Rapid Universo

Rekord has taken a good idea and made it even better. The Universo looks like a 21st-century machine and sets new standards in the single-axle market.

What’s so unusual about the Universo? Lots. For starters it is hydrostatic. That means there are no fiddly gears — just twist the hand grip to speed up and release the handle to slow down. The rotary grip means that the machine can be moved forwards or backwards with ease. Two levers control steering via the independent wheel motors. It couldn’t be simpler.
The hydrostatic traction drive does away with the need for coupling, switching and braking. And the attachments work at their optimum rotating speed, regardless of the speed of the machine. The independent PTO offers two speeds: 630rpm or 1,000rpm.
Then there is the Wendematic drive system. The what? The Wendematic is a sophisticated — and clever — drive system. It’s not so much “how it works” that matters — it’s more “what it means”. And it means that everything is made easy for the operator. If you do not enjoy disconnecting the gears and levers to turn tractors from cultivator to mower, then this machine should be firmly on your shortlist.
The handlebars allow simple, tool-free variable adjustment for both height and angles up to 230?. Clutching a lever means you can swing the handlebars through 180? to place the PTO shaft to the front or the rear of the machine. There’s nothing to disconnect or re-connect and all the operating elements react in the same way as they did before. Whether you are mowing or tilling, twisting the grip to the right always means forwards, to the left means backwards. Similarly, the left lever always steers the machine to the left and the right lever always to the right. There is no confusion.
Added to all that, this machine is smart and has plenty of guts. The construction is rugged — everything you need to exist in a harsh outdoor environment. And the quiet, smooth-running 13hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard petrol engine provides enough power for the work. There are two speeds of the PTO shaft to ensure efficient and effective deployment of a diverse range of attachments. In this test we use the rotary cultivator and a mower.
“I understand there is a trailed seat available, but you wouldn’t object to walking behind it,” says one of the testers. “It’s very manoeuvrable and you don’t really have to think about operating it or what you have to do to turn it round.”
The other tester agrees agrees: “It’s absolutely no effort at all. Once you resist the temptation to push down on the handlebars, it’s simply a matter of walking with the machine. It’s a doddle.”
The Universo with rotary tiller prepares an excellent seedbed and would be particularly useful for those looking to sow lawns. With the handles offset the operator walks alongside the tractor and there is no need to leave footprints in the freshly turned soil.
In the meadow we attach a rotary mower. Mounted on skids, rather than wheels, this equipment has no problem disposing of nettles and thistles.
Mowing is at a good walking pace and both our testers find that controlling and turning the tractor is easy.
Changing implements is remarkably fast — pull a lever and drive the tractor away to line it up with the next required item. The list of attachments is comprehensive and will certainly turn this machine into an all-year drive system. There are various mowing attachments, including rotary, flail and sicklebar mowers, balers and a woodchipper.
We think you will want to put this machine to as much use as possible.
The Universo is a technological advancement in the two-wheeler world but it comes at a price. However, it is a pleasure to use and we reckon it is a machine that will be out of the shed on a regular basis.
The Rapid Universo is manufactured in Switzerland and marketed in the UK by Rekord Sales.

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