At six kilograms, the FS130 is the heavyweight in our test — but don’t let that put you off. This brushcutter has some outstanding features.
For starters, it is fitted with Stihl’s now-proven 4-Mix engine. The main thing that operators notice is the difference in the tone. It is not a two-stroke engine, so it does not come with an incessant, shrill squeal.
If you are accustomed to two-strokes, this model may sound underpowered at first, but it’s deceptive. The FS130 actually has huge lugging power — an impressive 1.65Nm torque powers the cutting head.
Inspecting the unit, we find it is easy to fuel-up and everything is accessible for maintenance. The automatic decompression makes starting the FS130 a breeze and the specially contoured bike handle, combined with the perfect balance of this unit, is a great aid to maintaining the swing needed for continuous mowing. The three-point Comfort harness, which comes as standard with this unit, is one of the best we’ve seen.
It really takes the weight off your shoulders and transfers the weight of the machine to where you need it, comments one tester.
We test the bike-handled model, but a loop-handled version is also available. Both can be fitted with Stihl’s new AutoCut C head. This is a wind-up type with no dismantling — a piece of genius.
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
In this review we look at the latest machines from six manufacturers. There is a backpack model and units with either bike or loop handles. We have two-stroke machines, hybrid engines and four-stroke units. We also have a commercial cordless model.
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.