BCI Classmaster 57 Review

By: Allen Matzel

Allen Matzel test-drives BCI’s Classmaster 57, showcased at July’s BusVic Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo

BCI Classmaster 57 Review
The BCI Classmaster 57

The BCI Classmaster 57 and its mate the Fleetmaster 53 both have a new look that includes a new dash incorporating the full Thoreb multiplex system.

The Classmaster 57 has been specced-up for minesite application, giving it extra seats over the Fleetmaster 53.

Improvements have been made to the driver’s area with the new dash and layout and the interior has been kept neat and functional with comfortable reclining seats by BCI/TST also providing good leg room. When in usage in mining applications, a canvas cover is placed over the seats to keep them clean.

The only real difference between the Classmaster 57 and the Fleetmaster 53 is a plug-type saloon door rather than the Classmaster’s glide-away-type door.

Entering the bus is by three easy steps of 390mm, 270mm and 280mm to the driver’s floor, then a step of 190mm to the floor and a final step of 190mm to the rear seat.

As with the older Classmaster, there’s plenty of room in the under-floor through bins, with 7.5 cubic-metres providing ample space for luggage storage.

A Tracs AC353III heat/cool air-conditioner is fitted and seems to work quite well.

Powering the Classmaster 57/Fleetmaster 53 is a Cummins ISL 8.9-litre turbocharged Euro 5 engine developing 236kW (320hp) at 2100rpm and putting out a respectable 1,300Nm of torque between 1,100-1500rpm. This has been coupled with an Allison T375R six-speed automatic transmission with retarder.

A 400-litre fuel tank is mounted behind the front axle with off-side fill, and a 45-litre urea tank is located in front of the rear wheels, also with an off-side filler.

Disc brakes are fitted all round and work very well, though they only need to be used to bring the bus to a stop, if the retarder is used correctly.

Suspension is full air, with two bellows on the front axle and four on the rear. Front and rear sway bars are also fitted, and kneeling/raise suspension is a standard feature.

Driving the Classmaster 57 is a pleasure. It holds the road very well and accelerates quickly in traffic.

Cruising in the BCI around the suburbs gives a good impression of how it will handle the kind of traffic to be encountered when used on school charter.

This new version of the Classmaster 57/Fleetmaster 53 seems to be better than the previous model and is certainly a step in the right direction.

Don't forget to check out tradetrucks.com.au to enquire and purchase buses, including the BCI Classmaster 57.


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