Posted: 20/03/2015 at 10:39
The Mantis is fairly easy to use on well prepared ground like an allotment. On unbroken ground it is much harder work and requires a fair bit of effort to control it. Being lightweight it will bounce around rather alarmingly as it hits rocks and other debris. Old tree roots get wrapped around the blades and need to be cut free regularly or the blades will just clog up and the engine will labour. I think there is a new accessory spacer which fits in the tines and helps reduce root wrap.
When looking at a second hand 2 stroke model be prepared to buy a new carburettor. Modern fuel tends to gum up carbs and this leads to difficult starting and poor running. I suspect many end up being sold on because they have this problem. You need to drain the fuel from the tank when finished using the tiller and then run the engine until there is no residual fuel in the carb before storing it. I also use an anti-gum additive in the fuel. Make sure you get the fuel/oil mix right too.
Carburettors are widely available from ebay at around £40 and replacing it is a straightforward job for anyone used to working on cars. You could try a cheaper service kit with new diaphragms and needles etc. but that needs a bit more skill than a straight swop.