View Full Version : What mower would you suggest?

05-08-2007, 11:28 AM
First time poster here.

Looking to upgrade my mower - budget hasn't been finalized yet but I doubt it will clear $4k. The primary objectives are 1) reduce overall cutting time (thats how I'll sell it to the wife), 2) maintain or improve the quality of cut and striping, 3) the option to BAG those heavy leaves during the fall.

I have an acre lot here in Central Indiana on which my house and driveway sit. The backyard, which is probably about 60% of the overall lot is fully picket fenced. The gates are 48". It has a decent amount of obstacles - there's a storage "barn/shed", 6 trees along the back fence (pine and flowering), three big trees (maples and gingkos) more towards the center, and a couple burning bushes. The front and back side yard has a mild slope to it, probably no more than 10 degrees, and a few smaller flowering trees. There's a ditch with a little bit of a slope along the front of the property, again probably 10 or 15 degrees. The grass is probably kentucky bluegrass, and it grows really fast with the mix of sun and shade I have.

I currently cut this with a Toro recycler walkbehind. Takes upwards of 2+ hours with trimming, and can substantially longer if I want to bag.

I would like to buy local as I don't have a truck to haul a big mower around (though I can borrow a truck and trailor). This limits me to a Deere dealer, or a Toro, Scag, Snapper, lawnboy dealer. If I go 25+ miles out, I can get to a Simplicity or Hustler dealer. Neither dealer seems to be a jerk and I've had good service with my Echo trimmers with the non-Deere dealer - however he did try and push me to a Timecutter when I first brought the mower up with him :rolleyes: .

My first thought was just the good ol' riding tractor. Simplicity, Deere, Snapper all seemed to fit the bill. BUT then I found this site and all heck broke loose.

Ignoring your commercial business, what would you use if this was your situation? I'm thinking a good Toro Gear Drive WB with the turboforce deck is the ticket or possibly a mini fastrak... but then part of me thinks I'm getting hung up on the cool commercial stuff and that I could really get what I need from a Simplicity Regent or Deere equivalent. I know I need to try'em out, but I guess I'm asking for a reality check. Should someone who mows 1 yard seasonally be even looking at this stuff?



05-08-2007, 11:40 AM
i can recommend the Hustler Mini Fasttrak. it is a great machine with a great cut, good speed, great controls, and a company with an excellent reputation for standing b/h what it sells. search my user name for post in this forum and the Hustler forum. you can't go wrong with a MFT.

05-08-2007, 02:51 PM
I second the mini fastrak option. It will fit your bill and probably your price range.

05-08-2007, 03:29 PM
How would you guys compare a simplicity ztr like the champion 44 with the mini fastrak? Are they close enough that it would come down to test driving?

05-08-2007, 04:48 PM
the champion is more like a fasttrak or really a mini z. it is about 1k more than the MFT. it also has a 2 yr warranty vs 3 yr on the mft (4 on the fasttrak). additionally, Hustler covers the leading edge of the deck and the castors for the lifetime of the mower on all of their mowers. you do get some suspension with the simplicity. however, there are flex forks available for the mft, ft and mini z. honestly, for 1 acre, you will love the mft. you can spend more money if you want, i just don't see the need to do so.

05-08-2007, 05:17 PM
Problem is I'm seeing quotes on the champion around $3.6-$3.8k, seems real similar in price to the fastrak (at least using msrp and the discounts listed in the product forum)???

05-08-2007, 06:23 PM
I like my Scag WB w/sulky. It's not for the weak of heart, but if you've got a little but of muscle to be able to horse it around, it's great for all-around type stuff. It'll do your ditches like nobody's business. I wouldn't have one for free though without the sulky. Have you shopped used? You can pick up used wb's for not alot.

05-09-2007, 08:57 AM
I think the simplicity is a smooth riding mower. Take a close look at the decks of the mowers, I believe the simplicity has a stamped deck and the MFT (I know) has a welded deck with a lifetime warrany on the leading edge. Simplicy's web page has nothing about the make of the champion's deck while Hustler shows a great pic in the brochure of how heavy it is. Plus you can get a Honda on the MFT. Good luck!

