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The ECHO Bear Cat SC3265 is forgiving, even when some things are done "wrong" (e.g., stuffing too many dried leaves in to the chute instead of letting them self-feed). It effectively chipped and shredded everything effortlessly - freshly pulled weeds, dry and wet leaves, dry and wet branches of all sizes up to 3" diameter (plus a little), and old lumber (1x1, 2x2). We talked with a local dealer who says she has sold several SC3265 ECHO Bear Cat models, and has had no complaints or returns.
Without my old ECHO Bear Cat I wouldn't be anywhere near as far along in our weed-whacking (we live in a high fire danger zone). Both the wheels on my new DR have failed and the mow ball (plastic) didn't last more than 20 hours before being worn out. Your new thick steel mow ball is the only thing that makes sense if you have land with a lot of rocks - it will outlast me probably. The 3-speed trans have never skipped a beat while my DR only has one speed. The ECHO Bear Cat wheels are still working fine. The ECHO Bear Cat wheels are larger which makes it easier to go over bumps, ect. As of now, it looks like buying the DR was a mistake.
Grass Valley, CA