This is the second impressive tool in the 42-volt Power Flex® battery range I have tested from German company solo by AL-KO, which is distributed here in Australia by the reputable Masport company.
The Power Flex® ST Combo 42V Mower is aimed at both the residential and light commercial user. One of the things I like about this machine is that it has the same 19-inch steel base used in conventional petrol-powered mowers manufactured by Masport, which is used to accommodate the 42-volt brushless electric motor. This is a proven base, which is better than many of the plastic bases used on other battery mowers, especially if the intention is for some commercial use.
The blade system is also an improvement on some other machines of this style. It is also the same setup as many of Masport’s other models – a disc and swing-back blade system. It delivered a neat even cut whilst catching and mulching on short grass, but did leave cut grass residue on the lawn surface when tackling longer grass with the mulch plug fitted as would be expected.
The large 8-inch wheels front and rear fitted with dual bearings and a light26kg machine weight means the Power Flex® mower is effortless to push and manoeuvre around obstacles.
The 42-volt brushless motor produces 1.2kW and is fitted with load sensing technology, so when tackling tough longer grass you can feel and hear the engine stepping up a notch to cope with the extra load.
A simple two-stage starting procedure ensures the safety of the operator and reduces the chance of young children starting the machine. A button on the side of the handle must be depressed before and in conjunction with the engine start lever to start the blades rotating. Once the machine is engaged the button can be released and the engine lever is held easily against the foam-padded handle.
Once released the engine and blades stop quickly ensuring the operator won’t come into contact with rotating blades whilst removing the catcher.
The polyethene catcher has a ‘full’ indicator, which will come in handy for inexperienced operators. The 42-volt battery slides easily into the housing on the front of the engine. It has charge indicator lights that are easily visible, showing battery capacity, which comes on when the machine is moved or when the start lever or button are depressed rather than when a button on the battery is pressed.
Battery powered landscape maintenance equipment is becoming more and more popular, especially with the improvements in run times in recent years. Reduced emissions, reduced vibrations, reduced running costs and reduced maintenance are also advantages of this technology.