All right. The toro grandstand. Just like the last one I could not get a demo of exactly what I wanted. I wanted the current market 36 inch grandstand. That was not a option, the closest the rep had was a 40 inch with the 18.5 hp kawi. The current year model offers a 15 hp kawi ...so not the same in size or hp.
First thing first. The rep did not bother to make sure the machine had gas unlike the Wright rep did. The toro was damn near empty when we picked it up. Not a big deal but it did stick out in the mind that the Wright rep made sure we had a new machine, full of gas. In this demo we got a 200 hour old machine with next to no gas. It is the little things like this that sometimes set me off.
On to the machine. First thing the morning of the demo I wanted to break it out on a estate that we take care of in which the easement area has a large incline which makes it hard for a level cut most of the time without a couple of passes to smooth things out. I go to get the machine off the trailer, it comes off with no issue as I have the deck lifted and I am operating it like a WB, one of the neat options on this machine. I get it off the trailer and flip the stand down, go to kick the blades on and .....nothing. Blades will not turn on. I tried shutting the machine down, checked the machine, could not figure out what safety device was stopping the blades from engaging, so I loaded the machine back on the trailer and proceed to use our normal Hustler Mowers.
We went to unload the machine thinking the demo day was a lose as the dealer was closed for the day when we discovered the key was to ensure the right throttle cable was held appropriately to engage the blades. So off we went.
The machine had the weights option in the front which is not standard, it also had a mulching kit on it which is not standard.
The machine leave a great cut. I was particularly impressed with the size of clippings left behind after being in the deck. They were extremely small letting me know the machine did what it was suppose to. At one point we trimmed some plumbagos and instead of raking them up we tested running the clippings over with machine. The clippings were of a larger size as the hedge had not been trimmed in awhile and after running over once at a reasonable speed with the mower, there was no evidence that they had ever been there...this with one pass. So needless to say it does great mulching.
The power was good for cutting. No real issues with it bogging down or really any lack of power in performance of the machine as built. The cut itself was very nice. I was impressed that the machine did leave
Overall the machine comfort level was nice on the day of the demo. If you have used a wb, you will enjoy the ability to lean around etc without worrying about anything being in your way. The reason I said above that the comfort was good that day...was the next day I and my assistant that demoed felt everything in our back and knees. Maybe we are spoiled with our Z's ....but either way....the pain was there and made me think standers may not be a option.
The weights in the front were a added plus. They kept the machine from popping up as much on the same inclines that the wright faced a couple weeks back. This is not to say that this machines front tires did not leave the turf several times, but rather, that the it held itself in place much more than the wright stander, I am guessing due to the non standard weights placed in front. I am guessing that they would be very similar in that likely hood of popping up if the weights were not there but I do not know this for sure of course.
The controls were very smooth on the grandstand compared to the wright. They did not seem as squirrely for a lack of a better term The tires did not seem to go from stopped to burn out like it did on the wright, rather they gradually gained gripped and picked up the pace. Everything was well placed on the control panel imho.
The height adjustment was actually easier than the Wright rapid height adjustment to a larger pin system which allowed for quicker removal and placement of the pin.
I liked the fact that if you felt uncomfortable on a incline, you simply could kick up the large platform and use this machine within a comfortable range just like a walk behind such as getting it on and off the trailer.
The braking system is a joke just like wrights, except that it atleast attempts to hold both tires, a quality that the wright did not.
My largest area of concern about this machine....productivity. Which amazes me as everyone tells me how productive their standers are. Well I am not seeing it. For young trees, you are bending and or getting off the mowers. If the dwelling is a single story home and they have dish or direct tv and you are a taller person...watch your head at all times
. But most importantly....neither of these machines are as fast as the Hustlers we currently run. They simply are not as productive hands down.
At this point if I do buy any of these standers it will because it saves room on the trailers....not productivity. Which to me does not mean much as it is not a big deal if I can fit three of them on a trailer if they are not as fast as the Hustlers ....then I would just assume have the two Hustles.
I don't know...maybe one of the other demos will change my mind but at this point I am loading the new trailers with two Z's , as I simply do not see the crazy productivity or cost savings of these machines, however, if I had to buy from these too, the grandstand would be it...but also keep in mind that the wright was not a true stander which could of changed my whole outlook.