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Lawn - Boy Insight Gold Series Lawnmower 10695 (MODEL10695R)

Lawn - Boy Insight Gold Series Lawnmower 10695 (MODEL10695R)

Lawn-Boy Insight Gold Series lawnmower 10695 Display Item Compare Insight Gold Series Lawn Mowers Right away, you'll notice that... Read More
Lawn-Boy Insight Gold Series lawnmower 10695 Display Item Compare Insight Gold Series Lawn Mowers Right away, you'll notice that our new Lawn-Boy Insight lawnmowers are different. We've built every Lawn-Boy mower to fit you with custom features like handle height adjustments and soft comfort grips. We've also included ease-of-use features that make your mower more comfortable to operate. Every detail - even setup and storage - has been carefully designed with you in mind, to make mowing more enjoyable. Front View. Side View Honda GCV 160 Back View Engine Honda GCV 160 Drive System Sens-a-Speed Starting Recoil 21" Trim Deck Edge Standard Side Discharge, Mulch / Rear Bag 3 - in - 1 Standard Cutting Height 1" - 4" Easy Fold Handle Quick Stow Lever Soft Comfort Handle Standard Adjustable Handle Height Standard Easy Turn Handle Standard Weight 83lbs Minimize
Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars
7 Reviews from Epinions.com

By:   mstielau
May 11, 2005
Lawn - Boy Insight Gold Series Lawnmower 10695 (MODEL10695R)

Someday, all mowers will be made like this.

Author's Rating: Rating: 5/5 stars

Pros: Sens-a-speed drive system, Honda engine, solid construction.

Cons: Automatic-release choke is a nice idea - that doesn't really work.

The Bottom Line: 
Highly recommended. The Sens-a-speed drive system really works, giving the mower a "weightless" feel; the Honda engine is smooth and relatively quiet.

Author's Review
I wasn't kidding in the title of this review. Someday, all mowers will be made like this. The Sens-a-speed drive system is an idea whose time has come. (I just wish it had come sooner!) If you've seen it advertised and were wondering if it was just a gimmick or a fancy name for a regular drive system, I'm here to tell you that it really works. Allow me to explain a little.

Sens-a-speed is essentially a drive system with continuously-variable speed control, which is regulated by pressure applied to the spring-loaded mower handle. The more you push on the handle, the faster the mower's rear-drive wheels turn. The absolutely cool part is that you don't have to consciously think about pushing the spring-loaded handle to control the speed. You just grab it start walking - and the mower goes at whatever speed you walk, from zero to about 4 MPH. There are no shift levers or drive controls of any kind. It just goes as fast or as slow as you choose to walk. The whole experience actually feels quite natural and, after a short while, you will be wondering how you ever used any other kind of mower. The impression that immediately came to my mind is that the mower feels "weightless". That's the best way I can describe it. It doesn't drag you along, and you don't feel like you're pushing it. Uphill or downhill, walking fast or walking slow - it doesn't matter. It always feels the same. It just keeps up with you.

Now, some other details...

Mulching & Bagging
The mower can be used in mulching mode, side-discharge, or as a rear-bagger. Since I mulch, I can not comment on the bagging apparatus, although it seems well made and easy to remove/replace. The mulching action is quite good. For the most part, you don't see any of the mulched clippings sitting on top of the grass. The last time I cut, the grass was a little wet in some areas, so I did see a little clumping; but this was more my fault than the mower's.

Wheels
What can I say about wheels? Wheels are wheels, right? Not so fast. Take a look at the front wheels of the mower. They are smaller diameter than the rear, and are a little wider and are noticeably rounded in profile, giving them an unusual appearance. At first I thought these attributes were just to make the mower look distinctive - a marketing ploy if you will. That may be partially true, but these attributes have real usefulness too. The smaller diameter can be helpful when mowing under bushes and fences and such, and the rounded profile makes it easier to turn the mower, or mow around a curve, because the rounded wheel slides more more easily over the grass instead of digging in and tearing it up. Those of you with front-wheel drive mowers know what I mean.

