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View Full Version : ZTR cutting speeds does it matter?


nosparkplugs
10-02-2008, 10:27 PM
The fastest cutting ZTR I have owned to date was the Scag Tiger Cub's 48" velocity decks, and they were rated at 12mph. I never could sustain that 12mph speed for any lenght of time, poor cut quality and the mower beat you & itself up. When you get into the thick & wet spring grass I cannot see mowing at 15mph, and getting a quality manicured cut/result equal to a slower rate of speed, does the laws of physics apply?

I am now using the slowest ZTR the Walker at 5 mph,:laugh: and still getting the jobs done quicker than when I was running Scag midmounts on highly visible commercial & high end residentals. Many said that would never happen not true. With that said I am needing to retire the old JD Ztrack F-680 60" 7-Iron 10mph top speed:laugh: to second back-up status over 6 years of trouble free service. I'm going to have to purchase something early this next season at least a 60" or larger to help "knock out" the huge wide area's I maintain.

The last thing I have always looked at is the top speed of a ZTR, I would rather have a well designed mower, deck, and reliable powerful engine, with low end stump pulling torque to consume & digest the thick grass in this zone of the country. In reality, I think that I would not use the top speed, and be happy with a 12mph or less with a quality cut; although I guess with all new midmount ZTR's the high top speeds have become the new "standard" in the market.

So in the end we all post threads about many subjects on Lawnsite; consequently members always hijack the thread with the speed debate to over come that companies shortfalls posted in the thread? I enjoy to see the trends or patterns form; which is what company makes the faster ZTR. Speed is not everything in the whole ZTR picture

Happy Frog
10-02-2008, 10:45 PM
Go get yourself a Bad Boy AOS diesel and be done with it...
You can use it at any speed up to 15 mph :cool2:

Turf Dawg
10-02-2008, 10:48 PM
I think it all depends on what your needs are. I too own a Walker and it is great in some situations. I also bought a Hustler SuperZ 31/66" a couple of months ago for the larger properties and the rough areas. On the big and rough properties this is the most productive mower I have ever owned and I have owned many brands. You are right that I cannot run full speed in all situations but there is places I can. Like I said when I was demoing different brands that my Hustler was not the best overall cutting but it was by far the most comfortable and best handling to me. So to me I would have to say in certain situations that speed is very important.

GravelyGuy
10-02-2008, 10:50 PM
I can cut full speed on dry grass (afternoon cutting) and if I'm only removing 2" or so with my Gravely. I think it goes 13 or 14 MPH.

The speed also comes in handy when moving around property, front to back etc.

TLS
10-03-2008, 12:12 AM
The Tiger Cubs I've read about all top out at 10mph, not 12.

I've said it before,....if you don't see a need for a fast mower, then YOU don't need one.

For others, speed is important.

With the speed of my SuperZ, I can double cut a large lawn almost as quick as someone else can cut it once. End result.....my cut is PERFECT with a nice checkerboard pattern.

If you find it hard to stay in a seat at speed, lower your tire pressure.

Grits
10-03-2008, 12:40 AM
Speed is important to me. This is why I am buying a Hustler.

topsites
10-03-2008, 03:53 AM
My experience with speed is two-fold:

One, I love it, so don't throttle my machine!
Two, it doesn't cut so good at those speeds.

As was said, it beats me and the machine to death, the cut doesn't look so hot,
and slow or fast in terms of quality, if I go fast I have to double and triple cut it
so by the time it's all said and done it takes about the same length of time.

It's also dangerous, straight up those high speeds anything could happen, equipment damages and then customer item
breakage (such as when clipping or running into things) cost as much, as they say haste makes waste but if it wasn't
for equipment speed this job wouldn't be no fun.

A lot of it also has to do with knowing the turf, remembering each yard for its little details and then maneuvering the machine
in such a way that the bumps and ruts of that particular yard's turf have the least impact, this takes time but learn the yard.

So I like the speed, personally I don't have to cut wide open but I like having that option, even if it doesn't look so good it sure
comes in handy when I'm pressed for time. Other than that I like pushing my mower not quite to the top end but to where it is
really cutting a lot of grass and where a double cut leaves a nice finish, I probably mow most lawns at around 8-10 mph,
the top speed of my mower is somewhere in the 13mph range, my Wb's do 7-8 and it's just darned nice to have the option.

jtkplc
10-03-2008, 09:19 AM
I have a 72" Lazer Z XS and just this week with minimal growth I was able to cut many places at full speed (12mph) with a near perfect cut quality. I find the only times I can gut at that speed are when I'm cutting off an inch and a half or less of growth. If I'm trying to cut off more the cut quality diminishes as you'd expect.

Frue
10-03-2008, 09:30 AM
I have tried a lot of faster machines but my ferris is rocket crazy. I have road a hustler at 15 mph and my ferris is suposed to be 10 mph. Now everyone that has road my ferris has said that is the fastest machine they ever been on. Now I have 2 of these machines and my second one is no where near my first. I dont know why it is like this but it is.

Now to the point. I can cut full speed in august but no way in any other circumstances. The only benefit to having that speed is transporting from property to property is nice.

djflats
10-03-2008, 09:35 AM
The ground speed spec is one of the specs I looked at 1st for a while. After cutting on my ZTR I realize it's not that important to me. The ground is pretty rough around here so there are only select areas where I can really "open" it up. I guess with something like a Hustler with suspension seat and flex forks or a Ferris would help in utilizing the speed factor.
To me 10 mph max is all I would need. Of course I'd love to have the big Hustler running at 15 mph but that would be hard to justify getting since I'm just a homeowner w/ a little over 5 acres to cut.

corey4671
10-03-2008, 09:59 AM
My experience with speed is two-fold:

One, I love it, so don't throttle my machine!
Two, it doesn't cut so good at those speeds.

