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Bobcat’s new generation E26, E27, E27z, E34 and E35z span the 2 to 4-tonne weight range.

Better Bobcats

Bobcat chose Intermat as the official launchpad for its new 2 to 4-tonne mini excavators. Nick Johnson gives his assessment.

Star attractions on the big Bobcat stand at the recent Intermat construction equipment exhibition in Paris were the company’s new generation 2 to 4-tonne mini excavators. The five R Series newcomers are to be built at the company’s factory at Dobris in the Czech Republic, alongside the impressive Bobcat European Innovation Centre where the smaller platform machines been designed and tested.

Designated the E26, E27, E27z, E34 and E35z (with the z indicating zero tail swing), the newcomers are worthy replacements for the E25, E26, E32 and E35 machines they will supersede. Clearly distinguished by new styling, they are designed to enhance operator comfort, controllability and smoothness. The completely new cab used on all the minis provides a larger operator space and improved entry/exit thanks to a wider door with new ergonomic handles. All-round visibility is also upgraded due to the vibration-damped cab having significantly larger windows and narrower pillars.

Of particular interest to UK hire companies, the new generation of the popular E26 has its transport weight reduced by 100kg whilst allowing increased over-the-side lifting capacity. To help eliminate site damage, this 2,600kg model now gets a brand new robust workgroup with an innovative cylinder-inside-boom (CIB) feature.

The new 2,700kg E27z is a true Zero House Swing (ZHS) machine, even with the optional heavy counterweight. With the optional long arm and a premium cab, the E27z is said to offer the digging output and operator comfort of much larger excavators. The new conventional swing E27 weighs 2,675kg. Even with the optional heavy counterweight, the E27 gives just 280mm of tail overhang to facilitate work in confined spaces.

The latest version of the popular E26 gains a distinctive cylinder-inside-boom design.

Inside the cab, the operator has the benefit of new ‘minimal effort’ joysticks and optimised metal travel pedals. Users will also appreciate the provision of up to five independent auxiliary hydraulic circuits, and there is what is claimed to be a new industry first, namely a Selectable Auxiliary Control (SAC) system for customisable joystick controls. The SAC enables the operator to select/switch the control pattern for the auxiliary lines, allowing them to work with attachments in the most convenient way.

A big feature of the newcomers is that they are powered by Kubota engines (rated at 15.3kW and 18.5kW) that meet the upcoming European Stage V emission regulations.

Forming the smaller R Series platform, the 2-3 tonne E26, E27z and E27 models gain extra tie-down points for ease of movement by plant trailer. These three minis are designed to offer a flexible machine format providing different configurations for specific customer needs.


Utilising the larger R Series machine platform, the new E34 is a 3,370kg conventional model. With two counterweight options, its stablemate is the 3,550kg E35z which offers the additional benefits of ZHS design. The E34 and E35z can both have the optional automatic, hydraulic track-tensioning feature, which further minimises the need for maintenance and the risk of de-tracking.

At Intermat, Bobcat was keen to show off the easy-to-open service covers on the new E26.

The R Series minis have a more robust blade design with a self-cleaning capability and a re-designed boom cylinder guard. The machines also score highly by being offered with two alternatives for

positioning auxiliary couplers: boom-mounted for optimal protection, or arm-mounted for easy access.

To easily and safely connect attachments, Bobcat offers multiple mechanical or hydraulic coupler systems. Lehnhoff type couplers will now be available with factory installed tilting adapters, controlled by a dedicated AUX4 circuit. A bucket diverter valve kit (AUX3) is also available to operate a clamshell grab.

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