Ditch Witch's New Zahn Trencher Line

By Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010


Zahn's articulation allows it to maneuver easily around obstacles.


The dumper "front end" is one of seven designed to complement the 4WD versions of the R230 and R300 trenchers.

Zahn series of ride-on, articulated, rubber-tired trenchers from Ditch Witch steer easier and move quicker than the company's other compact trenchers. "Today, users manhandle a pedestrian trencher to turn it," says Kevin Smith, Ditch Witch product manager of compact utility. "How often do they dig straight?"

Models R150, R230 and R300 are 15-, 23- and 30-horsepower, dedicated two-wheel-drive trenchers, respectively. Each trencher is designed to focus the weight and power on the front end of the machine, so the digging chain is able to work more efficiently, Smith says.

Models R230 and R300 have four-wheel-drive versions that incorporate an interchange connection on the "power unit" that accepts seven different "front ends." The 2WD versions power two types of trenchers; the 4WD version can power a trencher, plow, dumper, tiller, backhoe, stump grinder or a tool carrier, which can use more than 40 quick-change attachments such as those for the SK350.

Steerability and visibility are key benefits, Smith says. "With the elevated platform, the operator can see into the ditch and also behind the machine," he says. The console is designed with soft-touch, color-coded controls and includes an integrated cargo tray. With the cruise-control function, the operator can set power-unit and front-end speed and focus on steering.

The various front ends affix to the power unit via an interchange connection, which Smith likens to a fifth-wheel. A self-aligning pin guides the connection, and two bolts rotate up and tighten down to secure the connection. Color-coded plug-in hoses allow for quick and accurate connections, and the complete assembly takes less than 5 minutes.

We videotaped our interview with Smith and saw a demonstration of the Zahn during ICUEE 2007.

Basic Specs: Zahn Trenchers
  R150 R230 R300
Mobile length (in.) 43 70 70
Mobile height (in.) 53.5 53.5 53.5
Width (in.) 36 36 36
Max. speed (mph) 3.3 5.9 5.9
Engine (hp) 15 23 30
Auxiliary hydraulics flow (gpm) 7.4 12 12
psi 3,000 3,000 3,000
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