Solo saws

Denis Gionet

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Apr 17, 2012
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Anyone used any saws made by Solo ? They're prolly knock-offs of something else, but I've never seen any, until starting the new job. We've got a coupla 6-somethings, maybe 635's. Don't even know if they've sold any yet. They make models up to 75cc but at close to a grand per, I'd shop for something more well-known before experimenting with one. Even their 643 at 40.2cc is 50 bucks more than the 435 Husky I bought this spring, from a saw shop.

So are they good, so-so, or crap ?
 

WoodChuck'r

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They're good saws, problem is there's no dealer support whatsoever....

There any Solo dealers in Canada Denis....??


Nowadays, the best analogy I can come up with is Dolmar would be Ford, and Solo would be Lincoln - not necessarily the best analogy but it works. Didn't always be that way, Spike could really tell ya a lot of history about Solo.

Quite a few years back Solo and Dolmar started to work out a 'sister company' thing and it didn't really work out the way they had hoped, so they parted ways and they're separate companies. But many Solo saws share a very similar chassis, case, and body design to the Dolmars. For example the Solo 681 is a slightly hopped up version of the Dolmar 7900....
 

Troy G

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I've seen a couple of fast 681s and some that did not take to mods too well.
 

TK

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Solo as a whole is decent. I've worked a backpack blower here in the shop and it was definitely decent quality. Maybe not a top quality setup but a notch down. It ran great and was built well. Commercial style features as far as serviceability and reliability. I would imagine the saws would follow along in similar quality and character. As far as I know the 681 is a longer stroked 7900, same bore. I wouldn't go madly falling in love with them and buying everything they have, but I wouldn't shy away from a model as long as it wasn't my 'solo' saw - pun intended, that's why they pay me the big bucks.
 
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Denis Gionet

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They're good saws, problem is there's no dealer support whatsoever....

There any Solo dealers in Canada Denis....??

I guess you misunderstood, WE are a Solo dealer ! I've got 2 635's on the showroom floor ..... I'm gonna take one & see if they look reasonably well built and maybe make a demo of it. Rig a 24 inch bar & a ripping chain and set it up on the mill. It's rated at 2.7hp, compared to the 2.2 of my 435, at almost the same weight, 9lb3oz. Might be a good 2nd saw, one for the wife.
 

Spike60

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Another brand of just OK equipment that will never go anywhere. It may seem like a new possibility to someone who hasn't taken a look at them before, but they've been here a looooong time, with nothing to show for it. We had them back in the mid 90's. Not really a competitive product, and now a days, at a very un-competitive price. Still have a 644 and 651Pro from back then. Nice saws and the only chassis that I felt was competitive at that time. Much in the same way that the 7900 chassis has been for Dolmar.

From a business perspective, botom line is that if you don't have Husky or Stihl, you're really not in the saw biz. With any other brand, you will get a few sales from loyal customers who simply want to buy a saw from a dealer they trust, but these brands just don't bring anyone in the door. And the reality is that they will never take off, so I would caution against having high expectations for Solo.

Dolmar is in much the same boat, but I think their saws are noticeably better engineered than Solo. I brought them in as a "why not?" in 2006. Sold about 30 saws, but it wasn't really additional business. All I was doing was selling a Dolmar to someone who would have bought a Husky or Jonny anyway, so what was the point? Had them about 3 years and then told the rep I wasn't going to continue since they really weren't selling good enough to tie up the shelf space. Sort of like having a batter in the line up who can't get on base. So he looks at me and says, "Are you promoting them?" I answered "No, not really". He replied, "Well, what do you expect?", thinking he got ME, but not realizing that I was setting HIM up. "Well, I'm not "promoting" Husky either, but I'm selling 400 a year." He had no response for that one. :p
 
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TK

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Another brand of just OK equipment that will never go anywhere. It may seem like a new possibility to someone who hasn't taken a look at them before, but they've been here a looooong time, with nothing to show for it. We had them back in the mid 90's. Not really a competitive product, and now a days, at a very un-competitive price. Still have a 644 and 651Pro from back then. Nice saws and the only chassis that I felt was competitive at that time. Much in the same way that the 7900 chassis has been for Dolmar.

