HONDA FG201 PETROL TILLER
The Honda FG201 tiller is a step up in power and tilling capabilities from the Honda FG110. The engine is a tried and trusted Honda 49cc power plant with the combination of increased power and relatively light weight. This makes it very capable at cutting through ground quickly as long as its not heavily compacted.
For this review we bought a Honda FG201 in 2017 and put it through its paces on a variety of ground. We bought it from F N Pile and Sons in Banbury, our local Honda main dealer. We picked up the tiller ready assembled and tested with a full tank of petrol.
To transport the rotovator to an outside site it can be loaded into a car easily, the weight of 16kg / 34lbs ensures that most people can load it into the back of a car boot. The handles are easily and quickly foldable if room in the boot is at a premium. It will easily fit into boot of a small hatchback.
If you just want to take it a small distance, the detachable wheels allow you to easily roll it over most ground although you will need to bend low to prevent the tines digging into the ground.
Filling with petrol is easy with the tank opening being very accessible. Mention has been made in one other review that we have read which points out that this tiller can only be used with fresh petrol – by fresh we mean up to a month or so old. No mention of this appears on the Honda website.
However, when we bought the tiller were advised to use an expensive type of petrol to avoid problems later on. At the moment we have no way of checking out if this is particular to our local main dealer or whether it is widespread advice. Very soon we will buy a Mantis tiller from a different main dealer and will report back if they advise the same.
The tiller started at the second pull of the starter chord. So far, fingers crossed, it has had no problems and has started with ease each time. To start tilling you hold down a small lever next to the power lever and pull the power lever, the blades will then begin to rotate.
For an idea of the efficiency of this tiller, we rotovated (twice over) a patch of ground 5ft by 20ft in under two hours. It was lightly moist heavy clay soil which was previously cultivated but had remained untouched for two years. I reckon I had tilled to a depth of approximately 10in. The maximum depth is reported to be 9.2ins.
You can see in the picture below how far down into the ground the tines were after we stopped the rotovator. It should also be noted that, in common with all other rotovators we have tested, the adjustable height control (see picture below) is useless for that purpose. It just sinks into the recently tilled ground. It does however provide added stability.
For those amongst us who are not prime physical specimens I can declare that I am of slight build, suffer from asthma and COPD but found manoeuvering and using this tiller very easy
The handlebars are at a good angle which reduces the effort to a minimum when operating. The tilling width is 30cm / 12in and it will dig down to a maximum depth of 23cm / 9.2in – the power of the engine allows it to do this with ease. The handles fold to reduce space but they are not adjustable for height.
It tills the ground to fairly small lumps, better than we would have expected, we have absolutely no problems with how it tills the ground.
The key facts for the Honda FG201 petrol tiller are:
30cm / 12in
23cm / 9.2in
Honda 49cc four stroke
16kg / 34lbs
Height adjustable handles
Not as standard
Guarantee / warranty
£579 (on offer for £509)
Postage and packing
Free UK mainland
Model website page
THE GOOD POINTS:
- Powerful engine for a lightweight tiller.
- Light weight, foldable handles and well-placed lifting handle make this machine easy to get in and out of a car boot.
- Long five year warranty for domestic use and 1 year for professional use
POINTS TO CONSIDER:
- Maintenance at home is made difficult by the lack of information and part numbers.
- If you want to take advantage of the long warranty period you are required to have your tiller serviced annually by a Honda approved agent which does not come cheap! Think, will you really get your machine serviced at a cost of around £90 every year?
WHO ARE HONDA?
Honda are a Japanese company who have been trading for well over 50 years. They are probably most famous for their cars but they have also built up an enviable reputation for garden equipment. They focus on producing rugged and reliable machinery which is fit for purpose. It's a myth that many hire companies use Honda garden equipment although some of the models they hire out have Honda engines.
WHERE TO BUY A HONDA FG201 TILLER
The recommended retail price is £579 but there are many discounts on that price. Honda carefully restrict sales to only approved dealers but even so Amazon offer them at a discounted price (free delivery to UK mainland).
Our buying advice is simple, search online for the best deal you can find from a Honda main dealer and take that. All Honda main dealers are fully researched by Honda before being allowed to sell their goods. If you buy for a non-approved dealer then expect trouble.
The owners manual for the Honda FG201 tiller can be found
here. Although it does contain some useful information about routine, it is, in common with many manuals for garden machinery, full of rather obvious information. One nugget of information it contains is “Petrol is extremely flammable and explosive” – who would have known that?!
Another buying strategy which often works if you want to buy from your local dealer is to research the lowest price online and then ask if your local supplier will match that. Often they will.