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I have a Honda HRB215HXA, is it worth getting a new HRX217HXA or HRC216HXA?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by vettespeed, May 8, 2011.

  1. vettespeed

    vettespeed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have a Honda HRB215HXA mower that was the top of the line residential unit with Hydrostatic and blade clutch when I purchased it 13 years ago. It still works fine but I have always wanted more power. I have a large lawn much of which is on a hill or in difficult areas. Also living in the Pacific NW means that the grass is never dry, even in the summer most of the time. Between the moisture and often waiting too long to mow I have always wished this mower had more horsepower. I was looking at the new HRX217HXA mowers and notice they are rated at 6.5 HP, as mine is/was rated at 5.0 HP. The thing that baffles me is that mine has a GXV140 engine which from everything I’ve read appears to be a commercial grade engine. The new mower now has a GCV190 engine, which I believe is more of a residential grade engine. Would this mower be much of an advantage over the mower I currently have when it comes to blasting through tall wet grass? What are the differences between the engine I have being a commercial unit and the new mower engine being a residential unit? Is this a lesser quality engine regardless of overall power that will not last as long? That being said I was also eyeballing the HRC216 commercial mower, strangely enough if I recall correctly it is only rated at 5.5 HP. Is this a deceiving rating? Why would the commercial mower at $1249 have less HP than the $699 residential mower. What are the differences and advantages to the commercial mower and related engine in comparison to the residential mower/engine? Thanks, Mike.
  2. skipster01

    skipster01 LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 19

    I personally have a Honda HRS216SDA Even though its reallyl basic self propelled. It has a side discharge that doesn't match anything I have ever owned before, and a lot of power to boot. If you remember the double blade setup that honda has on some of it's mowers. I use the bottom blade alone, It has a very high lift on it and shoots all the grass out at a high velocity. Power, and no clogging. Once you have this mower, you will keep buying them.
  3. vettespeed

    vettespeed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Is there anybody out there?
  4. Maco Services

    Maco Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    I have a ton of those old honda masters mowers, hrx215s I believe, they work great, but nothing like my 216hrc. It is built to withstand abuse of employees, steel deck wont shatter if you hit a rock like the aluminum decks can do, and the transmission is a bit faster, or at least I've been able to get some more speed out of it and still maintain cutting rpm when I mow.

    I think it's worth it, but I am currently considering trying out the HRX217 for potential commercial use. I have one at the house that I've been using a lot, and it cuts well. The nexite deck is supposed to withstand anything given to it, but it is the smaller engine, and doesnt have the power variability that I have on the hrc. We typically only run them full speed,full power, so all I really need is choke and fast.

    I think right now we have 7-8 hondas of various years and grades, all BBC, some commercial, some residential, some new, some old. Good units, mostly rebuildible with readily found parts, and the engines put up with a lot of abuse.

    In a year with brand new HRC, I've replaced minimal parts, likely bolts coming out, or a spring that was broken, loose muffler guard. I was replacing wheels, bearings, recoils, springs, cables, adjusters on all the used ones I bought, not counting labor, most of the used mowers have 500 in them, not counting my own labor, the HRC I think I picked up for 1200. When I'm too busy to fix them, having a new reliable mower makes all the difference.
  5. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,180


    Is the honda mower you have?

    Do have the double blade set up on it?

    How does it do for side-discharging and mulching? Any clogging or clumps, especially in wet grass?
  6. h2oskier

    h2oskier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    To the original poster, I have owned both the mowers that you are asking about and also the commercial. With that stated i prefer the 217HXA just my opinion all great machines. The advantage to the 217HXA is the motor as you asked does have a bit more power, the only difference of it being a commercial rated engine to a residential, is the air cleaner.

    As far as why they don't put this on the commercial unit as of yet, is the commercial unit was designed a couple years before the 217HXA, and the GCV190 engine is slightly larger, this making the bolt patteren different.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Also with the wet grass, the 217HXA give you the ability to strictly mulch or run in percentages of how much you bag and mulch together.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,929

    I have an HRX217 and use it heavily every day. I bought it two years ago, with the intention of getting one season of wear. I estimate that the previous hand mower was run about 700 service hours, April 1 to Dec 1. The HRX217 was a replacement for a LawnBoy Duraforce, staggered wheeled model.

    Not only did the 217 last one year, it has lasted two season, plus. It is now on its third season.

    The engine has plenty of power. It has been without any fault. It starts now as well as when new, runs the same, same power, etc. I change oil every week (Rotella 10W-30), after about 25-30 hours of weekly work. In the Fall, it gets used less per week.

    A comment above speaks about "the same, except air filter." The GCV is the same as the GSV, excepting the air filter, AND the "S" has a cast iron sleeve. The "C" and "S" are of a different design than the "X." The "X" is overhead valve, the "C" and "S" are overhead cam.

    The Versa-Mow has been a huge time saver. The machine bags very well, including wet conditions. It also mulches well, much better than any other hand mower I've used. Having the shutter to open and close means "mulching where I can, bagging where I must." I've paid for the machine is dumping fees.

    The notches in the Versa-Mow are non-functional. The shutter is either run fully open (bag), or fully closed (mulch). Operating with a partial open setting is not a way of minimizing bagging. With just a small opening (in good conditions), all the clippings will go to the bag. Or, with a small opening in heavier conditions, the small opening will quickly clog, and the machine is a mulching mower. I know what the adverts say, but the reality is something different.

    Failures: (1) Ground drive speed selector cable - I've posted a thread in the Repair section, (2) Handles; there is a weakness at the pivot point of the attachment bracket. The left rear wheel is now in need of being rebuilt -- the washers apparently are worn out.

    It is running on the second set of drive wheels. These will probably last for the rest of this season, but it will be a stretch. The front ones are the original, and look hardly worn.

    The Nexite deck has also been without fault. I was dubious before buying -- "who wants a plastic deck?" All those fears have been set aside. Yes, the inside has scratches from sticks and debris, but none of the finer elements (e.g. height adjustment notches) have shown any sign of breakage, or even wear.

    The hydro transmission has been sound, and provides great productivity -- always move as fast as possible, infinite setting.

    The fuel tank is small. It will run non-stop about 1:30-1:40 on one tank. I thought this would be a problem. But, I have a good gas can, easy reach, and know when to refill on the daily schedule. Some days, it burns through five tanks of fuel, others not quite as much. This is a non-issue for me. probably because I've become so accustomed to know when to refill, the task is just assumed.

    After about 700 + 700 + 200 (this season), it was a wise investment for me. At this point, I'm hoping to get another 500 hours out of it for this season.

    Hope that helps ...
  8. vettespeed

    vettespeed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Let me make sure I'm reading this correctly? The new 217 HXA mower has more power in comparison to the new HRC216 unit making it more capable of plowing through grass when mowing during less than desirable conditions? Plain and simple, I WANT THE MOST POWER. I want to be able to cut my lawn after it's been too long between cuttings, occasionally wet, etc. And I don't need lessons on the fact that I should cut more often, cut in multiple lengths, take smaller step overs, blah, blah, blah. I want to buy a product that works for what I want to do and if it's out there I'll pay the price. Thanks, Mike.
  9. vettespeed

    vettespeed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Come on guys, which one can I simply mow tall grass FASTER with? Thanks.
  10. Merkava_4

    Merkava_4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,334

    Isn't that a line from a Pink Floyd song? :D

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