As previously mentioned in the Honda FRC 800 review article, finding solid information about tillers is not an easy task.
When you’re making an investment in a tiller that you might literally have for decades (like the old Gilson Brothers one we have), you want to purchase the right thing the first time.
Enter the Italian made BCS tiller.
To begin, we have to get the pricing communicated in order to have full disclosure as to how much a BCS can end up costing.
For the low-end tiller which is their model 710 with an 18” wide tiller attachment (sold separately!), it would cost around $2,345 not including taxes. BCS’ model 750 with electric start and a 33” wide heavy duty tilling attachment will cost you a whopping $6,925 plus tax.
One positive way to look at this is that BCS offers a diverse range to fit a variety of needs and financial considerations of potential buyers. No other tiller company out there offers something like this.
Even better, there’s a plethora of accessories you can buy. Since the BCS operates off a PTO system, many models can operate BCS-made attachments like a log splitter, water transfer pump, chipper, mower, and more. Heck, BCS even offers a utility cart with a built-in seat to help you travel around your yard in style (personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead driving around in this but I guess it’s popular in Europe – I think).
For this review I was operating a 10-year old 732 and not a brand new one. However, the model tested here functions pretty much the same as the current one. Like the current 732, the tester also had a Honda engine, albeit an older type.
In renting this for our review I spoke at length with the equipment rental guy who was very familiar with this brand. According to him, the 732 featured in this article has been a rental for 10 years and had no problems with the exception of some minor maintenance work. This was good to learn.
He then showed me how to operate it which is where I had some initial concerns.
When dealing with the controls you should know they are not nearly as simple as the Honda FRC 800. One thing that was communicated to me, however, was that after you get used to BCS controls, the tiller is easy to operate.
To give you an example of how you could operate the BCS compared to a Honda FRC 800, I counted the steps and found quite a big difference. In comparison, the Honda has roughly one third the amount of steps compared to the BCS. Of course, you’ll want to refer to the operator’s manuals for the actual information on operation. The higher number of steps associated with the BCS could be a real turn-off for potential buyers.
Since BCS offers a variety of functions with their tillers like multiple forward and reverse speeds, differential drives, PTO engage/disengage and others, there are quite a few levers and handles to operate. This is why there are more steps in the operation process. However, this became less and less of a problem for me after a little practice and the ability to multi-task.
One thing worth mentioning is the way the gear and PTO selector levers functioned. For a 10-year old machine that has been handled by hundreds of people, the levers went easily in and out their desired spaces with little effort. Another feather in the cap for BCS.
The build quality on this machine is utterly amazing. Just looking at the axle configeration is enough to inspire confidence in any potential buyer. That’s because they are robust and thick which translates to better handling and durability. For folks with difficult and rocky soil you’ll want something tough as nails.
For the actual tilling of the soil, the BCS was a very solid performer. It was easy to notice that the tines rotate at a better and stronger rate than the Honda FRC 800. This is due in large part to the PTO system. Most tillers out there have belt drives which cause some of the engine power to be lessened by the time it gets all the way to the tines. Not so with the BCS because very little power is lost through the PTO system.
The tiller also handled rocks very well and didn’t lunge forward like the Honda did. Although it lunged a few times, it was minor, infrequent and more controllable compared to the Honda FRC 800. This was a blessing.
For the negatives, one complaint I have is that the engine sticks out too far in front of the wheels. The FRC 800 had the same issues. For people who have to enclose their gardens because of hungry critters, having elongated tillers makes maneuvering more challenging.
Another negative would be a small metal device that holds the clutch in place while you adjust the controls. I don’t like this function at all and wish BCS came up with a better system. Almost every time, it seemed inconvenient and I wondered how well it was actually holding the clutch.
Once upon a time, I was on the BCS train because of the utility combined with the Honda engine. Then, I got off the train because I was weirded out by the controls and thought they wouldn’t suit me. However, I’m officially back on the BCS train and am hoping by the end of the year our finances allow the purchase of one of their fine products – but there’s no way I’m buying the $6,925 model (nuts!).
PTO drive is an excellent choice for tilling operations.
Every tiller except the base model comes with a Honda engine.
There’s a variety of attachments that can tackle many homestead projects.
Handles rocks very well.
Sticks out kind of far like the Honda FRC 800.
Controls can initially be a little intimidating.
Tiller attachments are sold separately.Disclaimer