Thanks for all the feedback. I didn't know New Zealanders were so cheap. I only sorta know one guy there from an old car forum I'm active on and he never struck me as such.To be fair, my HST experience is largely newer machines, my gear driven experience older machines. No doubt newer gear machines are nicer to drive. To me it's not the shifting, no different than driving a manual car. It's the stopping to shift, or double declutching (if you can even do that on a tractor), and the fact that I often creep my tractor into small spaces, and I hate the thought of riding the clutch to do that. The HST pedal on my B2601 is quite stiff, and gives my knee a bit of a hard time. I'd imagine the clutch would be worse, but neither are good.
The cruise on my B2601 appears useless. I wouldn't use that as a deciding factor. I can't get it to lock in at full speed, it always runs a bit slower than you set it, and even mowing on the large field I mow it's never flat enough to run constant speed anyway, so a bit of a waste of time. Maybe on the road, but even then I'm dubious.
The tilt steering is kinda nice, but the lever for it is in a stupid place so you kick it every time you get on and off. I assume it's made for people with a large belly who put the wheel up every time they get off, then readjust when they get on.
In NZ we don't get the single lever manifold for the FEL. I really wish I had it, I was waiting for it and the Kubota rep in NZ said they're choosing not to import it, they think NZers wouldn't pay extra for it (apparently it's $500-600 extra on the wholesale cost). I curse every time I taket he loader off, the pioneer couplers are in an inconvenient place and one in particular is sticky and hard to get on. I graze my hands if I don't wear gloves, and if I wear gloves I get hydraulic fluid on them so they slip and I can't get enough grip to push them one. It all sucks. The single lever is worth it if that's not on the B2401 (you definitely want the FEL off when mowing if you can).
You'll also want the quick attach bucket (SSQA). Because you need forks and/or a grapple. If it's the grapple you need, you'll need third function. I have a pin on bucket (again, apparently NZers are too cheap to ever want a quick attach, so they don't import them). It's a real pain to switch bucket for forks, but I can't easily take the FEL off with the forks on (you can't crowd it to lift the wheels, as the forks are folding). I'm waiting for the pin-on quick attach, but it has to be special ordered and for some reason my dealer finds that to be complex and/or hard, and still hasn't done it for me.
Usual question on BH. Are you sure? I'd personally like one but I already know I don't have enough use for one. I had Dad's mini-ex for 8 months, and hardly used it, and that was when I had a lot of excavator type work. Now that we're done with building the tractor shed I only have the occasional hole to dig, and they're small enough I can dig with a spade quicker than i could put a backhoe on.
I did see, but had forgotten about the tilt lever location being poorly positioned - Good point. In my truck & car I think I have the tilt set at what would m/l be the non-tilt position so unless that position is overly uncomfortable or awkward it's not a concern. I'm not (too) fat (& losing weight) so not worried about that aspect & definitely wouldn't expect to be using cruise much if ever.
The single point hydraulic connector does come on the B2401 (I think it's part of the Swift-tach LA435 loader pkg.). Supposedly one can double clutch or shift match on a gear drive. I can shift match in my truck. I definitely see the point for fine/close quarters use & even for FEL work that the HST would be the better choice vs. having to stop to go into a lower gear &/or ride the clutch (which I'd avoid - I'm very easy on clutches). L1 is super slow and LR even slower. I just don't think that'll bother me but I could be wrong and it might get old. Only time will tell and I may get on it for the test drive and immediately know that it's just not going to be practical as much as I want it. I am curious to see how stiff the clutch & throttle pedals are especially when compared to the treadle pedal. I've plowed snow w/a manual transmission pickup & my left knee got a workout & was sore but that was after 20+ hours straight & it wasn't at all objectionable. I actually liked the process & never felt like I abused clutch & that also requires some intricate work around cars, buildings, etc. - I'd have to put it in 4 low sometimes for such work (non-synchro) & it never fazed me. The fact that the PTO cuts out when depressing the clutch is a little concerning but maybe it's not really an issue. That is where my lack of experience is a problem.
Definitely was planning on a SSQA (don't like how much loader capacity it uses) as I definitely want a grapple & forks. Oddly, the "build your own" on Kubota's site used to have the factory 3rd function option listed for all the B01's but no longer does for any of them. It's a question I have for the dealer. They have much more detailed information wrt options. There's also a lighting option shown for the B2301/B2601 that's not shown for the B2401 & that seems odd. Hopefully an oversight on both issues.
I'm 100% sure on the BH. I realize it's the type of thing you won't use everyday but can't imagine not getting one. I almost bought an older used BX a couple years ago (a friend's father was moving to a retirement community - Low hours and super clean) and I immediately looked into what it would take/cost to add a BH (I was a bit surprised how much so was already prepared when looking into it now). I have a few projects on my property I need it for and as much as I see TTWT use it on jobs I'm sure I'd regret not getting it & I expect it to pay for itself although I'd still get it regardless. I also foresee using it as a mobile crane as much if not more than as BH around the house. I always have heavy stuff to pick up & will definitely be adding a hook for a chain onto the bucket - might even be the 1st mod I do. I've seen them used so many times for that on construction sites. A friend of mine got a new JD several years ago and the very 1st project he used it on was digging a rather long trench w/the BH to run power to a building although I could see a PTO trencher being a pretty useful attachment.