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Tue Apr 23, 2013, 07:21 PM

I need some lawn mower advice.

Is this the best group to ask????

I am looking for a new lawn mower and I am having a heck of a time finding what I want. I have a small yard, but not small enough for a plug-in electric. It has a number of obstacles, so a self-propelled doesn't work so well---they are so heavy when you have to push them instead of using the self-propel feature, and I have to stop using it too often. I had a rotator cuff injury, and pulling the cord to start a mower is just getting to be painful, even though I am about 80% better. Besides, I am getting older and I probably will not be getting into much better shape.

The small push mowers appeal to me for the weight, but they all have pull cords. The electric start mowers all seem to have the self-propel feature. Cordless electric mowers sound like they are heavy. Any suggestions?

For the record, I have a 30 year old self-propelled mower whose self-propelled function hasn't worked in years---I had it in the shop twice to fix it, and it never got fixed so I just gave up. The choke lever broke off, so I have to choke it down by the engine. It is a rear-bagger, and the bag will not stay put anymore so I use a bungee cord to keep it in place. What I am saying is, I really really really need a new mower----except that this poor old thing is so reliable, it started with the first pull after sitting all winter.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply I need some lawn mower advice. (Original post)
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Apr 2013 #1
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #2
NutmegYankee Apr 2013 #5
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #8
NYC_SKP Apr 2013 #23
RILib Apr 2013 #22
ConcernedCanuk Apr 2013 #25
bvar22 May 2013 #35
NYC_SKP May 2013 #36
ConcernedCanuk Apr 2013 #3
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #6
ConcernedCanuk Apr 2013 #10
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #11
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #24
sinkingfeeling Apr 2013 #4
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #7
jtuck004 Apr 2013 #9
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #12
jtuck004 Apr 2013 #13
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #14
jtuck004 Apr 2013 #15
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #16
ConcernedCanuk Apr 2013 #17
jtuck004 Apr 2013 #18
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #19
NCarolinawoman Apr 2013 #20
Curmudgeoness Apr 2013 #21
ConcernedCanuk Apr 2013 #26
Curmudgeoness May 2013 #27
ConcernedCanuk May 2013 #28
Curmudgeoness May 2013 #29
Kolesar May 2013 #30
Curmudgeoness May 2013 #31
Kolesar May 2013 #32
Curmudgeoness May 2013 #33
Kolesar May 2013 #34

Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 07:26 PM

1. I've always loved simple reel-type push mowers. Keep the blades sharp and everything oiled.

 

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 07:33 PM

2. Maybe the newer ones are way easier than they used to be,

but I remember almost killing myself when I was a teen using one of those. And I don't have energy or strength at this stage in life as I did when I was young. I have to admit that I absolutely hate the noise from power mowers, and it is heaven when I shut the damned thing off, and I loved the click-click sound of reels, but I still remember the hard work of mowing with them.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 05:54 PM

5. I always where ear protection when mowing.

The big muffs really knock the sound down and make it a much more enjoyable experience. And it's a lot better for your ears.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 07:36 PM

8. I have a neighbor who wears muffs too.

I might have to try that, if I don't consider a cordless electric. I hate the noise, but I think that it forces me to get done quicker.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 07:19 PM

23. They are better now, IMHO, and there are self-propelled electrics to be had.

 

So less effort for you.

One trick to make it easier is to not let the grass become too out of control long or with weeds.

Electric self propelled:

Sears: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07143367000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&kispla=07143367000P&srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=30-166923276-2

http://www.sears.com/snow-joe-sun-joe-mj420c-mow-joe-16/p-SPM7351583602?prdNo=30

Electric, not self propelled: http://www.cleanairgardening.com/corelbrilac3.html

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 07:00 PM

22. reel mowers

 

It depends oi the grass. One worked like a charm where I lived before, but here and now, no.

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Response to RILib (Reply #22)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 10:19 PM

25. Well, I have a partially disabled arm

 

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My yard is large, and not level - so even a push mower will have its limitations.

But I will be using my cordless electric weed-eater for trimming -

and just knocking down them dandelions that love to pop up 5" high the day after you cut the lawn!

