The XP Mower – A Manly Man’s Manly Mower

My husband and I have always gotten our mowers out of the trash. It is not that we can’t afford a new mower, it is just that my husband tends to feel more manly when he can push a mower that a lesser man was unable to repair. I don’t understand it either. I chalk it up to excess testosterone.

A few months ago, Troy-Bilt asked me to review a mower for them. My thought was that there was still snow on the ground and it is really hard to mow grass in the snow. They said, “No, silly” (they didn’t say that, but I bet they thought that) “In the spring we want you to review one of our mowers. We will even send you one to try.” Well, who can say no to that?

So a new XP Series lawn mower arrived in a big box (which was later adopted by my children and transformed into a coffin. I just don’t ask) and my husband assembled it. He was able to put it together in under a half hour without reading the directions (it is apparently not manly to read directions). But I assume that those clever people at Troy-Bilt know that their product is meant for testosterone addled men and they have designed the product accordingly.

The mower was also easy enough for me to start. That right there is a miraculous feat of industrial design as I sometimes need to go get my husband to start the electric weed wacker for me. I have pathetic arms.

My husband felt that there were too many safety features (testosterone again). I, being the daughter of a man who had once removed the safety feature off a power tool and subsequently lost 2 1/2 fingers, felt there were probably too little, though I could not think of any I would immediately add. I am still fairly certain my husband could figure out some way to almost injure himself with it in the name of being manly.

Then we (and by that I mean my husband) took it out for a run around the yard.

This model is a mulching mower, which I love. Our last dragged from the trash mower was “Not a Mulching Mower”, which I think translates to “Pain In The Ass” in Swahili. I don’t like raking my yard more than once a year.

The XP mower also cut beautifully. Nice, smooth even lawn, which is saying something with my lawn. The dandelions did not have a chance.

Then my husband let me try out the self prolusion system. Hmmm… I am not so fond of that. At level 1, you are walking at a pretty good clip, faster than I would like though my husband does not mind. At the highest level (4), you are training for a marathon with a lawnmower in front of you. I am not joking on that. I was literally pulled off my feet. When you try to mow the lawn without the self propulsion, well, the XP mower did not take kindly to its features being snubbed and did not handle well.

Of course a safety feature kicks in when you let go of the handle while using the self propelled feature. It cuts the motor so that the mower does not go tearing off down the road. But my biggest concern with this is that I have a 12-year-old son (read free landscaping crew). I am a little worried about this mower being used by him. I have visions of the mower akimbo and the half unscathed remnants of my 60 year old hydrangea bush and my son sobbingly explaining how he panicked and just did not let go. Underage mowing with the XP will need to be supervised for a few weeks, maybe months before I feel comfortable with it.

But, my paranoid insecurities aside, it did do a sharp job on the lawn in no time at all. It is a great mower, just a really powerful mower.

I suppose the thing to say would be that this is a man’s lawn mower. More power and all that jazz. Which is okay with me. It gives my husband something to expend his excess testosterone on. He is less likely to injure himself that way.

20 thoughts on “The XP Mower – A Manly Man’s Manly Mower
  1. I grew up in Texas, where the St. Augustine grass is really tough, and you need a big macho gas mower to cut through it. In Cleveland though, I’m a smug owner of a push mower and it works well enough on the grass.

    Sure, the dandelions just laugh at the push mower, and it can take a lot of time to cut the yard, but I like how peaceful it is. My three-year old son can play in the yard while I cut the grass.

    Anyhow, salvaging abandoned lawn mowers is very macho.

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  2. Excellent review. If I hadn’t just bought an electric mower, I would be tempted. I really miss my mulching mower. As Matt above comments, St. Augustine grass is tough and needs a tough mower to handle it.

    I do all the lawn mowing myself. Lacking the testosterone, I could use a little extra kick from my mower.

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  3. Being the world’s only straight(read Sexually) man who reads directions and uses safety features, and being that I love Troy-Bilt (sic), I would buy this mower. Troy-Bilt used to be made in Troy, NY, just down the road. I worked for two landscapers who were on it’s testing program. This gave me opportunity to use not only the best tillers in the world, but a similar mower. We also had a snow thrower (why don’t we say blower any more?) which had a 10 horse power motor and a 36″ cut. Now that is testosterone.

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  4. I’m not looking for a new lawnmower, since my husband keeps the whole Oklahoma 5 acres pretty trimmed on his big old Troy-Bilt riding machine. But the review made me smile! We finally got a sunshiny day that didn’t involve 30 mile an hour winds so he spent most of the day with his buddy Troy.
    Thanks for the smiles.
    Shari

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  5. I think my hubby and my dad and my sons must be in some way genetically linked to your hubbie. Wait no of course they are they are all male, silly me to forget that. I solved the whole mowing business by getting a man in to do it, so far all he has done wrong is to week kill the patio in our organic garden, killing off half the little hedge around it which I had raised from seedlings.

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  6. We just recycled our gas mower for a reel mower. It had seven blades for more efficient cutting (mulching) and is easier to maneuver since it’s lighter than the traditional lawn cutter.

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  7. I really didn’t expect to laugh out loud at a mower review, but there, you did it. (Laughing really hard now.)

    And I think this actually sounds like a pretty cool mower. At our house we consider mowing a form of exercise. We even have a John Deer push power with a self-propelled feature my husband absolutely refuses to use. Sometimes I hear him on the hillside yelling “Yaaaaaaah” as he goes uphill with the thing like he’s on some sort of attack.

    Thank God we live where no one can hear him.

    Robin at Bumblebee

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  8. Hanna on

    Matt Wilson & Melanthia – We have a reel mower that I inherited from a place I rented in collage that had a postage stamp yard and I want to get it working so my 7 year old can mow the lawn. The problem is that we are having a tough time finding a place to sharpen the blades.

