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Bobcat L28 vs. Avant 635 Small Articulated Loader

Published on September 15, 2023

Get a comparison of the Bobcat L28 small articulated loader and a competing machine, the Avant 635 small articulated loader.

Small articulated loaders provide impressive lifting capabilities in a compact machine. Their articulation joint allows them to maneuver in confined spaces to access fenced-in landscapes, pens, nurseries, sidewalks, and more. They are also compatible with a number of landscaping and grounds maintenance attachments to keep you productive all year-round; including grapples, angle brooms, and snow removal equipment. Read on for a more detailed look at the Bobcat L28 small articulated loader and how it stacks up against the competition in this comparison.   

Summary  

When looking at the Bobcat® L28 and the Avant 635 next to each other, here are some factors to consider:  

  • The L28 excels in operator comfort. The operator space is large and able to accommodate a wide variety of operator sizes while keeping them comfortable and offering simpler controls.  
  • The sleek design of the Bobcat L28 gives a modern feel to the machine. The covers are made of sturdy polyurethane that bends before it breaks and is rated for warm and cold weather. ​  
  •  The L28 comes with more standard features, including standard drive modes, lift arm float, mechanical leveling assist, multi-function joystick, work lights, suspension seat and backup alarm. Many of these features are optional on the Avant 635.  
  • ​Bobcat’s auxiliary flow controls are on the joystick, meaning they can be turned on and off quickly and easily depending on situational needs. Avant’s hydraulic controls are located on the dash, with an optional attachment control kit available for joystick functionality.  

Performance Comparison  

There are three key features that drive performance – mechanical leveling assist, drive modes and lift arm float.   

Mechanical Leveling Assist

Mechanical leveling assist helps the operator keep the loader's bucket level throughout the lift cycle, reducing material spillage. The Bobcat L28 comes equipped with standard mechanical leveling, and the Avant 635 offers it as an optional add-on.   

The benefits of having mechanical leveling assist on your loader include:  

  • Without leveling, material can spill, reducing the quantity left in the bucket when raised to full height.  
  • New operators can be just as productive and get just as much work done as seasoned operators.  
  • With the mechanical leveling assist built in, the operator does not have to focus on rolling the bucket out or back through the lift cycle.  

Drive Modes 

Bobcat small articulated loaders come standard with two drive modes: turf safe and high traction.  Turf-safe and high-traction drive modes are engaged automatically and do not require any additional switches, making them ideal for tackling various jobs in landscaping and grounds maintenance that require minimal ground disturbance.   

  • Turf-safe mode – While turning, this mode keeps the wheels from scrubbing the ground, causing the least possible ground disturbance.   
  • High-traction mode – While NOT turning, the tires on the front and rear of the machine will move at the same pace, providing improved traction over rough or slippery terrain. The Bobcat L28 will automatically engage high-traction mode, and the Avant compact articulated loader is manually engaged and disengaged with a lock switch. ​  
  • Traction Assist Mode (Optional) – Bobcat also offers an optional third drive mode: traction assist – which is similar to a differential lock. Traction assist is engaged through a momentary switch and will override the automatic modes.  This enables all four wheels to travel at the same speed through adverse conditions such as mud or snow. Traction assist is exclusive to Bobcat’s small articulated loader lineup.   

Lift Arm Float

Float mode aids in numerous operations such as leveling, and grading lift arm float comes standard on Bobcat L28 loaders. The Avant loader has it available as an additional add-on.  

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Serviceability Comparison  

To maximize uptime, Bobcat has designed the L28 with easy to access service areas, daily checkpoints, and grease points to make routine maintenance simple for customers.   

Lift Arm Support 

The Bobcat L28 comes with a lift arm support specifically designed for the shape and capacity of the machine. This is meant to be used for any maintenance that needs the lift arm raised. On the L28, the lift arm support rests in two slots at the front of the machine and can be easily removed with a single bolt while the lift arm is still down. ​  

  • On the Avant 635, the service support device is not as easy to access and when installed, the lift arm is almost parallel to the ground, limiting the space the operator or service technician has to work on the machine.  