As another poster mentioned, there are self-propelled electrics out there -

I'm going to look into that - heck, I'd love to be able to get away from the gas thing

Just do NOT like the smell, and my lungs don't like the fumes either.

A riding lawnmower is going to be part of my equipment in the near future.

Yard is too large to do it otherwise, and seeing as I'm in a corner of the bush, the larger the lawn,

the fewer bugs - and this IS bug country!!

CC

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Fri May 17, 2013, 11:00 AM

35. Thank You, NYC_SKP!

After a little more research, we decided to buy one two weeks ago.
$78.00 from Amazon, Free Shipping, delivered to our door.

We are delighted with this product.
We use it in our Raised beg Veggie Garden and other areas that are impossible for the big mower and too much for the Weed Eater.
The handles seem a little flimsy,
but the mower body seems robust.

Greenworks IS a Chinese Company, but we could find no Push Reel Mowers Made in the USA.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #35)

Fri May 17, 2013, 03:31 PM

36. You made my day. I've done my work. Now.....

 

Let us combine efforts to change the HCR system to cut by some factor my COBRA monthly payment of, seriously, $1,340.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 11:16 PM

3. Ever consider a cordless electric?

 

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They've been around awhile, sort of like cordless drills.

plug them in to charge, then you can cut the lawn with no cords necessary.

There are even solar charged electric lawn-mowers.

No pull cords, no extension cords, no stinky gas, almost no noise, no oil changes, . . .

Spend some time in Google, you will be surprised what is out there.

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 07:28 PM

6. Interesting you should mention that.

I was doing a lot of searching on mowers, and I didn't realize that they had cordless electric mowers until I started looking. It sounded like a perfect idea, but they were rather expensive.....although that would not be the whole decision. While reading the comments about the few that I saw, it seems that they are not as reliable or sturdy as conventional mowers. I don't always take the comments at face value, but I will be keeping them in mind when I do look for one. I hope to find one somewhere in my area to look at. I do wonder how heavy they are to push, with a huge battery on them.

Have you had one? Or used one?

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 09:52 PM

10. First of all, the cordless is lighter than a gas mower.

 

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Batteries ain't like a car battery - buy one with a Lithium-Ion battery - they are tough, and light.

Initial cost may be higher, but ya got no gas/oil to pay for every time you use it.

When ya want to move to a different part of the property/lawn, no restarting - turn the switch off it stops - turn it on - it goes - no "idling" - and no pulling your brains out to start a reluctant gas engine.

Almost no maintenance/breakdowns.

Always buy the extended warranty, usually only 10 - 20 bucks.

The hydro cost to recharge the battery is about 1/10th the cost of gas, and I already mentioned the non-stinking thing. - Heck, ya could store it in the living room!

If you have a large yard, buy an extra battery, when the one you are using dies, put the dead one on charge (Lithium-Ion charge fast) - install the new one (same idea as a cordless drill) - then continue!

Nope, haven't had one or used a cordless lawn-mower yet, but intend to - I can't advise make or model at this point. I have a large yard with remote spots - easier to carry a spare battery back in the bush than a gas can!

I'll point out two things I think important - buy one with a Lithium-Ion battery, and get the extended warranty.

for something like that, buy local - much easier for advice, service or warranty.

You just reminded me- thanks ,

I'd left my cordless weed-eater I bought today out in my van. Just brought it in - most suggest charging the battery before use, and require some (minor) assembly. Took me over 3/4 of an hour to pick one out.

The weakest part of cordless is the battery.

I looked at different ones, almost all had the same power. But in checking the price of replacement batteries, the one I purchased cost 35$ for the 18 volt battery.

By comparison, the replacement battery for a 20 volt battery was 99$.

So it was a no-brainer, I bought the 18 volt system.

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 07:20 PM

11. Good advice.

I would not have thought about prices of replacement batteries being so drastically different. No-brainer for sure.

The additional price of the mower will not be a deciding factor. After I saw the cordless ones online, I realized just how much savings there would be on buying gas (and that crappy drive to the gas station and home with a gas can, that seems to stink even when you think it is sealed up.)

I also would like to find one locally instead of online, because I want to have a place to possibly get some help if I need it. It is so much harder for a sales person to look you in the face and ignore you.

