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These are trucks that, by definition, are not articulated (compared to tractor unit and semi-trailers which are articulated.)
The drive axles are distinguished by usually having two sets of wheels and tyres on each end of the axles. This means that they are legally allowed to carry ten tonnes, as the load is spread over a greater surface and therefore does less damage to the roads.
The remaining two axles typically have just one wheel and tyre on each end of the axle. This means the most that they can carry is eight tonnes each.
Some simple maths tells us that the most these trucks can carry is 2 x 8 plus 10 tonnes – or 26 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight.
Lift vs Steer Axles
On a 6×2 rigid the front axle will always be a ‘steer’ axle, (otherwise going around corners would prove very difficult). The other non-drive axle could be a steer axle – these are usually seen on vehicles with an urban duty cycle, such as refuse trucks.
A rear steer axle will generally make a truck more manoeuvrable.
Lift axles are employed to save on tyre wear when the truck is not running at full capacity. Using hydraulics, the axle is lifted clear of the floor. Where the axle is located in front of the drive axle, this is known as a mid-lift axle – when it is at the rear then it is called a rear-steer or a tag-axle.
6×2 Drawbar Rigids
These trucks are simply a normal 6×2 rigid with a special drawbar coupling at the rear to allow them to pull a drawbar trailer. These are not classes as tractor units as they are not articulated with a fifth wheel coupling. The trailers can stand on their own when decoupled as they typically have a minimum of two axles spaced centrally.
In addition to the coupling, rigid trucks that are set up to pull drawbar trailers will have more powerful engines, as the combination weight is approaching that of a tractor unit and semi-trailer in the UK at 40 tonnes gross train weight (GTW).
6×2 Articulated Tractor Units
These are the most common type of truck on the UK’s roads. Unlike through the rest of Europe, tractor units with this extra axle (most continental tractor units are just 4×2) means that they can legally carry an extra four tonnes GVW in the UK (44 vs 40 tonnes).
In terms of operating efficiency these trucks are typically preferred for all except high volume, low weight operations (think carrying polystyrene).
6×2 tractor units can also have a choice of lift axles – mid or rear lift axles.
It certainly pays to be a vlogger – at least it appears to have done for ‘Trucker Jenko’ who posts videos about trucking and his truck on YouTube. Who can say if his relative fame led to him being chosen as the driver to look after the company’s flagship – but he’s certainly talking about it now. With more than 1.8 million video views, and he can’t stop talking about his exclusive new tractor unit. Actros Edition 1 driver Martyn Jenkins launched his ‘Trucker Jenko’ YouTube channel in 2018 and now has nearly 13,000 subscribers The top-of-the-range model was supplied…>
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In transport these days, you’ve got to keep your drivers happy. That’s why Bradford-based Shipley Transport Services has splashed out on four new Volvo FH460 with I-Save all kitted out with Globetrotter XL cabs, luxury seating, fridges and microwaves. “This is our first time trying the I-Save model and we’re excited to see how well it performs both on the road, and at the pumps" Supplied by Crossroads Truck and Bus Area Sales Manager, Jason Robinson, the four new 460 hp FH with I-Save 6x2s join a 50-strong fleet, made up predominantly of Volvos. Each new truck benefits from Volvo’s…>