3.0 out of 5 stars
The Gervinho of lawnmowers..., 27 Sep 2013
The Bosch Rotak 43 Ergoflex electric lawnmower has many brilliant qualities, unfortunately counterbalanced by an equal number of dim ones. You could say it's the "Gervinho" of lawnmowers: constantly taking you from feelings of experiencing genius to feelings sheer bafflement at it's foolishness and lack of composure when it really matters.
This lawnmower will be good, though not great, for people with a fairly small lawn, maybe not bigger than about 3-400 square meters. For many others, including some with small lawns, it is a frustrating exercise in unfulfilled potential
The Rotak 43 comes in a box and requires some work for assembling the arms and mounting them on the body. Was not the easiest. Could have been designed to make it easier for the customer, considering they are saving money on shipping costs and assembly by collapsing the product into the box. Poor.
First I must say that this lawn mower seems to be built very durably although made from high impact plastic. I have not had any parts chip or crack through two summers of use, nor is the body colour dulled or washed out. The plastic makes it relatively light and easy to handle. Great.
Operating the machine requires you to hold town at one of the two trigger buttens (located in the left and right hand handles) while simultaneously pressing the starter button in between them. A little awkward at first, but you quickly get the knack of it.
The electric engine is weak despite being fairly noisy (I think the noise rating is 96db - it feels that loud and you will certainly need earplugs). I dont know how the 1800 watt rating was achieved, but the bottom line in my experience is that this lawnmower lacks significant torque. That is its biggest failing and it has knock on effects. The most you should expect from it is to cut about 3cm of grass when dry, but not more. If the grass is dry and heavy, and you set it to cut more than 3cm this thing struggles after a while. If it is wet and heavy and you try to cut more than 3cm this thing cuts out before it has even gone one meter of distance! You then have to remove the grass stuck in there and then restart. A lot of fiddling required under the machine. Poor - and dangerous.
Bosch needs to come out with a much more efficient electric engine here, and/or some advancement in the design of the blade and rotor mechanism in order to get more cutting power and grunt from a standing start. I understand that for household use there is a limited amount of current they can reasonably and legally draw, so that's probably part of the problem here - power limitations, but it's their job it solve it, isn't it? Undone work.
So there is a very distinct operating range here. This means you can really only cut moderate amounts and when dry. So ideal for those who cut grass say once a week very regularly. You do that you will be fine. Want do do more taxing work, well this lawmower will still operate but with frustration. Fair to weak.
This thing should really be supplied with a 20 or 30 meter run of heavy duty cable. That isnt provided - you have to buy that yourself. Poor.
The electric cord management is poor. There is really no proper provision to help you spool the cable as you go along, so you end up constantly manipulating the cable as you move around your legs and the lanwmower as you are doing your work, like a third rate master of ceremonies at a community center. And on slopes the cable issue is even more of a pain as you really need two hands and you already have to have at least one hand holding down the the trigger. Unnecessary, as this should have been designed in. Poor.
The grass handling is just silly. What I dont understand is why Bosch didnt simply make the lawnmower micro-chop the grass into a size that it could simply be left on the lawn to shrivel up. This would be the most ecological solution - better for the lawn, less garbage and no need for a big plastic grass holder. All this compounded by the poor design of the cutting blades and the channel the grass goes though. This means when dry, the grass will clog up the passage sometimes and force you to clear the channel. If it is wet grass you have to clear the blades as well, as it jams that up. Poor.
Also after a while grass clogs up the air cooling intake grills on the front and you have to remove it.Not great.
Despite the many poor design decisions in this thing, overall I will give this machine 3 stars out of five, as it is has some qualities that will make it a decent machine for light users with a smallish garden. In those situations it will work acceptably and free you from having to buy petrol, oil, service and lubricate engine etc. Those type of people will probably expereince this lawnmower as a three, four or even a five.
If you have a bigger garden then this will be a frustrating machine that some will rate at 2 or even 1 star. I happen to really value the electric drive and avoiding the petrol hassle and risk, so I rate this machine a 3 with my big garden.
Purchase only with caution and a careful evaluation of your needs and priorities.
Note: if if someone out there is willing to make the Mesut Ozil of lawnmowers, please do! Like a lot of people I think I'd be wiling to splash out a bit more for better quality, rather than constantly with this tantalising and highly affordable but frustrating contraption that Bosch has created here.