Robert, is the GCV motors on the HRX seris as good as the 149 motors on the Harmany 215 SX , looking at a new mower...Honda dealer says to go for the 160 GSV commerical mower. want one that will last for 15-20 years . what are your thoughts on this worth spending 1200 or go with a HRX ?
Just to clarify....
HRR models have GCV160 engines. This is a 160cc overhead valve and overhead camshaft design with a timing belt. The engine block and cylinder head are cast as one upper half, while the lower section is diagonally split. The engine block is cast aluminum with a cast iron sleeve. Honda has been making this engine for 15 years, and it has been targeted as a premium residential product.
HRX models have the GCV190 engine. Other than larger displacement, more horsepower and torque, it is essentially the same as its smaller brother, with OHV, OHC, etc.
HRC models are for daily professional use. The push model, HRC216PDA has a beefed-up engine called the GSV190, which is a standard GCV190 engine and adds an extra bearing for the crankshaft, two-stage air filter, and a few other improvements for commercial operators. The self-propelled model is the only current Honda mower still using the GXV160 engine. This design has the traditional cylinder head, pushrods and overhead valve. The only reason it continues to be offered instead of th GSV style is because the transmission in the HRC216HXA is a shaft-drive style, and the GXV is the only current engine with a shaft-drive output. The is no doubt if Honda had a commercial-grade transmission, all HRC/commercial models would use the belt-drive GSV engine instead.
Now, back to the original question...I personally think the GCV engines are absolutely ideal for 95%+ of residential operators and lawns. Properly maintained and stored in the off season, a GCV engined mower will last for decades. Honda doesn't publish expected engine life/hours, but the GCV series motors have been in production for almost 20 years now, and you can count on one to last a long, long time.
Sure, the GXV motors are more traditional, and probably have a longer theoretical life expectancy, but I doubt you could really expect to see any real financial payoff or break-even point for quite a while.
Perhaps the ideal situation would be to find a gently used HRC for a fire-sale price, or an older HR, HRM model with a GXV engine. But, the newer Honda models sure cut better, cleaner, and have more features and benefits vs. an older model, even with the desirable commercial engine.
For my money, how well it cuts the grass, and how easy and efficient it does the job edges out the possible longer life of a commercial engine on a mower that lacks the performance and cut quality of a newer design.
Caveat: I work for Honda, but the preceding was my opinion alone.