View Full Version : Most productive mower for gated yards?

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 08:19 PM
I'm trying to get a wish list together for next season. I sold most of my equipment off last year after an injury forced some time off(season). I kept a JD 21" trimmer,blower,verticut machine and basic hand tools but that is it other than my truck and trailer. My Dr. says I will be good to go next season so I'm trying to get things back in line.
The yards I will be doing are mostly gated yards in the range of 6000 sq ' per lawn. I had a 37" toro belt drive with recycler deck that did ok but looking for something else. I was faster alot of times with a 21" than the 36 in the tight yards. Getting the 36 out in the open abit would have been a differnt story. I've been saving my money for this all year and don't want to drop the ball.
I know alot of guys comment on the fact that a hydro has positive reverse but I'm not sure that is a big deal for me as the 37" didn't have a working reverse and it was never an issue for me. I have used the search on this site and have looked at the Flex-deck but hate to have to weld on a brand new machine. The 37 I had was a pain to get into alot of gates as it was so I can't think any bigger would work. I mow with myself and 1 guy and have thought about getting a 48 or 52 to do the front and sides and have him do the back but would like some input. I'm not really geared to do very big lawns and normally get way out bid. The small lawns seem to be less marketed in my area. I have had problems with customers not wanting a big machine but I think it is time to find out just how bad they want me. I would like to have you rated the mower you would get for mulching, bagging and general quality. I do like the t bar that the Toro had and had an Encore for a while that I hated the hand controls on.
Mowing is not my main deal but will have to pick up as I will no longer be doing any tree work as my arm will not take it. My budget is up in the air as I don't want the price to limit what would make me more money but do have to be reasonable. Thoughts on a stander of some kind would be good and I have never used a sulkey or other riding device but thing this would help speed up the day. Thanks for the replys.

09-15-2002, 08:25 PM
Go for the ultimate mower. If I were to choose, I would buy a 2002 Scag 52" SWZ hydro, w/Bull Rider and a nice catcher. Hopefully if I make enought money this fall, I might be able to buy one in the spring. For the smaller ggated areas, I would look into like a sutech maybe or another 36".

09-15-2002, 08:31 PM
i agree on the scagg ulimate they are great mowers cut and stripe great.

For gates a 32 or 36 belt drive should do fine scag toro exmark are all good walkbehinds

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 08:38 PM
Looking for abit more insight.

Green Pastures
09-15-2002, 08:53 PM
Depends on the size of the gates. I'm assuming you mean small gates.

I love my 36" Toro hydro W/B. I've got the soft bagger for it if I need to gather some trash/leaves/grass. But for the most part I just mulch. I do not have the mulch kit, where it partitions the deck off, I just use sharp gators.

I'll never buy a belt drive w/b again, I love being able to go from forwards to reverse by just pushing or pulling my t-bar.


09-15-2002, 09:05 PM
I forget the brand, I think maybe it was Hustler, that is a 48'' cut but folds up to go thru gates. I saw it at the Expo 2002, seemed like a sweet set up. LGF or some body else might know for sure the brand.

09-15-2002, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by Brickman
I forget the brand, I think maybe it was Hustler, that is a 48'' cut but folds up to go thru gates. I saw it at the Expo 2002, seemed like a sweet set up. LGF or some body else might know for sure the brand.

It was a Hustler GateMaster

Here is a pic.

09-15-2002, 09:12 PM
i'm looking at getting a "stealth mower" which has a width of 33 inches to get through most back yard gates. its only draw back is its a belt drive. its a fairly new mower about 2 years on the market.

you plant it I'll maintain it

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 09:15 PM
What does the Hustler cost? How do you change mower height? I saw a picture of this mower before and thought it looked like the ticket. Mow speed? Is it a ride on? If not what does most use as a ride on acces?

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 09:18 PM
Parkmaster, I would look into the Stealth very carefully as everyone that I've talked that have one wish they would have bought something else. I don't know for myself but just what I've heard.

09-15-2002, 09:25 PM
Originally posted by soccer coach
What does the Hustler cost? How do you change mower height? I saw a picture of this mower before and thought it looked like the ticket. Mow speed? Is it a ride on? If not what does most use as a ride on acces?

No pricing is available yet, this mower is a prototype, and we are looking for people to test it.
Here is a link to a thread with that info.......

The cutting height is adjusted with a crank lever, it raises and lowers the chains that the deck is suspended by.
The speed would be that of a average stock hydro walk behind, in most cases top speed is 6 mph.
It is not a ride on, you may purchase any velky type stand on sulky.
Here is a pic of the unit where you can see the height adjustment lever.


