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Bike or Loop Handle?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by whitenack, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Looking at a new string trimmer. I started another thread on here asking a different question about a trimmer that has a bike handle, assuming that was the preferred setup for comfortable, long use.

    Maybe I shouldn't assume?

    What is the preferred handle configuration? Bike or loop?
  2. HighFiveBassin

    HighFiveBassin LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 51

    I'm a homeowners myself and have a FS110 with a loop handle. I have used a bike handle trimmer before and can't imagine it being better unless you are cutting brush where it is used for safety to prevent kick back. Having a strap over your shoulder will also make it harder to maneuver in tight places but the loop trimmers come with a strap if you want to use one.

    I also flip my trimmer over so the head is vertical and use it to edge my driveway, walk and curb. I can't see how this could be done with the bike handle. How many of the lawn care guys do you see using bike handle trimmers on lawns. If they were better they would be using them.
  3. WH401

    WH401 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 571

    Unless your cutting thick brush, a loop handle would be the desired handle choice. Bike handles are great for control in heavy over growth, but for the quick swinging and ease of positioning that is needed for regular trimming, the loop handle is the clear winner.
  4. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Thanks for the replies.

    I guess my only experience is only with two trimmers. My short little bent shaft, loop handle craftsman that was lightweight, but small, which meant I had to hunch over to trim. It also seemed like I had to hold up the back (engine) side so the angle would be correct. So, even though it was lightweight, it seemed like it wore out my back and right arm after all day trimming.

    The only other experience is borrowing my dad's old straight-shaft, bike handle stihl FS85. Big, heavy, cumbersome. However, put the strap over my shoulder and grab the handlebars and I could trim all day.

    There is no question that it takes a little longer with the Stihl, since I am not as agile, but it doesn't seem as long, since it doesn't wear me out.

    Now, is the comfort of the Stihl because of the straight shaft, or the bike handle?
  5. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,747

    First time I used my Stihl KM-110R, my arms were killing me. After an hour, it felt like I was holding an elephant.
    Then I remembered to clip on the strap and adjust it. Now, I don't notice the weight at all when trimming.
    I have the sling loop just above the balance point, so the weight of my hand on the trigger handle pushes down just enough on the motor side to keep it level, and the strap length adjusted to have the string parallel to the ground about 3" up. My left hand just gently guides the loop handle right and left to move around. Its actually much less effort than man-handling a machine half its weight.

    For edging, the strap isn't all that important. I use my right hand to keep the guide wheels level, and my left hand pushes down on the loop, because the blade has a tendency to cause the machine to ride upwards.

    I've got an FS-110 with the bicycle handle, and it gets adjusted very differently. The motor is balanced on the heavy side with this, and the weight of your hands on both sides of the bicycle hand balance the machine out. Its great if you're running a saw blade, but I don't see how I would edge with it.
  6. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    thanks rlitman.

    I borrowed my buddies straigh shaft, loop handle Husq last night. A few observations, that I am not sure whether they are traits of Husq or the straight shaft or both.

    Noticed that the trimmer didn't seem to be balanced right-to-left. At low RPMs, the trimmer head seemed to want to shake laterally, and it was impossible to hold firm because of the long shaft. I don't mean that it was wobbling out of my hands, or that it was cutting grass out of control, but it was a noticable feeling. Probably not noticable to the casual observer.

    Noticed that even thought the Husq was a 25.4 cc trimmer, it bogged down a bit even in normal grass. I wasn't running it at full throttle, but quite fast enough to cut the grass. However, it seemed like the engine would bog down when I would drop it down into the grass. I don't remember my dad's Stihl (FS 80 -- 25.4cc) having that same issue. Makes me reconsider my idea of just going with a 21cc echo.

    While the loop handle did give me a little more mobility when cutting at different angles, I wouldn't necessarily consider it agile. The straight shafts on these trimmers are just big and clumsy, no matter what handle you have. With the tiny little craftsman bent shaft, I felt like I had complete control over it. I guess the trimmer head is just too far away to have total control. Or, maybe I just need more practice.
  7. 321birdguy

    321birdguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    i prefer to use a bike handle almost all the time unless i trim a ditch bank
  8. 321birdguy

    321birdguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    bike handle are so much better balanced with a harnace part of why i prefer thm
  9. monoshock

    monoshock LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Ape hangers,,Just kidding. :laugh:

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