Honda HRX217K2VKA Lawnmower SMART Drive™ SYSTEM


The HRX217VKA marks the incorporation of the SMART DriveTM, a unique variable speed transmission (VST), into the HRX lawnmower line. Developed with an ergonomic design, SMART DriveTM allows the user to easily control the speed when resting his or her hands on the handlebars. The mower is truly self-propelled, and unlike many competitive models, the design does not require the operator to push the mower - it pulls itself forward.

Questions and Answers: Getting to know the SMART DriveTM SYSTEM

1. Why is Honda's SMART Drive™ such an ergonomic advantage?

The HRX217VKA model design was evaluated by a professional ergonomic specialist to ensure ease of use - made possible by the SMART Drive™. The operator can increase the mower's speed by pushing lightly on the SMART Drive™ lever. One or both thumbs can be used, or the lever can be grasped in the middle - in the Power Grip position - whatever the user prefers. The operator can easily manipulate the speed, and even mow with one hand, simply by resting his or her hands on the handlebar. With a maximum mowing speed of 3.6 mph, SMART Drive™ makes the HRX217VKA comfortable, intuitive, and easy to use.

2. How does SMART Drive™ work?

The HRX transmission features cone clutch technology, which is similar to the synchronizers in an automobile manual transmission. The cone clutch continuously varies output torque at the rear wheels to control ground speed. The output torque variation is achieved by carefully controlling the amount of slipping in the cone clutch mechanism.

3. What conditions might affect the required output torque?

Cone Clutch Engagement varies output torque and ground speed.

The required output torque varies based on many factors including: grass condition, temperatures, slope, traction, and grass bag weight. This cone clutch design allows the operator to continuously and precisely control the output torque using the SMART Drive™ lever to exactly match the operating conditions. When the operator pushes harder on the Smart Drive™ lever, the clutch cable travel is increased, and more pressure is transmitted to the cone clutch. This results in less cone clutch slipping and more torque transmitted to the rear wheels, causing in an increase in ground speed (or maintaining the same speed when mowing up a slope). When the operator slowly releases the SMART Drive™ lever, less pressure is transmitted through the cone clutch, allowing the clutch to slip. This results in a reduction in torque at the rear wheels, and reduced ground speed.

4. What are the features of the SMART Drive™ transmission?

  • the heavy-duty cone clutch utilizes proven technology, ensuring many hours of trouble-free operation and very precise speed control;
  • SMART Drive™ utilizes bevel and pinion gears (not worm drive) and is very durable;
  • the system is completely sealed and filled with 10W-30 engine oil;
  • SMART Drive™ uses an input shaft supported with two ball bearings, as opposed to needle bearings; in this application, ball bearings handle a greater load and improve durability;
  • the cast aluminum case has less warping as compared to a plastic case;
  • the transmission has a steel bottom cover sealed with an O ring; because no liquid sealant is used on this transmission, it is less likely to leak.

5. Why is the SMART Drive™ lever such an ergonomic advantage for the operator?

The SMART Drive™ lever is manufactured from high strength plastic with soft touch rubber pads for operator comfort. The position of the thumb control paddles provides the operator with nearly effortless control. The SMART Drive™ lever features:

  • a simple design utilizing proven technology;
  • a clutch cable protected by routing through the handle;
  • convenient, comfortable operation;
  • precise ground speed control;
  • a high strength plastic composition and an enclosed design that keeps dirt, moisture, and debris out

6. Why is the SMART Drive™ such a revolutionary technology for a lawn mower?

The technology used in Honda's SMART Drive™ lever was inspired by the throttle mechanism on tiller-handle-equipped Honda outboard motors.

The design utilizes a clutch cable routed through the handlebar connected to a pin. The pin fits in a helical-shaped groove in the SMART Drive™ lever. The helical groove shape causes the clutch cable pin to slide to the right when the SMART Drive™ lever is rotated. When the pin moves to the right, the clutch cable is pulled, transmitting additional force to the clutch arm on the transmission. This results in an increase in pressure on the cone clutch and less cone clutch slipping. Less slipping means the ground speed increases.

8. Why is the SMART Drive™ SYSTEM a smart choice?

The HRX217VKA, with its SMART Drive™ SYSTEM, is a Honda exclusive - 100 percent Honda designed and manufactured, and designed and built to Honda's exacting standards of quality and durability.

Without question, this revolutionary technology makes lawnmowing easy, comfortable as well as affordable.

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