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View Full Version : What is the very best walkbehind?


Mr.Mow-It-All
10-08-2005, 03:07 PM
The very best, money doesn't matter in a 36 to 48" walkbehind, floating deck, dual hydro.

Best cut?
Best ergonomics?
Easiest to use?

And what ever you think makes the walkbehinds so good. First of the year will be in the market for 36 or 48".

I want to know what you think the very best is and why, and if you want give the best value wb, that would be great also (if it happens not to be the same)

Never had a walkbehind, but will need one next year.

Thank you!

Cigarcop
10-08-2005, 03:28 PM
Just my opinion, I like Exmark products and have a few. We bought an Exmark 36TTHP this year and can say after using it a bit I definitely don't like the way the one front wheel is extended past the other. You can't get close enough to corners, or beds with it, or you can and I have dropped the tire into the beds edge and scalped the hell out of the edge. Other than that I like the way it cuts and runs.

splatz100
10-08-2005, 04:55 PM
hustler 37" walk behind....

rodfather
10-08-2005, 05:13 PM
Best all round is the one that makes ya the most $$$, reliable, and easiest to use.

beaver
10-08-2005, 09:04 PM
i have two scag 48" hydro walk behinds and i think that they are easy to use and are bult like tanks. I think the two best brands on the market are the scag and the exmark

Thirdpete
10-08-2005, 09:13 PM
a stander :)

TriCountyLawn
10-08-2005, 09:38 PM
Own two Hustler walkbehinds and are awsome mowers. Looking to add a 37" to the line up.

lawnman_scott
10-08-2005, 10:04 PM
That is an immpossible question to awnser. I would start with ferris, never owned one, but its in bold in your sig line, so you must be happy with it and the dealer, and thats a big part of it.

Mr.Mow-It-All
10-08-2005, 11:06 PM
That is an immpossible question to awnser. I would start with ferris, never owned one, but its in bold in your sig line, so you must be happy with it and the dealer, and thats a big part of it.


True, I am happy with my ferris, however I know that the walkbehinds and riders are totaly different animals. Know nothing about the ferris walkbehinds.

Thank you for all the responses, was hoping for a more clear picture though. Everyone replied to what they thought was the best, but I need to know why. I have never used a walkbehind, therefore know nothing about the controls, and from what I can see there are some big differences. So if you guys can, let me know about the controls.

Thanks

beaver
10-09-2005, 12:14 AM
The controls for the hydro scag are easy. You have a parking brake lever you have to take off before you go anywhere. Then you move the speed selector foward to where you want (I put mine all the way). After that take of the thumb locks. Each side has a hand control for each pump. Letting go will make it go foward. Pull it up and you will feel the control go into a "notch" (for lack of a better word). Pull the handle all the way up for reverse. The pumps are infinitely variable for maximum control. Use both handles in conjunction for "true" zero-turns, curves ect. Sounds very complex but it is really easy.

A belt drive has thumb locks for the brakes on each wheel. Use your knee to select a gear. Let go of handles for foward motion. Pull up to stop each wheel. Gear drives will not perform a true zero-turn and only have reverse assist. For reverse, you must stop, put it in reverse, and let go of the handles.


I highly suggest getting a hydro for its various advantages. If you are not going to do gated areas, I would get the 48 too.

Hope this helps.

Dashunde
10-09-2005, 01:08 AM
The Ferris 52"ers around here are almost gracefull on the nasty hills we have.
They stripe something fierce too.
They cut nicely without pitching the grass 4 times the deck width and into the flower beds.
The dealers seem excellent.

And in this area, where the going is kinda rough and hilly, there are just tons of the Ferris', they really are everywhere. It says alot to me.

Mr.Mow-It-All
10-09-2005, 09:28 AM
What gives the best qaulity of cut?

And also I have seen wb with a velke than has a center wheel and others with the two wheels that follow the drive tires. I don't know if you can get either kind but that will make a big difference because the one thing I hate about the walker is the center stripe. I would for sure want one of the two wheel velkes.

And what about the standers or great dane, I realy like the concept of riding instead of walking, looks like you could get in some tight spots with them also. but how is their quality of cut. The cut qaulity is priority with this puchase.

Thanks,

Drew

brinlee lawn
10-09-2005, 09:39 AM
hey there mr.mow-it-all, since you are running ferris and shindy equip. I would guess you must be in the tulsa area. In my area, Claremore. We do not have a ferris dealer. I use toro walkbehinds and 21 ers. Thats what the dealer in my area sells and stands behind. I use them because they take good care of me. If something goes down they get it back in action. If you are out of Tulsa, Smith farm and garden have a great service dept. They sell toro and scag. If you do decide to go with the toro, get the t-bar controls you will love them.