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 07:38 PM

24. I think that I have decided on a cordless electric.

I found one that is only 30 pounds, with battery in it. So easy to push. There is a lot I do not like about it, but I don't know if they are insurmountable.

I was asking at work if anyone had a cordless electric or knew someone with one, and no one did. But as I was talking to my coworkers, I heard myself say "all the options that I want on a lawn mower are impossible---they don't make them, but I found one with all the things that I want". When I realized that I had said that, I realized that even with the cost of the mower and the battery, this is the one that is everything that I want......mulches, bags in rear, no self-propel, lightweight, and no cord to pull. Disadvantages are the cost (extreme), the battery will only go for 25 minutes at a time (but will recharge in an hour), it is not very wide so will take more time to mow. But.....

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 07:55 AM

4. I have one something like this. It was advertised back then as an 'Easy Start'.

Like you, I can't pull on one and this one really does start almost always on the first pull.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 07:32 PM

7. I did see that one while doing a search.

So....it is a pull start, but doesn't kill you to pull the cord? It sucks getting old! But that one does look simple enough. I think that I saw a Toro like that with "electric start" too offered now.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 09:40 PM

9. I like the older models, sometimes with other jobs, sometimes not. Self-propelled, but

 

you don't have to push them unless they stop working. (But that's the case with any of them, eh?). They run on ice tea, it seems, and sometimes are useful when one needs to carry in the groceries.

Being older we frequently have shared experiences, so they are easier to talk with as well.

It's been a lot of years now since we have been able to afford such a lawn mower, so I have taken over that duty, but perhaps your situation is a little different.

As far as the actual mowing device, I like the Toro pictured above. It has been a pretty easy starter, and not too heavy to push when one isn't pulling the handle to engage the front-wheel drive.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 07:29 PM

12. LOL, I prefer the newer models myself.

But an older model would be better than nothing. Too bad that I can't afford either. I have considered it but then again, mowing is exercise that I can always use. I keep trying to figure out how to afford one.

Yes, that Toro does impress me. I intend to go look at a local store that sells Toro and see what they have. But I will say that I have grown to hate self-propelled mowers. My yard has about 50 steps that can be walked with the self-propel function, then it is push and pull around trees and bushes and flower beds and a raised patio----and the hill that I have to push the mower down a ways, then pull it back up, and push down and pull up----it is going to kill me with the heavy mower that I have now. I can't take 10 steps without maneuvering around some obstacle. Every year gets harder.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 11:46 PM

13. The other two solutions I found were to start growing garlic, which takes up space nearly year-round

 


whether you grow it in raised beds or not, and putting a large swath of gravel over a portion of the yard. That last one hasn't worked out so well, since even with a weed barrier underneath the grass seeds blow in and take root. Since I don't like to use commercial grass killer - it eventually gets to the water supply, I think - I wind up using salt water and a flaming torch, neither of which are particularly effective over the long term. The gravel is a little pricey and has to be spread after the dump truck leaves.

The garlic beds have been the best - great hobby. I order a different kind every year, and each bulb give me several cloves, which multiply into new bulbs - you then find yourself at the end of the summer with 40 or 50 garlic plants hanging upside down inside your back porch (they don't put off the odor until you smash the garlic). But I have fresh garlic for months that way, and that has grown into learning to dehydrate and grind my own powder.

If there are any medicinal benefits, as some think, I should be well taken care of Good garlic here sells for $2 or $3 a bulb, so it's a nice way to get a fairly pricey herb on the cheap. (Warning - you will get spoiled and begin to think the California stuff sold in the stores is tasteless, if you like garlic).

But I do like the Toro. The only problem is the pull cord broke, had to take it apart and re-assemble to fix it, but it still starts every year, just have to push the choke button down several times and hold it, or pull the spark plug and spray a little starter fluid in. And it's not terribly heavy, but I don't have too much of a hill to deal with. Mostly just a flat expanse for the dogs.

I think if I was in your position I would really consider an electric. You do have to make sure you cut fairly often to keep the load down, and make sure the blade is sharp - they don't deal with rocks as well as the power variety, and not mow when it is very wet out - but it should be lighter than the gas mower.

Good luck.




