Honda push mowers have been a popular choice for contractors for as many years as I have been involved in the industry, which I hate to admit is approaching three decades! The reason for their popularity is simple: they are quality built, tough and reliable mowers, which is essential for contractors who use these machines every day.
The Honda HRU196 Buffalo Pro combines the quality features Honda buyers have long admired with new technology, including Blade Brake. This Mow-Safe Technology shows the commitment Honda have to operator safety and shows they are continually improving their product. The Blade Brake system is one of the best new features I have seen on a push mower in recent times. Basically, once the machine has been started a lever on the handlebar must be depressed in order for the blades to rotate, and once the lever is released the blades stop spinning in an instant. Not only is this an exceptional safety feature because it makes it impossible for the operator to come in contact with rotating blades that can cause horrific injuries, but it is also a valuable time and effort saver for commercial operators. The Blade Brake enables the operator to empty the catcher or move obstacles that are in the way without the engine cutting out, which is what happens with the Engine Brake system on many machines. This removes the need to restart the mower and also enables the operator to manoeuvre the mower over obstacles and along pebble paths with the engine still in operation.
The Buffalo Pro is powered by the ever-reliable Honda GXV160 engine, which is a proven engine for this application with easy first-time starting, ample power and also quiet compared to many other engines used in this type of application.
A cutting width of 19” is achieved with four swing-back blades, which are cheap and easy to replace and provide a neat, even cut with both the catcher fitted and the mulch plug inserted. I found the catcher filled to capacity on long, wet Buffalo grass without leaving any residue on the lawn surface. With the mulching plug inserted a neat even cut was also achieved with predominately a great finish, although there was some clipping residue left on the surface where the grass was longer.
I like the single height adjustment lever, which features a large easy-to-grip knob that can be moved with little effort– this saves times compared with height adjustments on each wheel.
The only negative comment I have is that it is quite heavy, which makes it difficult to lift onto a ute for a single operator. This is due to the Blade Brake system, but a small price to pay for the benefits of the system. As expected, the Honda HRU196 Buffalo Pro Blade Brake Commercial Lawnmower performed extremely well. It is easy to push and manoeuvre and the Blade Brake technology is an excellent feature for commercial operators. A three-year engine warranty for commercial users will build confidence in the mower, and combined with its robustness – it is an attractive option for both commercial and residential users.