New 21": 850 Briggs or GXV160

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by jkilov, Mar 23, 2013.


Which engine is better suited for a 21" push mower?

  1. Briggs and Stratton 850

    5 vote(s)
  2. Honda GXV160

    24 vote(s)
  1. WillsLandscape

    WillsLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    We have 3 Snappers push mowers in the family - 2 older styles (both on their second engines) with Briggs & Stratton 675 series engines. They both originally had B&S "Big 6" 6 HP motors (and both of those engines lasted a good time). The newest Snapper we own is a Commercial model with the Honda GXV160. Mind you, I'm definitely not the strongest kid on the block (tall and thin 13 year old) and I can manage the Snapper just fine (of course, self propelled helps out a bunch, but still). Now, the two mowers with the Briggs engines tend to start just as good or better than the Honda. There is a lot less variability between the number of pulls it takes to start the Briggs normally compared to the Honda (ex. Briggs is normally 1-3 whereas the Honda can range from 1-10 or even more if it hasn't been run in a while). I don't have any problems with my Honda when mulching. I have noticed though that my Honda backfires most every time I shut it down even when I idle it for a while before letting off the bail bar.

    I'd go with the Honda in this case, though, because if it's not a 675 Briggs, I can't recommend it.

    Also, you're making a good decision by going with Snapper. They are the best mowers on the market right now in my opinion.

    BTW has anyone noticed that Snapper finally got rid of the original RER rider and replaced it with a cheaper quality (and dumber looking) new design?
  2. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I'm the only one who uses my mower. No employees use it. I started out using Toro commercials 25 years ago. The mower is not that much different than it was then. Same drive/bail system. Back then there was no safety. The blade kept turning when you let go of the bail. I'm sure someone here will shake their finger at me, but the first thing I did was defeat the zone start. On the Honda it's brutally simple. 10 seconds to do it, and 10 seconds to put it back on if you need it. The Kawasaki is a little more difficult.

    I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but it will take you about the same 10 seconds to figure it out :) I almost think Toro expected people to do that or they would have added a second bail for the zone start. Another thing I have seen people do is use a zip tie to set the bail high enough to keep the engine running but low enough to completely disengage the drive. When they want to turn it off they simply slide the zip tie over to the side to let the bail fall.
  3. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Toro 22197. FJ180v Kawasaki. 114 lbs. If you don't think it's a commercial machine that offers productivity, I guess you are out of luck.
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,631

    My Snapper is approaching 12 years old it has a Robin engine and has been a great machine.

    Im half way in the market for a new one and I will be going with the Briggs, it has a oil filter and the Honda doesnt. The Honda is likley a little better balanced, but its not enough power and it will shut off on a slope. I think the briggs will last longer than the honda they way I use it.
  5. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I may have come off sounding like an a-hole with that reply. Too late to edit it. Didn't mean it like that. :drinkup:
  6. jod78

    jod78 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Hmm..well I get the zip tie idea and that might be something to try. I'm not sure I quite understand disabling the zone start. I don't run a commercial business and I'm not really a whiz on small engines - so are you saying you can disable it so that you can release the bail completely and the engine will continue to run? I guess I'm not seeing how that would be done easily. How does one go about starting and stopping the engine without a mechanism to control the throttle cable?
  7. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Check your private messages
  8. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    No worries. I use a 350+ lbs single hydro 36" and am not a wimp. It's about productivity and the old 3-speed toro with 130 lbs definitively wasn't it.

    Anyway, honda hrx is out, apparently difficult to work on. So it's between snapper and exmark.
  9. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Go with exmark, you won't regret it
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Had a look at the Exmark on Friday and not sure what to make of it.

    Changing front height involves pulling the wheels out ? Mounting does look sturdy though.

    No throttle cable ?

    Protrusion in cutting deck where the drive belt goes looks like a clumping zone.

    Drive system appears to be one of those slip belts.

    Overall looks like a nice machine but somehow I'm leaning towards snapper or honda's hrc.

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