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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 06:24 PM

14. Well, I have expanded garden beds as much as I can.

My house sits on a hill with no access to the yard, so I can't get a dump truck full of anything into the yard easily. I would not go with gravel, because I don't like walking on stones, but mulch instead of grass would work. And regarding that hill, that is one of the hardest things with a heavy mower----getting it up to the lawn. There is grass in the front between the sidewalk and curb, then the yard is mostly up the hill. Ugh.

Tomorrow is going to be too nice to be in a store, but Sunday is suppposed to rain, so I plan on looking then.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 12:59 AM

15. One other thought...string trimmer mowers

 


Here is one link, but you can google more

http://www.drpower.com/Content.aspx?N=0&Ntk=primary&Ntt=trmclear&Nty=1&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

With just the engine in the back, and with just the string trimmer assembly up front instead of the blade and housing of a typical mower, it should be easier to maneuver, and would weigh several pounds less.

They aren't really built for the expanse of a wide lawn, but with a 22" cut, it might be a decent trade off, depending on the space. And the cut might not be as nice, I suspect, but there are probably attachments that might make a better cut. Plastic perhaps?

Good luck.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 05:29 PM

16. I am intrigued, but

those things cost a fortune! And the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw your subject line was "fuck no".....but that comes from my experience with string trimmers/edgers that are always breaking and getting stuck and having to have more cord put in them. They make me absolutely crazy! I do wonder how these work though, and if they are as big a pain in the ass as the trimmers are.

But those prices!

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #16)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 06:40 PM

17. Electric cordless - almost no maintenance, no stink

 

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Get an electric cordless weed-eater (less than $100) to chop down the tall stuff before you mow.

Again, no stink, less noise, and minimal maintenance.

I've had my electric weed-eater for over ten years, all I had to do was refill the spool with that plastic cutting wire . .

ponder that.

CC

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #16)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 12:16 AM

18. Day-um. Those are pricey. I wouldn't have expected that.

 


Seems like there is a niche there for a lighter mower for smaller spaces, between a push mower and the pain-in-the-ass string trimmers. But w/o the pain-in-the-ass part. And cheaper than those.

Good luck.


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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #18)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 06:01 PM

19. I did see one of these in Sears today.

The strings look to be rather high. Maybe I just didn't don't realize how high all blades are, since you normally do not see the blades, but I had the feeling it would not cut very low. Or maybe it is adjustable down and I didn't really notice. I was surprised that it didn't look to have much safety features---the strings were visible, so there wasn't much to keep them from throwing things that they hit, or hurting someone. But it was also expensive and I have a feeling that you have a lot more maintenance and cost with replacing the strings.

I don't think that I will find everything that I want in a push mower. There does not seem to be a mower that is lightweight (no self propel) and electric start.....although they do say that many mowers now are "easy start" with no choke and not at hard to pull and start on the first pull (yeah, right). The only thing I have not yet found in the stores is a cordless electric, and I would like to see one before I decide.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 08:06 PM

20. I bought myself a cordless battery powered Black and Decker

about 12 years ago. It cost me about two hundred dollars. I LOVED it . It didn't have any fancy bag on the back--just the basics. I enjoyed showing my neighbors how I could start it by just pulling up the lever on the handle with my pinky finger. I had a fairly big yard with a hill, which was no problem, really.

After I was finished mowing I would wheel it to our shed attached to our carport and plug it in. We calculated that the energy charging cost about 5 bucks a year. (hope I'm remembering that correctly).

What I enjoyed was that while I was getting a lot of exercise in, I wasn't breathing in any fumes. Like I said, this thing was not very large. It was light , but did the job. The noise level was low and didn't chase away the garden birds and squirrels.

When I downsized to a townhouse I gave the mower to my brother. About a year ago, the battery, which was not lithium, gave out. My brother had a hard time replacing it because this was bought so long ago. He did finally come across a battery of some sort, and it now works fine again. .

