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Comparison Guide: Models 749 & 853

Comparison Guide: Models 749 & 853

Models 749 and 853 are two of the most popular BCS tractors sold in North America.  Both are easy to handle and capable of powering virtually every BCS attachment available. 

So, for folks not sure of their long-term needs, these are the models that offer the greatest options for the future.

The two models share so much in common that we often refer to them as “sisters.”  They're, at the same time, very much both alike and different.  Consequently, so are their FEATURES and BENEFITS.

Shared features:

  • Commercial Grade Engine: Honda GX390 engine
  • 3 working speeds in both directions
  • Standard 5x12x22” tires
  • Differential drive with on-demand differential lockout
  • Individual steering brake for each wheel
  • Same anti-vibration handlebar system with instant adjustments both vertically and horizontally

Different features:

  • In addition to three working speeds, the 853 has a fourth transport/road speed of up to 8.3mph
  • In addition to the steering brakes, the 749 has a parking brake
  • The 853 has a dry, mechanical double cone clutch; the 749 has a wet, hydro-mechanical clutch
    • Specifically, the 853 clutch has a huge internal spring that compresses two nesting cones when the clutch lever is released.  For starting and storage, a clip is provided to keep the clutch lever squeezed and the cones separated.
    • The 749 clutch utilizes hydraulic pressure to compress multiple flat plates when the clutch lever is released.  The clutch includes a spin-on oil filter to be replaced every 100 operating hours.
  • While the safety lever on the handlebar is the same, the mechanism that instantly stops the wheels and implement when released differs
    • The 853 lever is connected to the engine’s electrical system and turns off the engine.
    • The 749 lever is connected to a hydraulic “dump valve” which separates the clutch plates, stops the wheels and implement, but allows the engine to continue operating.

Different Features — Different Benefits

  • The major difference between the two models from a benefit point-of-view is related to the different clutches:
    • The dry, double cone clutch has been a standard clutch for decades and is particularly reliable for owner-operators who primarily use low-torque implements (tiller, sickle bar) and/or high-torque implements (flail mower, chipper) for limited periods of time.
    • The wet, hydro-mechanical clutch has been the exclusive clutch used in Europe for more than a decade and is increasingly popular in the US.  Because oil is always present, the clutch maintains a cooler temperature when high-torque implements are operated for hours at a time.  Its durability, as reflected by its 5-year warranty, makes it more tolerant of multiple operators.  And operators appreciate the convenience of stopping instantly without having to squeeze the clutch lever or restart the engine. 
  • The transport speed of the 853 is of benefit when riding the utility trailer.  It is not recommended for use when walking.
  • The parking brake of the 749 is useful if the wheels must be shifted into neutral (as occurs when shifting between forward and reverse) while the tractor is on a slope.  Also recommended when transporting the tractor on a truck or trailer.


both the 749 and 853 are great tractors, and the choice between them seems to boil down to the trade-off between the 853’s transport speed versus the additional benefits of the 749’s hydro-mechanical clutch.
If you have questions about either model, don't hesitate to contact us.
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