Many of you know that Pete and I have been friends for a long time.
Since second grade, in fact.
While we met in Florida, we’ve lived at opposite ends of the country for the past 30 years or so.
I guess that’s good in some ways.
As in, that’s what happens when we’re together.
Well, maybe “mischievous tomfoolery” is a better representation.
In part, we started Dadand because of our distance. And because of Dadand, we get to travel, do cool stuff, meet awesome people and pickup the shenanigans right where we left off 30 years ago.
Only now, instead of hot wheels, LEGOs, BMX bikes, cow-pattie Frisbees, r/c cars, 3-wheelers, half-pipes and Oingo Boingo…
It’s kids and family, diapers, oil changes, mortgage payments, general gadgetry and venti iced mochas.
Pete drinks those.
Okay, so the only thing missing is chainsaws.
And that’s exactly what Stihl Incorporated added to the mix when they invited us to check out their factory and some new outdoor power equipment.
“Hold my beer and watch me carve this log into a giant __________ .”
Stihl Factory Tour
Let’s start by saying we’re not condoning the use of tools and alcohol. It was just a throwback to Mad Libs.
But the Stihl team began by giving us a factory tour.
Kinda like How It’s Made, but a lot more walking.
So I don’t have all the facts, but I’d say they make like 90% of their stuff in the good ‘ol USA. And when I say “make,” I mean they make it, not just assemble it. From chainsaws to blowers to string trimmer line—it was all happening right in front of our eyes.
And while there was some cool automation, there were a lot of real, bearded, flannel-wearing, clock-punching, black-coffee-drinking people behind these great products.
Alright, I had to paint a picture. They weren’t all like that, but that’s what I imagined on the plane ride up.
I also imagined a giant warehouse, on a treeless site.
‘Cause, you know…chainsaws.
We were welcomed to a 150-acre complex with all kinds of buildings, warehouses, dealer-training centers—even a cafeteria.
Oh, and plenty of trees.
The best part was the “proving grounds.” I’ll talk about that later.
Stihl Lightning Battery Systems
I mentioned the “proving grounds” earlier. I don’t know if that’s what they called it but essentially there was a building and adjacent yard that was setup for using the equipment.
Logs, hedges and plenty of grass to cut, chop and mow using the latest and greatest Stihl equipment.
I imagined Sthil employees on their lunchbreak out there cutting stuff for fun. They probably imagine just eating lunch.
While famous for easy-starting, fuel-powered equipment—the kind the pros use, Stihl is launching three lines of battery-powered systems.
And we got to put them all through the paces.
Stihl AI System
If you have a small yard or a condo, then this is the system to consider. The AI line has integrated batteries, allowing you to just plug in, charge and be ready to trim. The MSRP is more than competitive with the stuff you’d see in big box stores.
Stihl AK System
Stepping up to a removable battery platform has its benefits for extended use—like when the kids grab the blower and spend an hour on the driveway leaving it messier than it was after you mowed. There are two battery sizes, the AK10 and AK20 (the latter giving you longer runtime) with integrated charge meters. Again, the pricing is really competitive with what you’d find in bog box stores.
Stihl AP System
This 36v battery platform features removable batteries with charge indicators that fit into the tool, but also offer belt and backpack versions of batteries for reaallllly long runtimes. The AP System is for the professional and the “prosumer”—you homeowners who have some demanding landscape challenges. Choose from three different mowers, two pole pruners (one is telescoping) and two hedge trimmers (again, one is telescoping).
It wasn’t all product…product…product. Stihl is a sponsor—actually, they invented, the timbersports series. You know, those guys on TV that compete by chopping logs?
Anyway, the full Stihl Lightning Battery System line is coming out in the Spring of 2017, and you can get it at your local Stihl Dealer (not in big box stores).
So that’s it. A nice trip to catch up with Pete. A few beers. Tons of Stihl tools. Sawdust for days and a way-too-tight crotch harness to climb a tree with an arborist.