I just sold my old 216 and went out to buy a new mower today.
This is what happened and these are just my opinions, I’m sure others will disagree and no I haven’t used a 217 on a job and I could be completely wrong.
I’ve been using the 216’s for almost 15 years, but after reading the reviews on here and elsewhere thought I would consider the 217 as an alternative. I’m keen to mulch as many lawns as I can and so it seemed like a good option.
I walked into my local Honda dealer who I have brought many mowers off over the years and took a look at the HRX 217.
“You don’t want to buy that” he shouted. Why I said?
Anyway he didn’t answer and I wasn’t going to listen to him anyway until I’d had a good look.
First issue I could see was the height adjustment system. Ok to move the right hand side rear with my right foot, but the left was awkward to reach with my right foot and partially obscured by the handle fitting. As for the front 2, I couldn’t move them easily at all, unless I used my hands and did them at the same time. Also they didn’t seem to go as low as the 216 and it was hard to see if I had them all the same. A time consuming process compared to a quick flip of the foot on the 216. But with practice I thought perhaps it would get easier.
Although that was enough to put me off, I thought no I will continue.
The 217 is a surprisingly a bigger machine;
Length; 216 = 1695mm, 217 = 1826mm
Width; 216 = 570mm, 217 = 678mm
Height 216 = 1050mm, 217 = 1115mm
It’s hard enough getting round small yards and in and out my mower box with the 216, I do not need a bigger mower.
And there are the other issues already mentioned on here, such as the air filter being inadequate for a mostly dusty Brisbane these days.
Even the advantage of less weight for 217 seemed to be a problem. It felt very light at the front in comparison to 216. With a half catcher full of grass on the back this thing would be lifting up at the front and not giving an even cut I thought.
I wasn’t put off by the plastic deck, but overall it seemed less strong and solid and more flimsy. A cheaper machine of course and it showed.
Was all this worth it for a mower that may mulch slightly better?
The dealer and mechanic of 39 years told me that it was not a commercial machine and to avoid it as he had seen far too many brought back broken and quickly worn out. Now I’m not a mechanic in any way and rely on others to advise me in such matters, and I so trust him in that regard.
But I had already decided the 217 wasn’t for me and to stick to what I know, because of its ease of use and because of 15 years of reliable mowing.
Is the 216 perfect? No of course not but with good blades and with the right catcher bag it can handle most things pretty well and that imho the 216 is still the best Honda on the market today.