Mine has a mast, I do not have a crazy wheel, but would very much like one. I just haven't had a chance to build one. Eli mendez makes them, but by the time freight to the west coast is included it would cost more than my whole machine (again, ancient).
My mast does not have side shift. In general it is not a problem because with a skid steer you can kind of walk the forks against the sides of a pallet and scoot them over.
The main drawbacks are solved with the addition of a crazy wheel (swivel, castor, 5th wheel...). Without, you can turn pretty tightly, but to really turn sharp you jerk all over the place and/or tear up the ground. With a crazy wheel, they are really smooth.
I have 4 610 bobcats with mast and tail wheel and one s130 with mast and tail wheel. We are happy with this setup. They are dedicated bee machines. 3 have Edwards masts and the other 2 are factory masts.
I have a bobcot 773 that I purchased for around $10K and I have used it heavily for 3.5 years. It does not have a mast. I keep 200-300 colonies. I like it fine for my size operation. I've never used anything else and it took a bit of practice to get smooth on uneven rocky terrain, once the learning curve is overcome I got pretty comfortable with it on all types of terrain and without destroying the ground. It is limited in its lifting ability as mentioned above no full totes even a 100 bag pallet of sugar too heavy (2500lbs), it can comfortably load 1600 to 1800 lbs. When I watch those guys with hummer bees unloading at almonds I am amazed at how maneuverable and fast those machines are but noway could I justify cost for my sideliner operation. So, yes very happy with my unit.
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