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View Full Version : Which 21" walkbehind mower?


vball2116
06-06-2005, 04:30 PM
Hey everyone,

I am currently looking into buying a 21" mower. I am using an older mower and its smoking a little bit while im using it so I don't know how much longer it is going to last since the engine is at least 8 years old and it was in someone elses hands for at least 5 years and I don't know how he handled it. I've tried many different techniques and so did my uncle so I am just letting it smoke til it dies out. Im 16 and getting into the industry more and more each year buying more and more equipment so it's going to be time to get a new mower because its my main mower at the moment. The money is a little tight since I will be getting a car very soon so I dont want a push mower thats going to be like 1000 dollars. These are the the two mowers im looking into at the moment:

Honda HRX 217HXA -the one with the BBC
John Deere JA 62

Im not really familar with the john deere products, but I am more familar with the Honda mower. At this time these are the only mowers i'm looking at now, but if you think that there is a good quality mower for a reasonable price I will gladly change my mind.

Thanks for your time,
Jeff

grassrootsinab
06-06-2005, 05:13 PM
I've used both Honda and Deere. I love the Deere for mulching. Currently using a JS 63. I really liked the Honda for bagging and I can't really comment on the mulching ability as I only ever bagged with them. The Deere is an amazing mulcher...can cut in light rain

Jeff

vball2116
06-06-2005, 06:05 PM
Hey Jeff, so does it have a nice cut that john deere and how is the engine on the js 63?

rlpenny
06-06-2005, 11:11 PM
Hey everyone,

I am currently looking into buying a 21" mower. I am using an older mower and its smoking a little bit while im using it so I don't know how much longer it is going to last since the engine is at least 8 years old and it was in someone elses hands for at least 5 years and I don't know how he handled it. I've tried many different techniques and so did my uncle so I am just letting it smoke til it dies out. Im 16 and getting into the industry more and more each year buying more and more equipment so it's going to be time to get a new mower because its my main mower at the moment. The money is a little tight since I will be getting a car very soon so I dont want a push mower thats going to be like 1000 dollars. These are the the two mowers im looking into at the moment:

Honda HRX 217HXA -the one with the BBC
John Deere JA 62

Im not really familar with the john deere products, but I am more familar with the Honda mower. At this time these are the only mowers i'm looking at now, but if you think that there is a good quality mower for a reasonable price I will gladly change my mind.

Thanks for your time,
Jeff
Other than the dying engine, do you like the the mower? Is it comfortable? Is the rest of the mower (wheels, drive system, etc.) in ok shape? If yes, you might price out an engine replacement. I have an Ariens 21 inch mower that I just fell in love with great ergonomics, best bagger, ok mulcher, and kick but, first rate, no competition leaf shredder attachment, that had a Briggs Quantum slowly die on me since I only changed oil once. Loved that mower so much I just did an engine swap. Still using that 12yr old mower today and plan to for a long time.

Just an idea...

txlawnking
06-06-2005, 11:54 PM
Vball, I've used quite a few different 21's over the years, but a few really have impressed me.. The Snapper ( commercial ) wasn't too bad a machine, but it was pretty heavy. I've used the commercial Honda Hydrostatic machine, and really just don't care for it at all ( REAL heavy, and at least to ME, bad ergonomics ). The John Deere JX 85 wasn't too bad, but it is no longer made. The commercial Lawnboys were great, but the EPA killed the 2 stoke engine that made them great. :cry:

Of all that I've used, including countless homeowner models, The Toro Proline/ Exmark Metro 21"s just seems to do it all right.. I realise they are quite pricey,for a 21" mower, but to me, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantage of high initial cost..

Advantages: Light weight, excellent at Mulching, good at bagging ( if you ever need to), Good transmission gear ratio's ( quite fast enough in 3rd ), and aluminum construction=mlong life without rust.

I would even suggest that you find a well cared for, clean used commercial mower, rather than a new homeowner model.

