Viking MB650VS

Hailed as one of the most exciting entries into the garden power market, we simply had to put this 6-Series mower to the test. It has some very nice features — including a starting system so easy you have to try it to believe it.
This mower is fitted with a Briggs & Stratton (B&S) Quantum 6hp engine with B&S’s new ReadiStart technology — an automatic choke that eliminates the need to prime the machine and the potential for flooding and also makes pull-cord starts a doddle. If you hate pull starts, this is definitely one for your shortlist.
The design is stylish, but sturdy. The aluminium deck extends beyond the wheels for a full mowing width of 48cm and there are side-impact bumpers at the machine’s widest point.
The 650VS can be used to cut and drop, cut and collect using the 75-litre grass catcher or — with the addition of a simple snap-on insert — to mulch.  
This box is designed for 100 per cent filling, has an indicator to show when it is full and is easy to lift off for emptying. The unit already has a mulch blade with four stepped cutting surfaces that cut the grass at four different heights with each rotation.
Driving the 650VS is simplicity itself. This machine has Vario drive, which does just what the name implies. A control on the handlebar allows the drive speed to be set between 2.4km/h and 5.1km/h according to conditions or terrain.
A lot of thought has gone into the mechanism for adjusting the height of cut. There are seven settings from 25mm to 80mm. It has central adjustment, so there is just one lever and it is sprung-loaded, so hardly any effort is needed. However, it does mean you have to run with the mower level — there is no opportunity to raise or drop the front for different conditions. A useful feature is the indicator that shows which height has been selected.
Adjusting the handlebar height is also easy, making it suitable for tall and short operators alike. Should you need to inspect the blades or clean under the deck, this mower is stable sitting up on the rear wheels. Options include blade brake clutch.
Intended as a top-end domestic machine for people with large lawns, Viking reports that sales are also being made to small contractors.

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