Honda Power Equipment is introducing a new version of its mini tiller product. Scheduled for release in early 2005, Honda says its FG110 mini tiller has been redesigned from the ground up so that it can be used in commercial and rental applications. “We talk to our customers a lot, and we knew that many of them were using the previous generation version for commercial purposes,” explains Kristen Delaney, Honda Lawn and Garden product planner. “However, there were aspects of the tiller that were not designed for the kind of heavy use and abuse that tillers see in the commercial and rental markets. Consumers, our other customer base, have an affinity to commercial-grade products. There was no downside to making the tiller even stronger.”
To make the tiller more durable, Honda first focused on redesigning the handlebars and the transmission—the parts most vulnerable to damage. “The handles are now thicker and have been reconfigured to protect the engine and the tiller itself while also providing a handle and a tie-down point,” Ms. Delaney tells APPLIANCE. “To strengthen the transmission, we made the gear four times larger and the corresponding bearing and shaft larger to match. The larger gear makes it much stronger and capable of standing up to the daily use of rental customers.”
Other changes included a new hybrid tine design that allows users to both dig and cultivate. According to Honda, its proprietary design works with a high-tine speed of 264 rpm to maximize digging and cultivating performance without compromising one for the other. “Our previous tiller, the FG100, had cultivating tines, often known as bolo tines,” Ms. Delaney says. “While we know these are effective for most of our customers’ applications, there are many customers who demand more of a digging tine.”
Driving the new tiller is the company’s GX25 four-stroke, 25-cc engine. According to Ms. Delaney, the engine’s compact and lightweight design allowed Honda engineers to transfer that weight to other components to increase the unit’s durability.
The four-stroke motor, which uses regular unleaded gasoline, is also said to help keep the tiller quiet. “Part of the noise reduction comes from the use of four-stroke technology instead of two-stroke, and part comes from muffler tuning,” she explains. “Additionally, the four-stroke engine has more torque available at lower rpm, meaning the tiller needs to be operated at full throttle less of the time. This also contributes to fuel economy.”