Ride-on brushcutters seem expensive - are they really worth the money?

The problem with ride-on brushcutters, to my mind, is that they don't look like serious pieces of kit. There is something "go-kartish" about them. But while they look like fun toys, there is actually a lot of engineering in a ride-on brushcutter. Special attention is paid to the strength of construction and quality of parts as they need to be tough to cope with the conditions they are likely to be used in.

We have tested several ride-on brushcutters at HW. The Etesia Attila AV95 and Orec Rabbit RM94 (supplied by Enginetech) look very similar. They are both powered by 18hp Briggs & Stratton engines, are compact and are incredibly easy to drive. A Hi and Lo ratio, plus reverse gear, gives you all you need to do the work and get out of the occasional "spot of bother". What's more, they are comfortable to ride.

Although these machines are low to the ground, the Rabbit and Attila both have comfortable seats with armrests. The low centre of gravity also gives the operator more confidence when using the kit on sloping or rough terrain. You should expect to pay between £5,700 and £6,000 ex VAT for these units.

The Fuji, supplied by Bunce of Wiltshire, and Emak's Efco Tuareg 92 4x4 are two other machines we have tested. The Fuji 1021X costs in the region of £5,000 ex VAT, is powered by a 21hp Kawasaki engine and, like the others, has two-stage hydrostatic drive. With a 23hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine, the Efco Tuareg boasts four-wheel drive and could be described as an all-terrain garden tractor, an all-terrain mower or a rough cutter. This one is priced a little under £5,200 ex VAT.

All the machines we tested were capable of tackling the most challenging terrains we could find. You can clear unwanted vegetation quickly and cut rides through woodland. But that's not all. Height of cut is easy to adjust and at a lower setting, we found these machines give an acceptable cut to grassed areas and large lawns. And that is what makes ride-on brushcutters worth the money.


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