To Chris - no I did not buy - I still have many more to demo before I am even close to considering the final purchase. After talking to Rob tonight from here on lawnsite in front of my house I did not even consider the Exmark stander which is now on my demo list. So we are weeks away from a purchase at the earliest because my plan is to demo one every wednesday over the next few weeks on the same properties so they all get a consistent review and no unfair consideration is given to any because maybe it just functioned better on that property.
On this wright stander. Here are my thoughts. The engine HP seemed like it was going to be enough for a 36 inch mower. I was rather happy to see that it was the Kawi 18.5. My assumption that it would be enough HP was correct. The machine did not have a issue getting through the thick tall turf and never really had any issues that made me think it was under powered.
This one came with the seat...I did not request it but am I glad that it did have it. One of my big hold offs on the standers has always been when mowing on properties with young trees - the tree had not grown enough to be clear out of your way when standing on a stander creating more trimming which of course is not as good on the turf as actually being cut and is of course more labor intensive. The seat allowed me to seat as low if not lower than my Z's and helped alleviate what could of been a problem.
Cut - I will say that the mower cut well enough...clean cuts...no bogging issues even in the thick turf we were on.
Issues I had a issue with - The mower is squirrely is the best way I can describe it. It takes awhile to get used to the controls, so if you are a traditional Z owner, make sure you get a long demo before rushing to judgement. It took me most of the day well into the afternoon until I felt really truly comfortable with the controls and the machine. This machine almost seems like it functions best at full speed.
Next up was how stable I felt the machine was. We were not on extremely uneven properties today but almost all of them are waterfront with a slight swell on the property. The front end popped up on me several times while trying to cut on these slight inclines with both front wheels slightly leaving the ground for a moment. At first I thought It was just me being the larger athletic build that I am and the weight which I carry..but my assistant who is smaller also experienced the same issue on properties.
Next up. The fuel tank. The Rep made sure the tank was full upon its arrival to the dealer. Good thing because it only holds 5 gallons from what I can tell from refueling. This is not enough to make it through our typical days. Maybe I am just spoiled with the Hustlers having duel tanks...but 5 gallons on any commercial mower seems to be a little low IMHO.
The Hydros - again if you are a traditional Z owner - these have a totally different feel to them that you will be used too. The are VERY responsive. The is not really any damper in them. My main concern with this - divots in the lawns. As I said I got more and more comfortable with the machine as the day went on, I started the day with 8 hrs and ended with 11.5, but even when showing to Rob, he mentioned how much the wheels seemed to tear the turf as compared to the Mini Z that him and I both have in common.
The machine has what they call Rapid Height adjustment. Well that is not really true. I guess compared to a fixed deck then yes it is Rapid, but compared to a Hustler ...nope. The pin which is used to hold the adjustable lever in place is held on by a thin wire with no circular ring etc to give you something to pull it out for quick adjustment. You really have to tug at it to get it out as a result. This is something that can be fixed with ease if the machine really interest you, but is a simple fix that I think Wright should be able to make.
The motor is the front.....well that means all the heat is blowing back at you including the exhuast. I know this is going to be the case most likely with all stand on machines on the market, but being a Z owner...it catches you off guard.
The machine does not have speeds that I was expecting. After seeing many Wrights seem like they are flying through yards I was really expecting a much quicker machine. I am assuming this is something on the 36 inch models as I know I have seen some Wrights just out and out fly...but this one although not slow...was not exactly fast either in the straight aways.
The last thing I really did not enjoy about the machine that I can think of right now....the handles seemed to be to close the the operator for either my assistant who is smaller or my self who is larger. They needed to be more forward for comfort reasons. Which is another thing that Z users need to be aware of...you fingers will be sore after using this for the first day. You are constantly apply pressure for the forward motion with your thumbs and not your entire hand like on a Z.
Clipping dispersal - very good. The mower seemed to do a good job of holding the clippings in the deck and the discharge was limited because it almost seemed to be muclhing it better than a regular Z. At one point we got a 20 minute rain - went in to a lawn that is normally cut at 5 inches....and no clumping or dispersal issues. The actual amount of clippings seemed very limited. I was really impressed with this.
One last thing - unlike with a Z...if your boot laces come undone....it will catch on the tire.
Positives - Machine seems solid and well build for durability. The cut quality seems to be good enough. The machine is responsive - almost to its on fault with the turf divots it can create, but none the less I was impressed with how it functioned in some tight areas. The seat alleviates some of the issues you might face without it.
Overall - it seems like a decent enough machine. After using today I really feel like it will limit my workers performance through a course of a day vs sitting on a smaller similar Z. Maybe I am wrong and another one of these standers will make me fall in love with them but it will not be this one. Maybe I needed another model? Not sure but over all a decent mower but I will take a Hustler Mini Z for a number of reasons any day.
I know there is more that I wanted to share both good and bad...but it is late and I am worn the heck out.
I should have the next demo next wed. so keep a eye out for that I guess.