T194 subcompact tractor

INDEPENDENT TESTING

T194 subcompact tractor

by James de Havilland

A subcompact size with a middle-weight punch?

Powered by a naturally aspirated Yanmar diesel engine, the 19hp TYM T194 is fitted with a 54in / 1.37m deck, dual range hydrostatic transmission, selectable four-wheel drive and pretty much all the other key features you would expect from a compact tractor-based ride-on mower. So why is this model seen as offering something new?

 


FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Those on the hunt for a smaller ride-on mower, but with the sub-compact tractor features will have found out there is not a lot of choice. If you need a three-point rear linkage and PTO, plus options to include a front-end loader and hydraulics to tip a trailer or power attachments, you could be out of luck. It’s here where the latest TYM model from Reesink Turfcare comes in. 

As a ride-on mower, the diminutive 19hp diesel powered TYM is pretty much on the money with regard to ease of use, noise levels and agility. But where this model really scores is with the fitting of a rear linkage, a feature that dramatically boosts versatility. Add a front loader option too, and this little tractor could well tick all the right boxes for both professional gardeners, contractors and landowners looking for a ‘one machine, many jobs’ role.

Although it’s not possible to predict a machine’s longevity, the build quality of the T194 looks impressive. From the metal front bonnet, thick steel deck and beefy rear linkage, this little tractor looks built to last. 

PUT TO THE TEST

We tested this machine in the extensive grounds of Radley College, with formal gardens, wooded areas, pathways and verges to travel and navigate. It provided a well-rounded test venue from which to draw these conclusions. 

Purpose developed by TYM to straddle the demands of a sub-compact ride-on mower with the power and versatility offered by a compact tractor the next ‘size’ up, the T194 has extra features for true compact tractor versatility. This starts with the near half-tonne capacity CAT one three-point rear linkage and 540rpm PTO. With its ability to power a full range of attachments, such as a rotary cultivator, leaf collector or flail mower, the diminutive T194 is certainly a step-up from a more conventional ride-on ‘tractor’ mower. 

A further plus is that the T194 can be specified with a remote hydraulic valve which taps into the tractor’s hydraulic system to deliver a useful flow of up to 15.7 litres per minute. This is ample to tip a trailer or power a grass collector. The same hydraulic system can also be used to operate a front loader which will lift a near quarter tonne load to 1.80m. Purposed designed to match the tractor, the loader can be easily fitted and removed.

If you get the impression that the diminutive T194HST is pretty much like a scaled down compact tractor you’d be right to a degree. But where this small compact also scores is in its ‘scaled up’ design. The operator platform is roomy enough for a taller operator with the suspended seat adjusting to give plenty of leg room. 

The main controls are all easy to access and the tall roll bar was easily lowered for working around and under trees. This small tractor gives the impression that it’s been designed to meet the demands of both less intensive as well as full-time professional users.

When driving the tractor, there are a few points to note. First up, the overall smoothness of the engine and transmission package, this tractor is not only easy to operate but comfortable too. A second point is the ‘weighting’ of the travel pedal. With some designs, the pedal is too ‘light’ which can make it all too easy to come on and off the pedal when traversing rough ground. A heavy pedal can help alleviate this, but too much pedal weight can make the tractor tiring to use. With the T194, the pedal weighting was spot on. Furthermore, the tractor can be used in a ‘cruise’ mode, which enables the pedal to be released when carrying out mowing or working with a rear mounted attachment.

The test tractor was not equipped with a front loader, but its relatively long 1,350mm wheelbase suggests this combination should be a well-balanced package and one that will greatly increase the year-round usability of the tractor. The mid-mount deck, incidentally, looks easy enough to remove although we did not attempt this.

Other details? A heel activated rear differential lock pedal will add extra traction on tricky terrain, the rear linkage has a rate of drop control to allow it to match different weights of attachments and the PTO selection lever slots cleanly between mid, rear only and mid and rear settings. 

A really good feature is the PTO engagement button. This worked really nicely, modulating power uptake so drive was fed to the driveline smoothly. When it comes to disengaging the PTO, the button is simply tapped with a finger and gives a ‘big’ tractor feature on what amounts to a small tractor package.

As to agility, the front wheels turn tightly to give a turn radius of a claimed 86.6 inches. That figure does not really convey how well the tractor tucks in, however, which makes it possible to do a tight, scuff-free turn in a tight space with no need to shuttle between forward and reverse. That said, the dual-range transmission, which delivers a 12.5kph travel speed, makes it easy to shuttle back and forth.

CONCLUSION

There will be specific users for whom this small tractor and mid-mount mower combination will prove ideal. The first will include those charged with needing to mow large but awkward areas such as caravan parks. A ride-on mower is obviously the go-to choice for keeping the grass trim but a dedicated mower is just that. With a TYM T194HST the end user will have all the ability of a compact tractor too.

The next user group will include landowners and those with a large garden or small estate. A versatile, tough, easy-to-use tractor-based mower is an ideal all-in-one solution but typically one that is satisfied by purchasing a larger model than may be needed. The advantage with the TYM is that it is pretty much the same size as a ‘traditional’ large ride-on mower but with all the added features of a compact tractor that is too large to access smaller lawns. 

Arguably the hardest group to win over will be contractor users. In many cases, the key need is for a ‘small’ tractor that can be towed between sites on a trailer but also with a couple of extra bits of kit to suit a given job. A conventional compact tractor with a mid-mount deck and extra attachments can be too heavy to be towed behind a pick-up. Smaller and lighter, the versatile T194 could be the ideal alternative. 

As with any item of equipment, the only way to know if it will suit is to give it a go. The TYM T194 will not have the out-and-out power and mowing width to match some end user demands. A side-discharge deck-only is not going to suit some either. But with other deck choices in the pipeline, this well designed sub-compact is a welcome addition to the small tractor scene.

 

When it comes to disengaging the PTO, the button is simply tapped with a finger and gives a ‘big’ tractor feature on what amounts to a small tractor package.

James de Havilland

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EASY THINKING

Small design details, such as the rear linkage top-link stowage holder, show a lot of thought has gone into making the tractor easy to work with. The fit and finish of the TYM was impressive.

In summary

Its plus points are plentiful and include quiet running, smooth transmission, tight turn radius, good ergonomics, easy service access, solid build and potential versatility. And only a couple of minor negatives. It’s a little on the slow side in transport but considering its audience who are unlikely to need a machine to take on the roads and move between sites, this is, as stated, a minor issue. The other thing that could have been slightly improved upon is that the tall roll bar extends a long way back when folded.

With thanks

Radley College

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Specification

Engine: Yanmar

Engine HP: 19

Fuel system: Indirect fuel injection

Transmission: HST

Number of speeds: 2 range

Max MPH: 7.8

Steering: Hydrostatic

Hitch lift capacity: 499kg

PTO type: Independent 

Tyres: Turf tyres all round

Roll over protection: Standard

Weight: 650kg

Mower: Standard

Mower discharge: Side

Mower working width: 54 inches

Loader: Optional

Loader lift height to pivot pins: 1811mm

Loader lift capacity at max height: 280kg

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