THE term ‘Fastrac’ is associated with power, speed and comfort and of course, JCB. Having enjoyed outstanding success in the construction machinery industry, JCB dipped it’s toes into the highly competitive agricultural sector in the 80s with materials-handling equipment.
However, the company veered in a radical direction in 1991 with the unveiling of its new high speed systems tractor, the JCB Fastrac.
While the concept of a tractor that could perform on both the field and the road was not entirely new, this was a completely new and adventurous gamble for JCB.
Their timing, however, could not have been better as Mercedes, who were the creators and sole contender in the high speed tractor niche, had just left the market, leaving the gap wide open for JCB.
The third generation Fastracs –the 2000 series – were launched in 1998 comprising four models including the entry 125hp 2125 and flagship 2150 with 150hp with a 6 Perkins engine providing the power.
The 2000 series used a six-speed truck type gear box manufactured by Eaton, comprising three ranges with a three-speed splitter providing 54F/18R gears.
Inheriting the dry heavy dry clutch from their 1100 series predecessors, the transmission – Autoshift – is strenuous on the operator, and can often be subject to abuse as well as premature wear.
In the late 2000s, the Fastrac received a major update with a wet, multi-plate-type clutch known as Smoothshift, which transformed the tractor.
The wide cab provides great forward and side visibility. However, rear visibility of implements is hindered due to the cab’s centre-mounted nature.
The right of the driver’s seat is dominated by a large, busy console of dials controlling the majority of operations, including PTO, steering and linkage.
Below the console, four colour-coded spool valves fall easily to hand as well as a truck -tyle handbrake. A digital dash provides the vital stats while the large straight line-styled bonnet dominates the front windscreen.
While the Fastrac’s 50kph speed is of substantial benefit, the ace up its sleeve lays the four corners of the tractor where a combination of large coil springs, torsion bars, dampers and air suspension provide a smooth ride.
External air-activated disc brakes provide the stopping power, with ABS added in 2001. Four-wheel steer – known as ‘Quadtronic’ –was a further option available to the Fastrac, greatly increasing the manoeuvrability of the tractor.
JCB Fastrac 2125
Perkins 1000-6T HR2
Years of manufacture