Originally Posted by hamiltonenterprising
* WHY would you change to a hydro ? Belts to hard to turn ? and how thirsty is it ? How many gals you burn a hour? I like your post very good review!.
I want a hydro for comfort. Belts are not difficult to turn but require more maintenance than a hydro, and a little more body language. They need adjusted from time to time to keep everything in line. If you adjust too tight and brakes engage too quick you will tear up the lawns when you turn - too loose and the brakes won't engage properly and stopping becomes an issue. It's truly an art to get them perfect, but once set perfect they are great machines!
The other reason I want a hydro is instant reverse. Doesn't sound important till you need it. Take a 21" mower and use it with never going backwards...that's a belt drive for the most part. You have to stop and select "reverse" gear for it to back up...and even then it's more of a "assist" than a reverse, YOU have to get it going.
Belt drives definitely have their place, as they are lighter and easier to work on than a hydro. But definitely nowhere near as comfortable. I wasn't going to invest in a hydro from an "unknown brand". The hydro pumps used in the 2013 Bradley's are ZT2800 Pumps, which is what Husqvarna uses in their "Semi-Commercial" zero turns. It's rated as a "semi-commercial" hydro pump. If you do some research you will see why they use them, dollar for dollar they are one of the best pumps available.
The fuel usage will shock you if you've never operated a commercial walk behind before. I went from a Cub Cadet 33" 10.5 hp (Briggs) Walk behind (homeowner unit) to this 14.5 HP Kawasaki. The difference in them engines is big. The briggs is rated at "peak HP" and the Kawasaki is rated way under it's actual HP. The briggs is really like 8hp and the Kawasaki is like 16hp. Your literally running twice the horsepower on this machine over the homeowner unit. Kawasaki's in general use a lot of fuel when breaking in then get better with time. On a long day with the cub cadet I went through 2 gallons of fuel... long day on the Bradley I could use 5 gallons. But they are two very different machines and the Bradley just flat out smokes the Cub Cadet in every category. From quality of build to quality of cut. So expect to use more fuel.
This isn't my first commercial mower. I have used Toro Prolines, Scag's, and Exmarks with ECS controls. Of course I was working for someone else when I was operating them. I'm very familiar with other brands and will say the Bradley is like buying a brand new 1992 Scag. It's not up to date or the most comfortable...but in quality of build it's outstanding. I said it before and I'll say it again....it's a perfect machine if your the one operating it. Employee's would get tired of it in a day. It's rugged by design and very primitive.
But these things are at the price point of homeowner wide area walk behinds. At this price point they flat out destroy their competition. Keep in mind by buying factory direct your losing dealer support. If there is a issue under warranty...they send you the part, your responsible for the repair. But if your on a budget and cautious with your money...your not going to find a better machine.