Engine
The Honda engine seems to be somewhat smoother and quieter than a standard Tecumseh or Briggs engine, which means it's easier on your ears, and less vibration for your hands. The muffler has a heat shield around it to make accidental burns less likely. The oil filler pipe is somewhat less convenient than those found on other types of engines because it is shorter and sticks out at an angle rather than running straight up the side of the engine, making it a little more difficult to add or drain the oil. Although the horsepower of the engine is not rated, it seems to have plenty of power. No matter how fast I walked, the mower plowed through the grass without bogging down. My only real beef about this engine is the automatic-release choke. (There is no priming bulb and you can't adjust the choke manually.) When starting the engine, you move the spring-loaded choke lever to the right. The idea is that when the engine starts, the choke gradually opens as the engine warms up. Great idea in theory, but falls short in implementation because the choke opens way too fast. It takes only about 5 to 7 seconds for the choke to open completely, which means that the engine usually stalls and you have to repeat the whole process. I've found it necessary to reach over and grab the choke lever right after the engine starts to prevent it from opening all the way. When the engine has been running for 20 seconds or so, I release the choke and all is well.

Fit and Finish
The mower is nicely designed and the height of the handle is easily adjustable with just one knob. The handle has a foam-cushioned grip to further enhance the operator's comfort. The foam seems pretty tough and should stand up to years of use. Also, the handle is curved, so your hands are in a very comfortable and natural position, much like they are in the 10 and 2 o'clock positions on a car's steering wheel. One complaint I do have, which doesn't affect the usefulness of the mower, is that number of chips and scratches on the mower's painted surfaces and plastic parts that appear to be the result of a hurried assembly at the factory. (My mower arrived in an unopened box and showed no shipping damage, so whatever happened, happened at the factory.) Other little things, like labels being applied crookedly and the foot lever (which releases the handle for folding) not being painted completely are kind of annoying when you pay $450 for a lawn mower.

Conclusion
In case it isn't clear by now, I really like this mower. I generally don't like mowing the lawn, but this mower has made it kind of fun. If you already like mowing your lawn, this mower should increase your enjoyment to ridiculous levels!

Correction, and a New Development - May 18, 2005
When I first wrote this review, I described the mower's drive system as a "transmission with continuously-variable drive ratio". This was a faulty assumption on my part; not something I had gleaned from the manufacturer's sales info. The drive system is actually much less complicated than that, and rather elegant in its simplicity. The continuously-variable speed of the mower is attained by simply varying the tension of the drive belt. At slower walking speeds, less pressure is applied to the mower handle, there is less tension on the belt, and the belt's slippage transfers less of the engine's power to the drive wheels. The more you push on the mower handle, the tighter the belt gets and the faster the drive wheels turn.

The way I found this out is another story entirely. During the fourth lawn cutting with this brand-new mower, the drive belt came off of one of the pulleys! I was very surprised at this, and makes me wonder how often it's going to happen. I still don't know how it managed to come off, as there is a guide assembly surrounding the drive pulley, which I had to remove to get the belt back on. It didn't take long, but it's not something I'd like to do frequently. Time will tell whether this is just an isolated incident or an ongoing problem; I'll keep you posted.

Update - November 9, 2007
Two and a half years have gone by since my last update, and the mower is still going strong, and has been trouble-free. I've sharpened the blade, changed the oil, and cleaned the spark plug each year, but that's about it. The issue I mentioned previously (when the drive belt popped off the pulleys) turned out not to be an issue. There is fairly simple adjustment to change the tension of the idler pulley and take some slop out of the belt. After I did that, there were no more problems with the belt coming off.

Update - March 2011
I have now owned this mower for roughly six years, and it is still working well.  My original comment about the choke not being designed that well still stands - it opens too fast.  If the weather is hot, then it is not as big of an issue because the engine is already sort of warm.  However, since the lawn cutting and leaf-mulching season often exends into mid-November where I live, the cooler weather makes starting trickier.  I now use a work-around that alleviates the choke issue most of the time.  Since the choke starts to release as soon as you pull down the safety bar, if you pull the starter rope with absolutely no delay, like in the same motion as pulling down the safety bar, the engine usually stays running without my having to grab the choke lever and hold it partially closed for a while.

All in all, I am still very please with this mower.
 


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