First, let me say that if I was only rating the engine and cutting power, I'd be giving it a 5 star out of the box. One pull and it cranks with no priming. Went through some amazingly tall and thick grass, only bogging down once or twice. Kudos to Briggs & Stratton for that.
However, after only five strips of grass under my belt, only in service for a few minutes, I pivoted the mower around to go back the other direction and the back wheel came off. I thought it might just have been loose, but a closer inspection saw the PLASTIC wheel was in pieces! (I was amazed to find another testimony on here about the same thing.)
I have a huge peeve right now about companies, in general, overusing plastic on parts that should be metal or some other sturdier material. Having had wheels come off my rolling garbage container, I am putting wheels in that category.
Still, being too lazy and not wanting to return it, I called their customer service number and told them that if they sent me TWO wheels, one to fix this and one as a backup for the future, I would keep it. They did that without hesitation. I guess customer service would get kudos on that front.
The other strange thing is the self-propel feature. Engaging it seems simple and straightforward, but I can't figure out how to disengage it. I tried releasing the blade lever, like my Craftsman does, and it doesn't do that. It will disengage itself in the middle of a mowing strip, all on its own. I might have to actually <gasp> read the manual, but it seems it should be more intuitive than that.
Until they change the wheel design or get better, I can't recommend it. However, if you buy it and don't experience this problem, I think you'll love it. The setup is intuitive and very quick. I had it out and mowing in only a few minutes, hooking everything up with only a glance or two at the manual. It is truly a monster at getting the grass cut, too.
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