Excellent engine, but !
The Honda engine is excellent, and reliability and build quality of the mower very good. However the designers show a lack of basic knowledge of this type of product. It cuts wet or dry grass reasonably well if not too long, but not as well as my previous mower. The worst feature is the front to rear balance, and the very small rear wheels for a heavy mower. It is ok without the catcher, but with it fitted most the weight of the mower is on those ridiculous 200mm rear wheels. They should have fitted 300mm wheels as is done to most good units s...old in the USA. Would be less than half as hard to push. I have had the mower for about 12yrs or a bit more. Change the oil every two yrs. Clean the air cleaner regularly. It is on its fourth set of Honda blades. Adjusted the valves once. Use it on a 2000m2 block which has level to 15% gradient. Current condition is still A1
Purchased at Roberts Hobart.
Honda HRU197 15 year review
.As a mechanic owner,I meticulously serviced this mower and it served me well for 15 years.I changed engine oil 3 monthly using synthetic 10W-30 and replaced the spark plug and dual air filters annually but cleaned them 4 times a year.Valve clearances were checked annually along with the in tank fuel filter.It still had the original high quality factory cutting blades for 15 years and it cut very well.It was advertised as a 6.5Hp OHC/OHV engine and had a lot of power and torque but it was really only 5.5Hp (Net.)If I had known that I would ha...ve got the similarly sized Commercial engine for my yard.The throttle cable came loose a lot and slipped out and it became annoying.Honda has a better bracket holder with a small bolt instead of a Phillips head screw nowadays)At the end the electronic ignition module failed as the engine started to miss and became hard to start.I dislike the idea of a belt driven camshaft in oil because there is no oil filter to remove debris as it wears and must put extra stress on crankshaft bearings to keep it tight.I thought I would have got 25 years from it like my old Victa 2 stroke which ate cutting blades for breakfast and was absolutely gutless...I am now buying a new HRU196 Professional with the Commercial GXV160 engine.They still make the best mowers on the market and once you’ve had a Honda you never go back to anything else!
Worst mower ever
Crap crap crap worst mower ever wont get rid of grass have to move it by hand for the price I paid and was told it was the best mower will never buy another Honda product
Purchased in January 2017 for A$1,300.00.
Wish I had done more research about this mower.
I have had mower for a few months, starts really well but terrible at getting rid of the grass. I dont like using catcher, in a normal mower the grass, especially when it is wet would fly out, but not with this. The grass gets stuck and you have to manually get grass out with your hands. Very disappointed.
- Buffalo Bull HRU197M1
- Verified purchase
For an expensive mower expected better in design
I have only had the mower a short amount of time but have used enough to get a feel of how it will be for he longer term. It is a solid unit which is weighty making it not as easy to move around but I did know that before purchase. Engine start is fantastic - couple of pulls and it engages easily. Being a Honda I do expect the engine to perform and last but time will be the ultimate measure of that of course. My biggest disappointment and real surprise is around the catcher which I have now read elsewhere as being a concern. firstly I agree tha...t it's design is poor in relation to emptying - all of the grass does not come out without manual hand assistance - and this is on model with a larger catcher. I cannot imagine a contractor finding this acceptable every time the catcher needs emptying.
Clogged up, catcher empty
this mower starts always first or second time, but unless the grass is thin or patchy its always clogs up. always tipping out a half empty or less catch bag of grass. i cant understand why the shoot is so small. would not buy another honda unless redesigned. there seems to be other models with a honda motor that look ok.
HRU 197 Hard to start
The Bull is good once its going, but takes around 15 pulls to start (its been the same since new) and the cord does not retract readily (it does eventually, but not straight away which is what I would expect from a new, premium-price mower).
Overall its ok, but disappointed as I went out of my way to recommend that we buy this mower (for a small lawn at a block of flats). The mower is only 2 years old.
Once going, it cuts well and seems to be economical and reasonably quiet.
Works every time.
This mower is fantastic. I have had it for a few years and always starts. It does not rust away like my others and has heaps of power. Spare parts are easy to find in our city and service and support is great. This is the best lawn mower I have ever owned. Way way better than my older Victas. Well done Honda.
Simply the best
Have owned this mower for 5 years, it starts first or second pull every time, is a breeze to use and is still rock solid, it feels as though you could drop it off a cliff and it would keep running.
I won't buy another Honda because I'm not a fan of the nanny handles on the new models, but the way this one is running I'll never need to buy another mower anyway.
Too heavy to push or lift. Easy start ha ha try 20-30 pulls. Need to use aero start to get running. it seizes up if not started weekly. Total waste of money should have gone with a briggs and stratton. Height lever fouls on bushes etc. Will swap for new victa if someone interested. Forgot the useless engine brake and no choke system.
Exceptional cut quality and so much power
I bought an HRU197 M1 (mulch and catch version) to replace our old John Deere SB14 which had a failed blade brake clutch and failing self-propelled transmission. The rest of the JD works perfectly and it still starts on the first pull to this day!
I bought this Honda on sale, roughly 20% off RRP, and couldn't be happier with my decision. Originally, I was going to buy the HRU216 which is the 21" version with self-drive, but I preferred the 19" version as it is considerably lighter and has a newer engine which is quieter, uses less fuel and ha...
