“It feels far too aggressive. It’s snatching the wood, biting too much and then jamming. It can’t be right,” says the tester, somewhat perplexed at the behaviour of the Stihl.
As an owner of Stihl’s 31.4cc HT101 pole saw with the new 4-Mix engine, our tester has been looking forward to testing this smaller unit, particularly the 90? angled head option. But therein lies the problem. The angled gearhead is a 2003 version. The pole is a 2006 model. The gear ratios are different. The test is aborted, but first we investigate the strange contraption that Stihl calls a backpack system for pole pruners.
Designed to improve the handling of the HT75 and HT101, the new backpack was conceived after studying the arms or jibs used in the operation of TV cameras at sporting events.
The system comprises a tubular aluminium arm to suspend the pruner in a controllable position, while the backpack spreads the weight evenly over the shoulders, back and hips. There’s plenty of padding for comfort.
Dressed in the harness and viewed from behind, our tester resembles a character out of Star Wars. But does the system work?
Yes, it does take a lot of the weight off the operator’s arms. And yes, it is manoeuvrable so, once you are used to it, you can position the saw among the branches and make a cut. But the tester finds the tubular jib repeatedly hits his ear defenders and once a branch has landed on the floor, he is unable to bend forward to move it out of the way.
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