It’s not often that Honda rolls out a new product line, and it’s even rarer to see a new engine from the company. That makes the new HRN line of mowers one of the biggest releases from the company in several years. Developed for North American lawns at Honda’s R&D center in North Carolina, this successor to the HRR Series uses an all-new design. Some features like the Smart Drive return, while increased power and better deck flow improve overall performance, comfort and serviceability.
An All-New Engine
This mower is the first model from Honda to get an engine from its new GCV line. Soon to be available in 145, 170 and 200 sizes, it’s the first major update to these residential engines in 17 years.
As the name suggests, the GCV170’s displacement is slightly higher, increasing horsepower by 9% and torque by 18% compared to the GCV160 used in the HRR. Inside, the engine gets Honda’s new CycloFlow combustion chamber. It uses the engine’s increased stroke to create more turbulence inside the cylinder. This helps with fuel mixing, widening the powerband, improving combustion, making starts easier and reducing problems with stale fuel. Work was also done to lessen vibration and lower the exhaust note to improve operator comfort.
Honda Auto Choke carries over from the old engine. This system acts as a thermostat, keeping the choke closed until wax inside a cylinder melts and moves the choke control arm. That way, the choke only opens when the engine is up to operating temperature. No operator intervention needed, and it uses fewer parts than competing systems. A manual fuel shut-off valve keeps fuel from leaking into the carburetor or air filter when storing, transporting or repairing the mower. A larger fill opening on the fuel tank makes it easier to use with modern gas cans.
Servicing also sees major improvements. The GCV170 uses just 39 parts compared to 106 for the old GCV. The engine can be stripped down to replace the crank without removing it from the mower. To make oil changes easier, the oil inlet is taller and wider, while the drain plug is higher and closer to the crankshaft for faster flow. The spark plug now sits at the front of the engine near the top of the head, making it easier to access.
Improved Deck Performance
Changes to the deck’s shape together with a larger discharge improve airflow efficiency and reduce clogs. In Honda’s own test, the mower was able to mow 5-inch tall grass for twice as long as the HRR before its first clog.
The 3-in-1 Clip Director is carried over from the HRR. This tool-free system switches between bagging, mulching, and side discharge by moving a lever next to the engine. All models come with a bag that holds 1.9 bushels of grass clippings. The Microcut twin blade system also carries over. It uses two closely-mounted blades to chop grass in two places with each pass, improving mulching performance, especially on wet grass.
The left and right wheels are connected by an axle, so there are only two levers for setting the mower height. This makes setting the height easier while letting you lift the front end for better bagging performance.
Honda offers four versions of the HRN. As you move up the model range, you get all the features of the previous models.
HRN216PKA – This push mower has all the benefits of the new deck and engine.
HRN216VKA – This model comes with Smart Drive, which propels the mower to a top speed of 4 MPH. Large padded levers next to the handle let you get exactly the speed you want and keep it there while making changes to your hand position.
HRN216VYA – This model comes with Honda’s Roto-Stop blade. It uses a brake to stop the blade from spinning when the operator leaves the controls. This lets you step away from the mower without shutting off the engine.
HRN216VLA- The engine comes with a keyed electric starter. The battery and switch are held in a small box on the handle, so there’s nothing to get in the way when working on the engine.
Honda guarantees the entire mower including the engine for 3 years of residential use and 90 days of commercial use.
We’re Your Honda Headquarters
Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for Honda Power Equipment and Honda Engines. That means we don’t just sell these mowers. We also offer the service and parts you need to keep these mowers running for years to come. If you’re looking for a new mower, or you need help with your old equipment, come see us. Our shop is located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We also ship parts across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us on the web at www.shankslawn.com.