As was said, it beats me and the machine to death, the cut doesn't look so hot,
and slow or fast in terms of quality, if I go fast I have to double and triple cut it
so by the time it's all said and done it takes about the same length of time.

It's also dangerous, straight up those high speeds anything could happen, equipment damages and then customer item
breakage (such as when clipping or running into things) cost as much, as they say haste makes waste but if it wasn't
for equipment speed this job wouldn't be no fun.

A lot of it also has to do with knowing the turf, remembering each yard for its little details and then maneuvering the machine
in such a way that the bumps and ruts of that particular yard's turf have the least impact, this takes time but learn the yard.

So I like the speed, personally I don't have to cut wide open but I like having that option, even if it doesn't look so good it sure
comes in handy when I'm pressed for time. Other than that I like pushing my mower not quite to the top end but to where it is
really cutting a lot of grass and where a double cut leaves a nice finish, I probably mow most lawns at around 8-10 mph,
the top speed of my mower is somewhere in the 13mph range, my Wb's do 7-8 and it's just darned nice to have the option.

top...teh Warrior tops out at 13...I had my cop buddy check it for me last year :laugh:

brucec32
10-03-2008, 10:06 AM
It depends on the type grass and quality of the lawns involved. Obviously just the movement of the deck relative to the ground caused by high speeds and irregularities in the surface would cause an unacceptable cut quality at high speeds.

Someone mowing a roadside, chopping and dropping, could use the speed. Mowing home lawns of moderate size it is totally wasted, and mowing high quality turf at 1.5" even more so. I see a lot of butcher jobs out there so obviously some people don't know the difference.

dishboy
10-03-2008, 10:52 AM
My Walker MB with it's advertised 8 MPH is very beneficial! I actually believe it is faster, I am going to get my Laptop out with GPS to confirm this. Since I sold my business over two years ago new accounts come with a array of fertilizer programs and I mulch, so this means sometimes I have to make two passes. I can make the second pass at speed. So the speed helps in this and in going to and from back yards. But in general for small residential lawns blowing through work will loose you accounts! I picked up a new account last night because the guy was blowing through a small yard at full speed with a Walker with a speed up kit . I picked up the account at $30.00, he was charging $25.00, go figure.

Sammy
10-03-2008, 11:34 AM
Today we have 30+ h.p. mowers, that go faster and faster.
Bigger frames, bigger tires, bigger decks. ... Bigger ruts in the lawns ?

Yesterday we had Z-Turns that were powered by 12 - 20 h.p. motors.
Even the Crapsman mowers have got some big motors in them and their old ones use to use 10 - 16h.p. motors. The unit itself has not gotton that much larger, but, they keep putting in bigger motors !

How big will be too big ?

I belive that most of these bigger motors, plus, the faster speeds are geard to sell more mowers to the macho guys who "Feels The Need For Speed".

A lot of mowers with 60" decks were powered with 18 - 20 h.p. motors.
And they are still mowing grass just fine.
They might not mow as fast as a Hustler Super Z, but then again, not everyone can or needs to mow at that fast of speed.

How big a motor and how fast do you NEED to mow at ?

topsites
10-03-2008, 12:20 PM
If you find it hard to stay in a seat at speed, lower your tire pressure.

Watch out thou, hit a good solid bump like that and the mower will scalp the turf
as the entire machine sinks towards the ground, hence why I say learn the yard :p

I think lowering the springyness of the in-seat suspension to where it's a little
on the soft side helps, but if you hit a bump hard you'll knock your teeth loose lol

How big a motor and how fast do you NEED to mow at ?

I do agree with you in that I don't mow at the high end of the machine nowhere near as much as I used to,
all it took was a few times when things didn't go exactly as planned and the resulting crap slowed me down considerably,
more often than not my mowers speed and gear selectors don't even go there, it's really just for transportation.

SB Gary
10-03-2008, 02:12 PM
we sell the Bad Boy mowers and the Wright mowers both mowers will mow at top speed. There is two concerns with the high speed one is tearing the turf when you slow down to turn. the second concern is hitting hazards in the grass that can not be sean at high speed. I would guess that most customers only run there mowers at high speed is to move from site to site, or very large lots.If you want to have a blast mowing ask your dealer to let you try a Wright ZK. what a rush!

jkilov
10-03-2008, 06:11 PM
Today we have 30+ h.p. mowers, that go faster and faster.
Bigger frames, bigger tires, bigger decks. ... Bigger ruts in the lawns ?

Yesterday we had Z-Turns that were powered by 12 - 20 h.p. motors.

Times have changed. No more "Here's your 5 bucks Johnny" routine. Workforce is expensive and you need to make use of it wisely. Without a productive mower you're throwing money away.

I never could sustain that 12mph speed for any lenght of time, poor cut quality and the mower beat you & itself up.
... Speed is not everything in the whole ZTR picture

True, speed is not everything, but it is important. And yes they can cut at 12 or even 14mph. Cut quality suffers and stringers may appear but who cares if it's a commercial account. Who needs nice looking turf outside a rusted old factory?

Ever mowed 5 acres at once? How long would your walker need? Don't you wish you could race to the truck to dump instead of crawling at child speed. As for the bumpy ride that's what the suspension is for. Give a ferris, hustler /w flex forks or badboy a demo. With the optional susp. seat and you'll see just how well it rides. No more lumber wagons.

Sure I'm stuck at 6mph in wet, tall, thick grass like anyone else. But that's not every day and on dry months you just fly.