At GIE+EXPO, Stihl Inc. introduced new products and new innovations, including the world’s only professional backpack blower with an integrated electric start, during its press conference at its annual Oktoberfest celebration with beer and brats. Denise Long of Gardners Outdoor Power Equipment in Goshen, Ind., was selected as the winner of Stihl’s $5,000 giveaway. Retiring Stihl Inc. President Fred Whyte also made his farewell remarks at the press conference.
The Stihl BR 450 and BR 450 C-EF (63.3 cc) backpack blowers come packed with new features for operator comfort and convenience. In addition, the BR 450 C-EF is the world’s only professional backpack blower and the first Stihl blower to come equipped with an integrated instant electric start, designed to help pros save time and money on the job.
With the push of a button on the throttle of the BR 450 C-EF, the electric-start technology allows professionals to start and stop the unit while wearing it on their back. No more idling while walking to the next job and no need to remove the unit to restart, saving precious time and money. The electric start is conveniently powered by an on-board battery that charges while the unit is running, making it an ideal product for pros on the go.
These powerful blowers have user-friendly design elements that make them ideal go-to tools for everyday cleanup. Both of these workhorses feature the following:
* Newly designed telescopic tube adjustment that allows the user to quickly adjust the length for a variety of user heights and cleanup applications.
* Stihl Easy2Start and semi-automatic choke offer smooth, easy starts with a reduced chance of flooding.
* A toolless control handle allows each user to easily adjust to their most comfortable control handle position without the use of an additional tool.
* Comfortable design with large straps, a backpack pad and a soft rubber grip on the throttle come standard for optimal control and support comfortable operation.
“Both units combine performance and comfort to help pros and homeowners complete large-property maintenance with less fatigue,” said Stephen Meriam, director of sales at Stihl Inc. “The BR 450 and BR 450 C-EF have powerful blowing forces rivaling our top-rated backpack blowers.”
In addition to the two gas-powered backpack blowers, Stihl Inc. also unveiled the following products at the show:
* Handheld gas-powered blower: The Stihl BG 50 is the lightest gasoline-powered handheld blower in the Stihl lineup. At only 7.9 pounds, the compact yet powerful (27.2 cc) BG 50 has the power to get cleanup jobs around the home done quickly and easily.
* Three gas-powered chain saws: Designed for arborists and tree care professionals, the MS 193 T packs 1.3 kW of power and 20 percent more fuel efficiency than its predecessor, the Stihl MS 192 T. The MS 201 C-EM (35.2 cc) provides the power and performance for pruning and firewood-cutting tasks, and it is equipped with the microprocessor-controlled Stihl M-Tronic intelligent engine management system that automatically adapts to changes in the environment such as fuel quality and altitude. The MS 201 T C-M (35.2 cc) is Stihl’s ultimate chain saw designed for professional arborists and its first top-handle saw equipped with Stihl M-Tronic technology.
* Two gas-powered hedge trimmers: The new Stihl HS 82 and HS 87 top-of-the-line hedge trimmers (22.7 cc) provide precise and tough cutting for professional performance. Compared to previous models (HS 81 and HS 86), both are lighter, have increased blade speed, and are powered by an advanced low-emission engine that is 20 percent more fuel efficient.
* Battery-powered handheld blower: The BGA 100 handheld blower is the lightest (5.5 pounds), quietest (56 decibels), and most powerful handheld blower in the Stihl line. This blower is part of the Stihl Battery KombiSystem, which means no gas, no cord and no exhaust emissions. Its jet engine-inspired axial turbine fan not only delivers more blowing force than many other battery products on the market, but performs better than many gasoline-powered models. And because the unit requires no fuel or oil, and has minimal maintenance, operating costs are reduced.
* Battery-powered trimmer: The professional FSA 90 R trimmer, part of the Stihl Battery KombiSystem, combines the low-maintenance and cost-effective benefits of Stihl Lithium-Ion battery technology with the renowned power of Stihl. Quiet, yet powerful, this cordless trimmer is ideal for professionals landscaping in noise-sensitive or exhaust-emission-sensitive areas like school grounds, business districts or hospitals. It also saves users time and money by eliminating the need for gasoline and two-cycle oil.
Fred Whyte, who will retire at year’s end after serving the Stihl organization for 44 years, including the final 23 years as president of Stihl Inc., reflected on Stihl’s remarkable growth and success during his time with the company and gave a lot of credit to Stihl dealers.
“Forty-four years has seen a great deal of change at Stihl,” Whyte noted. “If you look at the products, we started in the United States, in Virginia Beach, we had one model, the 015 (chain saw), in a very humble facility with about 58 employees. We now produce over 70 models and have over 2,000 employees in Virginia Beach.
“When I started back in the Dark Ages, when you said you worked for Stihl, people would look at you and say, ‘Is that U.S. Steel or Bethlehem Steel.’ And then you would have to explain, ‘Well, this is a chain saw company.’ Well, I think you saw today from what (products) we were introducing, we’re certainly far more than a chain saw company today — obviously, with a lot of effort and attention on the battery products.
“And our dealer organization has changed dramatically as well,” he continued. “Our dealers are certainly very sophisticated, really good business people, and I think it’s a tribute to you, and in part to Stihl, the fact that we have been able to become the number-one-selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment, both in the United States and Canada, without having to mass merchandise our product. Let’s stay true to the servicing dealer!
“But as change is inevitable, and as Steve (Meriam) said, I will be retiring, the time comes. My mother always used to say, ‘You live your life in chapters.’ Well, I’m about to turn another page.’”
For additional information, visit www.stihlusa.com.