^^^^ I accidentally posted before I was finished, and now the 10-minute edit window has closed.
Mods/admins: here's the real text; please change my original post if you don't mind. Thanks
Bobcat Fastcat Pro 52"...in The Wild
Greetings everyone. I've been lurking and reading here for several weeks in my quest to "upgrade" my 1995 AYP 42"/18hp B&S lawnmower. There is plenty of good information here, and I thank everyone for their contributions as I shopped around in my anal-retentive ways.
I wanted to stay around $5k, and my first choice was the Husqvarna MZ6128
. The 23" rear tires and the 13" front tires would be excellent on the somewhat bumpy terrain I mow on. Loved this mower overall, but had to pass due to the fact that I store my mower in part of my basement, and the door opening is 64" - which would've left only .75" clearance on each side of the deck. After much deliberation about this, I passed - even though I never got to test drive one.
Although the price was higher than I wanted to spend, I also strongly considered the Hustler Fastrak 54"
. This thing drove great - stick action was smooth, and the 13" front tires and standard ROPS were a plus. The negative was the non-folding ROPS. I mow around trees, and if I can't fold the ROPS down to get around my trees - and instead have to remove it - why pay for it???
I also looked at the IS500/1500 Ferris, a couple of Gravely's and Toro's, but in the end turned back to Bobcat - for a few reasons.
1: Strong local dealer support - this is something mentioned on here often. I actually stopped by the other night while they were closed, and the mechanics were all there working late trying to catch-up on the Spring time workload, and let me into the showroom and shop while we talked. Great customer service!
2: My neighbor has one. Granted, it is a couple of years older and 48", but it drove great and did well on my lawn during my 20 minute demo.
3: The FX-series Kawasaki engine on the back. It was the old "Tim-The-Tool-Man-Taylor" thing in action.
The dealer was selling his last two 2010 52" for $5199. I tried to get him to sell me the 52" for the 48" price ($4999), but he wouldn't, so he threw in the hitch kit, the supplies for my first oil change, and free delivery that same day. I was pleased.
I've had it for 24hrs, but the rain has kep it inside most of the time. During my brief test today on somewhat wet grass, it cut very well - evenly - discharged well, and so much better than my old mower I just can't believe it. There was no clumping, and the deck was almost spotless after 20 minutes of Jungle Mowing
Here's my new toy in the jungle...