Hayter Condor rotary

The name Hayter has been synonymous with British grass cutting for over half a century. During that time many significant mowers have emanated from the company's Spellbrook site. The Condor is one. Under test conditions the mower defends its heritage and reputation. Its design, quality of construction and nifty devices shows Hayter has thought of just about everything.

For starters, when you want to move the mower around the shed, you don’t have to struggle. Neither do you have to start the engine in order to move it. This machine is hydrostatically driven. Flicking a lever unlocks the drive and enables the mower to be wheeled without much effort.
Then there’s the key start. For security, this mower needs a key in order to start it up. Insert and turn the key, switch on the fuel, give it a little choke and pull the recoil starter mechanism. Easy. It starts first time. What’s more, the recoil is set at a decent height so you might find there is no need to bend your back when pulling the cord.
The other controls are all hand controls. There’s a parking brake, throttle, blade engagement and disengagement lever, and the operator presence control   (OPC) — let that go and the blades stop. The testers are quick to find that the forward and reverse can be operated with just the thumbs.
“It’s not zero turn but I like the fact there is a reverse as it does help manoeuvre the machine,” comments one.
Another adds: “You can use the reverse to make the machine do the work of turning. That way it is very easy to turn. I like it. It’s a nice piece of kit.”
And it doesn’t matter if you are more used to pushing down on the rear of a mower in order to turn it. It is a habit that is hard to change; fortunately, you can still do it with this machine because it is so perfectly balanced.
The kit we borrow has a 76cm rotary deck, although other options include 90cm rotary and 76cm verge attachments. We are impressed with the design of the cutting mechanism. Under the deck there are two large discs. Each disc has two swinging blades that are thrown out under centrifugal force as the discs turn. The blades give a margin for hitting obstacles in the grass; and they are also easy to replace.
Power comes from an 11hp Honda GX340 four-stroke, overhead valve, single-cylinder engine. There’s sufficient power for the mower to munch through the ankle-deep, wet grass on the test site and the engine itself is no noisier than you would expect. But just wait for the squeal when the blades are engaged and disengaged. It’s short but it’s irritating and likely to attract attention. However, Hayter assures us the noise is just because the machine is so new and should quickly wear off with use.
Height adjustment requires the loosening of four bolts, then adjust the height via the lever and retighten the nuts. No part of the construction can be faulted. The testers are particularly impressed with the stone deflectors.
“They are at the sides and there are flaps at the front and back. They should reduce the risk of the operator being hit by flying debris,” says a reviewer.
And what of the quality of cut? No problem there. The Condor cuts through the grass easily and neatly. It leaves a great finish. Perhaps the only limitation of this mower is for bank work. For slopes over 20? you might want to look at the ratchet-drive model.

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