Advantages Good value for larger gardens
Disadvantages Like a Fiat it has a few plastic parts here and there!
|Ease of use|
Winter's a comin' and the garden is full to bursting with hedge prunings, leaves, old branches and other detritus.
You could have a good old fashioned bonfire but you might burn hedgehogs! Noone (that I know of) wants this; neither do we really want to lug it to the tip.
The first thing you will notice is an industry strength Briggs & Stratton Intek engine with 6.5hp (3.65KW). This sounds like plenty until you use something like a Timberwolf with a 45hp turbodiesel engine, only then do you realise the power required to chew through logs and newly cut wood.That said I have been pleasantly surprised by the BIO555. The only thing I have found so far that makes it struggle and stall are long wiry branches of freshly cut pyracantha. They went through with gentle persuasion and dogged determination. If these had been allowed to air dry for a week or so I have no doubt they would have gone through with no problems.
The inner workings of the BIO555 are refreshingly simple:A large metal hopper with a one way rubber flap to prevent chunks flying back out at you. The flap is bolted inside the hopper to the underside of a plastic handle halfway up the outside of the hopper.
When wheeled it is possible to fit the BIO555 through most standard width gates and paths although it isn't terribly manoeuvrable. It sits back firmly on a wide dip coated folded metal base which is also the main chassis and engine mount.At the bottom of the hopper are two replaceable hardened steel blades mounted at 12 o' clock and 6 o' clock on a plate metal flywheel a bit like one of those centrifugal juicer things you see advertised on cable. Behind this are 10 metal hammers in banks of 5 which mince up what the blades chop off, force it through a metal screen and out of the chute on the side. Should a blockage occur the hinged metal screen can be moved without turning off the engine to allow the blockage to clear. A lever on the top is fixed in either position by a big plastic headed screw bolt which has a habit of loosening itself if not kept tight. A good feature nonetheless.
Another good feature is that the entire hopper assembly is hinged to allow access to the cutters to clear big blockages and secured by two more big plastic handle screw bolts. One of these is incredibly long and when fully inserted trips a push to make microswitch disabling the engine cutoff. This means the hopper assembly must be tightly fastened for the engine to startThe manual clearly states that the machine is designed to mash up soft wood up to 45mm thick which it achieves convicingly.
The Intek 6.5hp starts very easily with a big pullcord and purrs like a 100dB kitten making ear protection a must. Although it arrived with no oil it was easily rectified through a nice big filler/dipstick on top of the engine. On/off, throttle and choke controls are situated on the opposite end to the hopper. The choke lever on the air filter assembly is flimsy and plastic and without due caution is likely to be the first thing to break. I may even contact Briggs & Stratton about this to see if they have an improved one which could be fitted when I replace it.Overall I would recommend this machine if you have a large garden which produces more waste than an electric shredder can handle.
Higher powered, more expensive designs exist but I would argue that for heavy domestic and light commercial use this Italian built model SHOULD if not subjected to abuse be just fine. It is slightly more powerful than equivalent priced models from other manufacturers and the ease of access to the cutter via the hinged hopper make for trouble free unblocking.
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