Earlier this spring, Troy-Bilt offered to send me one of its six new walk-behind mowers – if only I’d let them know what I think of it. Each member of this new family from Troy-Bilt is equipped with the TriAction cutting system.
Step one is a “rake” edge, attached to the front of the mower.
This pushes grass upright, giving the blade better access. Step two is the S-blade. Lower than the deck, its “smooth arc blade creates more lift in the deck, allowing grass to circulate and mulch more effectively,” according to Troy-Bilt. Step three is the symmetrical deck which “eliminates clumping and discharges as fine mulch” and “allows for maximum trimability by extending beyond the wheels on both sides.”
I opted for the TB210, a 21-inch, front-wheel drive, self-propelled model. In addition to the TriAction cutting system, it comes equipped with:
• 190cc* Briggs & Stratton engine (Some models come with 160cc* Honda engine)
• 3-in-1 convertible - side discharge, mulch or rear bag
• 2-year limited warranty
The mower was practically ready to run right out of the box – which included engine oil. I literally cut the carton end and rolled it out. The handle had to be adjusted and attached in two places, I needed to easily slide the cover over the grass-catcher frame, add the oil and some gas and I was good to go.
· Initially, I thought that the standard 1.86-bushel grass catcher was small but I quickly found out it was more than ample, thanks to the awesome cutting system.
· Both the six-position dual-lever deck height adjustment and three-position height adjust handle make it easy to get just the cut you want.
· An intriguing feature was the deck wash. Screw on your hose to the deck-mounted fitting, let it run with the engine running for at least two minutes and ideally, it cleans the underdeck. While it didn’t do a bad job, it didn’t do a really good job either though I nearly doubled the minimum time. (It’s kind of like rinsing dishes before loading them in the dishwasher.)
What I really liked:
· The TriAction system. It works! Even in tall grass, the mower didn’t even try to stall – it just pushed right on through. The clippings were very finely chopped, even when I did a few passes without the bagger. And, it really did let me get closer to the fence and utility poles.
· No clumping. Another credit to the TriAction system. Even damp grass moves into the bagger without clogging the discharge chute.
· Easy to use. You don’t need an engineering degree to set up or to run this mower, even if you’re not mechanically-inclined.
· ReadyStart Choke System . No priming required. I’ve never seen a lawnmower start so easily. Engage the blade and pull. That’s it. (And it started the first time, every time.)
What I didn’t like:
· Plastic. The rake guard, the side and rear discharge flaps, a guard over the engine, even the grooves to hold the bagger in place … all plastic. Plastic breaks off. And while metal may rust, plastic rots. A machine this good deserves a little metal muscle. However, Stan, Stan the Lawnmower Man assures me that these parts are easily replaceable when they do give out.
Conclusion: An A+ for both ease of use and performance. A B for design, but only because of all the plastic. A B+ for value and an A- overall.
Availability: Lowe’s, Troy-Bilt authorized dealers
Cost: $199-$299 (TB210 retails for $269)
(Full disclosure: Troy-Bilt provided me with the mower described in this review. I was not compensated in any other way for my test run.)