Mary, I own two of the 1617's and both are single speed motors. I use an aftermarket speed controller which is much larger, removed from much of the vibration that occurs in the router body and able to disapate heat easier. Speed control is a very important feature for a router. Some woods require very fast cutting speeds, others require a slower cut for best results. (You can learn more about this in our wood species identification forum.) The answer is yes, you really need the speed control, and the built in model is only $10 while the aftermarket is around $20. I suggest you get the variable speed 1617EVSPK.
Joe, People like more than one kind of ice cream, and that is why Bosch and DeWalt are out there. The controls are different, as is the feel in your hands. The Bosch 1617 combo kit is the one all the rest are competing against. They all have copied/varied the design slightly so the routers do not respond the same way in action. The best way to find the right router for you is to get them in your hands, try the adjustments, flip the router up side down like it will be when table mounted and try them again. Make it a point to switch the motor between bases, both ways. If possible make a couple cuts with the different routers. Check on repair parts and service in your area. The more information you have, the better chance you will love your new router. I own 2 Bosch 1617's, a 1613EVS, a 905, a Ryobi I load out to friends, a Rockwell that is what later became the Porter Cable model 100, a PC 7518, did own a PC 690 combo kit, did own several Craftsman and Craftsman Commercial routers, and of course a couple of trim routers and RotoZips. I have used routers belonging to friends like the GMC, an ancient B&D and one of the DeWalts, cant remember which it was. So far my favorites are the Bosch 1617's... one left in the table, one ready to plunge. I use them almost all the time.
"Living in the D" (this means Detroit!)
"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"
Last edited by Mike; 06-22-2009 at 06:16 PM.