A: As mowing frequencies are reduced in order to save money, there is going to be an increasing demand for machines that can cut longer grass and work in all conditions, irrespective of the weather. Such situations call for a strong and powerful machine with a wide discharge area.
If you want to stick with the same brand, I suggest you take a look at the Condor. At 76cm (30in), it is a bigger but high-performance machine with a choice of cylinder or rotary attachments that enable it to deal with a variety of conditions from roadside verges to general purpose mowing. It is compact and manoeuvrable - you can operate forward and reverse with your thumbs.
The Condor rotary attachment is fitted with two contra-rotating heads and each has two swinging cutter blades that are thrown out under centrifugal force to cut thick, wet, rough grass. It is a cut-and-drop action, but the quality of cut is good. The verge attachment has a floating head to follow contours and has a full-width roller behind the cylinder for a more refined cut. With the rotary attached, the Condor is 198cm (78in) long. Equipped with the cylinder it measures 96cm (38in) in length.
Power comes from a four-stroke, 11hp Honda engine and the transmission is hydrostatic, giving the machine variable speed control. The transmission can also be disengaged, which allows the mower to be pushed without running the engine. The cutting height is adjustable from 55mm down to 20mm on the verge attachment.
I would also look at the 51cm (21in) Etesia AK 51. This is part of the Attila brushcutter range and, although a relatively small machine, it is a rugged and powerful unit. The Etesia is designed to clear long grass and scrub in tough conditions and on sites where access is limited. For a rough-cut machine it cuts very well and is manoeuvrable. Extra large-diameter rear wheels have wide tread tyres for stability and grip on slopes and uneven ground. A differential lock also provides extra traction when needed.
There is no denying the strength and power in this machine. The grunt comes from a 6hp Kawasaki engine. It has a square-section chassis with reinforced steel frame and a hardened steel blade. The aluminium wheels are mounted on ball bearings.
Sally Drury has reported for HW and its forerunner GC&HTJ for 28 years and has spent more than five years testing machinery for HW and What Kit? The advice in this helpline is independent.