Noisy but its well
Bought this machine to replace our 12 year old Flymo Quicksilver 46SD which was beginning to fall apart. We wanted a mulching function and the offer price of £299.95 compared to £449.95 made this model seem like a bargain for a 4-in-1 mower.
The mower arrived quickly, although we were surprised at its arrival as the website said the order was still processing even after it arrived. Unboxing and construction were relatively straight forward, although the manual is absolute rubbish and the description for the different cut options actually contradicts itself several times.
The bottle of oil supplied in the box was a welcome addition, so full marks to Mowdirect there.
Starting this machine seems to take a lot of effort - it requires 5 or 6 good pulls to catch, even when the engine has been running for some time and is nicely warmed up. Hopefully this will get better over time as the engine wears in - right now though it is too hard for my wife to start, while she can happily use our old petrol mower.
Once started this machine is NOISY. The specs in the manual give a guaranteed sound power level of 98 dbA - I have however measured it at 100 - 102 dbA. Even with ear protection I am left with a ringing headache after running for a while. Conversely our 46SD only weighs in at 86dbA. I guess that the extra noise is due to the larger engine and higher blade speed, but I had hoped that a new OHV engine would have been quieter than a 12 year old Briggs and Stratton side valve engine. The engine seems to run at full power all the time no matter what position the throttle bar is in, and I might be imagining it, but it did seem to get through a tank of fuel quicker than our old machine.
With regards to cutting, the one handle height adjuster is great - so much easier than adjusting each corner, and the extra engine power combined with a new blade meant our first cut with this mower was lower than usual, resulting in 5 wheelbarrow loads of cuttings rather than the usual 2.
The self drive transmission is pretty powerful and the first few times using it surprised us when the mower shot off. Now we are used to it its very good - it manages our bumpy lawn with no problem and mowing is easy with just one hand on the handle controlling both cut and traction.
This machine does seem to really struggle if the grass is damp (read damp, not wet) - the rear port blocks very easily in this case, resulting in the blade cover filling with cuttings and the engine cutting out. Many stops were required to clear the port so the collection bag would fill up, which then resulted in much cursing trying to get the machine to start again.
Now that we have got the grass fairly short we are using the mulching option with I have to admit is great - its so nice not to have to empty loads of cuttings, although again the mulching function does suffer if the grass is even slightly damp as after a while lumps of mulched grass are left behind (this is not due to the grass being too long - it was only 3 days after the previous cut)
Am I satisfied with this machine? Not sure yet -the hard start and extremely noisy engine at the moment are not outweighing the benefits of mulching - we'll give it a few more cuts to prove itself, but if not It might be going back under the 30 day returns policy - its certainly not what I would have expected from a £449.95 machine.