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View Full Version : ZTR Questions - "BigDog" model, also ROPS


coughlin47
05-31-2010, 09:37 PM
I’ve just begun my research on ZTRs and plan on the purchase by early next spring, unless I find a good end of season sale. I have two acres to mow, and I spend up to 3 hours per day commuting to/from my job, so spending another 3 hours mowing my yard twice a week is really wearing me down – hence my desire to move to a ZTR. The Hustler FasTrak 48/54 is on my short list. I noticed that they launched their ‘BigDog’ model, and there really isn’t much information regarding feedback/reviews from owners. I’d like to keep the purchase less that $5k, and the BigDog R754 falls in that price range and has some features that other residential models do not have, including roll over protection system.
Does anybody have experience with the BigDog model? I’ve read some stories about some serious accidents with ZTRs, and resulting injuries to those operators not using ROPS (mainly commercial use). My land is approx 300 by 300 and slopes approx 20 feet, so I really don’t have any hills/slopes to worry about. (Other than the sand mound, which I’ll mow by hand). Would I be advised to look for a unit with ROPS, or is it really not needed in my case. (Interesting in that I have two neighbors with ZTRs – one with flat land and has a mower with ZTR, and another neighbor with a very steep hill, and he doesn’t have ROPS, and drives his unit like crazy!).
Important to me is having a ride that is easier on the back than my current tractor. I have a lower back problem, and after riding the tractor for 3 hours I can hardly get off the machine, much less walk for a while.
This is my first post, and I’ve read many of the ZTR message threads, and will continue to do my research, however, if you have other suggestions to add to my short list, I’d appreciate it. I look forward to being an active participant.
Oh yeah – just upgraded my ‘shed’ in anticipation of the ZTR (good excuse) – now have a 12 by 24 high side with 9ft garage door – so, I’m ready for a new occupant.
Bill

2001FZ1
05-31-2010, 10:20 PM
If you are worried about your back, look for a model with the suspension seat. Also may want to consider a Ferris or Simplicity - they have models with 4-wheel suspension.

ROPS - I took mine off so I didn't have to trim all my trees to high. If I was doing a lot of steep hills, I would leave it on.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR DEALS!!! The dealers are wanting to get rid of their left over 2009 models. Call around to see who has what left. You could take that 3hr chore down to 90mins easy. My 1.8 acres (and 60 trees) with the 44" Simplicity went from 2.25hrs to a 68 minutes with the 48" Scag.

MS_SURVEYOR
05-31-2010, 11:17 PM
ROPS? I own a Bad Boy ztr without rops. I too would have to trim way too many trees to get under them. I have some slopes on my property. Not bad. I have a couple of steep banks I stay away from. The last thing I want to do is flip, roll, or turn over. Common seance goes a long ways!:hammerhead: I don't know anything about BigDog mowers. I know they are built by the same company that owns Hustler. As far as a rough ride. I have found that large rear tires with low tire pressures sure does help the ride. I have 23 inch tires on my Bad Boy Pup. I run 8 psi of pressure front and rear. Really a lot smoother than my lawn tractor. But you having back problems sure could use a suspension seat. My mower is rated for 10 mph. I've tested it on pavement at 9.5 mph. I mow at about 4 to 5 mph. Anything faster would give me a bad mow, and take it's toll on me and the mower. Like I said, Common Seance goes a long ways.

biggziff
06-01-2010, 10:47 AM
The suspension on the smaller Ferris models (500, 1500) really doesn't do anything. I demo'd several Ferris back to back with other makes like Exmark and the 1500 Ferris rode about the same as the Exmark without suspension. Now, the 2100 and 3100 Ferris really do have an advantage, but even the 1500 would be overkill for the size lawn you've outlined here.

For what you're doing, you'd have a hard time buying a bad unit. Commercial units are overkill so either buy a new homeowner unit or a used commercial and you'll be perfectly happy. Don't over-think this....not really much to it.

Have fun.

coughlin47
06-01-2010, 11:39 AM
....snip...
For what you're doing, you'd have a hard time buying a bad unit. Commercial units are overkill so either buy a new homeowner unit or a used commercial and you'll be perfectly happy. Don't over-think this....not really much to it.

Have fun.


