Not good enough.

 Just short of three years years ago, on the 21st August 2018, we bought a replacement lawnmower.  I know this, because for years I have been stuffing the receipts for anything that should have a guarantee into a desk drawer, but have rarely, if ever cleared them out again.  We bought a Flymo UltraGlide because our old Flymo, which was about 20 years old but still worked was so worn that there were numerous holes in its base as a result of which it wasn't hovering as well as it should.  It's reliability was what pushed us towards buying another Flymo.

Flymo Ultra Glide

Three years later, and on a dry Tuesday evening I got the 'new' Flymo out, but immediately something felt wrong.  The mower was running roughly.  Worse still was the pungent burning smell that quickly developed.  Needless to say I stopped the grass cutting and an investigation ensued.

Taking the mower apart was time consuming since the majority of its fastenings are well hidden, especially after a few years grass build up.  It is also built in a series of sub units that screw together to make the whole.  In one of these the motor is screwed to a housing along with the fan and grass cutting blade, each of which is driven by its own separate belt.  You cannot but any of the parts of this assembly separately and the whole unit costs £95 plus £13 postage from Flymo.  This was not going to happen, since the whole mower only cost £119 when new (and this was a cheap sale price, it should have cost £149).  Anyway I could see what was wrong with it.

The top bearing that the armature rotates in had broken up.  Unfortunately the motor is not designed to be disassembled, but where there is a will.......  The broken bearing turned out to be a mere 19mm in diameter, with a 7mm centre.  A pretty insubstantial thing for this application.  Over engineered is not a description I would use for this mower.  The problem is that the bottom bearing is now damaged too and it would also need to be replaced if the mower is to be used again, but there is a double pully wheel attached to the armature shaft to drive the two belts, and getting this off without damage has so far proved to be impossible.  This is a pity, because the two bearings should cost less than a tenner.  Even if fixed, this bearing failure is likely to happen again in another year or two.

I can buy a decent second hand petrol mower for less than £50, so why would I bother to fix the rather rubbish Flymo?  In these supposedly environmentally enlightened times, we are told that the stuff we buy should be reparable.  I normally would do this, but this mower is not built to either a decent quality, or to a design that would support this.  I used to be a fan of the brand, but they have killed that of their own volition.  It is in bits, so I will ensure that the parts are recycled as best as is humanly possible, but I will never buy another Flymo.  As of this incident; Flymo = Not good enough.

Stop press:  I did buy a replacement petrol mower, a second hand one off Gumtree.  It is old, but starts fine and cuts well.  If fact, the only thing wrong with it is that my wife cannot start it.  It's not a huge issue since I normally do the grass cutting, but there are occasions when other things take priority so it was back to the drawing board then.

I persevered with the Flymo bearings and it is now up and running again for the whopping total cost of £6.  Given the size of that bearing the Flymo is bound to break again at some point though and the replacement procedure will have to happen again.  Anyone want a decent petrol mower on the cheap? 


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