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Old 03-19-2015, 07:10 AM   #1
Hogan's Hero OP
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Garden tillers

Have a medium size garden with 15 acres of property to work with. All the property is not going to be gardened. Interested in a tiller. A local dealer carries both BCS and Troy Bilt. Any thoughts on which way to go?
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:19 AM   #2
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We had a 1970's troy-bilt for 40 years. Was great. The new ones are not. Whenever we needed parts, the guys at various shops would tell us 'whatever you do, don't trade your old one for a new one!'

We sold it for more $ after 40 years than paid for it new (ignoring inflation). It had a Kohler 7 hp. The 'Horse' model tiller.

We upgraded to a BCS. We got an 853 diesel. The comparison isn't fair. The BCS is an industrial machine. The diesel runs a 30" tiller with ease and efficiency. The differential drive makes handling sweet. The offset handle feature is also great. But it's a lot of money. We got ours from Earth Tools, so it has the Lombardini/Kohler 10 hp diesel.

The BCS also gets used with a sicklebar, a brush hog, and a snow blower. Part of the justification for the switch was to minimize the number of engines we needed to maintain.


I can't comment on the smaller BCS machines, but BCS is a quality product. I can't say from direct experience, but word is the newer Troy-bilts are not a quality product.

Got specific questions? Fire away.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:28 AM   #3
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I understand that you cannot compare the machines. That said, do you feel that is is worth an extra grand to own a far superior machine. At this point I don't even have plans to add any other implements. I am currently looking at the 722, so no diesel or locking differentials.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:29 AM   #4
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If you plan on doing any box gardening, I would go with a front tine. My dad has a yard machines brand, been running for years...being that it really only see's use in the spring and fall. Front tines come in handy when in a box to be able to get at the corners, and tills easy every year thereafter. Just depends on how huge you want the garden, and how hard the ground is before you start. If it's virgin you may want a rear tine.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:39 AM   #5
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The BCS with the diesel option from Earth Tools is an awesome machine. That being said, you can put a whole lot of hours on that Honda with no problems. Those things are extremely bullet proof. Unless you are serious about large scale gardening the Honda will last a life time. The new Troys aren't even close to the machines of old. I would pass on them unless its a very small garden with minimal tillage requirements.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:11 AM   #6
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Rent a larger one than you'd buy and get the job done. Buy one if you feel the need to own one (and store it, fix it, lend it to friends and family) after you rent one for a weekend.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:13 AM   #7
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Cheaper in the long run to hire someone else to do the tilling. I've done it both ways. I even used to do custom tilling years ago. A decent tiller is a big investment that will be sitting idle 99% of its life.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:32 AM   #8
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No rental business in the area. I'm also not into hiring someone to do things I should be doing either. I get that it might be more money, but I like tools too. Thanks for the insight.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:36 AM   #9
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I get that too. I still have an old Troybulit that gets used about 2 hours a year.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:49 AM   #10
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>"Have a medium size garden with 15 acres of property to work with."

How big is medium sized? 20x40 ? 1/4 acre? 1 acre ?

If you have 15 acres... do you have a small tractor?
If so, get a PTO attachment tiller for it.

Otherwise, get a Troy built.
Good used ones around here are $400-$600.
IMHO: Good for the long haul.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hogan's Hero View Post
I understand that you cannot compare the machines. That said, do you feel that is is worth an extra grand to own a far superior machine. At this point I don't even have plans to add any other implements. I am currently looking at the 722, so no diesel or locking differentials.
If you're sure all you you'll be doing is tilling, I'd scour Craigslist for a 30 year old troy-bilt Horse. Be ready to pay $600 +/-.

The BCS gives you a lot of future flexibility. We probably mow with it (double-action sickle bar) more than anything. Get the quick hitch the day you get a 2nd implement. We don't have a lawn mower for ours, but might try one.

BCS can tow a trailer around too, never tried it though.

Earth Tools has a diesel option for the 722. +$1000 though, you need to use it a lot for that to make sense. Honda makes great motors. For that money you could get a gas 732 that has a diff, which makes handling the thing so much nicer. Granted, I'm used to an 853 which is 2x the weight, so maybe the smaller tillers handle fine without the diff.

What's in your toolbox? Snap On or Harbor Freight?

I would never recommend a front tine tiller to anyone. They are just abusive on humans. That said, I could understand how it would work better in boxes. We use a Mantis for those.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:43 AM   #12
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I honestly don't think I can justify the diesel. I do understand the future of a BCS and would include the quick disconnect at the time of purchase. Have been looking for older Troy Bilts for a while but they are rare or just beat.

My tools include but are not exclusively snap on. I like to think I buy quality tools which is why I am looking at these two options in tillers. I have a Mantis and do use it in boxes. It's just too small to do what I want to do. Garden is probably 1/4 acre, but there are bedding areas that could be developed if I had the right tool.

I do have a Kubota tractor, but am not inclined to add the tiller to my tractor because of where the garden is located...not enough room to turn around. It also would not be the best for those possible bedding areas.

I appreciate all the input. I am just having a difficult time reckoning the huge difference in what I see are my two best options. SWMBO has given me the green light on whatever I decide.
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:14 AM   #13
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ok. With more background info (tractor, quality tools), I think the summary is:

1. Find an old Troy-bilt.

OR

2. Buy a BCS. Any BCS is a good machine. Agree you don't need a diesel. If you can demo the 722 vs. a 732 I would. I have experience with neither, I can just tell you that our ~250 lb. Troy-bilt (solid axle, no diff) was a lot harder to handle at the end of the row than our 400 lb. BCS. Ergonomics are better on the BCS (easily adjustable). The 732 can also run a bigger tiller and a wider range of implements.

One thing I didn't mention before, was the Troy-bilt would dig a little deeper than the BCS does, but it has almost no effect for us.

Finding parts in the future will be easier with the BCS. Old school Troy-bilt stuff is getting rare.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:15 PM   #14
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Had an older Earthquake unit that I gave away. Rented both a Honda unit and a BCS unit from the local Home Depot. The BCS unit is easier to use, in my opinion. The depth bar works, the handle height adjusts as it should and it pulls thru the wet clay in parts of the garden. The Honda is narrower and is harder to turn around. IIRC, 4 speeds on the BCS tranny vs 3 on the Honda. I'd buy the BCS if I had the need for one more than twice a year.

I understand the future proof concept of the BCS but I will say that I have a DR Brush cutter. I also bought the finish mower head for it but I've only used it once because it is such a pain to switch from the brush to the mower head. You have to get under the unit to remove the v-belt and my back and knees don't allow for that.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:53 PM   #15
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With the quick-coupler I can change implements on the BCS is about 2-3 minutes, depending on how far apart I have them parked. It's a single lever. If the implement is on the other end of the machine (ex switching tiller to mower) it adds another minute.
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