09-15-2002, 09:43 PM
I owned a stealth for a couple of weeks. I wasn't very happy with it. I have a lazer and bought it for backyards with small gates. I also got it for use on steep slopes. Thats where the problems began. Yes, it's belt driven, but you can't control the steering. Trying to keep that thing straight going across a slope is no fun. Go up and down then, not a chance......no way to brake:eek: Got rid of it and got a 36" toro. I know this is only my second post in over a year, but I have been doing a lot of reading when I get a chance to visit. I must say there are a lot of individuals here who know what they are talking about. Great to be here and hope to post more often in the future.

09-15-2002, 09:44 PM
We use an old John Deer 36" belt drive to do just about everything you would need a 21" for. The 36" is light compared to the 48"+ machines, so we haven't really found the need for reverse on it.

The Hustler certainly looks interesting!

09-15-2002, 09:59 PM
soccer coach, i have the same situation as you, only here there are very little large lawns, so it's not really a choice what size you mow here. my lawns are mostly around 3000 sqft but range from 500 - 9000 sqft. i did my homework on this subject about size, and gates. i debated for 2 years and have just last week got my hands on a 36" stander. here's what i determined. small lawns require high manuverablity so anything gear drive is out of the question. second i looked for the mower with the smallest footprint. that's when i first looked at the standers. compare the overall length of any WB with or without a sulky and you'll see that the standers are about half as long. plus the standers have other advantages like they take up less trailer space, and they have great visibility which i personally really like. but what finally made up my mind was demoing both types, i demoed a 36" exmark tthp and a 36" wright stander, the stander won hands down.

09-15-2002, 10:01 PM
It seems I get a lot of flak for mentioning my product whereas no one else does, but here goes again:

If you want another option for gated yards, get a Hustler, or eXmark WB - 36" with the biggest engine they offer and put the Flex-Deck Trimming and contour mowing attachment on it. You will save at least one employee due to mowing and trimming time savings.

I am going to post a couple of pics here because this thread is asking for some options, so all you guys that are giving me @@@@ just stay away from this thread.

Do you need to mow under stuff? Over stuff? Between stuff? - Contour mow ditches etc? - Check out the next three or four posts with pics.

Over culverts etc


09-15-2002, 10:03 PM
Under Treeshttp://52X

09-15-2002, 10:05 PM
Between Stuffhttp://52X

09-15-2002, 10:07 PM
Get thru gateshttp://36X

09-15-2002, 10:12 PM
I agree with Aiellandscaping, if you're getting a 36", chances are you have small tight lawns and a hydro is something that really should be looked into. Come on, its only $1,500 more for less maintenance, higher productivity, and better maneuverablity. You do the math. Demo as many as you can and find out what you like and what gets the job done. I personally like Exmark. Good luck.

09-15-2002, 10:19 PM
just saw a pic of the gatemaster looks like the machine i want to use. have two scags a 48 and 61 ztr turf tiger. would make some backyards a lot easier.

you plant it, I'll maintain it

09-15-2002, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by mowerconsultant

No pricing is available yet, this mower is a prototype, and we are looking for people to test it.
Here is a link to a thread with that info.......


soccer coach here is your opportunity. I would jump on it if I could.

As for the guys giving Flex-deck @@@@, STAY away. He is a nice man.


soccer coach
09-15-2002, 10:27 PM
Aiel, I have looked at the Wright here on Lawnsite and Wright's site but I don't think they will work for me as I need to be able to change cut heights alot. I have some Zoysia lawns and some fescue that mow at different heights. I have heard from the dealer that sells the JD version and the Wright that the Wright is a pain in the but to change height with spacers and the JD is only 150.00 more for a floating deck with easy height adjustment. Tell me if I have my wires crossed but the dealer said they Wright and JD work well, just the Wright he felt had the height changing against it.
Flex-Deck, I have looked at your package and it looks to me that the deck sits offset to make the width more than 36" to keep it from going through the gate. What is the total width on a 36" ? I'm not sure I could bring myself to welding on my brnad new machine either. I can see the need for your product as an add on to an already owned mower but it seems to me a gut should but a mower that fits his current need and not but a machine and turn around and have to modify it from the start. Not trying to bring you down as like I say I think your deal is perfect for guys with smaller mowers that want more production out of them.

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 10:36 PM
FlexDeck, Dad and I just talked about a certain job your deck would save a bunch of time on and from the picture with the hydrant it is hard to tell just how wide it is. What does adding this to a new Exmark do to the warranty?