    M Sinclair Stevens – My neighbor has a electric mower and is very pleased with it. She says that it does as good a job as her old gas mower. How is the power on yours?

    gus – You read directions?!? Well, I suppose there are anomalies in both genders. I don’t buy shoes myself.

    Shari – I have many fond memories of mowing the lawn with a riding mower when I was a kid. I do miss it sometimes. It is relaxing.

    nicola – Men seem to have so many common traits. Do your males have trouble finding the mayo in the fridge? Neither my sons nor my husband can accomplish this task. 😉

    Robin (Bumblebee) – Hehe. War on grass… That sounds like something my hubby would do too.

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  9. Two things: First, I live by my father’s creed. “When all else fails, read the instructions.” Second, there are at least three straight men who “read, understand, and follow” the safety instructions on their power tools, assuming Norm Abrams isn’t just saying that to avoid legal wrangling.

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  10. Jim on

    Make that four straight men who read directions….it’s my wife who forgets the map (we won’t need that) and then can’t navigate…

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  11. Yip nobody can find the mayo in the fridge if it is behind something, everything they need must be at the front. Somebody should invent a fridge that is one layer deep and very very wide.

    Now I would have agreed about my hubbie’s ability to navigate until we moved down to the bottom of the world. I could not understand why when ever my hubbie drove we ended up at the west side of the city when we needed to be at the east. Eventually it dawned on me that the sun is in the North down here, instead of the South that we were used to in the Northern hemishpere. Therefore all his navigation had somehow become back to front and I had become the person that could get us places! After 2 years I think he is getting the hang of it now.

    Ooops sorry for going on so long.

    Nic

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  12. I have been using a robot lawn mower for a while now and it’s great! I was just tired of pushing the lawn mower around for so many years. I purchased it online on http://www.garden-gadget.com. This lawn mower definitely changed my gardening experience and saved me so much time. It’s definitely the safest mower out there since it works by itself! Completely hands off! Let me know what you think.

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  13. Kristin on

    Too funny, and a very accurate description! (of your husband, not the mower) I’m sure you provided a very percise desciption of the mower as well, but I did not live it for 19 years as I did the former. I can picture all of this happening as I read your post and I found it quite amusing!

    Do you get to keep the manly-mower? That is pretty awesome that you got to test and review it for them.

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  14. EZ on

    I just bought a Reel mower for this season as well, from Lee Valley tools. Cheap mower, cheap shipping…and what’s more manly than a spinning barrel with 7 blades attached? Okay, it doesn’t sound as manly as the 7.5 hp one I got rid of; but no gas, no emissions and mow anytime I like; good trade. Added bonus, my lawn now looks like a freakin’ golf course! Cons: no tip-browning means it’s easy to lose track of where you have already mowed.

    Hanna – Lee Valley tools also sells a sharpening kit – just attach it and spin the reel. Looks easy enough.

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  15. Barbara on

    I got the TB340 XP for my birthday, and the next day (Mother’s Day), we opened it up to have a go at our horribly overgrown yard. My husband and son assembled it, and son Daniel triumphantly started it on the first pull!

    Well, we gave this beautiful brute a thorough workout, since the old mower had not run long enough to get the lawn mowed even once this season, and it now being mid-May on the Oregon Coast, the grass/weeds/native vegetation that we call our backyard was knee-deep, waist-deep in some places.

    We mowed and bagged and mowed and bagged, and after a couple of hours, bagged the bag because we were tired of unclogging the blade and restarting the mower, which does not re-start on the first pull when it is hot. When we switched to side-discharge, though, Buster (yes, I named the mower) charged through the jungle, dragging us behind it.

    So we got most of the lawn mowed yesterday, and if we charge out there right now, we just might finish before the rain returns. And yes, I got a lawn mower for Mother’s Day/birthday, and I’m okay with that. Really.

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  16. Steve on

    I can’t remember by the model if this is the commercial version (B&S 190 cc 6.75) or the residential Honda 160cc). Which did you review?
    Do the wheels have ball bearings like Honda and Snapper, or cheap shaft through plastic bushings like Toro, MTD ect? Is the structure holding the real wheels strong enough not to bend when I pivot on them, or do they bend like my Sears (Toro)high wheel?
    Does grass get caught in the belt and rear wheel drive mechanism? Is it easy to pull backwards?
    In order to pull backward, do you first have to push forwards to release the drive from the wheels, to pull back. Is the handle height adjustable.
    Is the handle made from plastic, or is the operator pushing against metal?
    Is the structure for adjusting the height built well, or is it thin sheet metal.
    I’m sorry, but that is the type of information that I am looking for. The displays at Lowes are high, and the details are hidden to me.

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  17. Steve on

    I have a top of the line Troy Bilt with rear wheel drive. The drive broke down after 18 month and I can’t find anyone to fix it.
    Manly Man mower — I think not. Piece of JUNK is more like it
    Spend the xtra bucks and buy a Toro or Honda, something with a 3 or 5 year warrenty

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    Allison Reply:

    Hi Steve,

    My name is Allison and I handle the social outreach for Troy-Bilt. Sorry to hear about your experience with your mower. Please e-mail me at apeltz AT marcusthomasllc DOT com and I can put you in touch with customer service.

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  18. Eddie Gochenour on

    Just got this mower and I wish I hadn’t. It is bulkie and hard to handle. Like trying to mow your yard with a tractor trailer. If you have a big open yard with nothing to cut around then perhap this would be a good mower. But if you have to cut around things, then avoid buying this mower.

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  19. XP mower is pretty cool, light and very sturdy but I think it’s still great if we can have a robot mower. It’s easier to use and programmable to do the jobs just as we programmed it.

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