Great motor but....
Great mower, starts and cuts fine but can get clogged when mowing damp or wet grass. The safety bar is rather a pain to use especially when having to mow under an obstacle or shift an item when mowing. The brackets that hold this bar are a right pain and catch easily on chain wire fences, shrubs and the pockets of my clothing. Should be mounted inboard of the handle bar.
Safety bar brackets
Engine great but trouble even with damp grass
I do lawnmowing for a living and have always used Hondas, in particular the HRU197. Firstly I have had 5 Honda mowers and never had a problem with the engine. The Honda mowers will start either first or second pull, even if they have been not started for weeks. They are well built and can take a real battering. The problem is that this new model just wont pick up grass when its wet. Im not talking about mowing in the rain, just when its damp. Im finding even a light dew now in Autumn is causing the mowing chute to clog up. The mower has a 1...9 inch base and the discharge chute is only 3 inches. Its the same a funnelling 6 lanes of traffic into 1 lane and then wondering why there is a traffic jam. I cant work out why Honda have changed something that wasn't broken. There are other commercial quality mowers and when I purchase a my next mower in 6 months ill be looking for another brand. good solid machine that starts first time wont pick up even slightly wet grass
The highs and lows.!
As my first mower that I bought for my mowing business was very disappointed when it clogged up when mowing wet grass. Totally frustrating as a contractor trying to get through numerous jobs with myself stop and starting to clear chute. Reliability and starts first time is fantastic and a big plus!
Starts first time, powerful and easy to maintain.
Clogs up in the chute when grass is wet, chassis is weak as chips and cracks in it after a year of use, heavy to lift .
Very disappointing expensive and doesn't pick up the grass that well. When using the cater it clogs quickly. The salepeople said all mowers clog when the grass is wet but our 15 year old mower didn't. The shute is way to small and after I complained the shop admitted that is a problem. Didn't tell us that before we bought it. It only comes with 2 blades as new but they gave me an additional set when I complained. It really does need 4 blades. You'd think they would fit 4 when new.
Easy start but then all mowers start easy these days.
Poor pick up of grass, small exit shute clogs easy, heavy to push, over priced and definately not value for money product.
Purchased mower 12 months ago and have been disappointed with its performance. Totally useless in damp (let alone wet) or longer grass, it clogs chute and doesn't fill catcher (which is way too small, it is not unusual to empty the cather 10-12 times while mowing our moderately sized back yard)). Overly heavy and difficult to maneuver, back breaking to lift onto a ute. Engine sits too high making it hard to mow under garden seats etc. Only finishes lawn to a reasonable standard (my 30 year old victa was considerably better). Height adjustment r...ack is not numbered (forgiveable on a $300 chinese mower, not on a $900 honda). On the plus side motor is a gem, starts first pull and uses very little fuel. Great Engine Poorly Engineered Cutting/catching System.
Absolute dream machine
What can i say but honda are the best. after having numerous mowers over the years starting with 1 victa 2 masports and a sanli (absolute rubbish was not even taken from my hard rubbish pile) and being a light engine mechanic by trade i have also worked on and tested almost every mower made from 1960 to today i have the conclusion if you haven't got a honda you havn't got s#*!t. these mowers out start out perform out last all other mowers and they make mower a pleasure especially after owning a sanli almost drove me to the looney bin. they are ...the easiest and cheapest to have service and never break down they start first time every time with ease i also use this mower for a mowing round and it never fails all said and done dont contemplate the price just go for it you wont regret it. Everything even the sound it runs so balanced Not buying it earlier and putting up with the other stuff
As a moing contractor I'm very happy my 1st one just stopped working after 4 or 5 years having done i guess 8000-10000 maybe more lawns in that time so would highly recommend these but would also recommend as someone else has getting the Victa snap on snorkle kit keeps the airfilters cleaner and heaps cheaper to replace
Reliable and easy to start which are two very important features to a contractor
Not fitted with a snorkle a standard bu then it's only about $50 to buy a Victa snap on one and there easy enough to fit yourself
Robust, reliable with excellent performance. Hondas are actually fantastic value for money provided the domestic user keeps the oil and filter changes up and the petrol fresh. Your grandkids will be using your Honda in 20 years time.
Unlike my old Rover(with the 375 Briggs & Stratton Sprint engine )the Honda 197D and its 6.5 HP donk rips through quite long grass without stalling....ever. It has a nice big petrol tank so the refills are stretched out on larger lawns. Its quieter than the Rover by about 20 dBs. The air filter can be cleaned or ch...
Bought this mower recently after starting up my own business. Settled for the 197D, as it has more power than the 196D and is a lot lighter. Previously owned a Briggs and Stratton and after now owning a Honda I will never go back. They are worth the $900 +. Highly recommended. For an extra $50 get the snorkel fitted. My local GYC mower shop fitted the Victa kit with the wide pipe that screws straight on and seals perfectly. Makes the engine last longer and air filter replacement is far cheaper.
Everything. Fantastic mower with loads of power and reliability to boot.
ProductReview.com.au has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence our content moderation policies in any way, though ProductReview.com.au may earn commissions for products/services purchased via affiliate links.