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216 V 217

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spongy buffalo
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216 V 217
#1

I’ve had a 216 sp as a 1 and only for 2 and half years. Now looking at adding another mower and from reading here it seems like the 217 is the go, even if the local mower shop says it’s not for contractors.

I mow mostly 20-50 minute jobs,
heaps of buffalo often damp green and ankle deep
Currently catch most jobs
Have not many feral clean ups
Cop some serious dust

Will a 217 excel at all these, does a 216 win a few rounds?
Posted 23 December 2017 - 05:02 PM

Lucky
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216 V 217
#2

217 does not pick up wet grass very well.  At least not Tassie wet grass- our grass is pretty thick due to our climate.

Whats dust? lol


Posted 23 December 2017 - 05:34 PM

crocster
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216 V 217
#3

I've got both SB and the 217 is the winner for me:-

 

  1. It's lighter by a fair margin
  2. the GCV engine has plenty of grunt and has stood the test of time for me at least, even tho it's not supposed to be a commercial engine - I change the oil every 50 or so jobs and tap the filter elements out pretty much daily.
  3. the hydro drive is brilliant - set max speed and squeeze handle - need to slow down, release handle a bit.- no gear changing.
  4. 77 litre catcher is a winner
  5. Blade brake - in a 42.5KG mower
  6. plastic deck is as tough as the promo says
  7. it really does mulch well and I mulch probably 70% of my regulars now - up from none before I bought it - with the condition that the grass needs to be regularly mowed and not really wet - your mileage may vary.

Drawbacks -

 

  1. it's a very long mower and cumbersome in tight places but you'd be used to that with a 216
  2. it doesn't catch well on damp grass - couch anyway - I imagine buffalo would be a bit easier - definitely get the full fabric bag from boats.net and keep it clean - the standard bag supplied in OZ doesn't breath enough and I was tearing my hair out thinking of selling it when I first got mine - sharp blades help and cutting counterclockwise with a half cut if necessary - we've had plenty of wet days here in Bris now after the drought and I can't complain about the performance of mine once you work around it's limitations
  3. no snorkel - definitely get one fitted - Honda don't have one any more but a mower store near me adapts a rover one and fits for about $90 for contractors - if your area is more damp than a dustbowl you might get away with using the 2 stage folded paper/foam outer ones available on eBay - originally for a Briggs Quantum I think - I used this for a long time before fitting a snorkel and used to carry spare foam outers in the ute and swap them out after a few jobs - makes the folded paper elements last heaps longer.
  4. availability and cost of spares - blade sets are over $60 if you trot down to your local dealer - but boats.net in the US is your goto here - I just bought 3 lower blades and a catcher bag for US$66 delivered in about 10 days

I've got other mowers and I'm thinking of a getting mulchmaster and a 19" Victa commercial for fiddly jobs but if I just had to choose one mower now  it would be the 217

 

Check out the 217 thread for more info if you haven't already.

 

And thanks Arfa, wherever you are now.


Posted 23 December 2017 - 06:10 PM

plucka
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216 V 217
#4

Crocster summed it up very well.  I have a 217 and mulch almost all my lawns, it mulches buffalo very well, even ankle deep, as long as it's dry.  Couch/fine blade grass it tends to leave some clumps if not bone dry.   Only issue I had was dust clogging the jets, solved by adding a foam prefilter to the filter box, havn't bothered with a snorkel yet.

 

I would hate to use a 216 if the 217 is considered light in comparison as I find the 217 quite big and heavy.  It shines on large open lawns but I'm often cursing at it when doing small tight lawns with lots of maneuvering.  I should probably get a 2nd small mower for these jobs.


Posted 24 December 2017 - 07:51 AM

Lucky
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216 V 217
#5

Good some up guys. 

Goes to show how different environments play a part. I don't use a pre filter or a snorkel and I only have to blow out my filter every month.


Posted 24 December 2017 - 08:32 AM

spongy buffalo
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216 V 217
#6

Been thinking more about this, how annoying is the height adjustment? I find I can adjust the height 3 or 4 times on a lawn sometimes with the 216. Di you put up with it or end up with a slightly lower quality cut for the customer
Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:21 PM

Macka
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216 V 217
#7

The are 2 x HRU216's the old  HRU216D and the new HRU216M2

 

The HRU216M2 is a superior machine, thicker deck and different shape compared to the old HRU216D's

 

The HRU216M2 does it all great with a couple of simple mods like upping the revs and thinner catcher bags.

