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“Cobra RM513SPBI”

Written on: 09/06/2019 by Willand (5 reviews written)

This is an excellent machine, with a rear roller giving a smart striped finish, that cuts extremely well, having six cutting heights which are adjusted by an easy-to-use lever. With a cutting width of 20 inches it is ideal for larger lawns, and being self-propelled, with three forward speeds, there is nothing to do but select the desired speed and steer it!
There are, however, a few minus points.
First is the grass box, which in the manufacturer's blurb is described as being "large capacity". But because the air flow from the blades pushes the grass cuttings out to the left, this side of the box fills up first, soon reaching capacity, when an overflow at the edge of the stripe signals the need to stop and empty it, or, if in the middle, to remove the box and push down the contents to make room for more until you reach the end. This can only be achieved by stopping the engine, as there is no way of disengaging the blade, or of throttling down to tick over. Second is the fact that you are completely dependent on the li-ion battery having sufficient charge to restart the engine, operated by an appealing red button on the handlebars.
I find emptying the grass box awkward, as it has to be withdrawn backwards, underneath the handlebars, whilst holding up the spring-loaded cover with one hand and lifting the two hooks at the front of the box off two small retainers that form part of the rod running across the machine on which the cover springs are mounted. If this sounds unergonomic I can only say that the weight of a full box makes the operation even more so, whilst replacing it afterwards is scarcely less of a bind.
The next shortcoming of the grass box is its 'mouth', which is far too small for the amount of grass it can hold. If emptying into a trailer, for instance, you have either to shake it vigorously, or pull out handfuls until the remainder falls out. This may sound simple enough, but repeated many times it becomes an annoyance. Surely these design faults could easily be overcome with a sideways-hinged box with a larger aperture?
Regarding my second misgiving, concerning the 'InStart' system, my battery failed after less than a year's use. Recently, it would only provide about ten starts, instead of the claimed fifty or so, before needing to be recharged. Within days it would not turn over the engine at all, even after overnight charging, meaning I could not use the mower until I replaced the battery, as there is no cord start backup, as IMHO there should be.
Badly needing to keep the lawns in top condition for a forthcoming family party, I searched in vain for a new battery, only to find none were available in the UK. All the stockists I consulted told me they were awaiting fulfilment of orders, with no firm indication as to when these might arrive. The best estimate was two to three weeks, as these batteries are imported into Europe, where they have to clear customs before onward transmission to this country. In the end, I managed to track one down in Italy, and pay courier costs to get it here quickly.
Altogether not a satisfactory situation, suggesting that demand outstrips supply, presumably because these batteries only have a limited service life. I wonder how many other owners have experienced the same problem? Definitely a disincentive to ever again buy a machine using this system.

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