09-15-2002, 10:37 PM
soccer coach - We add 1 3/4" to the width when in transport which is enough to make a 36" gate somewhat difficult, but we are offset forward which means if the gate swings the right way you can walk the flex-deck thru - if it does not, the Flex-Deck comes off in 30 seconds and goes back on just a quick. and our bracket only adds 1/8".

I am sypathetic to you people with new machines that do not want them modified, but if you visit my web page (tesimonial page, you will see that a lot of the owners of the flex-deck had the same problem, but once they made the plunge they are very happsie campers.

Thanks, Brad - Here is what the bracket looks like with the deck off-after modification and rewelding my bracket on the deck it is as strong or stronger the the original deck. - we just have to incurve the front left corner instead of out curve like it comes -- except for the Hustler which has a deck skirt that follows the blade - there is no deck cutting on that one - just some of the reenforcement bar along the bottom of the skirt needs removal

Thanks, Bradhttp://36X

09-15-2002, 10:48 PM
Soccercoach- I am in the same boat as you although my 36" gets to see the tight back yards and some wide open areas. I would buy the Hustler gate master in a minute but I need a mower by Spring at the latest, so I cant wait for Prototypes to be tested.
Although I am glad to see Hustler is taking the time to make sure it holds up.
I think I will probably buy a 36" Hydro WB sometime between now and Spring (I'll keep my eyes and ears open and let you know if I come acros something better). Whats you time frame to buy?

Go Hydro as you will be less worn out at the end of the day (especially on tight yards).


soccer coach
09-15-2002, 11:05 PM
Feb. at the latest. Flex, Thanks for the frontal shot. That sheds some light. If a guy was to buy one would you put it on if the mower came to you? I haven't had any luck having things fab. for me before. I get up in Iowa to see family regularly. I assume this kicks the warranty to the curb? That would be a bad deal but most stuf I've ever tried to get done on warranty is a joke anyway.

09-15-2002, 11:08 PM
Soccercoach and other guys,

Every one is talking about a 36 inch mower when exmark has a 32" belt drive that will fit almost all gates, and for brad, will accept the flex deck and stay under the 36" width with the deck removed. I would think about the hustler gatemaster deal or go with an exmark 32" or 36" metro beltdrive. If it was me buying my main commercial mower I would check what dealers had the best service close to me and then check out what lines they sold. then go with reputation of the brand with other LCO's.

IMHO I'd be going for the Exmark 36 or 32 if small gates was an issue or get a 48" metro and a good 21" honda for the small back yards. I'm not too keen on Scag Or Encore. But if you have to get one of the last two i listed get the scag. encore mowers stink.


09-15-2002, 11:19 PM
Soccer Coach - Tell me when, and what mower you are bringing - If it is one I have done it takes a couple of hrs. - If it is one I have not done yet, It may take longer - Where are your relatives - What color do you want the deck. - I am just north of Burlington Iowa - SE Corner of the state

Thanks, Brad

soccer coach
09-15-2002, 11:28 PM
I have some in Red Oak, COuncil Bluffs, and Des Moines. I am concerned with warranty abit. Do the dealers look the other way or is the warranty a done deal? Send me a private message if you want about it. If I end up with a Flex Deck it looks that I would go with a Exmark.

09-15-2002, 11:43 PM
soccer coach what heights are you talking about changing to? personally all my lawns are 2.5" and i never go below 1.5 or over 3" ... the standers height settings for this range is really easy to adjust and only takes 30-60 seconds even for me. but if i didn't buy a stander, i'd have bought a super surfer. just so you know, the height settings on the stander can be changed several ways, the settings on the front casters are the easy ones. there is a setting behind the deck that is more difficult to change but is for drastic height changes. also there are seven castors that can be switched to change the height of the blade from the deck in .25" increments.

soccer coach
09-16-2002, 12:01 AM
Aiel, I was going off the info the dealer told me. Story of my life with dealers. I live in a small town in SW MO. I'm moving back to the KC area after my surgery is done on my arm. I'm trying to get my ducks on a row for next year. I will buy from a dealer in the KC area for whatever I buy. What did you give for yours? As far as changing the height that swing would work fine. I do some Zoysia as well as fecue that during the summer I cut at 3" but try to cut the Zoysia as low as I can per customer. It seems that a guy has alot of good options anymore and that's good for us but hard to decide.

09-16-2002, 12:29 AM
i got mine for a promotional price of 3999.00. i also bought a mulch kit for 69.00 and a grass gobbler for 208.00.

