View Full Version : Searching: 36" Commercial Grade rider

Strawbridge Lawn
11-06-2002, 10:25 AM
2 years ago I started with a Simplicity 34" rider that is still in use today, but showing some wear and I anticipated that. I am looking for a commercial grade 34-36" rider to replace it.
This is my gated backyard and backup machine. It gives me the flexibility to rear bag, and tow attachments in those restricted access back yards.
I know about walk behinds, but I am 40, 5 ft tall and weigh 105 with thick sox on. Thank you in advance.

Strawbridge Lawn
& Landscape
Virginia Beach, VA

Bill Davis
11-06-2002, 10:33 AM
I still think that a walk-behind would be fine for you. Go and demo an Exmark hydro in the 36 inch deck. There are plenty of small men and women that I see regularly running them with no problem.

11-06-2002, 10:56 AM
Encore makes a 34" Zero turn rider. that would fit your situation. I think Dixon makes a 36" but I'm not sure if it's "commercal" grade. A 36" hydro WB with a sulky might be good for you.
Does anyone know if Walker makes a 36" or is 42" there smallest.
And I think Hustler makes a 37" Short-Cut rider. Then there is the Wright and Great Dany/John Deer Standers, I thinks they both make a 36" also.

And there are probalby a couple others. So you have several option.

I use a 36" belt drive with jungle wheels for my main mower.
most yard around 5K-10K sq ft.

good luck with your search.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-06-2002, 11:31 AM
Thanks for the replies thus far. Doing some research on the Standers now. Think the tractor widths on Walkers/Wright are wider than the 36" deck so I am hesitant about that but will research
more and look at the deere.. Thank folks

Richard Martin
11-06-2002, 12:31 PM
Dixie Chopper's 42" mower has a removable side making it accessable to 38" gate openings.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-06-2002, 01:28 PM
I looked at the Stander 36" some time ago and really thought the width of the machine was greater than 36" like in the 38-42 range. I just got a spec sheet off the net and it states that the width of the machine is 36.5".. HMMMMmmm
That is the closest I have seen thus far. The smallest Deere is a 48"
Can these Standers tow an aerator or de-thatcher?

11-06-2002, 01:56 PM
I would not tow anything with a Stander if you have any hills what so ever. They are not made to tow. Too much chance of getting run over by the thing behind you if you step off. Just my thoughts. They really don't have the mass needed to pull something like that IMHO. But they are great mowers!!!!!!!!

Richard Martin
11-06-2002, 04:01 PM
Gary, the 42" Chopper has the same hydro system that my big Chopper does and I pull my 2400 pound boat around with mine. I think the 42" Chopper could safely pull around anything you can put behind it.

11-06-2002, 06:20 PM
You can get a 48 in walker through a 42 in gate all day you just have to manuver it really well. But I think you can buy a walker w/ narrow drive tires and a 36 in deck it will pass through all 36 in gates.

11-06-2002, 06:30 PM
I believe 42" is the smallest tractor width for a Walker. Why anyone would buy a 36" deck to put on a 42" tractor is beyond me.

11-06-2002, 08:51 PM
A walker might be worth looking into. Once you get used to it it's very manuverable (sp?)


Envy Lawn Service
11-06-2002, 09:40 PM
Oh geez! Are you talking their rear engine rider? You must be because as far as I know all the Lawn Tractor styles ar atleast a 38".

I took a HARD look at all of Simplicity's products a good while back. I liked the striping roller idea. But it just seemed the deck would take a beating on rough ground. I decided to stay away from them when I knocked on the deck with my knuckles. I felt the thickness. Very thin and not even as much as a rolled edge.

If you are set on a lawn tractor I'd say get a John Deere LX 277 or LX279 LC Kawi with a 38" deck. You can even put there 38" on the GT and larger series as well.

Words of wisdom on John Deere...

