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aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Original Message   Sep 21, 2013 2:39 am
Not sure if 2 stage snowblower purchases are on the decline that tip the scale in favor of a single stage, but Ariens have returned to the SS market.  Ariens 21" Path Pro.  The design looks like a safe bet, has all the right elements.  Nothing too revolutionary but it has a hinged cover easy service.  This is the only thing that sets it apart from other SS.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ7zSo2cGBk
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Cuchillo


Joined: Mar 7, 2013
Points: 3

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #5   Oct 26, 2013 12:16 am
You are right, I had the Sears model.  It worked great for my driveway.    I sold it to my brother in law and bought an Ariens deluxe 28.  I got tired of dragging and pushing the Sears model down the street to the elderly women's houses.  The Ariens model throws and goes with little effort. 

aa335 wrote:
I've seen this model, I think Sears has something similar to it.  Although there's usually a mess of cable around the chute.  There's got to be a better way to implement the remote deflector.


I'd rather be fishing!
slinger


Joined: Sep 22, 2010
Points: 158

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #6   Oct 28, 2013 8:46 am
If anybody gets a chance to see one, please let us know how well it appears to be designed & built. I'm looking to replace my old green 5hp 4 cycle Craftsman SS and was going to go with the Toro 621QZE, but if this new (less $$$) Ariens looks promising, I may be tempted to buy my Ariens Platinum 2 stage a new baby brother.
oldcrow


If it ain't broke, try harder

Location: Northern MI
Joined: Jan 15, 2008
Points: 63

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #7   Oct 29, 2013 12:36 pm
Very similar in design to the Toros, seems pretty obvious what the target market is. I looked at 2 of these recently, and liked what I saw for the most part.  I like Toro's chute remote much better, but the Ariens is easier to service. Otherwise, pretty equal in all respects to the CCRs and 621s. Good to see some more competition.

Ariens offers 5 variants- two 136cc models and three 208cc models. I'd bet the larger engine will sell better - they could easily cut two models from the middle of this lineup.

There are only 3 optional features offered - 50 bucks extra for electric start, another $169 for the larger engine, and another 100 bucks (you kidding?)  for the chute control. The flagship model ends up costing about 100 bucks less than a Toro 621QE, which may turn out to be a slick move. Aside from price, though, I'm not seeing any compelling reason to choose the Ariens over the Toro. Once Ariens has established a track record, that may change.
This message was modified Oct 29, 2013 by oldcrow
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #8   Oct 29, 2013 1:37 pm
I'd be interested in seeing one in person too.  Unfortunately, Arien probably hasn't done anything aggressively to get this new product on the show floor of the big box stores so that people can actually see it. 
This message was modified Nov 1, 2013 by aa335
oldcrow


If it ain't broke, try harder

Location: Northern MI
Joined: Jan 15, 2008
Points: 63

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #9   Oct 30, 2013 1:27 pm
That does seem odd on Ariens' part. My local dealer knew next to nothing about the two machines I looked at - it was like shopping at Home Depot. He actually tried to sell me a Snow-Tek SS , bragging that it's bucket is 1 inch wider. Excuse me? The sales rag had less info in it than what I found on the website. Sounds like a real stealth rollout.

I dunno, maybe they're just trying to plug a hole after a couple mild winters. Come January, I'm sure folks here will snatch those machines up on name alone. The "Beggers can't be choosers" marketing strategy.
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #10   Oct 30, 2013 3:17 pm
oldcrow wrote:
 He actually tried to sell me a Snow-Tek SS , bragging that it's bucket is 1 inch wider. Excuse me?

Probably because that black bucket isn't going to sell itself when parked next to a yellow and red bucket with established brand name. 

I'm surprised that Sno-Tek SS got floor space and the new Ariens SS doesn't. 

Personally, they should pull the Snotek SS off the market.  The Ariens is so much nicer.  See my observations below.
This message was modified Nov 1, 2013 by aa335
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #11   Nov 1, 2013 11:52 am
slinger wrote:
If anybody gets a chance to see one, please let us know how well it appears to be designed & built. I'm looking to replace my old green 5hp 4 cycle Craftsman SS and was going to go with the Toro 621QZE, but if this new (less $$$) Ariens looks promising, I may be tempted to buy my Ariens Platinum 2 stage a new baby brother.

I saw one at a local Ariens dealer.  Actually, I saw all the Ariens SS models, from the 136cc to 208cc.  It is a well built machine, no hollow rattles from the cowl.  (The Toro SS could use an improvement in this area! )  The Ariens cowl design is of made of a plastic material that is tough, strong, and able to absorb some vibrations without rattling.  It is securely screwed down to the chassis.  The hinged door on the cowl is nice too, allows access to the fuel cap and to see exactly down the engine and do some work on it if you need to.  There's a dampened quiet snap closure on the door.  I do like this door because it can be used to hose down the inside of the machine with water and dry with air compressor, great for cleaning it before putting away for the spring season.

