In my quest to find a new mower after my 12 yo Ariens died, I did a search, found this great site and this thread about the HRX217HXA. Decided to buy one, the only place that had one left around here was HD. Used a 10% discount coupon my wife bought on e-bay for $6 to save almost $75 at the register, that was a good deal.
Got it home last night, put in the fluids and it started with one pull. I ran it for just a few minutes, too dark to mow.
Mowed for an hour with it tonight, very nice mower. Again, started with one pull.
Something surprised me about it... that you have to choke it to start even when it's hot. I did not expect that. No big deal at all, just surprising to me.
You can "feather" the drive bail to slow down, very nice when turning.
Easy to find a pace that suits you, the lever has several detents that cover everything from snail to a fast walk.
I like the Nexite deck, makes the mower light and nimble. After using my nephew's commercial Honda, I realize how heavy it was in comparison. I think the new Honda Commercial 21's are going to have this deck on them.
Both rear wheels are drive wheels. Nice.
It mulches extremely well. Grass is chopped into very fine pieces because of the twin blade setup.
And the rear discharge worked well for me too. In fact, it worked better for me than mulching, as it NEVER slowed down when in the rear discharge mode, whereas it would slow a bit at times when mulching.
The engine ran perfect, no surging at idle as has been reported by some others.
This thing left no stragglers that I could see, even going back and moving the grass with my foot to try and raise them.
Only one thing bothered me, the darned gas tank has such a skinny neck, and is easy to overfill. After mowing for an hour, it was getting low on gas, I can see how this would frustrate a commercial user. Then again, this isn't a commercial mower.
Over all, this is a great mower. But for that much money, it ought to be!! I'm glad I bought this instead of the HRC, this gives me the option of rear discharge that the commercial one doesn't have, is 20 lbs lighter and has folding handles.
Thanks to Roger for this review thread, it helped with my decision tremendously