#1 - Don't get cheap and buy their single cylinder, you'll be sorry.
#2 - If you have hills get the LT 180, you'll feel safer on side hills.
#3 - The decks come off an on vey quickly and easily. You could go with a 48" and drop the deck at the gate, put it back on, save time mowing and have a better deck overall. Only thing is, the powerflow bagger system is more expensive that the standard bagger for the 38" & 42"!!! But it's better too.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-10-2002, 05:10 PM
Thanks for your replies. I am looking at either a 36" Stander (really 37") or a Encore Z-34 at the moment. I have not hear much about Encore products,and what I had heard soome time ago was not all that great so I will be contemplating and continue to value the advice of you all here.
I e-mailed Wright about the stander because I need versatility(bagger/tow capability) and the stander just does not seem to have that.
Encore is a ZTR commercial grade 34 with a rear bagging option. Would think a tow hitch could be added.
FWIW I have used the Simplicity Coronet Hydro 34 for 2 years now. Machine has held up very well under allot of use. Many comments on the stripes as well. It was a starter machine, but now I need something commercial grade to to vompliment the Z-HP 52, yet get into tight spaces, bag, and tow an aerator or de-thatcher.
Thanks folks

Strawbridge Lawn and Landscape

Envy Lawn Service
11-10-2002, 05:43 PM
If I were you I'd come to my on conclusion about Encore's products. I think some stuff is better than others. But I also think it would be hard to go wrong with any of the true commercial grade mowers out there today.

The Z-34 does really sound like your best option since you want to tow and stuff. I'd try to demo one and see how it does. Get back to us about it too!!!

The other option you have that's not mentioned is to get a Hustler Gatemaster or a Great Dane Gateway. Talk about an extreme increase in mowing production! Then if the trailer is big enough, you can take the Coronet along for the ride on days something needs to be towed in those tight areas.

11-10-2002, 06:41 PM
GET THE Stander !!!!!!!!!!!!:D :D :D :D :D

No the Standers are not really designed to tow, but with some ingenuity, a hitch can be fabricated for them either attaching to the step plate bar or the th rear roller holes. They can bag and are good on hills.
BTW morturf, they have an OPC which if you step or fall off will shut the entire machine down in about 5 sec.

Envy Lawn Service
11-10-2002, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by KLMlawn
GET THE Stander !!!!!!!!!!!!:D :D :D :D :D
They can bag and are good on hills.

Are you talking like the grass gobblers? Just how good are they on hills compaired to other machines? I'm waiting to demo a Wright Sentar right now. I like the idea of being able to sit if I want.

11-10-2002, 08:31 PM
Walker does make a rider , with optional deck widths. They have a 36" GHS, one has to install different wheels and tires. I have a 48" GHS, with 20hp. Would like to get 36" GHS set-up to get in back yards with small gates, and then get a another Walker, 29hp unit for bigger areas.
Bottom line Walker can help, I am 40 and I too can't work like I was 25 , another reason I like Walkers.
Good Luck

11-10-2002, 09:35 PM
KLM That kill switch system is not foolproof and the machine does not stop rolling if you come off it especially on a hill. 5 sec. with a trailer behind you seems like a lot of time to get out of the way but I would not pull something like an aerator with it. Just me.

I think that the 36 is not as good on hills as the larger chassis. I think that you would have trouble with it holding the hill when the Gobbler has a lot in it and is on the down hill side, on the uphill side would not be a problem. Best of luck, Mike

11-11-2002, 12:45 AM
True, the Stander would not stop rolling, but it would slow down quite a bit, but then that is true with any hydro unless you had time to throw the parking brake. Actually it could be less time for the kill switch to shut it down, I was just guesstimating. Personally I don't have any real steep slopes that I mow, but the few that I do, the thing holds well and I really do not notice that much of a difference in the downward or upward side catcher pulling, maybe in a turn at the end could be a problem if it was wet, but that is about it.
Envy ... the Stander and the Sentar are two different animals but from the same concept ... if anything would be better of the two for hills and stability, it might very well be the Sentar.

