View Full Version : Bob-Cat FastCat mower field test?????

10-13-2006, 05:23 PM
Hi, Jim @ TURF Magazine here.

I'm looking for someone in the Orlando area to field test the Bob-Cat FastCat ZTR at Universal Studios. They'll set it up for you. They promote it as having the performance and comfort of a big zero-turn in a compact design that let's the operator go where the "big boys" can't. Lots of options.

Interested in the details? Please email me at jkendrick@turfmagazine.com


The Ripper
10-15-2006, 03:41 PM
I just emailed you.

01-18-2007, 09:30 AM
Has the field test been completed yet? I would like to read it.

Waterscapes By Design
01-19-2007, 09:03 PM
pssssst, you made it for the wrong town....you were supposed to do the test here in Tampa, not Orlando... try again!

01-19-2007, 09:06 PM
Just read a review of a 36" bobcat in Turf.

01-19-2007, 11:19 PM
Just read a review of a 36" bobcat in Turf.

Is it posted on the net someplace? I have signed up for Turf but never received a mag.

01-19-2007, 11:33 PM
Not certain if it is online. Will do some digging

01-30-2007, 04:29 AM
Did anyone read the review? Can you summarize it for us?

01-30-2007, 10:39 AM
Here ya' go, Tim.

(BTW . . . when did you sign upo for the magazine. It can take up to 2 whole cycles before your name appears on the list. If it's been 2 months or more, call 800-422-7147 and ask to talk to our Circulation folks. They'll fix you up).

Exec. Editor

@Hed:Bob-Cat Fastcat Mowers
@Sub:Chris Thalasinos, Dig-It Horticulture LLC

@Txt:I was recently given a chance to test out the new line of Bob-Cat 36 and 42-inch Fastcat mowers. I was shocked at how small these Z-turn mowers look. The 36-inch is the same size as the Bob-Cat hydro walk-behind I use on my maintenance accounts. The small, 36-inch mower surpassed my expectations. Once I got used to the size, the unit actually proved to be peppy.
One of the features this mower had was its small size. I had never sat on a Z-turn that narrow before in my life. These Fastcats have bolt-on front caster arms. This allows for a damaged arm to be replaced quickly without welding or a large amount of downtime. All the Fastcats are equipped with a molded rubber discharge chute. I think this is great. I tested this feature against a palm tree, a fire hydrant and a large light pole. After each obstacle, the chute returned to its original form. The seat of the demo mower was the standard high back. Bob-Cat offers a suspension seat as an option. The Fastcat line from Bob-Cat comes with 8.5-gallon, saddle gas tanks. On top of these are the digital hour meter, throttle, large cup holder and storage area for clippers or cell phone. The tray is deep enough that items in it should not bounce out. A surprise on these mowers was the 12-volt accessory power outlet. This is a standard size outlet for a cell phone charger, handheld light or any other 12-volt accessory. The 36-inch mower comes with a choice of a 21 hp Briggs & Stratton or a 17 hp Kawasaki motor. The rest of this series has 19 hp Kawasakis to provide power. The 42-inch mower has a little more displacement and a heavy duty air filter. Each had plenty of power for the size of the mower.
My ride on this mower was smooth. We tried them in quality St. Augustine turf and in a high-traffic service area. The mower had no trouble in the grass or in the traffic area with vehicle ruts. I expected to be bounced around a lot on the 36-inch, however, the mower was smooth and agile. The travel speed is provided by two fan-cooled, hydrostatic pumps. I was surprised to see this feature on this small of a unit.
The Fastcat series deck is set up differently. The deck is supported in the front by two arms and by chain in back. This means the deck is being pulled over the grass, and not pushed like older models with the arms in the back. This is good, because a Z-turn is cutting while moving forward most of the time. The deck also boasts a Quick Lift pedal. This pedal is located to the left of the operator and helps raise and lower the deck. This feature has no locking pin. It is more of a helper and complements the standard height of cut adjustment that is located in the traditional location, to the right of the operator. The Quick Lift would come in handy to help clear obstacles while mowing by allowing you to lift the deck hands-free. The Fastcats are available with 36, 42, 48 and 52-inch decks. All of these are constructed out of seven-gauge metal, with the exception of the 10-gauge, 52-inch deck. The front and side lips of all the decks are reinforced to help prevent blade damage. The deck has sealed bearings and an easy-access cover to the top of the deck, without bolts and pins to lose. While cutting, I dropped the deck down below the standard 3.5-inch cutting height for St. Augustine grass. I did this to see if I could bog the mower down. The mower did OK on this dry grass and did not give up. As with any mower, you would need to adjust your speed to the mowing conditions.
Overall, the Fastcat lineup seems to be well developed using lessons learned in previous generations of Bob-Cat products. I believe that the 36-inch is good for residential or light commercial use. The 36-inch is not to replace your walk-behind. The Z-turn is not a mower for any slopes, such as retention ponds or roadway banks. I feel more comfortable with a walk-behind on these types of conditions for my crew. I would have no hesitations about purchasing any of the machines in the Fastcat lineup.

