Carrying a brushcutter power unit rucksack-style promotes balance and freedom for the user when working on steep, overgrown or uneven terrain. But it is a nuisance when you have to take it off to restart the engine or shout for a fellow worker to come and pull the recoil.
But Stihl has put an end to the inconvenience. Now you can stop and start the engine all day without having to remove the machine or ask for assistance.
The Stihl ElectroStart feature means this backpack brushcutter starts via an "always ready" handle control. It is going to save loads time - not to mention effort and frustration.
The technology involves a lithium-ion battery charge, meaning the machine is started at the touch of a switch. All the user has to do is fuel up and purge if required, then simply press the switch on the handle. The starter battery charges automatically while the brushcutter is in use, so it is always ready for action.
Like all backpacks, the FR480C-F is not a flat-ground machine. It is designed for working in ditches, on slopes and on rough terrain. The long, flexible drive shaft promotes manoeuvrability and control of the cutting head, even in cramped conditions or mowing uphill.
"It's a specialist machine for banks and it's got good power. The starter is a really convenient way of using it," says Creber. The FR480C-F is supplied with metal blade and AutoCut 30-2 line as standard. A steel brush knife can also be fitted.
Engine: 48.7cc Stihl two-stroke
Power output: 2.2kW (3hp)
Weight: 11.8kg (excluding cutting tool, guard and fuel)
Handle design: Loop?
Standard heads: AutoCut 30-2 mowing head and metal blade?
List price ex VAT: £795?
Contact: Stihl on 0800 137574
TESTED THIS WEEK
Stihl Backpack FR480C-F
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Makita EBH 341U
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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
Testing the equipment is a team of gardeners at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. 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.