Charles “Marty” McPherson, a driver with Valley Transportation, a Minnesota-based hauler of construction equipment, said his 2019 Peterbilt 389 has had an ROI Cabmate for the last 50,000 of its 70,000 miles, and he can tell the difference between it and the older system. “It just rides smoother,” he commented. “I like it.”
“The ride feels highly controlled but soft and smooth at the same time,” said Joel Morrow, senior driver and director of research and development at Ploger Transportation in Ohio, which has several units running in Mack Anthems and Volvo VNLs. A stepson also drives for Ploger, and his ROI-equipped tractor runs over rough streets in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City, and “he loves it.”
The ROI system’s smoother ride will be especially valuable to someone sleeping in the bunk while the truck is moving, he said. And, it should cushion the engine’s shaking while operated by a stop-start system at night, which can “adrenalin-wake” a sleeping driver whose initial reaction is that “someone’s trying to break into the truck.”
Morrow, who has been closely involved in the fleet’s constant quest for fuel efficiency, believes the ride improvement would allow fifth wheels to be slid forward to reduce the turbulence-producing, fuel-consuming gap between tractors and van-type trailers. And he thinks wheelbases could be shrunk to improve maneuverability on narrow streets and in cramped loading areas in the old cities.
Captain Fausto Velasquez, a former airline pilot and now president/CEO at TC Consolidada in Mexico City, says testing with four units showed “less bumping, less noise in the cab, and less back pain for drivers, who can drive longer without stopping.” He said he told drivers of two ROI Cabmate-equipped Freightliner Cascadia tractors that a new system had been installed, but said nothing to two other drivers in similarly outfitted units. They ran the same route to Tijuana, and both driver groups reported the same positive results.