Mr.Mow-It-All
10-09-2005, 09:49 AM
Thanks brinlee,

Actually I live in Miami right now. However this purchase will be for next season, because I am moving to Edmond, OKC area. For the accounts that I have set up I will need a good qaulity cut wb. I have a shin dealer here in town, but bought my ferris in galena ks, about 25 min from me.

Thanks

brinlee lawn
10-09-2005, 09:55 AM
Have a buddy in the OKC area in the biz. He goes by Genesimmons on here. He could probably help you with dealers in the OKC area. :waving: I was just in Fairland last weekend to deliver a jeep we sold. not to far from Miami.

Mr.Mow-It-All
10-09-2005, 09:58 AM
Have a buddy in the OKC area in the biz. He goes by Genesimmons on here. He could probably help you with dealers in the OKC area. :waving: I was just in Fairland last weekend to deliver a jeep we sold. not to far from Miami.

Thanks I will have to look him up.

Yeh Fairland is just 10 miles south of me.

naturescape
10-09-2005, 12:35 PM
There's no question to me anymore -- the last mower I bought rules. It's a Bunton walk b. with Z controls and a 48" floating deck. I had the fixed deck originally but Bunton replaced it at near cost with the floating deck -- the floating deck is MUCH better, especially on this mower.

Controls take getting used to that is for sure. But they are effortless to use, NO stress on the hands.

Cut quality is the best I've seen on any mower. (It's the same as a Bobcat deck.)

Grass dispersal is EXCELLENT, better than ExMark.

Blowout seems nonexistant next to my Exmarks, which have so much blowout that skirting needs to be installed around the front of the deck to reduce it.

Striping is awesome, but I do use a Proslide on the machine.

Now the bad news -- this mower, here, retails for $6400 with 17 kaw E.S. Now all of you are going to say that is too much. Here's my reply to you in advance:

A WB hydro should last about 4 years minimum with minimal repairs. Figuring the extra cost of $1000 (over similar ExM) over 4 years, 8 months in a year, 4 weeks in a month, 5 days in a week, it comes to $1.60 extra per day that I use it. IT'S WELL WORTH $1.60 A DAY FOR NO STRESS ON THE HANDS.

You can see what these mowers look like by clicking on the Jacobson sponsor logo on lawnsite.

nobagger
10-09-2005, 01:24 PM
I would have to say for comfort the Exmarks have everyone beat (esc handles) and as far as power I think they all run the same engines but Exmark seems to the right combo's together. Iv'e seem new Scaggs, lets say a 48" w/b with only a 14hp kawi on it and that to me seems very weak. I just saw a brand new Great Dane advertised it was a 52" fixed deck hydro and with a 15 hp kawi on it. I just think a mower bigger than a 36" should have at least a 17hp or bigger. Just my opinions. :waving:

Mark McC
10-09-2005, 01:58 PM
Count me among those who think that there are a number of excellent mowers out there and that the dealer is as important a part of the decision as the brand.

I run eXmark equipment and have no experience with other brands, so I'm not able to compare. As someone else mentioned, the ECS handles are superb. The quality of cut is outstanding in my estimation. I have no complaints about these mowers.

As for price, that might be a different discussion. My impression is that Lesco sells their mowers for substantially less than other brands. That might reflect something about quailty, but I'm not sure. I paid $5200 for my Turf Tracer HP (52" cut, 19hp Kawasaki, pull start) and a Lesco with similar features will run several hundred dollars less, if I'm not mistaken.

If you have some friends in the business within a reasonable driving distance, you might want to try their machines for five or ten minutes and see what your reaction is to the day-to-day operation of each. I ran a belt-drive eXmark last year and my right forearm was sore most of the year.

Does that mean the ECS was necessary for me as opposed to a pistol-grip hydro? I don't know. Some guys in the business have forearms as big as my legs and aren't bothered at all by pistol-grip belt drive mowers. That's why you kinda have to spend a little time comparing. There's just no way of knowing how you'll react to a given manufacturer's set-up until you try their equipment on for size.

