In Praise of the Caron ST390

I have had an Erreppi Master transporter for 19 years and I do not know what we would have done without it.  It is small enough to get anywhere, yet can easily handle a front end loader tipping rubble into the back of it. If one has a large estate, perhaps the gamekeeper would also have a Kubota RTV to move sacks of wheat, but if it's only one machine you are after, then the Caron is the only consideration because, like the Erreppi, it has the strength, capacity and durability being based upon a tractor.

The Kawasaki Mule, etc. are derived from quad bikes, which themselves, are derived from motorbikes.  The Erreppi is no longer available (I am told) to purchase in the UK.  There are 6 shortcomings on the Erreppi, all of which are addressed on the Caron.  They are as follows: the wishbone style front axle which provides poor ground clearance and has significant maintenance issues; the steep angle of the rear prop shaft which is also exposed to grass/straw etc. instead of being enclosed; the lack of a diff lock; the 850 kg load capacity; the lack of 3-way tip; and the less durable electro-hydraulic tip mechanism.

The Caron has a front axle akin to a full size tractor, horizontal enclosed prop shaft, 2 ton capacity, 3-way tip powered off the engine and a rear diff lock.

The only area of concern that I had with the Caron ST390 was its slightly larger dimensions than the Erreppi. The whole point of these handy machines is their go-anywhere capability; their light footprint and ease of manoeuvrability in - say - a wood.  And another often overlooked advantage is the low height of the tray to make loading/unloading by hand easy, compared to a larger tractor and trailer combination or pickup.

I can assure readers that the ST390 is every bit as manoeuvrable as the Erreppi.  I cannot praise this machine enough. The Erreppi is a 25 year longevity machine, the Caron perhaps 50 years if looked after.

As I said, with the Erreppi no longer available and with the 6 design limitations addressed in the Caron, there is no other machine to consider if you are looking to move stone, rubble, planings, muck, sand, cement, logs, bricks, fence posts, troughs, water, hay, straw - you name it.  And it's so convenient if it's only to send a man with a hammer to repair a fence.  Utterly brilliant.  I cannot recommend the Caron ST390 enough.

D. Smith-Ryland, Warwickshire

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