I'm not gonna say that all homeowner machines are junk, ( as some are very well made ) It's just to me, the commercial machines are so much easier to opperate on a daily basis..

Sorry for the long post, I just hope you get what serves YOUR needs the best.

grassrootsinab
06-07-2005, 12:49 PM
Vball,
My mowers have a 6.75 Briggs on them. They run pretty well. I have a 4 year old mower that I replaced the engine on (dusted the motor 'cause the shop gave me the wrong air filter...it was too short and wobbled inside the compartment). It's now my parts machine. I have two others (2 years old and 3 years old). They still start on the 2nd pull in the spring and just about 1st time every time while we're using them.

The only week part I find is in the drive wheels. I've replaced a set a year on the mowers. I know that the 63 is really a homeowner model but with a steel deck and a 3spd transmission it really does handle residential properties well for a trim mower. I also have a 38" gear drive walk-behind.

About the only neg. thing is the fact that it has a zone starting mechanism in it (once you leave the mower it shuts the engine off). That's one advantage the Honda had...it had a blade brake mech. so you could dump the bag and leave the engine running (most commercials will have this feature). Not having it puts a lot of stress on the recoil system. For the price though the Deere is a great machine (I paid $800 Canadian but I think they are about $450 in the States). I wouldn't mind moving up to an actual commercial Deere but I think I'd rather spend my money on another walk behind. Hope this helps!

Jeff

marko
06-07-2005, 12:59 PM
Get another beater till you can afford to get a commercial Toro ($899) non - bbs. They are excellent mulchers.

lawnrangeralaska
06-07-2005, 01:47 PM
buy a toro personal pace .. fast and great cut buy it at a dealer not lowes

john_incircuit
06-07-2005, 02:49 PM
I'm using a John Deere JS 63. It really mulches very good compared to my other mowers and bags good as well. I wish it would have a 10 HP motor, when mulching our grass here (tall fescue) it really bogs down rather quickly and you end up walking baby steps behind the mower going in first gear...

But, as long as the grass is reasonably high, it distributes the clippings very well.

On the downside, after using it now for one year, the drive train clutch is at the end of the adjustment. Not sure if the cable is stretched or the clutch mechanism is on the way out.

Also, and this applies to all the little 21" mowers, why don't they make a model with larger wheels? A 12 inch wheel, combined with a strong motor, sure would allow us to move faster and would smooth out all those bumps in the yard. Those little 8 or 9 inch wheels are just too small for our not so perfectly manicured lawns.

John

HK45Mark23
06-08-2005, 12:43 AM
I use the John Deere JX 75. I added the oil filter kit. Exmark makes a 21" and a 26" machine. You can get it self propelled. I wish it was a five speed like the John Deere. It uses the same spindles as the big machines and touts blade tip speeds of 18,500. Well worth the money of you are willing to spend the extra cash. Here is the address take a look at it your self. http://www.exmark.com/metro26.htm

vball2116
06-09-2005, 10:15 PM
I tried out today the Honda HRZ216TDA zero turn push mower at one of my neighbors house and I really like how it worked. Has anyone every used it or heard about it? Is it good for a first mower mowing like 3 to 4 lawns a week?

dirt digger
06-10-2005, 07:19 AM
I have used JD 21" for a while and have been impressed. I really haven't used any other 21" so nothing to really to compare to. The JD mulches well and it is still going strong after about 6 years. The wheels are, in my opinion, expensive to replace, but other than that, I have been happy with the JD.

BoogieDog
06-10-2005, 09:39 AM
I have used JD 21" for a while and have been impressed. I really haven't used any other 21" so nothing to really to compare to. The JD mulches well and it is still going strong after about 6 years. The wheels are, in my opinion, expensive to replace, but other than that, I have been happy with the JD.

