Stihl MS361

Just when you think a chainsaw can't get any better, Stihl comes up with a medium-sized machine that sets new standards in its class.

This is technology that will turn heads.
The MS361 is one of two new saws to result from the latest four-channel engine technology and includes a microprocessor-controlled ignition system.
Combine it with Stihl’s new Rapid Super Comfort chain and we have a smashing machine that our testers don’t want to put down. It’s got everything — lightning acceleration, power to spare plus that all-essential low vibration. We used it fitted with a 45cm bar.
“It’s very impressive. It’s well balanced, feels really smooth and is really quick on the pick-up for a medium-sized saw,” says our tester
It might look a bit on the big side for light thinning work but Jones gives it a try and finds the MS361 is ideal.
“I can imagine using this all day,” he says. “There’s loads of power, it’s nicely balanced — you can hardly feel any vibration — and it’s very light. I think it would be excellent on bigger stuff.”
So we try it. The sawdust flies out of the back — fast and furious. “It’s very adaptable. This saw is able to do the bigger work and yet light enough to do the small stuff as well,” says our man
The four-channel engine technology gives this saw its remarkable lightning acceleration, high power and impressive torque. But this saw has other features that set it apart from others. For starters, there is the new anti-vibration system.
With rubber and Cellast elements and special springs between the engine block and handles, vibration is effectively dampened — even at high speeds. Then there is the newly designed RSC 3/8in pitch saw chain. Put the two together and the result is the lowest vibration levels in their power category. The chain has extremely soft cutting behaviour, thanks to a newly profiled cutter that creates a shock-absorbing effect as the cutting edge enters the wood. And it works very well with vegetable oil.
Another feature we like is the ElastoStart starter grip and decompression valve to promote easy starting. In work, the noise from the saw is different — it’s more soprano than tenor.
Only one feature causes a problem for our testers — the on/off switch. It’s not in a position that is particularly fast to reach and is protected either side by a ridge of plastic and that makes it tricky to use in a hurry.

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