Written on: 01/07/2012 by Duke_Nukem (18 reviews written)
As I finally gave up hope of getting my Ryobi ever to start again or obtaining spare parts, and after reading some bad reviews of the lighter Stihl strimmers (made down to a price to try to compete with Ryobi, Sovereign & Co?), I bought the Stihl FS 55, their entry-level straight shaft (I'd prefer the term 'bevel-geared') striimer, for £235.
Only used for 3 sessions so far, but it starts easily and is powerful, comfortable and looks well made. I'd have preferred a steel guard to plastic though, and they should have provided an eye to hang it up. The cutting line also tends to break off inside the head when it tangles with eg a wire fence, so you have to dismantle the head to feed more which takes a minute or two. Also be aware that you need at least an FS 90 (£480!) to fit a brush-cutter blade (so should the Stihl catalogue be calling the FS 55 a "Brush Cutter"?).
However for me these are minor quibbles. It scythes easily through bracken, big plantains, and smaller green bramble with the line head, and I shall soon be trying the 4-blade head.