4 years ago

Dirt and Trail July 2018 issue 2

  • Text
  • Durability
  • Bikes
  • Riders
  • Suspension
  • Enduro
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The New Linhai 550

The New Linhai 550 T-BOSS Linhai is one of those “Alternative” brands that has a credible track record in South Africa. There must be zillions of those little Rustler Quads still operating on farms and mines all over South Africa – and lets not exclude the social scene where people were looking for reliable, economical fun. Over the years, we’ve watched this brand progress. Sure – they do copy quite a few of the innovations found on the mainstream brands – but that’s how technology improves. We remember testing their very first Rebel 400 Side By Side all those years ago – when we think back – the new ones are just so much more refined. The new 550 T-Boss. This is Linhai’s latest and greatest technology and it is obvious that they have taken ideas and innovations from all over. It’s a full sized AG unit that seats two passengers comfortably, with a smaller seat in the middle for a third occupant . It features some of the expected safety bits like a sturdy roll cage and seatbelts to hold occupants in place. This is the first unit, sale units will include safety nets on the doors. In the cab, there is a handy cubby hole and lots of little nooks for all your goodies andand this is a cool innovation, you even get a foldable armrest when the middle seat is not being used, complete with cup holders to support your coffee in the mornings when you head out to check on the sheep. It’s all quite well designed ergonomically, the switches, levers and so –on are all easy to reach and use. 4wd, diff lock etc, is all activated via switches on the dash. High, low is all simple as per usual on the automatic gear selector. We really like the cool digital display that incorporates the fuel gauge and so-on. Lighting is quite modern. All low consumption LED tech and it all looks pretty stylish. One feature that we like is the inclusion of a handy USB port for charging your stuff. You also get a 12v socket for your portable pump. The passenger did find that the footwell is slightly tight for bigger occupants. Out back they have fitted a mighty large load bed for all sorts of stuff – camping fishing or farmwork. It tips manually with a tailgate so emptying it all is quite simple. Ground clearance is provided by large 25” Duro tyres mounted on stylish black cast wheels and bolted to independent 96 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE JULY 2018

suspension all round. Powering the unit is a peppy, fuel injected four stroke 550 cc engine. We took it out back here and were suitably impressed with this units versatility. It’s more than strong enough for lugging a load and is fun to drive. We pointed her at all kinds of hills and slopes and found her very willing and stable, with great throttle response, smooth power delivery and torque. The suspension feels pretty good, quite firm with no untoward body roll – and clambering over the little yumps, we did not feel any big hits or experience bottoming out. Through the rocks, we felt no scrapes – the clearance is exactly what you need on a vehicle like this. We tried out the 4wd system – it’s plenty strong, with lots of torque delivery, we clambered up the steep test slope near our offices with a minimum of fuss and two fat oafs inside. Riding through the river – it felt good and watertight, no splutters or misfires. The occupants did get a bit wet at speed, but if you take it easy you won’t wet your tootsies… Really impressive. This unit was brand new, so we did not push her too much, but on the return trip we found that she accelerates quickly to the 70kph mark – but will happily sit at the 60kph mark all day long. We all felt that the unit has a quality feel to it – a great companion for the farm … We had a guest driver along who passed the comment that –“Going to work in this thing would make your day a lot more enjoyable.” Great fun. Versatile. Not sure on the pricing just yet. Definitely worth consideration. FEATURES: • 493cc Engine • 2x4 & 4x4 Wheel Drive • Fuel Tank 26 liters • Ground Clearance 280mm • Automatic H/L/N/R • 2730mm (L) x 1460mm (W) x 1890mm (H) Triple seat... Cool armrest... DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE JULY 2018 97