller if you didn't know better. It takes time to get the hang of it, and get good. It's not as easy as they can make it look. Our PB kicked my butt for some time, and I had over 6500hrs of drag and tiller time when we got it.

Limited to 9', you can't cut an alpine cat down to that, without a lot of time and money. The little cats,i.e. pb100 and pb panaa, probably aren't the best choice for sled trails. They can work, but there's better machines.

That leaves the "Trailbully" and "Edge trail". Crawled over them at service school, talked to the guys running them, never run one, can't help ya. They all seemed to like them.

Kassbohrer(German) owns Pisten Bully, which owns Panaa and Formatic, both Finnish companies, starting to see those machines over here.

Prinoth(Italy) owns what was Bombardier, they import the Husky. The BR350 and BR500 are BR's creations that Prinoth now owns. The BR's are great machines, it's what you like. Until the PB600 showed up, the BR350 could out run PB's uphill. The 350 is a hell of a machine.

Ford or dodge or chevy????


Both types are very "high tech", lots of electronics, it's the way things are, and will be.
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couchsachraga
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This may or may not be of any help, as I've only run and been around smaller machines (PB 070, PB160, and BR180). There wasn't an XC groomer operator among us that preferred the BR to the PB (albeit only 3 of us). The PB just seemed more solid, better designed. The BR180 (2002?) was much more comfortable (to say the least) than the old '87 PB 070, and created a better trail (15 years of technology improvements will do that), but the 070 was (is) more bullet-proof, and from our perspective not just the fact that the newer cats are more electric than mechanical. We were hoping the owner would go for a PB100 Nordic, but that didn't happen.

That's our XC world though, so take it for what its worth. Given the wide usage, I'd suspect the bigger BR's (Alpine cats) were better made.

Either way it's a far cry from a 70's cat (or worse yet, an Alpine!)
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robosnow
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tucker !!!
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trailboss77
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Since they no longer make the BR180, a year ago we tried both the Trail Bully and the Prinoth Husky. I prefered the Trail Bully myself but because the Husky was $10,000 cheaper, we ended up with the Husky. At this point, we have over 450 hours on the Husky and not a single problem to report. The Husky and Trail Bully both use the same engine and many other drive componets are the same between the machines. A couple things I prefered about the Trail Bully were the cruise control that the Husky doesn't have and also the option of having stick steering instead of a steering wheel. It is still computer controled with the sticks and not as good as manual stick but I prefer it over the steering wheel.
Have been grooming for 34 years and have covered more than 100,000 miles of snowmobile trail.
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Greggie
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I don't think that the Tucker can do the same as a Pisten Bully. Beside that with a Tucker, you can't see the drag.
Thanks,

Greg
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drmiller100
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i was involved last year in a program that had PB edges and a sur track.

We are out west with a lot of deep snow. The PB's are the ticket if you have 2 feet of fresh powder, 6 feet blown over drifts, and deep bottomless snow.

The surtrack grooms faster down a trail, burns half the fuel, but will not make it up a 10 percent grade in 2 feet of fresh powder.

The PB's have pretty good warrantee, the surtrack warranty is not worth very much IMO.

As a separate issue, tiller vs drag. tiller makes a trail really pretty by smoothing the top couple of inches around. Think of a cake with frosting - the tiller puts frosting on the trail to make it pretty. tillers were made for skiers on a ski hill.

A drag processes the snow much deeper to make a trail last longer. A drag is faster to run and makes a better product for heavy used areas, but you rarely have to back up with a drag.

with a tiller, you can pick the tiller up and back up and fix stuff, turn around. with a drag you really can't back up, and even turning around is much harder.

the sur track drag is a really good drag.

the best of all worlds out west would be a 12 foot surtrack drag behind a PB, with a tiller option for the PB.

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30yrgrmr
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Greggie
Feb 23 2009, 11:26 AM
I saw in your profile you have also a Sur-track TM125. If you compare it with the Pisten Bully what are the good and bad points? Which is stronger? Why did you move away from the Sur-track systems?
Thanks,

Greg
We didn't move away from Sur-Track, we just added to our fleet. We use three different design groomers to cope with differing trails and conditions. We have three types for three types of trails here in Northern Michigan......

The Trail Bully is used on hilly, twisted trails. Its deep snow capabilities and exceptional manueverability fit it to these trails. It is a replacement for a Bombardier BR180 that we had for 9 years.

The Sur-Track is heavier and faster. We use it on flatter, wider, straighter, more heavily used trails. The heavier drag is the best for cutting deep, hard moguls. It has lots of pulling power and good fuel economy.

We also have a New Holland 8650 four wheel drive farm tractor with duals on the rear. We use it on flat, straight, rail road grades. Its fuel usage is much less than the other two. We can also use it for trail maintenance, grading, and mowing, in the summer months. We have built a two man brushing platform to fit the front loader. It is very handy for reaching those higher branches over the trails.

The drags we use for the Bully and the NH are LaCross Drags, built in East Jordan, Michigan. They have moldboards and a round bottom pan, with a lot of clearance between cutters. They cut very well and pull easily, saving fuel. They lay down a sweet trail. The biggest advantage of the LaCross Drag is that we can groom warm, wet snow. We don't have to stop grooming when it warms up, and we have used them during rain storms.

Remember, no matter what anyone tells you, there is no perfect tractor or drag or setup. Use whatever combination that does the best job for your trails, conditions, and your budget.

As the ladies say...It's not what you use, it's how you use it.

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Greggie
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trailboss77
Feb 24 2009, 07:47 AM
Since they no longer make the BR180, a year ago we tried both the Trail Bully and the Prinoth Husky. I prefered the Trail Bully myself but because the Husky was $10,000 cheaper, we ended up with the Husky. At this point, we have over 450 hours on the Husky and not a single problem to report. The Husky and Trail Bully both use the same engine and many other drive componets are the same between the machines. A couple things I prefered about the Trail Bully were the cruise control that the Husky doesn't have and also the option of having stick steering instead of a steering wheel. It is still computer controled with the sticks and not as good as manual stick but I prefer it over the steering wheel.
I compared the Trailbully with the Husky and i think the Trailbully is much more groomer then the Husky. It has an axle more and about 4000# more weight. I think it is more reasonable to compare the Husky with the Pisen Bully 100. Also the price of the Pisten Bully 100 and the Pinroth Husky are the same about $170,000 Can and for the Trailbully about $200,000.
Thanks,

Greg
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Cross
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I have never used a drag but how deep does it cut?

I agree the tiller just makes things look good. The blade is what does all the work.
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Pekabu
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I'm going to through this out there, and hopefully the PB guys can give the straight scoop. I was told a weak point in the PB100's is that there is one "pump" system. So the hydraulics for the Plow/Drag and Drive are all on the same circuit. So it's easier to get crap in the drive system. Supposedly the bigger machines have split systems.

Southern NH Snow Slickers
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