09-16-2002, 12:35 AM
soccer coach - it goes goooood on an eXmark

Thanks, Bradhttp://52X

The Mowerdude
09-16-2002, 12:54 AM
I may be a little out of the loop here but, if there is a concern about the flex-deck voiding the warranty, I can't remember ever having a warranty problem on ANY mower's cutting deck. Every mower I've ever owned has had an excellent deck. Any warranty problems I've had were with other things anyway.

But, I can see it now: " Mr. Dude, we can't fix that air filter vibration problem because of this flex-deck thing." :D

Lance L
09-16-2002, 12:59 AM
ive got a 32" exmark viking hydro and i love it. wouldnt have any different all the gates here in the dallas area are 32-36" a 36 wouldnt cut it for me. my yards are all at 3 1/2" s and i dont change the heights so it suits me fine but if you are changing heights alot i would try to get a floating deck to make it easy. you could save the money now by not getting a floating deck or hydro but if u ever try one you will wish you had spent the extra if you are using it constantly... so if you dont go with a 32 i would get a turf tracer hp 36, its a hydro and floating deck... their arent any 32 floating and hydro its one or the other but i think you would rather have a hydro over a floating deck... and im talking to flex dek about getting one on my 32... more than 50% more width would definately speed things up on sumthing that small.

good luck

soccer coach
09-16-2002, 01:01 AM
That is what I was thinking. I have heard every reason why it is not covered I guess that would just give me one more,ha.

soccer coach
09-16-2002, 02:44 PM
Brad, Did you get my e-mail?

09-16-2002, 08:25 PM
You might want to consider looking at the Ferris 36" Single Hydro model. It's more expensive than a belt but not quite as expensive as a double hydro system. Ferris will also be coming out with a 32" version of this highly successful model next year. Then, there is also the Troy Bilt 33" to consider too.

09-16-2002, 08:31 PM
Not to knock anyones product but i sure hope that gatemaster cuts better than it looks it sure looks like it would be hard to handle but maybe not. Also when deck flips up thats just something else that can go wrong or thats the way i see. I really like my scag ultimate machines ( i have 2) also,one has over 1300 hrs with no problems at all

09-16-2002, 09:04 PM
Notice- I'm not going to be giving anyone @@@@ about the FD here as long as LGF steers clear... it's him that pisses me not Brad mainly... read on in peace guys...

Hey Brad, some ideas...
It would be really sweet for large gated lawns with small gates to have a Hustler Gatemaster with a Flex Deck. You get 66" cut and with the Gatemaster already offset so much, you could really get it out there! Also, when are you gonna have it for stand on mowers? Why aren't they on eXmark ZTR's yet, because Dixie has patent on it being on a ride-on ZTR? Would that mean you can't put it on a stand on either?
Peace :angel:

09-16-2002, 10:01 PM

I dont know much about what you are reffering to but the reason for not putting it on a ZTR is not possibly because of any patents that Dixie has thats for sure. Brad or anyone else could buy a machine and modify it anyway they want and Dixie couldnt do anything.
Now if Brad decided to get in with another mower MFG, and start bolting them on from the factory that would certianly be a Patent infringement.

Again I dont know anything about any Patents Dixie might have I am just using it as an example to explain to Bushhogboy how patents work.


09-16-2002, 10:16 PM
In my 2002 Dixie Chopper "catalog" brochure booklet, it says that Flex Deck and DC have a patent thing going I think it is maybe I guess basically it just means that DC is the only one who can put a FD on a mid mount ZTR w/o it voiding warranty and I don't know if it is factory or dealer installed or not either. Maybe it doesn't make a lick of difference though. Of course you could always put one on another mower but would it void your warranty? I just thought that DC and FD had an agreement on the matter and maybe that has already expired I dunno. Just a suggestion...

09-16-2002, 10:31 PM
bushhogboy -

1. I patented the Flex-Deck - I have an exclusive License agreement with Dixie Chopper for the ZTR market. They make their own decks and either mount them at the factory, or also they have dealers mount them

2. We have negotiated a reverse License agreement that allows me to sell my Flex-Deck to owners of other ZTR brands. We want more exposure.

3. If you do not know what a license agreement is, I am not going to explain it - look it up in the dictionary - under L.

4. As far as posting, and putting pics up on threads, I have tried to be careful in that I only post on threads that are discussing WB's that need to get thru gates, then fold out into wider decks. That is what we do - I notice Hustler is in on all of them too with the new Gatemaster, and they post pics, and they have a VERY GREAT IDEA, and it fits those posts too, but nobody seems to give them any ####.

