For the second time in as many months, Lowes has pulled the Raven from stores and Lowes.com. It seems that exactly what we thought would happen is happening. The Chinese ATV roots (RATO) are showing through and there are a bunch of complaints racking up on websites about the units failing. Bad batteries, switches and one user in our comments even said the unit just took off on him! A problem like that is the death of the machine and I am sure Lowes will not likely be bringing the unit back unless it has a major revision. Another user on YouTube complained his blade fell off of the mower. His blade fell off? WTF, are you kidding me! I have written off this machine and would advise all of our readers to hold off on purchasing this until major revisions have been made to both quality of the parts and the engineering of the safety system. If it has these issues now, where do you think it will be in 3 years, after 100 hours of mowing, covered in mud and grass clippings?
Although I love the design and innovation with the Raven, I think Lowes learned an expensive lesson here. They shouldn't brand and market a Chinese clone engine manufacturers product as their own. Sure it was assembled in the USA, but the parts are made in China with a severe lack of quality control. With such a new radical design there is always a risk. Lowes has the best big box store mower selection available with brands like Troy-Bilt, which is exclusive to Lowes, John Deere and Husqvarna, all of which are well respected quality brands. The good thing that has come out of this is that these brands now see a new market for hybrid ATV-mower-generators. From what we have seen Denver Global Products (RATO) has made a valiant effort to repair, send out replacement parts and mechanics to these units. Unfortunately the problems are many and this unattended acceleration just makes the unit not safe and a huge liability. Long term viability is not likely. Take a look at all the Chinese ATV manufactures here.
We contacted Denver Global and they told us “This is a Lowes merchandising decision. It is not linked to any safety concerns. It is our anticipation to be back on sale soon.” We called around to a few Lowes stores and got varied responses of why the unit was pulled. One said a safety switch and another said he had one returned with brake issues. The consensus was that it is not currently for sale at any Lowes. I don't think these early units will return back in Lowes stores anytime soon, which is a shame because I really wanted one! Stick a fork in it, it's done! Read our original Raven Hybrid Mower article.