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View Full Version : Best WB for Steep Swells/Hills


Larry Davis
03-09-2006, 09:13 AM
To John Gamba, Rodfather and all other long-time LCO's ........... Need to find out which WB's in the 36" to 52" deck size will hold best on fairly steep swells. From the bottom of the swell to the top is only about 8 feet, however, they are over 600 feet long. I am estimating the grade at about 45 degrees. Mowing length wise (not up and down) is there a WB that will hold this much of a slope? I really do not want to spend another growing season doing this with a string trimmer! At my age it's a killer! And, I could use a good WB in other areas too.
Thanks in advance of any input you may have ............

PaulJ
03-09-2006, 09:45 AM
Look at the hUstler superWB they have the largest widest tires of any WB on the market. It will climb and turn and go across any hill you can walk on.
I have the 48" and since the tires are almost as wide as the deck there is little chance of scalping with the deck edge.
Plus the h-bar controls are the best I've seen.
I think there is even an all terrain tire option.

rodfather
03-09-2006, 10:21 AM
Whoa! 45 degrees is gonna be hard just to walk across much less running a mower Larry.

Hustler is a good choice. FWIW, I've been running Ferris WB's for 12 years now, all hydro, and we're extremely pleased with their handling capabilities. Ferris makes a 48 and a 52 inch dual drive hydro WB. You can get the 52 in either 17 hp or 23 hp. I have 61" models as well, but I wouldn't use something that big on that severe of a slope. A 48 or 52 should do it. You might want to consider (no matter what mower you go with) adding a front deck weight to keep the nose down when reversing direction.

Hope that helps. I know about age, I'm 51. Good luck.

The Captain
03-09-2006, 11:57 AM
I do the backside of a dam in a highend residential area weekly. Measures about 600' long and about 150' high,with about a 35 degree slope. I use my old 17 hp Skag 48" wb. The big rub is it's a belt drive. I just lower the drive tire pressure a few pounds (not too much) and cut across the face. It can be a real job making the turn around at the end, if you don't do a couple of perimater passes first. I have to kind of "crab walk" the mower (turn it up hill slightly so it tracks straight while trying to slide down hill) at times, but it's no big deal.
By all means don't even think about a "Z" or cutting up or downhill. You've been around enough to know to stay above the mower when turning on this kind of slope.

The Captain.....

Larry Davis
03-09-2006, 12:29 PM
I've got the Hustler Super Z so I know they make good equipment. I've also got an eXmark Lazer Z which I really like. I only buy new equipment and the WB you have is over 6 grand. Is there anything else you might recommend that isn't quite that high in price?

skurtz78
03-09-2006, 04:45 PM
and tie some strings around it and you can stay on top of the hill while controlling it. They are so easy to use

amvega
03-09-2006, 05:03 PM
We have used 36, 48, and 52 Exmarks on steep slopes before. I think the 36 or 48 do a lot better just because of the weight difference. You can usually control the 36 the best if the grass happens to be a little damp. Just gotta be careful. It's definitely doable with wbs though.

Envy Lawn Service
03-09-2006, 05:07 PM
Well, I don't have anything you could even call experience with WB's compared to these other guys here. But I'll throw my 2 cents in here anyways....

In my mind, the trouble is that walkbehinds are zero turns too. So they are going to inheirit SOME of the same downfalls that ZTR's have.

With that said, you'll certainly be able to do more safely with a walkbehind. Plus you'll probably be able to do some more extreme slopes as well. But not without investing a good deal of money in a walkbehind (new) and not without wrestling it a good bit.

Now, this is coming from a novice operator though. But from what I used walkbehinds, my dominate impression was this....

I would not really want to walk behind a mower for any period of time on the degree of slopes I am already able to mow... much less walk and wrestle a WB across steeper slopes.

However, that is not to say that I wouldn't like to have one to use in the manner you are suggesting. I imagine that in some cases it might be easier to do that than string trim big places like that.

I pretty much feel the same way you do about whacking places like this too

Personally, if I were hunting a mower like this, I would specifically be looking for a USED 52" eXmark Turf Tracer (full size) with the ECS controls.

John Gamba
03-09-2006, 05:10 PM
I love the Turf Tracer 52" and 60" for hills. Low center of gravity and handles you can hold on to, Lots of nut and a great cut to boot..


23 kaw, 52" ultracut. nothing better. I just bought a 2006 23Kaw, 60" and till the end of march you get a FREEEEEEEE stand on sulky:clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

Richard Martin
03-09-2006, 06:13 PM
I think one of the wider walks, 48 or 52, should do just fine. The only downfall is that a WB tends to want to leave a rut on really steep hills where you drive it especially when the ground is damp. I'm using a 36" gear drive Ferris on the few really steep (over 25 or 30 degrees) hills I do and it does tend to want to rut one hill. As soon as I see it starting to rut I switch back trimming it for a while.

rodfather
03-09-2006, 06:23 PM
As soon as I see it starting to rut I switch back trimming it for a while.

smart idea RM

specialtylc
03-09-2006, 10:55 PM
A21 inch mower would be alot faster & better than a string trimmer. And if this is the only job that you need a WB for it would be a whole lot less investment and as said before the larger mowers are going to rut and tear up the grass.

T and T Lawn Care
03-09-2006, 11:57 PM
Thanks for the responses, I'm really glad I found this site!

Envy Lawn Service
03-10-2006, 12:31 AM
A21 inch mower would be alot faster & better than a string trimmer. And if this is the only job that you need a WB for it would be a whole lot less investment and as said before the larger mowers are going to rut and tear up the grass.

Hummm... what 21" do you run?

It's a wrestling match between me and my Toro on places I can cut with my ZTR's if I take the risk. I used to use it on the wet days, but I figured out it was quicker and less tiring to just use the Stihl instead.

PaulJ
03-10-2006, 01:29 AM
If the price of the hustler super WB is too much look at the standard line of even the trimstars. ai used to mow a big ditch bank with a snapper 48" hydro WB loop grip. it did the job but not as efficiently as the hustler will.
I think a wider stance and larger tires make a big difference.

Envy Lawn Service
03-10-2006, 01:45 AM
I think a wider stance and larger tires make a big difference.

I imagine so also.

nograss
03-15-2006, 08:15 AM
The Ferris is a tank and works the best on high degree slopes that I have used. You get what you pay for, great job, dependability and will handle slopes. Sometimes you have to pay the freight to use proper equipment.