From a business perspective, botom line is that if you don't have Husky or Stihl, you're really not in the saw biz. With any other brand, you will get a few sales from loyal customers who simply want to buy a saw from a dealer they trust, but these brands just don't bring anyone in the door. And the reality is that they will never take off, so I would caution against having high expectations for Solo.

Dolmar is in much the same boat, but I think their saws are noticeably better engineered than Solo. I brought them in as a "why not?" in 2006. Sold about 30 saws, but it wasn't really additional business. All I was doing was selling a Dolmar to someone who would have bought a Husky or Jonny anyway, so what was the point? Had them about 3 years and then told the rep I wasn't going to continue since they really weren't selling good enough to tie up the shelf space. Sort of like having a batter in the line up who can't get on base. So he looks at me and says, "Are you promoting them?" I answered "No, not really". He replied, "Well, what do you expect?", thinking he got ME, but not realizing that I was setting HIM up. "Well, I'm not "promoting" Husky either, but I'm selling 400 a year." He had no response for that one. :p

So you're saying I shouldn't take on the Solo or Dolmar line? :bored:
 

BloodOnTheIce

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So you're saying I shouldn't take on the Solo or Dolmar line? :bored:

I'll give you the number of a dealer who gave up Husky 3 years ago, and has since picked up
Dolmar, Solo, Echo, Shindaiwa, and Jonsered. He got rid of the "headache" of selling
Husqvarna wheeled products only to have the "headache" of dealing with such small companies they
can't supply him with product.
 

BloodOnTheIce

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I like having my saws sell themselves :bananawhip:

Me too, the only handheld line I'd ever add would be Husqvarna, and the only
tractor line I'd ever add would be Cub Cadet. Stihl, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kubota, Cub Cadet
are the only lines I see that sell themselves.

Tom I'm sure your place would look great with Red Max, Kawasaki, Oleo Mac, Efco, Makita, Dolmar, Solo and Tanaka
collecting dust, I mean selling hundreds of units.
 
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Spike60

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I'll give you the number of a dealer who gave up Husky 3 years ago, and has since picked up
Dolmar, Solo, Echo, Shindaiwa, and Jonsered. He got rid of the "headache" of selling
Husqvarna wheeled products only to have the "headache" of dealing with such small companies they
can't supply him with product.

Even if they could supply his needs, now he has to stock parts and support FIVE different lines. What kind of a nut job would make a business decision like that? And I'd bet that his combined sales of all 5 brands aren't even half of what he was doing with Husky.

"Hey, I dropped a tree on my saw and I need to get it fixed."

"OK, let's see. I've got a Jonsered tank, a Solo top handle, a Shindaiwa hand guard and a Dolmar starter assembly in stock. Let me have a few more shots of Old Grandad, then I'll get to work and fix your saw. You'll be the only guy in town with a Jonsedaiwasolodolomar."
 
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PB

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Me too, the only handheld line I'd ever add would be Husqvarna, and the only
tractor line I'd ever add would be Cub Cadet. Stihl, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kubota, Cub Cadet
are the only lines I see that sell themselves.

Tom I'm sure your place would look great with Red Max, Kawasaki, Oleo Mac, Efco, Makita, Dolmar, Solo and Tanaka
collecting dust, I mean selling hundreds of units.

Curious as to why you would add Cub Cadet? They have drastically shrunk their product line and you would have to compete with TSC and Lowe's.
 

TK

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Curious as to why you would add Cub Cadet? They have drastically shrunk their product line and you would have to compete with TSC and Lowe's.

To take on the Cub products that box stores can't carry ;) I'm not the biggest Cub fan but they do offer quite the lineup as far as tractors are concerned. I despise everything that is MTD, but could see having some Cub tractors.
 

TK

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Me too, the only handheld line I'd ever add would be Husqvarna, and the only
tractor line I'd ever add would be Cub Cadet. Stihl, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kubota, Cub Cadet
are the only lines I see that sell themselves.

Tom I'm sure your place would look great with Red Max, Kawasaki, Oleo Mac, Efco, Makita, Dolmar, Solo and Tanaka
collecting dust, I mean selling hundreds of units.

