you mow fast? :facepalm:
I recently popped my riding mower cherry on a john deere 185 hydro. you have to FEEL what the mower will let you do, then look at the lawn you leave behind, and adjust your speed to what the lawn is telling you. not just power through according to what you think your mower is capable of
you can't mow every lawn the same speed, even if the height of the lawn is about the same height, and even on the same lawn you might have to change your speed because of grass/weed ratio, thickness, and different grass types.
granted the blades of the deere were chipped up, but the fastest I could cut was half forward speed, and the minimum was almost a crawl because of the thickness of the grass.
even with new blades and shorter grass, I'm still not expecting the deere to ever do better than 3/4 forward speed in the thinnest spots, if even that.
how hard were you pushing it?