Originally Posted by topsites
Why, for 3000 dollars, would anyone opt for anything that doesn't have Toro's patented T-bar controls? They're not patented for no reason, they are patented because they are the only known design that considerably reduce operator fatigue (forearm pain, popeye arms that comes from using grips).
The 48" is the largest deck that will fit through most 4-foot single gates. Very few single gates are over 4 feet wide, the 50" I've never heard of but I know the 52" will never fit through single gates except the ueber rare extra-wide ones. Of course, they both fit through double gates.
However, Toro only makes the 48" as a fixed deck, and a fixed deck is a machine that involves a learning curve as the deck does not float but the frame and deck are all one big, solid piece. It takes practice and skill to cut with this machine, but the machine is a lot lighter than the floats so it gets stuck a lot less, tire spin is reduced, and it is faster and more accurate in the turns due to less moving parts. Also, the 48" is built like a tank, very few parts move around so when a bump is hit hard (such as when curbjumping) it is unusual to have springs and clips flying off the machine, unlike on a float deck the clatter and clank is also reduced on the fixed machine.
Still, the float deck would be more of a learning machine, for someone who has never operated a wide deck mower, the float deck is considerably more forgiving of mistakes where the fixed deck has no game to it and will not tolerate nonsense, it is a matter of making this choice... There are some who try a fixed deck once and can not do it, but it takes 2-4 weeks to get over that hump and those who do make it never go back to floating decks. As a bonus, the fixed deck is a grand cheaper... Oh, and you need a 1-wheel velke because you can not walk a fixed deck in 5th gear, even in 4th it almost breaks your stride and why cut grass in 3rd gear on a machine built for 6-7 mph recycling.
p.s.: For lawnguys, the fixed deck is to the float deck what a straight razor is to scissors for a barber.
And much as only the true, professional barber can cut hair with a straight razor, the fixed deck cuts grass with the razor's edge.