Newslines Spring 2018

Same greens mower different number? PRODUCT TEST Toro Greensmaster Flex 2120 by James de Havilland 01 The subtle tweaks Toro has made to its Greensmaster Flex 2120 combined with new EdgeSeries cylinders will be appreciated by those who operate or maintain these walk-behind mowers 02 The basket hanger now mounts on the frame of the DPA cutting unit, with the collector moving in unison with the Flex head. The aim is to deliver optimised clipping collection over undulating ground. 01 02 04 . news lines . spring 2018 In 2016, Toro introduced its new pedestrian Greensmaster Flex models, the walk-behind Flex 1820 and Flex 2120. Replacing the Flex 1800 and Flex 2100, these new ‘20’ series mowers look like their predecessors and have the same 18- and 21-inch (457 and 533mm) operating widths. So what’s changed? Apart from a different decal for the new model designation, it would take a keen Flex walk-behind mower user to spot the difference between the current ‘20’ series and its predecessor, the ‘00’ series. As is so often the case, however, it is the small details that count and with the ‘20’ series, the developments made over the Flex 1800 and 2100 models are more significant than they look. First up, the clutch on the new Flex 1820 and 2120 models has been changed to a design that is both easier to engage and smoother in its power uptake. This is something existing Flex 1800 and 2100 mower users will notice right from the off, feathering power to the drive now being just that much easier. Another detail change is that the handle height now offers an even greater range of adjustment, a detail that will be appreciated by both shorter and taller operators. Next, the clipper basket mount has moved from the mower frame down and onto the cutting unit. The aim is to ensure the basket exactly matches the cutting unit’s flexibility to follow even the slightest change in ground contour and to enhance collection over more challenging greens. Moving on to the DPA cutting units, the first change here is a small but significant detail difference: the height of cut adjustment system now places the weight of the unit under the setting bolt. This is a development most will need pointing out but, it is claimed, the new system does enhance what was already a highly- regarded height setting system. Arguably the main advantage will come to those tasked with setting up two or more mowers to prepare greens ahead of a tournament. The slight change to the height adjuster should ensure an even better consistency of cut between different mowers. The final development, and for some the most important, relates to the cutting cylinders. Toro DPA cutting units now come as standard with EdgeSeries cylinders and for those tasked with looking after a mower, these new cylinders should prove a big plus. First up, the cylinders are made from a different steel grade that Toro claims is more durable. Second, Toro has changed the cylinder blade geometry that, when combined with developments in the manufacturing process, is said to provide a more consistent and accurate cut matched to better wear characteristics. Existing cylinder units have a solid reputation with the DPA cutting units, so suggesting that the new EdgeSeries cylinders are even better is significant. So, what is a new petrol powered Greensmaster Flex 2120 like to use? To be honest, a blindfolded operator would be hard pushed to notice any difference when mowing. The throttle speed thumb control on the newer machine is a bit larger and easier to adjust and power uptake via the clutch is now more measured. But once rolling, the familiar Toro ‘planted’ feel, balanced control and ‘flickable’ turning are reassuringly all present and correct. As to quality of cut, similarly most would be hard pressed to spot any changes. Live with the mowers for a few weeks, however, and the chances are the development tweaks Toro has made to the ‘20’ series over its predecessors Flex 2100 and Flex 1800 will start to shine through. It is only after an extended period of use that evolutionary improvements start to make themselves apparent. That is the way of product development. It may be easy to miss detail changes, but it’s these subtle, little tweaks that help those tasked with meeting the demands of the modern game of golf remain at the top of their game.