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Response to NCarolinawoman (Reply #20)

Sun Apr 28, 2013, 08:21 PM

21. Thanks. This is the one mower I am still looking to find

in a store, so I can see it. I am liking the idea the more I think about it, and I had not even considered one before it was suggested here....I didn't realize that there was such a thing. It is good to hear that you were please with it. I am intent on finding one, now more than ever. But I think that I would go with a lithium battery.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 10:30 PM

26. Oh - check this out - SOLAR lawnmowers!

 

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #26)

Wed May 1, 2013, 08:28 PM

27. Very cool.

I am not ready for that much technology yet, but cool. I could be very entertained sitting any watching a robot do my yard, with all the obstacles and bumps and tree roots and hills I have. There is no way it would work-----my yard does not look like the yards in those pictures! Luckily it is not a large yard.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 10:43 PM

28. Looking at you OP - Is this the best group to ask????

 

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No -

Try the Lounge -

thousands are in there - of all persuasions.

I "cross-post" (same question in different forums/groups) for stuff like this.

There are WAY many more people in the Lounge at any given time than dozens of the "specific" groups/forums.

Some will even redirect you with a link to a forum/group that pertains to your inquiry.

Over 200,000 posters in here - that's a lot of resources!!

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #28)

Thu May 2, 2013, 05:20 PM

29. Good point.

I always think of the Lounge as a place for silliness.

But that's ok. I think that I have made a decision on a cordless electric push mower.....it is only a matter of which one now. And I have just about had my fill of researching it online.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #29)

Tue May 7, 2013, 02:13 PM

30. Solaris self-powered

Our lot is 1/3 of an acre with a house, a garage, a garden, and a shed taking up half of it. I can cut the whole yard on one charge if the grass is not too thick or wet. The batteries are sealed lead acid. The first set lasted four years. I would buy this product again.

The only trick is to make sure it is freewheeling if you pull it backwards. The gears can get stripped.

http://www.solarispowerproducts.com/

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #30)

Tue May 7, 2013, 06:35 PM

31. I really don't want a self-propelled model.

I do as much backwards pulling as forward pushing, and self-propelled are just too heavy. My yard is not one of those yards you can just go back and forth on. It is a triangular lot, with a lot of obstacles everywhere. So there is a lot of corners that I have to push and pull in. A pain in the butt to mow.

But I am curious.....I have never heard of a "freewheeling" self-propelled mower. How do you know if it is freewheeling? And does that mean that you do not have the resistance when you pull the mower backwards?

On edit, that does look like a nice mower.....I can't find how much it weighs on the site. Is it heavy?

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #31)

Tue May 7, 2013, 08:19 PM

32. "Freewheeling" like the rear hub of a bicycle

The wheel can spin forward if the rider isn't pedaling. Normally, I can pull the Solaris backwards, but sometimes that freewheel does not disengage and I am dragging the wheels, not rolling. Since the ring gear in the wheel is plastic, it gets stripped. I stripped three gears in five years.

I pull it backwards a lot to get out of corners. I like the power because the yard is lumpy with rodent holes and I can power through them.

This Solaris is not light. I think the other brands with a narrower cut also have a plastic frame, which would make them wonderfully lighter.

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If I was smart, I would kill vast swaths of the grass and turn the lawn into planting beds with perennials below the shrubs or maybe just a mass of mulch until things get rolling. I don't even know how to apply landscape fabric for that matter. I should start a thread on that.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #32)

Tue May 7, 2013, 09:03 PM

33. LOL, you sound like me....

I have done a lot to get rid of areas of grass, and it just made it worse with more obstacles to navigate. Smart move, huh? And that perennial thingie, not as great an idea as it sounds. The ones that made it are so invasive that I can't get rid of them now. It is too funny, but I love my yard nonetheless.

I now know what one of the several problems is with my old mower....one of my rear wheels will freeze up when I pull backwards, and I have to pull the damned thing by dragging it. And since it feels as heavy as a refrigerator, I have a really good workout. Obviously, my old mower is NOT freewheeling, but at least I know what that is all about now.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #33)

Wed May 8, 2013, 04:48 AM

34. A Snapper "rear engine rider" is a great product

It has a turning radius of about eleven inches. The cutting deck is one blade, and just a little bigger than a push mower. They get expensive once you start adding features like an electric starter.

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My hunch is that you want to corral your planting beds with a border, so that when the creeping rhizomes climb into your yard, you can cut them off cleanly. I dunno.

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