Articulation Lock Bar 

The articulation lock bar is a device used to lock out the articulation of the machine, ensuring it does not turn. This is only meant to be used during transportation of the machine or during maintenance, so ease of access to the articulation lock bar is important. It is NOT meant to be installed during any operation.  

  • On the Bobcat L28, the articulation lock bar is stored within the cab of the machine in direct line of sight when the operator is entering the cab to ensure easy access. The lock bar hooks into place and locks in with pins on the center articulation joint.​  
  • On the Avant 635, the lock bar is located on the exterior of the machine, underneath the cab. This makes it more difficult to access.   

Grease Points 

Grease points are another factor that impacts time and ease of serviceability. Fewer grease points mean you can get maintenance done faster and easier, getting you back to work.  

  • The Bobcat L28 has only six grease points. All other areas are low friction, greaseless bushings. This creates less overall maintenance time, increasing uptime of the machine.   
  • The Avant 635 has 17 grease points. This increases the total labor hours required to maintain the machine.  

Service Access 

The Bobcat L28 is built to ensure maintenance areas are easily accessible, increasing the overall uptime for the machine. The engine compartment is located behind the operator cab to maintain a lower center of gravity to maximize machine lifting, moving, dumping and turning ability.​ The battery is easily accessible from the side and above, as well as oil filter and the dipstick.​  

The Avant 635’s service areas are built closely together and located below the operator, demanding the machine be articulated to gain full accessibility to the service components.  

Cab Comfort  

With a spacious cab that's designed with operators in mind, Bobcat elevates small articulated loader comfort to new standards. Easy-to-use controls ensure that experienced professionals and beginners alike can maximize their productivity. Plus, a variety of comfort features make every minute in the cab more enjoyable.   

While still maintaining a small machine profile, we knew it was important that small articulated loader operators have enough space in the cab for long hours on the job. Compared to other small articulated loaders, the Bobcat interior is engineered with more space for the operator, with special attention paid to cab height, foot room, and room between the seat and the steering wheel. The Bobcat L28 goes above and beyond to ensure operator comfort is prioritized in the features that come standard, which include an adjustable suspension seat, cup holder, and phone holder. The Avant 635 offers a suspension seat upgrade and has limited storage areas.  

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Operator Controls   

With a familiar automotive style steering wheel, intuitive twin-pedals for forward and reverse, and controls that are easy to use and understand, the Bobcat L28 small articulated loader is a great choice for first-time buyers or less experienced operators.    

Joystick

On the L28, the joystick is similar to other Bobcat equipment and is ergonomically designed and placed to limit operator fatigue. The L28 has the auxiliary flow thumb switch on the top of the joystick and the continuous flow trigger on the opposite side. With minimal switches, the simple joystick allows for easy operation when using attachments.  Auxiliary flow on the Avant 635 can be controlled with a joystick, but it requires an additional upgrade.  

Pedals

The Bobcat L28 and Avant 635 have similar pedal setups with intuitive twin-pedal travel controls that enable quick and easy direction changes. One pedal moves you forward, the other moves you in reverse. The L28 has a wider space between the pedals allowing ample room for operators with large or insulated boots.  

Display

The display in the machine is important for operating information and critical machine errors and warnings. The Bobcat L28 has a digital display that’s easy to read for the hour meter, rpm, and warning codes, and analog displays for fuel levels and engine temperature. Avant has analog displays for fuel, temperature and operation hours; the rest is displayed by warning lights.​  

Choose the Small Articulated Loader That Fits You

Choosing a small articulated loader, also referred to as a compact articulated loader, that works for your tasks can be simple.  This article is meant to break down the differences between the Bobcat L28 and the Avant 635 by reviewing the dump height, serviceability, performance and operator controls.   

There are similarities and differences between the Bobcat L28 and Avant 635. To help inform your decision, give the L28 a test drive and get a closer look at your local Bobcat dealer.

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