The business end comprise of the bucket and the rubber auger.  The bucket is a mixture of steel and plastic.  The rotor/paddle assembly is solid.  It look so similar to the Toro that I can't tell it apart.  The metal construction is good quality, the flat metal belt cover discretely blends nicely to the side of the bucket.  The scraper bar is beefy, adjustable, but does not pivot.

The balance and maneuverability is perfect.  The weight of the engine is rightly balanced over the wheels and turns easily.  The handles larger diameter that are sturdy and the whole machine holds together solidly, on par with a Honda HS621.  The whole snowblower moves together with the handles without any flex or twists.  The bail lever has just the right amount of tension to activate the auger.  I do prefer the Ariens SS over the Toro SS for the bail tension (Toro is too light).  And then there are other machines which has ridiculously heavy bail tension that tires the wrist after 3 minutes.  Compared to a Toro SS, everything on the Ariens is more heavy duty, business like, not cute.  Surprising, the Ariens doesn't feel fat or heavy, in a good way.  Another surprising thing is both the 136cc and 208cc models have the about the same balance feel.   That means that the larger engine doesn't sacrifice the balance at all.  There's a nice kickstand to tilt the machine back and make oil change easier.

So there is a lot to like about the Ariens.  Now comes a FEW not so good things.  Only a few.  The remote chute rotator  is a major let down.  Personally, I don't like Ariens user interface.  It gets the job done, but couldn't it be a more friendly and not so raw and rough? 

The chute rotator lever is notchy, heavy, and flex a lot.  The detents are heavy and the lever flexes when you try to move it, requires hamfisted deliberation to get any action.  Actually, the whole snowblower moves with it.  If you changing the chute direction while moving, the hamfisted force required to do it could cause the snowblower to change course.  The lever for the chute rotator is short  and possibly could be 2 inches longer for more leverage and smoother movements.  I feel there should be finer detents for more smaller direction changes.  In addition, the lever seems is too small to grasp with thick winter gloves.  The lever could use refinement in the user ergonomics and comfort department.  It short and small lever feels like holding a screwdriver at the wrong end, especially when there's so much torque that it needs to operate.  Couldn't it be shaped to fit the hands and with some soft and grippy overmolds?  The deflector is the standard friction type.  Neither good or bad, but unexciting.  Both the rotator and deflector is not even close to the finesse of the Toro Quick Chute and the Zip Deflector. 

The rear of the Ariens engine hangs out and exposed.  There's a few screw heads and fasteners on the belt cover and the plastic cowl that could be hidden or painted to blend it better into the machine.  The Toro overall has nicer operation and more buttoned down appearance.  This may be a personal preference but if you like the engine exposed in front of your feet, the Ariens is the machine. 

To me, the appearance is just a minor quibble and I could get used to it.   Function before form.  There's enough good things about the Ariens SS that makes the other negatives tolerable.  Except for the chute rotation lever, that really needs an overhaul.

I think Ariens will likely hit a home run with this single stage.  I think it has all the positives of Honda and Toro, and previous Ariens SS pulled together in this latest design.  The price is competitive too.  Nice job Ariens and can't wait to see how it does in the real snow. 
This message was modified Nov 1, 2013 by aa335
slinger


Joined: Sep 22, 2010
Points: 158

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #12   Nov 2, 2013 8:24 pm
"The chute rotator lever is notchy, heavy, and flex a lot. The detents are heavy and the lever flexes when you try to move it, requires hamfisted deliberation to get any action. Actually, the whole snowblower moves with it. If you changing the chute direction while moving, the hamfisted force required to do it could cause the snowblower to change course. The lever for the chute rotator is short and possibly could be 2 inches longer for more leverage and smoother movements. I feel there should be finer detents for more smaller direction changes. In addition, the lever seems is too small to grasp with thick winter gloves. The lever could use refinement in the user ergonomics and comfort department. It short and small lever feels like holding a screwdriver at the wrong end, especially when there's so much torque that it needs to operate. Couldn't it be shaped to fit the hands and with some soft and grippy overmolds?"

I wonder why they went with this setup? Was the .5 Quick-Turn chute on the older Ariens 522EC a bad design? It looked very simple and easy to use.
aa335


Joined: Nov 29, 2008
Points: 2434

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #13   Nov 2, 2013 8:29 pm
slinger wrote:
I wonder why they went with this setup? Was the .5 Quick-Turn chute on the older Ariens 522EC a bad design? It looked very simple and easy to use.

It was a robust design.  However, I prefer not having to reach below the handle bars to change the chute direction.
Snowmann


Joined: Dec 3, 2003
Points: 494

Re: Ariens back in the game again, a new single stage snowblower.
Reply #14   Nov 3, 2013 12:55 pm
The control force can be adjusted both at the control (by tightening a nut) and at the chute detent (3 position spring mount). It's possible the detent spring is set in the position for the manual chute control (more resistance at the chute). Easily corrected.
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