11-11-2002, 01:06 AM
36 inch ZTR? Whoa, thats, um....really tiny. If you get a 36 inch Hydro Exmark WB you can put a sulky on it and it will be a heck of a whole lot cheaper than a ZTR! I cant fathom a 36 inch ZTR. Thats wild....


Strawbridge Lawn
11-11-2002, 03:14 PM
Again thanks for thefeedback folks.. Just to refocus, A Walk Behind would fit for mowing, but it is 1 dimensional in my case. I need the ability to tow an aerator/dethather/fertilizer and 17 SQ FT dump trailer for mulch, landscape and tree work. I operate solo and do more than just cut especially in Nov-Feb. Try to get as much as possible out of each machine to maximize profit and limit expoense.
I have coveted Walker owners for some time and will check out the 36".

Strawbridge Lawn
11-11-2002, 04:14 PM
Just checked out Walker specs.. Tractor width is much wider than the blade cut width from what i read. Not close to true 36"wide machine to get through the narrow gates and then do more than cut grass.

11-11-2002, 06:42 PM
Encore Power Equipment makes a 34" commercial ZTR.


Envy Lawn Service
11-11-2002, 09:51 PM

I do believe the Walker has a narrower tire setup for the smaller deck but I'm not sure. They also have front mount attachments like dethatchers and such. But "towing" carts and things with a Walker??? I may be wrong since I don't have one, but that doesn't seem like it would work out so good.

Again, in your situation you need either a Stander/Surfer/Walkbehind that will fit through the gates and keep the Coronet for towing in those areas. Or seek out an Encore Z34 and make your own opinion of it.

Or you could always try getting them to install a gate you can get 52" Lazer in and forget about the whole thing :D

11-11-2002, 10:35 PM
Smallest Walker tractor is 42" I believe.

I didn't read all the posts but the 36" Wright Stander would be much more productive than any 36" Z.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-12-2002, 10:43 AM
Going to check out the Encore Z34 today since it is rainin again here in VA.. Will let you know what I find out. If the stander can't efficiently bag or tow than it is not more productive for me. I do not want to re-pace properties aerate/thatch or fertilize.

Envy Lawn Service
11-12-2002, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by Gary
I do not want to re-pace properties aerate/thatch or fertilize.

Sounds like the Z34 is about the only choice then.

How did things go today? Get to see one?

Strawbridge Lawn
11-13-2002, 09:22 AM
Yes. I have mixed emotions over it though becasue it falls into a limited role rather than a multi-dimensional unit. Many of these companies go out of business because they make the same stuff everyone else does rather than be nnovative.
The Z-34 looks like a solid machine and is an example of a limited paradigm shift in this area. It is hydro not hydraulic. 15HP KAWA, Heavy Deck, It side bags (yuk) and has no tow hitch. The later 2 upset me. I called the company direct while at the dealer, and expressed to an engineer about what I felt would sell more Z-34's for his company.
1. High capacity rear bagger
2. Tow Bar for attachments
3. Optional Stipping kit.
- I realize we can mod it, but also wanted to get a warm and fuzzy over axle limitations..
The base machine is there, but at the moment, it does no more than a Walk Behind at a hydro walk behind price of around $4,300. A Simplicity Coronet 34 Hydro w/14 Kohler cost me $3,500 with all of the above already on the machine plus a front mount de-thatcher! Still runnin great after 2 years of hard use. ENCORE is close to something special IMO, especially for solo ops or 2 man crews looking to increase productivity and reduce fatigue, yet do more than just cut grass/bag when renovation season(s) come.

Envy Lawn Service
11-13-2002, 11:30 AM
You have me confused about the drive system???

As for a tow hitch, that should be no big deal to add on if it's designed in way that there is some steel in the proper place to weld one on.

Now about striping, Encore boasts 19,000 fpm blade tip speed. That along with proper deck pitch and you'd probably be surprised of the stripes you'd get. If not a homemade striping kit would be very easy to fabricate nd add on during the off season.

