I grew up around heavy equipment, so backhoes, skid steers, and the like are all familiar to me. That said, I had never seen a walking excavator until this video of a Menzi Muck M545X was served up to me by Instagram’s algorithm. It looks equally capable and creepy, but what’s important is that it can do neat tricks that a simple tracked machine could never dream of.

There are several unique walking excavators built for different types of work. The humble Menzi Muck A20 has a much smaller cab and two-wheel drive, whereas the Muck M545X gets four-wheel drive, special stabilizers, and a top speed that nears 10 miles per hour thanks to a 140-hp Deutz diesel engine. Another company named Kaiser also manufactures similar pieces of equipment. That brand’s S12 Allroad makes as much as 187 hp and boasts an impressive fording depth of eight feet (!!!).


While it’s fun to see these machines perform at a demo event, it’s even more interesting to watch them work. CalTrans used a Kaiser to rebuild Angeles Crest Highway in 2019 after a massive landslide—the worst in decades, as our editor-in-chief Kyle Cheromcha recounts. That piece of equipment made it possible to work on the absurdly steep hillsides that might have been impossible to navigate otherwise.

You’ll never find me scaling a mountain in one of these, but there are some extremely skilled operators in the field with enough courage to make it happen. At least they get to work in a fully enclosed cab, presumably with heat and air conditioning. They deserve it; just because you have a fancy excavator that’s able to climb and brace itself against anything doesn’t mean the job will get done with any Average Joe behind the controls.

These might be the most versatile machines out there as they can accept just about any arm attachment to conduct specialized tasks. Fit one with a grapple hook and it can move concrete tubes like we see in the video here, or install a hydraulically powered hammer for expert demo action. Of course, you could just give it a normal bucket so it can dig and relocate dirt in a hurry.

I was able to find a used Kaiser S2-4 Gator for sale in Tampa, Florida. It’s listed at $165,000 and while that’s not exactly cheap, you can at least use it to make your money back. Once it’s paid off, you could throw a winch on the front and use it to wheel around Moab if you like. I guarantee you’d be the only one out there conquering Hell’s Gate in an excavator.

Look how happy it is! Mascus



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The post These Walking ‘Spider’ Excavators Are Amazing—and Creepy appeared first on The Drive.

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