Good advice. I tend to over analyze everything I purchase. I usually end up buying what I can afford, as long as there aren't any major negative reviews. For this purchase, I'm finding many 'can't go wrong' models, and it may come down to the service I've been receiving for 20 years from my dealer. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Bill

coughlin47
06-01-2010, 11:41 AM
ROPS? I own a Bad Boy ztr without rops. I too would have to trim way too many trees to get under them. I have some slopes on my property. Not bad. I have a couple of steep banks I stay away from. The last thing I want to do is flip, roll, or turn over. Common seance goes a long ways!:hammerhead: I don't know anything about BigDog mowers. I know they are built by the same company that owns Hustler. As far as a rough ride. I have found that large rear tires with low tire pressures sure does help the ride. I have 23 inch tires on my Bad Boy Pup. I run 8 psi of pressure front and rear. Really a lot smoother than my lawn tractor. But you having back problems sure could use a suspension seat. My mower is rated for 10 mph. I've tested it on pavement at 9.5 mph. I mow at about 4 to 5 mph. Anything faster would give me a bad mow, and take it's toll on me and the mower. Like I said, Common Seance goes a long ways.
I've been reading various message threads here, and the good advice seems to be 'use common sense'. Once in a while I tend to do some stupid things without thinking, and it's obvious that if I purchase a ZTR I have to be much more careful and pay attention to what I am doing.
Thanks,
Bill

biggziff
06-01-2010, 11:43 AM
Good advice. I tend to over analyze everything I purchase. I usually end up buying what I can afford, as long as there aren't any major negative reviews. For this purchase, I'm finding many 'can't go wrong' models, and it may come down to the service I've been receiving for 20 years from my dealer. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Bill

We share a common trait...I also research this stuff to the nth degree. I like research, but sometimes we just need to pick one and go!

Have fun with it. I'm loving my used Exmark! :dancing:

coughlin47
06-01-2010, 11:44 AM
If you are worried about your back, look for a model with the suspension seat. Also may want to consider a Ferris or Simplicity - they have models with 4-wheel suspension.

ROPS - I took mine off so I didn't have to trim all my trees to high. If I was doing a lot of steep hills, I would leave it on.

NOW IS THE TIME FOR DEALS!!! The dealers are wanting to get rid of their left over 2009 models. Call around to see who has what left. You could take that 3hr chore down to 90mins easy. My 1.8 acres (and 60 trees) with the 44" Simplicity went from 2.25hrs to a 68 minutes with the 48" Scag.
I don't have as many trees, and I hadn't thought about cutting under the trees. I shouldn't need ROPS, other than the sand mound and I don't think I'll be dumb enough to try to cut that. I think Scag Freedom just made my short list as well, although now I'm pushing the higher end of what I want to spend.
Bill

2001FZ1
06-01-2010, 01:32 PM
I don't have as many trees, and I hadn't thought about cutting under the trees. I shouldn't need ROPS, other than the sand mound and I don't think I'll be dumb enough to try to cut that. I think Scag Freedom just made my short list as well, although now I'm pushing the higher end of what I want to spend.
Bill

The 2009 Freedom Zs are selling for a tad under $5k around here. They seems to be pretty well built. The only reason I didn't go with the Freedom is due to my yard and the church's yard being rough.

thomasglenn
06-01-2010, 03:59 PM
I just got my first ztr about a month ago. I got an exmark with ROPS, the only near flip, roll over, or whatever you want to call it was because of the ROPS. I wasn't paying attention to my overhead clearance, hung up on a light pole guidewire and almost flipped backwards. I put it down and it hasn't been up since. I say if ROPS comes with a good deal on a mower get it, but if you don't need it don't let it be a deciding factor in your purchase. As far as what brand, I am partial to Exmark, but if Scag, Toro, or any other brand was what I chose I would be partial to that brand. Mine is a quest sp, bought it for about 5350.00 delivered. It has springs on the seat to add comfort. I've had back issues in the past so I am very careful with it. My mower is only a 44 inch cut but honestly it cuts the mow time so much that I don't regret not getting a bigger deck. I made the decision on what to buy by reading reviews, comparing hydrolics, decks, prices, location of dealer, and my personal needs. I would say get the lower end of commercial equipment rather than residential equipment.

biggziff
06-01-2010, 04:09 PM
the only near flip, roll over, or whatever you want to call it was because of the ROPS.

