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On test: Axion 830 Cmatic put through its paces

With major updates to the engine, transmission and cab, it is fair to say Claas has been busy working on its Axion 800 Series.

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Sitting above the Arion range, it uses many design principals from its larger stable mate, the Axion 900 Series. These include the use of a long wheelbase with a 50:50 weight distribution, integrated front linkage, FPT engines and four-post cabs.


Four models, ranging from 200-265hp, make up the 800 Series. All four can be specified with the firm’s 24-speed Hexashift powershift transmission, while three of them can get the continuously variable Cmatic option.


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Four models, ranging from 200-265hp, make up the 800 Series. All four can be specified with the firm’s 24-speed Hexashift powershift transmission, while three of them can get the continuously variable Cmatic option.


Customers also have a choice of two operation controls – Claas Information System (CIS) or Claas Electronic on-Board Information System (CEBIS).


CIS is the entry level version with mechanical spools and few electronics, while CEBIS affords electronic spools and a terminal, for increased tractor set-up, integrated into the armrest. CEBIS is also standard with Cmatic-specified tractors.


To get a feel for the new 800 Series, we tasked an 830 Cmatic with a four-metre (13ft) set of trailed Lemken Rubin nine-disc harrows carrying out primary cultivation.


The front end

The front end

For power, it is out with the old Deere Power Systems engines and in with FPT motors. From a 6.7-litre block, the new models provide up to 8 per cent more torque than their predecessors with a larger constant power range aided by a variable geometry turbo.


This means more torque and power at a reduced rpm, says the manufacturer. And it shows too, with the FPT supplying plenty of low

down grunt, ideal for our cultivating purposes.


Keeping things simple, Claas tractors feature no boost, just full available power all of the time.


To save fuel, the motor uses a variable speed fan, which is electronically controlled to provide only as much cooling as required, which can potentially save up to 20hp, says the manufacturer.


Stage 4 emissions levels are achieved via a two-stage system consisting of a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), combined with selective catalytic reduction using AdBlue.


And because of a low-mounted engine, the DOC can sit neatly on top of the engine where it can be kept warm to maximise efficiency.


The AdBlue tank is kept insulted by the diesel tank and also has a coolant pipe running through it to warm it up. If it does freeze, however, the tractor’s ECU will let you run without AdBlue until it has warmed up and thawed out.


Like the Axion 900, the 800 features a sculpted chassis which allows a tighter lock for increased manoeuvrability. It has achieved this by sitting the radiator package above the front axle with the engine mounted on a narrow stressed sump structure – developed for Claas by FPT.


An integrated front linkage can also be specified, which does away with the need for extra framework, affording lift capacities of 3.5 or 5.6 tonnes.


To save power, if equipped with a front pto, the pto can be mechanically decoupled from the engine. This saves the engine having to constantly drive the pto’s transmission, which is normally done even when the pto is not being used.


Front axle maintenance has also been thought about with a central greasing point on top of the axle, so no crawling underneath.

Conversely though, you do need to be svelte-like to fit between the fenders and fuel tank to take side panels off, although these do not have to come off for daily maintenance.




For comfort, the 800 is equipped with the same four post cab featured on the 900, along with four-point cab mounting, vibration dampening to the linkage and front axle suspension.


The cab is also mounted in front of the rear axle and features a single-piece windscreen and large, curved rear window for increased visibility. A more tapered bonnet helps with forward views.


A low mounted door handle means no balancing on steps to open the door, and a four-post cab design coupled with a generously adjustable steering column means entry and exits are unhindered.


Inside, it is a case of function over form, with instruments and controls laid out very logically, bordering on clinical.


A family feel and consistent approach to cab design means users can easily jump from any of the manufacturer’s tractor models between the Arion to the Xerion and expect the same operating logic – and to a large extent even on its combines and foragers.


This sees, on Cmatic versions, all primary controls placed on the armrest along with the CEBIS terminal. A few quick-access controls are positioned on the right-rear pillar, including secondary linkage controls along with a conveniently placed linkage control for when operating the pickup hitch.


