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Honda HRX review

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Roger, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    I have a 1996 HRC that is still going. The hydro drive is awesome. The resistance is a non-issue. You really have to feel for it to notice it. The mower is very well built and heavy if anything.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,616

    sorry it's called smart drive i think. i don't think the honda uses a belt either it uses some type of cone clutch technology so i doubt you'll ever have to replace that at all.
  3. leon2245

    leon2245 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    I'm confident that honda's system is a more robust, durable, & better choice for 99%+ of users, but I'm so used to what I do with a push 21" that I'm not going to do without my instant self powered reverse- the mower has to be able to cut while I'm quickly pushing & pulling it around tight spaces, & without the drive adding any resistance to the wheels when not engaged.

    I realize I'm probably the only one with such a weird requirement, so the "negatives" of the Hondas (along with not having as tall handle bar as others) for my purposes will not likely apply to anyone else.
  4. robert@honda

    robert@honda LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 154

    The drive system in the Honda HRC216HXA is a shaft-drive, fully hydrostatic design.

    The HRC216 features the GX160 engine and it has has a special Power-Take-Off that turns a rigid shaft and operates a pump inside the transmission. The pressure created is then modulated by the controls on the handlebar, and causes the rear shaft/wheels to turn. There are no belts or pulleys on the HRC216.

    All other current Honda self-propelled mowers use a belt-drive design. Those with the SmartDRIVE controls use a cone-clutch, and will this year move to a slipping belt arrangement. Two of the HRX-series models use a hydrostatic-style transmission, and the third is SmartDRIVE.

    I'll speculate that you have not seen a Nexite deck commercial model from Honda are probably:
    • the commercial-grade hydrostatic transmission in the HRC won't fit the current Nexite deck
    • the commercial-grade hydrostatic transmission requires a shaft-drive, which is not a feature of the GCV190 engine found on the other Nexite mowers.
    I don't think any of the belt-drive transmissions are would pass Honda's commercial durability standards. Fine for homeowner use, of course.


    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.
  5. mikeclfc

    mikeclfc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I have 2 of these mowers and have been using them for 18 months mine do not have the blade clutch though as i just see that as another thing to brake - the first one i bought has maybe 2000 hours on it now and the engine still cranks up first time everytime, maybe this is due to changing the oil every 7 days. what has gone out on it is the rear wheel drive, i have spent maybe $200 trying to fix the problem and i now have a working drive but its not really strong enough to pull the mower - so essentially it is now a regualr push mower. i repalced the drive belt and whole transmission assembly, i dont know what else would cause the drive to weaken the wheel gears and bearings all look good.

    In my opinion these mowers offer a great cut quality, they are efficient on gas and reliable for an affordable price, my understanding is that the difference between these and a full commerical model is the transmission, which explains my problems. but hey after 2000 hours for $600 id happily buy a new one every 2 years. Money well spent if you ask me.
  6. leon2245

    leon2245 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    Re: drive compatibility- what about a push commercial grade with a nexite deck:

    Or even a push HRX model, I'd like to see.

    NORTHMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 313

    robertcoats,sir,I have a HRX217 and so far,I'm happy with it,what would the HRC216 do better?The HRC216 has a smaller engine,why and is it able to keep up with the larger non-commercial Honda powered mower?Thyank you.
  8. Outlawn

    Outlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 735

    I haven't read this whole thread, but I like my HRC216HXA. I don't have that Versa-cut function some of ya'll mentioned, just a mulching plug. I have had the same issue with some of the clippings falling out of the left side of the bag, however pulling back 6 inches before engaging the clutch will suck them right up.
    My only complaint is about the "Micro-cut" dual blade system. This is great for mulching and even bagging on regular length grass and leaves a great cut on normal length, well maintained grass. However in taller (>6") grass/weeds it tends to turn the grass into a paste that gunks up under the deck.

    I am, I suppose, somewhat biased because this is all I have ever used. I took over the business from my dad, and I think he has had 4 all together.

    NORTHMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 313

    Also,any plans for Honda to come out with a larger deck(than 21")mower?
  10. robert@honda

    robert@honda LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 154

    From Honda's perspective, consumer products are not expected to be used commercially, and vice-versa, so the design and engineering standards are different. Honda builds commercial grade equipment for the professional, who is likely to use the machine daily, and needs it to be rugged and reliable. If a machine is in the shop, it can't make the operator any money.

    Of course, there are thousands and thousands of commercial operators who use consumer-grade Honda mowers like the HRX and HRR series. These models are built to homeowner wants/needs, and that is why they have variable mulch/bag systems, electric start, etc.; these kinds of features aren't a high priority for commercial operators.

    The HRC216HXA uses the 160cc engine, and it's plenty of horsepower and torque for the job, and has been for a long, long time now. The less costly HRX with its larger 190cc engine may sound appealing, but the lack of a commercial-grade transmission and other commercial features like handlebar supports, shaft drive, etc. can make it less attractive. I think the final straw is the warranty: HRC models get 24 months on the engine, and 12 months on the mower. All other consumer grade Honda mowers get just 3 months of warranty when used by commercial operators. Genuine homeowner users get 36/60 months depending on the model, and a lifetime warranty on the Nexite deck.

    So what's the bottom line? If the consumer grade mower is doing a great job for you, stay the course. If you're unhappy with it, or it breaks down too often, consider spending more for a true commercial machine that's designed for daily professional use.


    Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.

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