 

The HRX217HYU has a bar blade it will never catch as well as 4 high-lift swing back blades

 

Don't be concerned about the weight if you man handling the mower your doing it wrong,  they are self propelled and not for pushing or pulling.  I never push or pull the mower.


Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

drewebb
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216 V 217
#8

The HRX has 2 bar blades to be precise unlike the Toro,s with only one.  :)


Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:59 PM

crocster
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216 V 217
#9

Been thinking more about this, how annoying is the height adjustment? I find I can adjust the height 3 or 4 times on a lawn sometimes with the 216. Di you put up with it or end up with a slightly lower quality cut for the customer

The height adjusters are a pain - especially as the rears are very stiff out of the box - mine have freed up pretty well now but I find I cut the bulk of my regulars on one setting - the ones obsessed with cutting it low I drop the rears a notch - the lawns have got used to it, the people have got used to it and I save a bit of time on the job.

 

One thing I haven't mentioned is that it's a very forgiving deck geometry - you have to be trying pretty hard to scalp anything or hit a horizontal tree  root - just seems to sail over them better than anything else I've used.

 

I should add that I'm pretty obsessive about having sharp blades and that gives a great finish no matter what the cut height.


Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:30 PM

Lucky
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216 V 217
#10

As croc said the 217 rear adjusters are a pain until it frees up. At least one side was, the other was fine. I cut pretty much all my jobs at the same height and rarely adjust the height on any of my mowers.

 

As croc said u can drop just the rear if you want or  the front. Whatever floats ya boat. The cut quality is pretty damn good no matter what way you go. I think when the mower has all 4 adjusters at the same setting the cut is spectacular, extremely flat cut. Its something Arfa mentioned and you do notice it.


Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:57 PM

john22
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216 V 217
#11

Hey Croc, how do you sharpen your blades?.
Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:16 PM

Lucky
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216 V 217
#12

Hey Croc, how do you sharpen your blades?.

...With his tongue..... :P  


Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:27 PM

john22
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216 V 217
#13

Lol :)
Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:29 PM

crocster
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216 V 217
#14

Lol, they call me strop  :)

 

I've got 3 sets - bought one of those blade balancers off eBay - touch them up with an angle grinder and swap out every week or so depending on what I've cut - found it really makes a hell of a difference to mulching, catching and finish - and I read somewhere about the load on the engine going up exponentially as the blades get blunt - makes sense anyway.

 

You getting a bit of rain now John? - we had about 3mm - enough to make it 110% humidity - faaaarck!


Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:57 PM

john22
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216 V 217
#15

Disgusting week with the weather for me and it’s been a bloody busy one. We had a bit of rain but it’s certainly drying out again. If we don’t get rain after tomorrow’s prediction the lawns will be toast. :(
Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:09 PM

john22
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216 V 217
#16

Weight is a important consideration comparing these two. It was spoken about recently regarding the lack of failures occurring in the drive of the 217. Direct drive in the 216 is far superior but has no give, a bit like swing back blades so to speak. I haven’t the specs but the weight difference is considerable in favour of the 217.

As Grae pointed out the weight of a full catcher puts a combined stress on any machine. Some laugh that I still run the older non braked 216. Advantages less weight, no blade brake much more manoeuvrability better wheels and mulching ability and a little more torque to the disc having no clutch ect.

The newer 216 great to drive over gravel and empty the catcher without chaff blown in your face, and the high intake snorkel takes a $30 mod for a Victa filter. I do notice the extra weight “tram tracks” lawns with a inexperienced operator going over the same line. My local Jim’s desecrates the property next door. I think the 217 is well worth stepping up to, a bigger fuel tank would be nice along with a factory snorkel. Just my thoughts, Arfa always knew what to do and preferred the 217 anyday.
Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:40 PM

crocster
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216 V 217
#17

Yes, in the best of all worlds Honda would take the basic 217 concept and develop a full commercial model - if they did that why would you buy anything else?


Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:02 PM

drewebb
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216 V 217
#18

Weight is a important consideration comparing these two. It was spoken about recently regarding the lack of failures occurring in the drive of the 217. Direct drive in the 216 is far superior but has no give, a bit like swing back blades so to speak. I haven’t the specs but the weight difference is considerable in favour of the 217.

 

53  v 43.6  :)


Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:06 PM

drewebb
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216 V 217
#19

Here,s a 216

https://powerequipme...odels/hrs216vka


Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:11 PM

Steve35
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216 V 217
#20

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.

Attached Files


Posted 20 January 2018 - 08:35 PM




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