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, sillyâ€ (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.â€ 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 2Â 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 Mowerâ€, which I think translates to “Pain In The Assâ€ 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.