05-09-2007, 09:11 AM
you are saying you can get a champion for $1400-1900 off of MSRP on a $5000-5500 mower???????? once again, i say that for the 1 acre you have a mft is ideal. it will last you many, many years. demo!!!!!!! if you can't arrange a Hustler demo, ask PJ on the Hustler forum. i guarantee you he will make it happen. Hustler just can't be beat for the way they stand behind their product.

05-09-2007, 09:19 AM
I'm going to try and get up to the hustler dealer today and see the product in person. I'm a little nervous about the distance (about 30 miles) since I have to bum a truck and trailer off a friend to move it for service. Easier to convince someone to help take something across town than 30 miles... I'll let you guys know!

Oh yeah - regarding the champion... I think these quotes are coming in on leftover 06's.. not sure I like that....

05-09-2007, 08:15 PM
Great thread here...

I am also have a similiar property yet mine has hills and more obstacles. The hills are steep enough for a zero turn like a MFT to be difficult to control.

I was thinking a 42"+ walk behind would be ideal. Any thoughts?


05-10-2007, 10:11 PM
If striping is of concern the previously mentioned Simplicity should fit the bill. They come from the factory with a striping roller attached to the back of the deck. I can't say much more than that as I have no experience with them but I have seen there finished product and it is impressive.

05-11-2007, 12:00 AM
Having a hard time finding a local Hustler dealer that will let me demo a mini fastrak. The guys will only let me put around in their parking lots - can't even cut grass... maybe I haven't convinced them that I'm serious because I don't have a drop dead time frame. And then on the other hand I have the snapper/scag/toro dealer who will deliver to my own lot anything I want to demo (within reason). Might just be time to save up a few extra pennies and look at a nice toro or scag freedom z.

05-11-2007, 08:47 AM
if you will post this request on Hustler forum, i promise PJ will make a demo happen faster that an alligator snapping his mouth shut!! there is not a company that will go as far to make a customer, or potential customer, happy.

05-11-2007, 09:05 PM
I have been using a Quick 36 on my 1 acre lawn and can bang it out in 35 minutes if i'm really moving. I am very happy with the machine and it's price for a hydrostatic drive is tough to beat.

You can put yourself into a Samurai 44" 16 HP Kawasaki with, hydrodrive for 3K and they deliver it to your house via Roadway delivery.

Take a look at their web site, www.betteroutdoorproducts.com

Plus the machines are made in the USA.

05-12-2007, 08:39 AM
there is no way you can cut 1 acre in 35 minutes with a wb. you might cut it in 1 hr if you could average 4 mph walking, assuming about a 20% overlap.

05-15-2007, 09:32 PM
You are correct once I wrote my thread I realized that was too aggressive with my time estimate. So I timed it this weekend and it took just shy of an hour.

05-17-2007, 11:14 AM
Well the options are slowly narrowing -

From the same dealer I can get a 07 mini Fastrak 42" Kohler for about $3500 or a 06 Exmark Phazer 44" Kai for about $3900. They also have a 06 Fastrak 44" honda, but that busts the budget at about $4500.

I also have added the Quick 36 WB's but I'm still not sold on servicing the mower myself. Have to chew on that one some more.

I like the components on the Phazer, but I'm leary about owning a lame duck product. Fastrak seems ok - might be more tolerable with the honda motor.

Any thoughts?

05-21-2007, 10:00 AM
The MFT will cut your one acre in 30 minutes, or so. you will use your mower less than 30 hrs per year. at that rate, it will last you a lifetime. i have the Kohler engine. other than being a little lumpy at idle, it works well at cutting the grass. it also has more torque than the Honda.
the new FT has the upgraded pumps. they are nice. i am thinking of changing now that my yard has more than tripled in size. that is, if i can get by CFO to ok it!!!!!!!

05-25-2007, 02:19 PM
Well after much him hawing around between the Q36 and the MFT, I went ahead and placed an order for a Q36 Samurai. Main deciding factor was that I really didn't care if I rode and I really wanted to spend the $1k difference on some other lawn toys (like a new br 600!!). Can't wait!