5. You as consumer have about three very good choices as far as getting thru the gates - then mowing with a wider mower. A. The Great Dane - Still a fixed deck when lowered, B. Hustler Gatemaster - Still a fixed deck when lowered, C. Flex-Deck - Pivoting Contour mowing setup - Offset forward instead of on the back corner so it trims in more places. - - - - - One more Pic - - Hope it doesn't bother you.

Thanks, Bradhttp://36X

09-16-2002, 11:18 PM
Thanks for clearing up that issue on the deal with Dixie and Flex Deck. I dont' get so annoyed at you as I do LGF, he is very detrimental to Flex Deck in my opinion. He turns people off with his attitude about things. About the pics, they just make it take longer to load and makes it harder to zip about lawnsite which is just something personal maybe :)
Have a nice evening, :) :cool:

09-17-2002, 12:33 AM
Soccer dude in my opinion you would be happy with the Flex Deck. It would take me a few to learn how to run it, but after that I think it would do just as Brad says and save a lot of time. If I were still in the biz and in the market I would not hesitate to get one, or at least take another long look at it.

09-17-2002, 12:34 AM
Sorry to jump in there without knowing the facts....thats why I was careful with how I put things. I didnt realize Brad was already working with Dixie...thats a whole different ball game.

Brad- The reason I like the gatemaster is that its already put together no mods. Its really that simple, and from what I have read others feel the same way.
However your design gives that added flex, which is great in its own right. As I said before you need to hook-up with a MFG to get it on the WB's from the factory (I hope your current agreement with Dixie) will eventually allow you to do that?


09-17-2002, 02:19 AM
About the pics, they just make it take longer to load and makes it harder to zip about lawnsite
If your using Microsoft Internet explorer To make Web pages load faster, click the Tools menu, click Internet Options, click the Advanced tab, then turn off sounds and pictures.

Netscape you open edit, open preferences go to advanced open it UN check the box marked Automatically load pictures. There you go.
If youíre using a different browser than one of these use the help menu . I hope this helps. Good luck!

09-17-2002, 03:19 AM
Originally posted by mowerconsultant

No pricing is available yet, this mower is a prototype, and we are looking for people to test it.

I'll give it a shot!:D

Gates aren't a factor right now, but I've got a couple of hills that would give it a run for it's money.

09-17-2002, 07:12 AM
What are the specs. on the gatemaster. What is the width with the deck up. How stable is the mower on a trailer? You could put a bunch of these on a small trailer with the deck verticle. How hard is it to put the deck up and down. YES!! I signed up to test this baby.

09-17-2002, 08:11 AM
since allot of you are mower experts i thought I'd post this here rather than starting a new post....this winter I need to buy a smaller walk behind(have a Z now)...I have 3 commercial properties with very steep banks on parts of the properties....is there a mower set up you would recommend for hilly terrain??? I'm leaning towards a Viking 36 hydro...but if I'm missing a better solution please tell me ...thanks

09-17-2002, 10:04 PM
Put the Flex-Deck on the 36 eXmark and the offset weight will get you places you have never been before. I don't have pics yet but i can do ditches and stuff that even a tractor can not do. Call Mediapolis Farm Equip. Inc, as I do their mowing and ask for the manager - he can attest to that fact.

Thanks, Brad

09-18-2002, 12:07 AM
saw something about a 33" sushit.

don't do it .

09-18-2002, 10:52 AM
Jimbo - Thanks, you are right - it would be nice to have the Flex-Deck come from the factory on a WB.

It is somewhat inconvienient to have to modify your mower deck to mount the Flex-Deck, but I can definitly say and my customers difinitly will say that it is worth it.

The best deal is if people can bring their deck to me here in SE. Iowa, as I have had a lot of experience putting these on.

Thanks, Brad

09-18-2002, 11:23 AM
I just saw that Encore has a 34" hydro ztr with a 15hp kaw. I don't have any experience with it, but it looks like a good one for back yards. It would fit in alot of the gates.

09-18-2002, 05:52 PM

I am a little too far away to accept your offer, but I (and probably others) are curious how much extra you would charge to install the flex deck? What is the price for the Flex Deck by itself?


09-18-2002, 10:56 PM
We sell direct for $1299 - (shipping and all fixtures and manuals necessary to mount the deck are included) - web page has MSRP of $1495 - This gives you a Couple of hundered dollars to play with as far as paying welders etc - Takes 3 hrs or so for the first deck mounting they have to kind of wade thru the manual one step at a time - Once you get the feel of it and understand the manual it only takes 1.5 hrs.

Thanks, Brad - PS - here is what the bracket on the mower looks like after mounting - The Flex-Deck slides on or off this bracket in about 20-30 secondshttp://36X