Our first opportunity to test products from the Solo brand - and we are pleasantly surprised. The 142 has impressive torque yet is relatively quiet for a two-stroke engine. It's a good performer, comfortable and manoeuvrable, while the weight and balance are just right to give control over the cutting head.
We have no trouble starting either Solo machine - a decompression valve helps. Gardiner finds both comfortable machines to operate. "I like them. They are lightweight and the balance is good," he confirms. Walrond agrees: "The 142 especially is a nice piece of kit - good weight, well balanced and I like the adjustable handlebars."
Handlebar adjustment is via a central setting but whereas most brushcutters have a large butterfly, tommy screw or knob, this one has a lever. This nestles in a recess and is much less likely to catch on vegetation or be damaged when rough handled during transport. We reckon that it is a good idea and it provides quick adjustment, although on a new machine we find it stiff and difficult to move at first.
If there is a downside to these machines, then it is the vibration levels. "There is some vibration at higher revs, though it's not excessive," comments Walrond. The price tag on these Solo units should appeal to professional gardeners and landscapers.
Power output: 1.9kW (2.6hp)/1.5kW (2hp)
Weight: 8.3kg (excluding head)/7.7kg (excluding head)
Handle design: Bike
Fuel tank: 0.7 litres
Standard head: Blade (nylon line option)/nylon line and blade
List price ex VAT: £501.28/£331.06
Contact: Lely UK on 01480 226800
TESTED THIS WEEK
Stihl Backpack FR480C-F
Makita BBC 231U RD
Makita EBH 341U?
Echo SRM-510ES and SRM-335ES?
Efco DS4200T and DS2600 4S?
Husqvarna 345Rx and 143RII
Solo 142 and 137
THE REVIEW PANEL
- Mark Creber, senior head gardener, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Brookwood Military Cemetery.
- Brendon Gardiner, skilled maintenance craftsman, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Brookwood Military Cemetery
- Danny Walrond, skilled maintenance craftsman, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Brookwood Military Cemetery
- What would we do without the brushcutter or nylon-line trimmer? Whether you need to mow steep slopes, reduce dense vegetation, take out the rogue saplings or simply trim around the trees, there is a model to suit.
The day started dull and cold but became warm and sunny during the morning. Grass in an area of woodland was tackled with all the machines.