Me too....I had the ROPS folded, but one of the uprights caught a horizontal branch of an Apple tree and I did my first wheelie. Pretty scary at the time.

coughlin47
06-01-2010, 07:37 PM
I just got my first ztr about a month ago. I got an exmark with ROPS, the only near flip, roll over, or whatever you want to call it was because of the ROPS. I wasn't paying attention to my overhead clearance, hung up on a light pole guidewire and almost flipped backwards. I put it down and it hasn't been up since. I say if ROPS comes with a good deal on a mower get it, but if you don't need it don't let it be a deciding factor in your purchase. As far as what brand, I am partial to Exmark, but if Scag, Toro, or any other brand was what I chose I would be partial to that brand. Mine is a quest sp, bought it for about 5350.00 delivered. It has springs on the seat to add comfort. I've had back issues in the past so I am very careful with it. My mower is only a 44 inch cut but honestly it cuts the mow time so much that I don't regret not getting a bigger deck. I made the decision on what to buy by reading reviews, comparing hydrolics, decks, prices, location of dealer, and my personal needs. I would say get the lower end of commercial equipment rather than residential equipment.
Wow - I wouldn't have thought about the ROPS actually almost causing a rollover. I do have quite a few trees I go under, and as I said before, I probably don't need it due to the slope of my land. I got a quote today for Exmark Quest 52in for 5135, so that is on my short list. I have to say, however, that the specs on the BigDog 54 (R754) look good for $5K. I have to save, save, save, however, as I just dropped a bundle replacing my old shed. I will also consider 48 inch deck if the price is right.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Regards,
Bill

thomasglenn
06-02-2010, 09:06 AM
caughlin47, I was looking at the plain quest at first but the dealer steered me away from it. The quest sp has better hydrolics and a better built frame. The price I got was 4999 plus tax. Mine is a 44 inch cut but coming off of a tractor type mower it makes mowing so much faster that it's fine with me, plus when the time comes to replace spindles and blades it only has 2 of each. The sp is built more in the commercial line than the plain quest and comes with a better engine from what I've heard and read when I was looking. I chose exmark partially because of the service my dealer offers, if he didn't offer good service I might have chose a different brand, I was looking hard at scag first but the dealer was rude when I called and asked for a price so I marked them off. I'm sure there are several brands that compare in that price range and I think you would be happy with most of them. You said you had alot of trees to mow under, if they have low limbs the ROPS is gonna be your enemy in the up position. I had a friend tell me that before I bought and now I believe him. As far as deck size, I thought I wanted a bigger deck size and had just about ruled out anything under a 48 inch until I saw someone mowing with the quest 42 inch. I started figuring how much time would really be lost on a single yard with the 42 vs. a 48. You will have to make an extra pass or two but thats it. It wasn't worth the extra $500 for the next size deck as a home mower. The day I got my mower I cut my fathers yard, my nephew helped me with his 46 inch lazer, my mower is a little newer than his but cuts just as good and just as fast. We cut 4 acres in under an hour. I don't think I will ever regret buying this mower.

coughlin47
06-02-2010, 11:05 AM
caughlin47, I was looking at the plain quest at first but the dealer steered me away from it. The quest sp has better hydrolics and a better built frame. The price I got was 4999 plus tax. Mine is a 44 inch cut but coming off of a tractor type mower it makes mowing so much faster that it's fine with me, plus when the time comes to replace spindles and blades it only has 2 of each. The sp is built more in the commercial line than the plain quest and comes with a better engine from what I've heard and read when I was looking. I chose exmark partially because of the service my dealer offers, if he didn't offer good service I might have chose a different brand, I was looking hard at scag first but the dealer was rude when I called and asked for a price so I marked them off. I'm sure there are several brands that compare in that price range and I think you would be happy with most of them. You said you had alot of trees to mow under, if they have low limbs the ROPS is gonna be your enemy in the up position. I had a friend tell me that before I bought and now I believe him. As far as deck size, I thought I wanted a bigger deck size and had just about ruled out anything under a 48 inch until I saw someone mowing with the quest 42 inch. I started figuring how much time would really be lost on a single yard with the 42 vs. a 48. You will have to make an extra pass or two but thats it. It wasn't worth the extra $500 for the next size deck as a home mower. The day I got my mower I cut my fathers yard, my nephew helped me with his 46 inch lazer, my mower is a little newer than his but cuts just as good and just as fast. We cut 4 acres in under an hour. I don't think I will ever regret buying this mower.
Thanks for the reply. I currently have a 48 inch deck on my riding mower, and just naturally thought bigger is a faster cut, but of course, now I realize that the advantage of ZTR is maneuverability and speed, so you are right - I'll probably be very content with 48 inch and save a few $$$. As I have a history of bad back, I probably won't be running full speed, but approx 3/4 of an acre of the 2+ acres I have is wide open and fairly smooth. Most of the 52/54 models are coming in higher than I'd like to go. I did get quote of 5135 for Quest 52 with 24hp Briggs. Someone suggested I check out Ferris if I'm looking for a ride that may be easier on my body. It seems as though my 'short list' is getting longer :)
Bill

thomasglenn
06-02-2010, 11:17 AM
Maybe you could demo a few and see which one is best on your back.