About a year ago, we bought a used BCS 830 tiller off Craigslist. It was a typical used-market purchase for me: I paid too much for something which ultimately had too many problems. It will be an excellent little tractor when finished, but at the moment it’s in pieces in the barn and I’m still “tilling” the garden by hand.
It’s not that I gave up on fixing it. I just let other projects divert my attention for the last 11 months. However, with summer on the horizon and another season of fighting loosing battles against the weeds, I decided it was time to order the remaining replacement parts from our local BCS dealer.
This put thoughts of BCS tools back in my mind–a subject that I tend to get very enthused about. (I think it’s the absurdly awesome mental image of cutting hay with a blue garden tiller mounting a 5 foot sickle bar while being towed on a sulky.) So, one thing led to another … first I was browsing (and drooling over) the implements list, then I was searching Craigslist, and finally I came home with this:
That would be a BCS 725 tiller with an 8HP Kohler engine and the BIO100 chipper/shredder attachment. I got both for less than the original (still not working) BCS 830 cost. The BCS 725 is at least 18 years old and uses the older spline PTO attachment. Spline-to-3-jaw adapters are readily available, so it’s not a big disadvantage. (If you are looking at a used market BCS tractor, you should consult the BCS model chart available here to determine age, compatibility, and basic features.)
My particular BCS 725 was a single owner machine, bought from our local dealer and serviced there regularly. The tiller sat indoors, as evidenced by its near total lack of rust. The motor still starts on the first pull. The seller said he barely used the tiller implement, which I confirmed by checking the tines:
They are practically new. Funny how much easier it is to buy something used when you are familiar with the product. Immediately after we got home I took the tiller out to the garden and shredded some grassy walkways. This may be the first year our garden doesn’t look like a sod farm.
The chipper was left outside more (thus the rust), but with only two moving parts there’s not a lot that can go wrong. I have to admit that I’ve wanted one of these BIO100 chippers since I first read about them. The chipping blade can handle 3″ limbs. Behind the blade are 28 swinging hammers and the main flywheel weighs 37 pounds. It’s built like a tank, weighing 210 lbs before you attach the tractor, and the design has changed little in the last 20 years. There’s just one problem: they cost $1600 retail. Fortunately, through the wonders of Craigslist, I got the tractor, tiller, and chipper for about 2/3rds of that.
I may not have a garage full of Italian-made sports cars, but I now have a shed full of Italian-made garden tillers and that seems so much more practical!