Incorporated into the armrest is the Cmotion lever, which makes use of all your fingers by placing primary controls on a mouse-style lever which fits in the palm of your hand. With it you can control/activate transmission, linkage, spools, headland management, auto guidance and engine memory.


Taking care of tractor set-up and performance monitoring is the CEBIS terminal. Sticking with Claas logic, it is a very intuitive terminal to use, affording a simple dash/home-screen, followed by clear icons depicting all the tractor functions. Primary navigation is via a scroll wheel, but you can make useful shortcuts to the last tractor function used via the touch of a button.


Making it touch-screen would be the icing on the cake along with the choice of a larger version for extra functions, meaning you would not need an extra terminal in the cab. That said, some people do like to spread their information across two terminals.


In addition to the CEBIS terminal, our machine was fitted with Claas’ top-of-the-range S10 touch-screen terminal for extra functions such as guidance, IsoBus control, vary rate and auto turn control. The latter if you have never used it is like witchcraft, automatically turning the tractor at the headland with no intervention from the driver, save for selecting left or right.


The size of the turn the tractor makes can also be made larger or smaller depending on implement, as well as being able to skip bouts and work with curved A-B lines.


Rear end

Rear end

Transmission is courtesy of ZF, which has received several updates to make it more refined. It now features a proper forward and reverse clutch, much like a powershift transmission, so no lengthy delays waiting for tardy swash plates.


Direction changes can either be made by a button on the Cmotion lever or via the more conventional shuttle lever.


Although you would not know it, the transmission uses four ranges which automatically change without intervention to give a constant and seamless speed change. The operator can, however, select between three virtual ranges: 0-15kph, 0-30kph and 0-50kph (0-9mph, 0-18mph and 0-31mph). The upper limits of the first two ranges can also be adjusted.


Within each range, and on-the-move, the operator can select cruise speeds simply by pressing and holding a button on the Cmotion lever.


Ranges and cruises can be toggled between via two buttons on the lever and cruise speeds can be integrated into a headland management sequence.


Three main driving modes can be used; auto which is essentially pedal mode, drive stick mode which is via the Cmotion lever, or engine mode.


In the first two instances, the speed control principal is the same whereby you choose the speed and the tractor works out the revs and ratios. However, in engine mode, the tractor maintains a target engine speed, whereby the operator can also set droop levels which allow the tractor to die back to a certain rev limit before it starts to slow the tractor down – ideal for pto work.


Engine and transmission have also been to counselling sessions and are now talking to each other much more. This shows with improved reaction time, as the tractor constantly tries to adapt to changing conditions.


On the road, the 830 will achieve 31mph (50kph) at 1,600 revs quite happily.


A downside at the rear end is the position of the spool valves which are quite close to the tops of the pickup hitch lift rods – real knuckle grazers. However, a spool valve ejector function really helps.


Transmission oil levels can easily be checked via a sight glass, but topping up is a bit tricky via the buried filler neck and requires a funnel extension. Swapping the pto shaft is a faff too, as it requires un-bolting. Much preferred would be the circlip-held solution which Deere and CNH machines use.


Thankfully though, someone has thought about link ball storage with a handy and convenient retaining device.

FG verdict

Overall, the Axion 800 is a huge improvement over its predecessor. In particular, the Cmatic version we tried offers much more refinement and user friendliness – just simple things such as pipe work routing looks a lot tidier and less prone to premature failure.


Granted, like all machines, the Axion is not perfect and could do with some minor tweaks, but they are nothing you cannot live with.


Operation throughout is logical and intuitive, making a serious headache for its big name competitors. While they have the march on Claas in terms of brand loyalty, it seems to be Claas which is showing them how it is done.


And now with a much more seemingly consistent approach to engine and other major component choice, the lime green machines are becoming a lot more attractive.

Axion 830 Cmatic specifications

  • Engine: 6.7-litre, six-cylinder, FPT
  • Power: 235hp
  • Torque: 1,016Nm
  • Transmission: Cmatic, continuously variable transmission
  • Hydraulics: 110 litres/min (150 litres/min optional)
  • Rear linkage lift capacity: 9,676kg
  • Wheelbase: 2,980mm
  • Price: base £147,840, as tested £157,745

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