I second your opinion about the wheels. One of the wheels on my JX75 needs replacement. The plastic "tread" has just completely worn through. I've also broken two axle bolts although that isn't a big deal. The engine is great though. I'm thinking of selling it on ebay and getting something else but I haven't decided yet.

BTW, the JX85 isn't made anymore but the JX75 is the same except for the wheels and oil filter but the oil filter can be added easily.

HK45Mark23
06-10-2005, 11:04 AM
I second your opinion about the wheels. One of the wheels on my JX75 needs replacement. The plastic "tread" has just completely worn through. I've also broken two axle bolts although that isn't a big deal. The engine is great though. I'm thinking of selling it on ebay and getting something else but I haven't decided yet.

BTW, the JX85 isn't made anymore but the JX75 is the same except for the wheels and oil filter but the oil filter can be added easily.

You are right except the 85 also had a steel lip inserted on the aluminum deck during manufacturer. This was to aid in the strength and durability necessary for professional use. The 85 did not produce enough sales according to my dealer so it was phased out. Too bad I do like the John Deere 21” line. But for now I am going towards the Exmark style professional 26” line.

BoogieDog
06-10-2005, 11:12 AM
You are right except the 85 also had a steel lip inserted on the aluminum deck during manufacturer. This was to aid in the strength and durability necessary for professional use. The 85 did not produce enough sales according to my dealer so it was phased out. Too bad I do like the John Deere 21” line. But for now I am going towards the Exmark style professional 26” line.

Someone also told me they were losing money on the warranty work since this was a commercial mower and as we know the use among those making their living mowing lawns is considerably more than the residential owner who may not put more than 25-30 hours a year into mowing.

Yamahauler
06-10-2005, 11:23 AM
Try finding a Honda Masters HXA. It is a homeowners model but with alum deck commercial GXV engine and a commercial hydro trans and a blade clutch. Most homeowners who purchase this mower take good care of them. I have seen several listed recently on ebay and in the local paper. They sell for $800 new and about $400 used.
Its worth I try much better than any consumer model.

HK45Mark23
06-10-2005, 03:59 PM
I just looked at an Exmark 26” and it is really a sight to behold. Large adjustable wheels, the back act as one adjustment and the front are independent adjusters. Large fuel capacity, the bagger is huge and I like that it is like the John Deere style of attachment. The deck is really big beside the 21”. I do think that the controls on a JD JX 75 are superior. The placement of the controls needs to be closer to the operator and it needs more than 3 speeds if you ask me. The only other complaint is it has only 6.75 ponies. I think 7.5 – 9 would be better for a larger deck like this one. One the plus side it is 26”, metal wheels with rubber tires, Kawasaki motor, can mulch or bag, large fuel capacity, good controls and touts a blade tip speed of 18,000 fpm. This may be my next small walk behind mower. The price is around $1,300.00. http://www.exmark.com/metro26.htm

twa1971
05-06-2006, 01:41 PM
We purchased our JS 63 in 1999 and were pretty impressed with it but after the first year I had to replace some of the wheels and Blade due to our yard being as rough as it is. After that we started to have other problems. My grandfather retired to working on small engines in his garage. Having parts etc. my father seemed to think that he could fix the problem. This was about two years ago and we have not seen the mower since. I seem to think that in working on it he has messed up the front self-propell mechanism and I am trying to research what I may do to correct the problem and get oour mower back to working condition. When I was young I had a monster of a machine that someone had built with a toro base and John Deere motor. I do not remember the size of the motor, but it was a monster of a mower. It would damn near cut anything including small trees. We do have a pretty rough yard.

True Cut Lawn Maintenance
05-06-2006, 03:09 PM
I just bought a John Deere SB 14 you know, the Silver ones that are built like freaking tanks. I have the original sales litterture and it weighs in (according to JD's specs) at 97 pounds, ive got the mulch plug and the bagger for it, paid 125 for it, they replaced both spur gears in the transmisson for me before i bought it. Absolutly love the Blade Break and the self propelled.