01-30-2007, 04:42 PM
Thanks! I have signed up but I don't think in time to review teh issue with the review.

01-31-2007, 12:56 PM
This is my first post here, but since I just demo'd a Fastcat 42 this week, I thought someone might interested in my experience. I'll preface this by saying I went into this already thinking I was going to buy one, the demo was the last step in my decision, so I had nothing against the machine before I jumped in the seat.

I have a BIG problem with this mower... The deck design in my opinion is not good, at least for what I want it to do. The blade on the left side is positioned forward to the front corner of the deck while the right side blade is positioned to the rear, closer to the rear right tire. To me, this is a backwards design if you want to mow close around poles, trees, etc. There is probably at least a 10"-12" deadspace between the left rear tire and the left side blade which makes it impossible to mow around a tree or post without leaving a 16-20" ring of uncut grass.

The dealer had no idea what I was talking about until I asked him to go take it and go around a utility pole. He did, couldn't do it. It was the first time he actually was in the seat of this model, and he was surprised at the flaw. Said he was going to notify the owner of the dealership right away. I think it defeats it's own purpose. It's a ZT tractor yes, ZT mower, not in my opinion. I looked at a 36" too, and it doesn't look much different...

02-01-2007, 08:07 PM
Thanks for the info!

01-18-2011, 01:13 AM
Ok, I have the Craftsman Professional ZTR aka Bobcat Fastcat RZ and have had it for two seasons now. I have about 100 hours on it and decided to put my two Lincolns here. It is a 42" cut, 22hp B&S ELS engine and I also purchased the mulch kit for it as well. I has been a disappointment to say the least. I have so many issues, I don't know where to start and am not sure if I can remember all of them. I'll start with the engine. It has good power, however it is hard to start sometimes and does not like to idle at the lowest setting. In cooler to cold weather forget it. It does not like the cold. The steering is jerky and far from smooth when trying to turn or maneuver around objects. It causes quite a bit of turf damage by scalping when I try to make turns even when I am creeping. It does poorly on any incline and "crabwalks" downhill when doing so and causes me to have to angle the front of the mower uphill (kind of like landing an airplane in a crosswind). The spring that keeps tension on the mower deck belt broke in the middle of cutting a customers 1/4 acre yard and I had to finish with my 21" mower. When I replaced the hydro pump fluid and changed out the filters it took forever to properly refill the reservoirs and bleed them out. It only has a one year commercial warranty. The mulch kit takes about an hour to install and vice versa back to side discharge. When cutting a yard I often have to go over much of what I cut a second time (I always have sharp blades on it) due to grass left standing even when creeping. The pluses are the engine has good power, it fits into most backyard gates and when it doesn't, that's what the walk-behind is for. The blades are easy to change out. Overall it is a disappointment and I can't see myself buying any Bobcat product ever again, including Sears Professional series equipment. Anyone interesed in buying a used Fastcat?