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I always say to my neighbours that they can use my mower as long as they don't take it out of my garden. But the Bosh Rotak 36 is different, a machine that entices you out of your deckchair and so attempt to make those neat lines and plaid on your puny piece of lawn like you see on premier league football pitches. I think its most men's dream to be able to retire with just another money and garden so to nurture a pristine lawn, maybe grand and big enough one day so to be able to purchase a mower with a seat on.
There is something very therapeutic about cutting the lawn for men as it marks out your territory, that smell and sound a mower makes mid April wonderful to your senses as you know summer is on the way. I prefer the blade type mower as the Flymo ones tend to fire debris all over the place and you can hit by ricochets if you're unlucky, worse still take out your neighbours kids eye out for an almighty row, even though just about everything has come over the fence their side of late, including the football through the greenhouse. Our other neighbours are mostly middle-class and so tend to buy a garden implement and machine for every job that needs doing on 'their land', all very 'Good Life', often for jobs that don't need doing at all. Sunday mornings are like some sort of garden convention in our road.
* Featuring unique grass combs that allows you to cut right to the edge
* 1400 Watt Hi-torque 'PowerDrive' motor offers superb cutting and collection
* 36cm Width of cut, with high speed steel blade
* 10 Heights of cut (20-70mm)
* Lightweight and maneuverable, only 11.1kg
* Rear collect grassbox (40 liters)
* 2 Years parts & labour guarantee
* Unique grass combs
* 10 position spring assisted HOC adjustment from 20-70mm
* Tool free height adjustment
* Fold down handles
Tech wise it's basic but does have some nice touches. The 10 position adjustment for the blade clearance is pretentious but it's always nice to be able to feel the blade closer to the floor. I have managed to use about three settings so far. The collection box isn't the biggest so you have to make a mountain of grass cuttings somewhere on your journey. The 'unique grass combs' are hardly that and serve little purpose other than to comb the grass blades that were missed although it does help it to cut right to the edge of your lawn without tipping into the flower bed.
You have about a 40cm cut channel and so it's up and down for quite a while, the 40m cable giving you enough stretch to do most of your lawn. There isn't a power extension with this so you will need to make a purchase there, no more than a fiver from Wilkinson's. The guard is set low to stop you cutting the cable and being electrocuted and it's not an urban myth that those things happen. Most of this mower is plastic and so that not likely to happen to you though. You can get those robot ones these days that cut on their own if you are lazy and scared of being fried.
At just 11kg in weight and fold down handles its easy to store and move around, not like the old iron jobs when we were kids. Although it was therapeutic cutting the lawn with dad with those simple old manual cutters that were just a blade and frame it is nice for the electricity to do most of the work. I don't like petrol lawnmowers and they are quite expensive to run these days and the slightest leak means corrosion and worse so always go electric. They also stink of all manner of chemicals and tend to be noisier.
The negatives would have to be the cable doesn't wrap neat to the machine and that smallish grass basket is also a pain. It's not great for lefties as the power button is on the right hand side of the mower. It looks nice though and not too noisy and a fair price at around £130 (£119 on Amazon) when I purchased it from Argos. It cuts through most grass types and surprisingly good for a neat finish, unlike the noisy and angry Flymo style cutters. In fact I really don't think you should stay with the Flymo style mowers as the blade types have come on so much since the days when you had to dig out your rusty Qualcast from the shed in the 1970s.
Although we don't have the largest of gardens, we still have a small lawned area to the front of the house, and a larger rear lawn, which sadly means that every week or so, I have to drag out the lawnmower. I really don't like cutting the grass, and am loathed to spend too much money on it, so it is essential that I have a lawn mower that makes the job easier and this leads me nicely onto the Bosch Rotak 36.
Now Bosch are one of the leading brands of lawnmower in my view along with Flymo, and so I expected good things from this when I first got the thing home. It cost me £120 a few years ago, but after having a look on the internet can see that it is still available for around thee £100-£120 mark. It isn't as widely available now in the usual DIY shops or garden centres as it is quite an old model now.
This lawnmower is really designed for the smaller and medium sized lawns, and as such I wouldn't advise this if you have a larger area, and for that matter if your garden has any large gradients, as due to the smallish size of the machine, the blade is prone to clipping the ground on anything steeper than a little mound! This mower has a cutting width of 36cm, which isn't massive, but should be adequate enough for most, with a 1400 Watt motor, which is powerful enough to get through a good few weeks growth when the usual British thing happens and every weekend when you have some free time to cut the lawn, the heavens open! From bitter experience, I wouldn't recommend using the mower if conditions are particularly wet underfoot firstly for the obvious electrocution risk if raining, but also because the motor isn't good when the grass starts to get clumpy and the task will become a long and frustrating one. The weight of the machine is only 11.2 kilograms, so it is pretty easy to wield, and you don't come in afterwards feeling like your muscles have gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. It comes with 12 metres of cable, which isn't enough for me, and so an extension lead is highly likely to be needed at some stage too.
The design of this model makes storage particularly straightforward as the handle detaches from the main body of the mower, which saves on space, and means even we can fit it into our overfilled little shed. However this is where I have one of my few gripes with the lawnmower. As the handle part detaches, it is possible to pull it out whilst actually mowing, which is very annoying as you have to then stop everything and try and get the two ends back into the holes. To be fair it doesn't happen often, but occasionally whilst pulling the mower backwards, especially through damp grass or up a small gradient. It would be better if a small screw could be tightened to stop this happening, but sadly it wasn't designed as such.
So the question is how well does it actually cut? Well the answer is pretty well to be fair. There is a small gear stick type device on the side of the mower, which is used to lower or raise the blades with a range of between 2cm and 7cm available. I generally use the lowest one, as it means longer between cuts! As its not very heavy it is really easy to push or pull around the place, and cuts nicely. There are two pieces of the side of the mower, which channels grass under the blade, which is marketed as a replacement for a strimmer, but I have found that this isn't really the case. Whereas it does cut closer to walls, fences etc than other mowers I have used, you will still find a small strip, which will need to be dealt with by other means. To operate the mower, for safety you depress a button whilst simultaneously pulling back a handle. This will start the machine and it will continue to operate as long as the handle is pulled back. This is all pretty standard for an electric lawnmower.
A roller is attached to the back of the mower, which is supposed to give that striped pattern on your lawn, especially if you go up and down the garden in an orderly fashion. I have to say that although there is some effect from the roller, I don't find that it is a particularly noticeable one, especially a day or two after you have cut the grass, which is just as well really as it doesn't show up my woeful off straight lines too badly!
The grass is collected in a box at the rear of the mower, and you can use it without if you're not bothered about where the cuttings go. The collection box itself is a rather healthy 40 litres in capacity, meaning that you can cut a fair bit of grass before it needs emptying, which is always a plus point. It should also be noted however, that in my experience it certainly lets you know if you have been neglecting emptying for a little too long, as it then has a tendency to fall off and make a large mess.
So to sum this little mower up, I would say that it is a good choice for a smaller or medium sized lawn, as it is light enough to be simple and easy to move around, yet sturdy enough to be durable, and I have had mine now a good 5 years and it shows no signs of rusting or breaking. Anything larger and I would advise you to steer clear and look at the petrol mower options. A quick squirt of oil on the blades before the start of the cutting season will also help to improve the longevity of the machine. Apart from the slight issue with the loose handle I am very impressed with this and would definitely recommend it to everyone.
Thanks for reading this review and it will also appear on Ciao under my same username.