The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Loop handle grip vs bike handle

Stihl FS-90R trimmer weed eater one year check up update from last years review

The Stihl FS-90R trimmer/weed eater has been with us for about a year now and still starts on the first or second try. We made a bit more progress on reclaiming the gully today thanks to its power.

I recently considered upgrading the grip to what Stihl calls a "Bike handle". I heard there was a conversion kit, but our local Stihl dealer said that for an extra 40 dollars from what the kit cost you could buy a whole trimmer with the bike handle installed and ready to go.

She also told me that bike handle grips are good for level situations where you find yourself "mowing" for long stretches of time, but if you've got hills then the two handed grip tends to wear on your back more than the loop handle. We've got plenty of elevated weeds here, which is what convinced me to forget about the bike handle.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Full harness with the bike handle is the only way to go. Other than moving the cutter side to side, never know its there. Loop handle is so unergonomic with the throttle placement.
Comment by Anonymous Mon Jun 11 19:52:42 2012
Anonymous --- What kind of terrain do you weedeat? I'd be curious to hear if you go up and down slopes and still think the bicycle handle is the way to go.
Comment by anna Mon Jun 11 20:08:02 2012
I use it for everything. From edging sidewalks to essentially mowing steep hills. Have yet to find a situation where I would rather have a loop handled machine.
Comment by Anonymous Mon Jun 11 23:12:17 2012

I have an electric trimmer (Ryobi) with a loop, and my Tanaka with bike handles. I love my bike handles. The throttle is right at my right thumb, and the wide open arm stance makes it easy to swing in any direction. The loop makes me tired.

And I agree, full harness is the best, but even with just the strap, it is easy.

But everyone is different- since I started with bike handles, maybe that is why I like them better?

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Jun 12 01:02:39 2012
Anonymous and Eric --- Sounds like Mark needs to find some bicycle handles to try out. Maybe he got some bad advice....
Comment by anna Tue Jun 12 07:36:06 2012
We got a stihl F460 brush cutter about two months ago and it has bike handles with harness. Hands down bike handles are the way to go with harness. It allowed us to get an acre cleared in a week. The brush was so thick you could not walk through it. With the harness and bike handles it did not cause fatigue. My 51 yr old mother uses it for hours on end, that lets you know how much the harness and handles really helps with distributing weight of the machine ( ours it heavy). Hills are not an issue at all, neither is unlevel terrain. Trust me Mark will be able to work longer with less fatigue!!!!
Comment by Melissia D Tue Jun 12 15:38:36 2012

As a farmer and orchard manager, I have cleared weeds, brush and small standing timber in orchards and meadows up to 50 acres+. Used both Stihl FS90 with a loop handle and FS130 with bike bars. I've spent hundreds of hours, 8-12 hours a day brush cutting every type of terrain possible. The bike bars and harness are.... hands down, bar none the only way to go if you value your body. Recently spent 2 months straight clearing brush from an orchard 6 days a week with little to no fatigue....considering. Slopes to 60 degrees. Choose your cutter head type wisely, it makes a big difference.

Comment by Scott G. Tue Jul 28 02:01:03 2015

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