This four-wheeled rotary looks every bit your typical lawnmower, but look closer and you find lots of features to set it apart. Powered by a Kawasaki engine, it is high on performance. With a heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant aluminium deck, it is built for life in the professional sector.
The drive and operator levers close nicely around the main handle without pinching palms or gloves. AV mounts reduce vibration to a comfortable level. Removing and refitting the grass box is not a strain - it fills in layers from back to front, ensuring maximum collection without blockages.
We like the variable-speed gearbox allowing you to match the mower's pace to your own and to the conditions. As with other Weibang wheeled rotaries, the bull bar at the front protects the mower from head-on impacts but also doubles as a handle to help lift the unit on and off a trailer - but it takes two to safely lift this one.
If there is a niggle with the Virtue 53 Pro, it is a tendency to lurch when drive is engaged.
Cutter deck: Aluminium
Engine: Kawasaki FJ 180V-AM74
Cutting width: 53cm
Power drive: Variable, 0.8/1/1.2m/s
Cutting height adjustment: On each wheel, 25-76mm in seven stages
Wheel size: 204mm/229mm
Cutting system: Cut and collect
Price: £1,099 including VAT
Tel: Rochford Garden Machinery - 01963 828000
Tested This Issue
- Weibang Virtue 53 Pro
- Weibang Legacy 48 Pro BBC
- Weibang Virtue 53 SV
- Lawnflite 448S JW
- Makita and Cobra cordless models
- EGO Power+ cordless lawnmower
Mike Baldwin, director of horticulture, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Mark Ekin, lecturer, Broomfield Campus, Derby College
Walk-behind rotary mowers are used by contractors, groundsmen and professional gardeners. The huge variety makes them indispensable. Most are wheeled, but there are models with rear rollers. Most provide rear collection, but there are ones that give side discharge or will mulch. With models available that can handle the rough, present stripes on a lawn, nip in and out of obstacles or clip off young growth on an establishing sward, this is one of the most versatile mowers.
We wanted to look at a broad range. Rochford Garden Machinery, Henton & Chattell, EP Barrus, Toro, Hayter and Makita provided us with 14 mowers. In this, the first of two reports looking at pedestrian mowers, we test the Weibang, Lawnflite, Cobra, EGO and Makita brands, covering a range of styles including roller, three-in-one and even battery models.
The testers were joined by horticulture students charged with an assignment looking at mower specifications for different tasks. Test conditions were less than perfect. Heavy rain on day one was followed by more rain on days two and three. A brief lull provided difficult conditions on day four so it was necessary to look at some mowers several weeks later in drier but much colder conditions.