Now for bagging. With a deck that small it should be relatively easy to rig something up for a few hundred to get a 7-9 bushel capacity rear bagger. It shouldn't have to be a power flow style. Just a simple design. The hardest part would be finding or making something of the proper fit to match up with the discharge area.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-13-2002, 04:46 PM
When I mentioned Hydro I meant it was a sealed unti like the Simplicity. It is not Hydraulic or require synthetic oil like my Z.
I agree..There was sturdy metal framework surrounding the back, solid enough to accept welding. The Encore engineer said he thought it would be fine also. A stripin mod would also not be difficult.
To modify it for a rear bag would require a little more in depth piece-work, but would not be impossible. Since I Bag using 55 gal cleat bags
I would like to be able to bag into a big barrel container and dump directly into a bag or just pull the bag out. The other option for big jobs
modifying a a 10 SQR FT Agrifab tow trailer into a collection unit.. One thing I do not like doing is having to de-bag frequently.. Inefficient..
Thanks for your inmput.

Envy Lawn Service
11-13-2002, 09:25 PM
So it's like one sealed hydro unit on each side rather than a hydro pump and 2 wheel motors? I've been told those setups are homeowner Z's. Other examples being the Toro timecutter Z, Hustler fastrak, Cub 360Z series or White Outdoor.

That design probably wouldn't last as long as the design on other Z's. But other than that I can't really say if makes any more difference. These other guys could offer you better advise there! I'd be curious to know myself.

As for the catcher idea you have, I'll post some info on that as soon as I dig it up. I think you'll be interested.

11-13-2002, 11:34 PM
I had a 36" walker , 11 hp kawisaki , with smaller tires. I also have a 42" with 16 hp kolher with wider tires same frame. the 36 is old though and i havent seen any new 36" only 42".

Strawbridge Lawn
11-16-2002, 02:19 PM
This link is what I use to surf manufacturers..


TheEncore engineer told me the machines were not designed to tow, but could>??<<" With a sealed
residential-like hydro unit, I am not sure what that means for longer term wear and tear on the Z-34.

Our local Northern Tool had a Brigs powered vac unit mounted on an Agrifab trailer last spring. I have a 17 SQR FT traailer now so a catalog may be needed.

R Gary
Strawbridge Lawn
& Landscape

Envy Lawn Service
11-16-2002, 11:45 PM
Well, I really don't know what to make of the sealed v/s non-sealed hydro drive units. I didn't realize the hydro on my lawn tractor was sealed when I bought it. I figured you could change fluids yourself.

Turns out that most sealed units are "sealed" as in a consumer shouldn't change the fluids themselves. Most can be changed and have internal rather then external filters.

I'm told the reason for this is the the MFG's found they were having more problems and failures due to people messing with them. An air lock or a little trash can destroy a hydro very easily. So they label them sealed and don't include any info about service. As in how/where to even check fluid levels or how/where to drain them. The result has been longer, more trouble free service life and fluids that will generally last the service life of the unit. But some MFG's recommend you take it in to a certified tech every 500 hrs or so for service.

The hydro drive unit on my lawn tractor is a Peerless transaxle. I've been told these are the cheaper of hydro's and I've heard a lot of "down talking" of them in compairison to say HydroGear or Tuff Torq. I chose it over these because the reverse ground speed is the same as forward (or pretty close). I had a hydro that was a slug in reverse. I hated it.

Anyways, all that being said, I've worked mine very hard for two years, summer and winter. All of my mowing areas are hilly. I use it to tow lots of heavy stuff. Large drum style spikers, heavily weighted plugger sytle aerators, ripper attachments, cultivators, dump carts, heck anything it has the traction to pull. I've loaded the dump cart above level full of 4" solid brick several times and pulled it all over all types of terrain. I've pulled so much weight that my tow hitch has seriously seen it's better days. Absolutely zero problems out of the hydro (knock on wood) and no fluid change.

If you think of it really, the Coronet probably has a K-46 Tuff Torq hydro which is probably in quality to the hydros on the Z-34 right??? Think of what you have done with it.

