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Lawn Boy 511R Review: It Blows Snow

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Men are the natural enemy of snow. There’s some sort of pent up caveman instinct to conquer this icy precipitation. Like many enemies of men, we’ve crafted over-engineered solutions to conquer them. Instead of shovels we now have snow blowers. These devices turn the tiring act of shoveling into an easy but dangerous task. Today I had the pleasure of piloting the Lawn Boy 511R through 16″ of snow that hit the Northeast.

[Full Disclosure: LawnBoy wanted me to test out the 511R so badly, they sold it to my parent’s friends who gave it to my parents. My parents then used this device to contract me into winter servitude. We do not take good care of this device but it’s worked for 17 years.]

When you make the switch from shovel to snow blower you give up quite a lot. You miss the feel of the road during each scoop of the shovel, you spend less time outside, and you miss out on a serious back workout. A much as snowblower manufacturers try to capture the old visceral act of shoveling it’s impossible. The signature sound of shovel scraping pavement is replaced with the constant drone of a combustion engine.

The lawn boy 511R is a snow blower. It’s lime green and it loves to throw snow and run out of gas far from home. Since this is the R it’s lower and lighter than it’s non R cousins. This hardcore snow blower echoes the “simplify add lightness” ethos of colin chapman. The manual steering rack offers complete control, while the lack of suspension ensures pure road feel. This air-cooled 5 horsepower engine loves to rev, at a constant rpm and produces plenty of exhaust snaps and crackles when it ingests too much snow.

As much as we long for the days when snow removal was powered by cheeseburgers and Yuengling lager they are far behind us. 87 octane rules the suburbs as snow blowers chug this unleaded fuel. Although the 511R lacks the visceral experience of a shovel, it still offers the raw snow removal experience we are slowly losing.

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About Chris Okula - Contributor

Chris was raised on Top Gear and automotive magazines, which still dominate most of his free time today (he is not a fan of the new TopGear). After he graduated from Desales University, Chris started his career in the pharmaceutical industry, but missed writing which lead him to the creation of his own automotive blog. This blog lead him to work with Road & Track and now as a contributor here at Shifting Lanes. In his free time, Chris is constantly on the popular automotive auction site, Bring a Trailer, as well as Craigslist looking for ways to destroy his savings account and skip student loan payments.

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