By Adrian Violi
I'm sure countless musicians can relate to this. Over the years it's been all about how to minimise the effort required to lug gear and everyone has a system that works for them but Gruv Gear have now released a cart that will quite possibly change their minds when it comes to the right way.As a drummer I've never forgotten the day when I finally bought a trolley and didn't have to make seven trips to the car to unload the kit for a gig. It was without a doubt a wake up call. Why hadn't I done this ages ago?
Gruv Gear have released the V-Cart Solo: a compact, three-in- one trolley that is designed to cater to musicians of all kinds. The cart, constructed from 1" high-tensile tubular steel with two 8" flat-free lightweight PU foam wheels and two 4" polyurethane casters, (um, two big wheels and two small wheels basically) has a platform load area of 24"x15". The trolley itself weighs in at 9.5kg but has a super-handy load capacity of 226kg or 500lbs in the old money.
The stats for this cart are great to take notice of but the V-Cart Solo has some features that will really make you take notice big time. In storage mode, the V-Cart sits on all four wheels and all handles/bars fold neatly flat, hold their place and can be tied down in some cases with a provided Velcro strip when not needed. Sitting like this, the cart is 11" from the ground, which will be fine for some musicians though others may need something flatter. Having said that, the versatility of this cart will outweigh this issue.
4-WHEEL PLATFORM MODE
In this mode you simply fold up the main handle to a 90 degree angle, then the folding fork at the other end in the same way and you have a sturdy flatbed trolley. This mode is ideal for sensitive tube amps that need to remain vertical or drum cases. Best of all the trolley is stable, requires no physical effort to balance it, little effort to push it and can pivot and make tight turns. It will handle terrain well and allows strategic stacking for drums etc. If need be a tie down would be easy to attach at each end of the trolley.
2-WHEEL DOLLY MODE
This mode is what most musicians trolleys are. We know it as the trunk mode and it's strictly a two-wheel affair. Tipping the trolley vertical, the main handle now folds 180 degrees. The folding fork now acts as a base platform. The benefits of this mode are the ability to go up stairs, manage lighter loads and push the trolley forwards with ease. It's the best mode for a quick trip but requires the player to balance the weight.
4-WHEEL V MODE
This mode is the most unique feature of the V-Cart Solo. Imagine having a trolley in trunk or dolly mode but when you pull back on the trolley it stops and balances itself! In a nutshell, the wheelbase is able to stay flat on the ground while the vertical part of the trolley can tilt at two angles depending on the load. This gives a super-manoeuvrable trolley with the stability of four wheels. This is not only ideal for speakers, amps and drums but also for much bigger, more awkward instruments. A double bass in a hard flight case comes to mind. You get all the benefits of a flatbed and a trunk trolley but the best aspect is how little effort is required to move through crowds or tight spaces while pulling heavy gear. Gruv Gear claim you could pull a heavy load with one finger. No mention yet of how to get out of climbing stairs.
"TOUGH AS MATE..."
It only takes a few minutes of operating the V-Cart to see that it's well made. There are no loose bolts or screws; all welds are strong and there's little or no flex in the frame. The steel is very strong and will easily cope with being handled and being put to work for years. The tyres, whilst solid, have enough bounce in them to compare to air tyres. The front casters are well made and have good bearings for rotation. They will stand the test of time and are in no way a cheap set of casters that rattle like a shopping trolley though they may need encouragement to get over bigger bumps. The primary, foldable handle is very well thought out in the way it snaps into place in all modes to maintain control at all times. Additionally, the vertical, main body of the trolley is basically two strong poles that allow circular-shaped cases to sit snug in between. A slight criticism: I wished the folding fork or base platform in dolly mode was a little longer to accommodate bigger bass drums in soft bags but this is more specific to drummers and the length would be fine for all types of cabs and boxes.
In a word: yes. The V-Cart Solo presents a very strong argument indeed and whilst the asking price is in the higher range, what it offers is worth the money. When you're loading with ease and your mates are trying to put their gear on it you won't be thinking about the money. I would recommend it first for musicians with bigger loads ? drummers, bassists and guitarists with fridge-sized amps but it would also be very useful for lesser-sized instruments but as mentioned earlier, some musicians would want a smaller trolley when stored for the boot. However you can't knock a trolley that could handle being a removalist's friend, folds up and offers what the V-Cart Solo does. Accompanied with a good tie down, you're set to handle anything. I want one.