01-28-2003, 03:17 AM
Originally posted by Strawbridge Lawn
Again thanks for thefeedback folks.. Just to refocus, A Walk Behind would fit for mowing, but it is 1 dimensional in my case. I need the ability to tow an aerator/dethather/fertilizer and 17 SQ FT dump trailer for mulch, landscape and tree work. I operate solo and do more than just cut especially in Nov-Feb. Try to get as much as possible out of each machine to maximize profit and limit expoense.
I have coveted Walker owners for some time and will check out the 36".

Gee, if all you need is a tow vehicle just buy whatever mower you want and an old used lawn tractor with a bent deck. I see them all the time advertised for a couple hundred or so. Just treat it as a disposable item.

Turf Dancer
01-28-2003, 03:52 AM
According to my dealer and If you pay attemtion to details you will see that the overall width of the walker on the specs is with a 42" deck attached=42.5" overall width ! It depends on the machine as to its overall width ! The S model I was told will fit through a 36" gate with the 36" deck ! You can get the other walker models with the narrow drive tires but I was also told by my local dealer that those tires also make the machine a little less stable on hills and he would not advise getting the larger hopper for this reason ! Would make it more top heavy !

01-28-2003, 02:27 PM
How about a Great Dane Gateway with a sulky. 52" Deck fold up to go through gate.

01-28-2003, 03:37 PM
Go buy a 36" metro hp. Get a set of jungle wheels too. And stop beating this dead a#$ horse. It will be more productive I promise. Ever think about bidding on a property with islands? GET A WB! And the hp is a floater. $3000 even go today!

Strawbridge Lawn
01-28-2003, 04:07 PM
My last post on this was in Nov. I am a solo and there is no way even a W/B can even come close to doing what a ZTR rider can do. If you like them that is fine, but if you looking for amachine that can do more for the money a W/B is NOT the way to go. Great for mowin and nothin else.

02-11-2003, 04:41 AM
Originally posted by Strawbridge Lawn
My last post on this was in Nov. I am a solo and there is no way even a W/B can even come close to doing what a ZTR rider can do. If you like them that is fine, but if you looking for amachine that can do more for the money a W/B is NOT the way to go. Great for mowin and nothin else.

Once again, don't buy a mower for towing . Buy it for how it mows. You will save a little money now and shoot yourself in the foot to the tune of thousands in lost productivity if you choose a mower based mostly on its small size and towing ability. And there are some very productive hydro wb's with stand on sulkys that you'd be surprised about. Face it, to be productive you're going to have to let loose a little cash and buy two machines, minimum. If you're full time, it'd pay for itself in a year.


1 Perhaps a 36" stander for gates ($4000) and an $800 Home Depot special lawn tractor for when you need to haul stuff around? Total less than $5000. Cheap!

2. Or a Walker 36" type C SD model that has a dump bed in back in place of the GHS? It would replace your cart. Maybe $7500.

3. (my choice for versatility) 32"/36" belt drive wb(to keep costs low) for gated areas, and whatever ZTR you wish for everthing else? If you use the small decked ZTRs on big lawns, you lose productivity. My Exmark Lazer Z hp has a 250 lb OEM hitch on it. WB $2400, ZTR $6000 and up total $8400 plus.

The Encore is great for back yards but will cost you on bigger lawns (slower, narrower, not as reliable reputation, poor resale value) . Maybe you do postage stamp lawns. If so, it might be a decent choice.

But for heavens sake, if you are really bagging so much a hang-on side bagger won't suffice, you should get the Walker GHS and screw doing all those narrow gates with a rider. Geez, if you'd use professional equipment you might even find you could mulch lawns. Wright Standers make the grass gobbler. They have a 6.1 cu ft version available, as does a company that makes "the accelerator", a light aluminum catcher (17 lbs). Even big vac units rarely hold more than 10 cu ft., I believe. and they're way bulkier and time consuming to reassemble after you've passed through a gate.