I did look pretty hard at Kawasaki, met with the rep and all, and I've gotta say I do like what I saw. But I don't want to have to work at selling it, I don't want to have to convince people that Kawasaki is a good brand. Sure, they make great engines, but the rest of the stuff? I've also heard great things about the Maruyama products - but there's just no name support with it.

I'd sell Kubota in a heartbeat. But I don't have the $$$ nor the space right now.

Most people don't even know what a Red Max is, the name sounds cheesy. But hey, wait, don't I already stock Red Max???? :kermit:

John Deere. Yes. Please. Oh wait I don't have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to play that game lol.

I agree with you, there are very few and certain brands I would add. I would sell Stihl right next to Husky. I think I could do great with both lines. I really haven't seen the problems with the Husqvarna wheeled goods. They're no better or worse than any other. Tell ya, I wouldn't sell a Honda mower. Sure I'd take Toro but I've heard terrible things about this new RedIron crap for financing.
 

BloodOnTheIce

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Curious as to why you would add Cub Cadet? They have drastically shrunk their product line and you would have to compete with TSC and Lowe's.

We sold Toro and Wheel Horse from 1990-2011, and over the last 10 years as they shrunk the line
our sales shrunk. It had very little to do with them going to MTD produced tractors, but had more to do with
the lack of product variety in the line. Tough to sell tractors when you have only 3 to choose from.

And in our area John Deere is the #1 tractor line but Cub Cadet is a close second.

We sold Echo for 15 years before got Stihl, and the only reason we got rid of it was Stihl at the time would only
allow you to be single line dealers. Or that's the way the old rep made us believe.

Heck a Cub Cadet dealer started up 1/8 mile down the road from a JD chain store, and the Cub dealer
actually expanded the shop last year since they were doing so well.
 
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PB

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Back in Erie, Simplicity was rather big, but up here I haven't seen a single tractor or advertisement. The Massey dealer sells their versions, but not a simplicity dealer that I am aware of. They make a great product but seem a little pricey.

Maybe you guys know something that I don't about Cub, but everything on their website is available through TSC. Granted, you won't see many commercial zero turns, but if the store manager wants them, they have access and can get whatever they want. Back when Mitsubishi made the compact tractors for Cub, we could have had one in the store in a couple of weeks. We couldn't get some of the higher end shaft drive garden tractors though, but it appears that they don't even make them anymore. Sorry, I am biased against MTD after they ruined the Bolens name and I hate TSC too. :ranting:
 

Denis Gionet

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Apr 17, 2012
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As a consumer I'm a huge fan of the 681.


If Solo ever did one thing right in their later years it was that saw.....

What's the MSRP ? $ 920 ? Ouch ! What's a comparable Husky go for, say a 390XP or a 570 ?

Took a peek at the 2 635's we have, they're not even the same version, looks like 2 different year batches .... weird ! I'll take a peek and figure out the difference sometime.
 

Spike60

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Back in Erie, Simplicity was rather big, but up here I haven't seen a single tractor or advertisement. The Massey dealer sells their versions, but not a simplicity dealer that I am aware of. They make a great product but seem a little pricey.

Maybe you guys know something that I don't about Cub, but everything on their website is available through TSC. Granted, you won't see many commercial zero turns, but if the store manager wants them, they have access and can get whatever they want. Back when Mitsubishi made the compact tractors for Cub, we could have had one in the store in a couple of weeks. We couldn't get some of the higher end shaft drive garden tractors though, but it appears that they don't even make them anymore. Sorry, I am biased against MTD after they ruined the Bolens name and I hate TSC too. :ranting:

Well I know a lot about Cub. Everything you say about their website is correct. It strongly directs people to both TSC and Home Cheapo. You can click on "Find and independant dealer", but people are not inclined to do so. The reason is that everyone already knows where their local HD or TSC store is, so there's generally no reason to search for a dealer. Husky's site directs people to dealers only. Box stores are not mentioned at all. We notice a huge difference in the amount of people who have done web research, (as most folks do these days), between the 2 brands. We sell 4 times as many Husky tractors as Cubs.
 
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