Given that most walks are powered by Kawasaki engines, that the hydros aren't really all that different (that I'm aware of), and that warranties are more or less identical, it's dealer support and the operation of the equipment that make or break the deal.

griffy77
10-09-2005, 02:31 PM
If your looking for affordable and dependability definitely go with a gravley!!
I own 2 walkbehinds, one belt drive the other hydro. I use my 36" hydro on everything. I live in WV and there is nothing but hills and rough terrain so my gravley has really been put through the test. I have not yet had any problems. It runs great, Cuts great, and the price and cannot be beat by any other manufacture. Just because you pay more doesnt mean you are getting a better product so dont let that cloud your decision.

I wish i saw more people here endorsing Gravley because i think they are excellent machines, that are designed for hardcore professional use day in and day out.

I hope this may help you somewhat. If you have any questions just Pm me.

Goodluck in your quest to find the ultimate walkbehind.

LB1234
10-09-2005, 02:37 PM
The absolute best walkbehind by far is the one that doesn't break down, doesn't get flat tires, consumes no fuel, never needs the blades shapened, etc, etc, etc....


Good luck with your quest

Likestomow
10-09-2005, 02:49 PM
The correct answer is the WB that you like the best. Now how are you going to determine that? Well you can demo some, but I suggest that besides running around a parking lot that you do some actual cutting also. Maybe a dealer will allow you to take one home for a day. You could also call a friend in the business (if you donít have one, make one) and ask to ride along and mow a few yards for the experience.

I you are going to plunk down serious money, then you better know for sure what you will be happy with. Otherwise, make up your mind and then buy a used machine. If you really donít like, you can always sell it and not lose much (if any). It can take a few mistakes to land on what you are comfortable with in the long run.

clay duncan
10-09-2005, 02:56 PM
i am having real good service out of a wright velke 36 mower. i have had it for two seasons with around 800 hrs. and have had no problems at all. i live in western n.c. with alot of very steep and hilly conditions. it is very easy to maintain and the cut is better than a 48 exmark turf tracer. the mower disperses wet grass well with no blow out. i like it so well that i am going to buy another one at the start of next season. i dont mean to bash exmark, they are VERY nice mowers and i do like the ecs controls. i should have said wright cuts better in wet conditions but that could be the difference in a 36 and a 48..... good luck

brucec32
10-10-2005, 07:41 PM
i am having real good service out of a wright velke 36 mower. i have had it for two seasons with around 800 hrs. and have had no problems at all. i live in western n.c. with alot of very steep and hilly conditions. it is very easy to maintain and the cut is better than a 48 exmark turf tracer. the mower disperses wet grass well with no blow out. i like it so well that i am going to buy another one at the start of next season. i dont mean to bash exmark, they are VERY nice mowers and i do like the ecs controls. i should have said wright cuts better in wet conditions but that could be the difference in a 36 and a 48..... good luck

I've heard exactly the opposite in other posts about Exmark vs. Wright decks in wet conditions. In fact I've read more than one that said they wanted better dispersal and ability in wet and tall grass than they were getting. There are so many differing opinions on this stuff based on each person's particular experience and mowing conditions (type of grass, height of cut, moisture level, discharging or mulching, etc) it's hard to know what's what. I get lots of clumping in the wet when my Lazer is set up to mulch, but that's expected.

I have the same deck as the TT HP on my Lazer Z hp and it does get some clumping in wet conditions ,but so do most decks. I would assume you'd like the Velke steering better than ECS. It seems a little easier to me.

I have been mowing for 14 years and hear a lot mentioned about "blowout". Other than when handling leaves, is this a problem up there?

I cut a gated back lawn today with a Toro(Exmark deck) 32" discharging that I had cut with a 44" three blade mower most of the year and the 32" had zero problems, even though it was drizzling and it was fairly tall and dense grassy weeds mostly. I do think 2 blade mowers handle wet grass better. I could mow w/o clumps at the top speed of the mower/velke(6.5mph?) I think it's the two-blade setup that makes the difference.

That's one reason I wish Wright hadn't apparently discontinued the 42" deck (at least on standers). It's wide enough to get the job done faster, has just two blades for wet turf, and narrow enough to fit through a few more gates.

I'd consider a Velke mower but I need a mower I can adjust from 2" - 3.75" cutting height repeatedly every day on different types of turf used here.

clay duncan
10-10-2005, 09:37 PM
i agree with you bruce32 i think one reason the 36 cuts better in thick wet grass is the volume of grass being cut (36vs48) and the difference in two blades vs three. also type of blade can be a factor. i think the controls on the velke mower are very straight forward and easy to learn. i can tell you for sure the velke mower is NOT a mower you would want to have to adjust deck height on very often if for no other reason of having greasy hands. you do get alot of conflicting information here but my experiance with this mower has been all good and i am going to buy another..... clay