I bought a powermax in Jan. of last year and it had the Briggs and Stratten OHV engine. The machine I bought was headed for sale in Europe but was redirected to Canada instead (we had a tough winter last year and everybody sold out of snowblowers) Anyway, it is called a powermax 6000 but it seems to have the same specs. as the 826 le. I used it for one tough winter and this is what I discovered.....
a) You don't need freewheel steering, my wife uses it with no trouble, and she is not a big lady. It handles very well..
b) You won't need electric start either. It starts easier than my lawnmower.
c) Light easy to handle. snow shute works well
Very hapy with it... Highly recommended IMHO.