This is going to be a review of a Stihl FS90R trimmer. On 6/6/06 (I kid you not) I purchased a Troy Bilt 4 stroke string trimmer that gave me 3 years of faithful service until the plating literally fell off of the cylinder. This is the main comparison to my Stihl since it's the only trimmer I've really had many hours on.
I walked into my local dealer (Stihl, Echo, Shindaiwa, Honda are all carried) and started looking for my next trimmer. I ended up making my mind on the Stihl, the Honda was next but it was a 100.00 more and had a smaller engine. I was out around 300.00 for the trimmer and some oil. It is equipped with the 4-MIX engine, a D handle, and the stihl Autocut 2 string head. I used the Stihl line at first, then used some Shakespeare stuff from walmart which I bought for the Troy.
The First Run:
Well, I had the silliest grin on my face from the sheer power this had over the Troy Bilt. It's a beast. The FS90 has a 28cc engine, where as the Troy was 25. It clears overgrown grass with ease, tears through weeds, but you can still trim around objects nimbly and easily. It starts easily (1-3 pulls every time), and the automatic decompression valve makes it effortless so anyone can do it. I also can not forget about the lovely sound. It has one sweet engine note. Most weedwhackers have a sound that I don't really care for, this has a deep sound that is like no other. It's noise level is comparable to other 2 stroke trimmers. The guard is also worlds better than the Troy's, it would cover me from head to to with grass, the Stihl, although still messy, keeps the grass off of me and where it should be. It is much more fuel efficient then my Troy Bilt as well.
1 year later:
I use this trimmer very often and have had zero issues with it. It still starts easily, and cuts better than it did new.
Fuel efficient, 4MIX engine has gobs of power and torque and is clean for the environment, trimmer head is easy to rewind, easy to start, reliable, and it has a great variety of attachments.
It's heavy, but even with the cheap harness that's included it is manageable. I imagine with a decent harness it would be much more comfortable to use.
Due to it's construction, it is vulnerable to carbon buildup from poor fuel ratios. It is recommended that you use Stihl Ultra oil at 50:1 ratio. Due to my local dealer wanting ridiculous prices for it, I have been using Shindaiwa One oil at 50:1 with no issues, and I will be switching to Husqvarna XP oil when I run out. I would only use JASO/ISO rated oils and ONLY at 50:1 to keep the engine running clean. If you run a good mix you can expect a very good lifespan out of this engine.
The only other problem is not major but is a minor annoyance. It is the goofy flippy-caps that new Stihl OPE all come with. It seems if you don't get these things on the first try they take more tries to get them right. Sometimes they look they are fastened but are not and you lose all of your fuel on the ground. Leave it to the Germans to over engineer the screw in cap.
2005 Troy Bilt ZTR 42-19hp Briggs I/C 42" Deck
Husqvarna 50 Special, 20" and 16" bars
Stihl 066, 25" and 20" bars
Jonsered 2252 Autotune, 18" bar
Stihl FS90R with Brush Blade
1999 Kawasaki Bayou 220 ATV
Collection still growing.