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  #1  
Old 02-24-2014, 02:20 PM
Marque Marque is offline
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Location: Commerce, MI
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ExMark Hustler Gravely Bad Boy

Hi, I just moved into a new house and now have 1.5+ acres to mow. There are a few dealers around where I live and wanted to know peoples opinions on these ZTRs:

1) Exmark Quest E-Series, 50" (~$3,199)
2) Hustler Raptor, 52" (~$3,000)
3) Gravely ZT, 50" ($3,199)
4) Bad Boy MZ Magnum, 54" (~$3,499)

The Exmark dealer is the closest but I've read really good things about the Hustler brand (Plus the Hustler has a fabricated deck).

I appreciate any pluses, minuses, experiences, recommendations on any of these mowers.
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2014, 07:44 PM
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TPendagast TPendagast is offline
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i guess i'd get the raptor
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2014, 11:22 PM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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I sell 3 of those... gravely and hustler are a little lighter on deck and frame, but carry a 3 year warranty on the machine... bad boy is a bit heavier duty on the spindles deck and frame, but you have to figure if paying the extra $500 or more is worth it. I have sold a ton of bad boy magnums raptors and the zit gravely s and everyone seems to like them. 5 year deck warranty on gravely is nice since it's stamped deck...
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2014, 08:11 AM
Marque Marque is offline
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retrodog: Do you tend to get lower praises for any of the three? I'm really leaning towards the Hustler Raptor since it has the fabricated deck but since my yard is mostly smooth lawn I wonder if I'm putting too much stock into getting a fabricated deck. Have you had many issues with the stamped deck mowers?

...And thanks for the reply!
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  #5  
Old 02-25-2014, 11:30 AM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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Honestly no man unless you have stuff that will catch it. Concrete corners, stumps, even your trailer when you go on it, stuff like that if it catches on the deck, it will bend it and then it will never bend the same. The stamped decks are harder to set also, they are pretty much one way and that's it.

I will tell you this on the raptor the only problem I have had is with people running into stuff and breaking the support bolt on the front. I think its $10.99, not a big issue. I had one guy break a spindle in half, but when he found out it was only $45 he was happy, and I had a couple brand new that the nuts came loose the first time using it holding deck up and deck came off, but little lock tight and they were good to go....

The Gravely I haven't sold enough yet to see anything..... I think I have sold maybe 15 of the zts.... no issues yet knock on wood.

On the MZ Magnum aside from a few of the plastic idlers, I never even replace belts on them, they are holding up better than the big mowers I guess they are not worked as much. They did a really good job building it HD. On the plastic idlers, when they go out I put the idler from the 72" deck on them and I never see them again.... I was surprised to see the same spindle off the Hustler Fastrak Super Duty mower on the MZ line of mowers and an Interstate battery along with other surprises. Usually on small mowers you see a lot of corners cut. If you have to have a Kawasaki, the bad boy is $3999, so it would push me into the Raptor Super duty with the serviceable trannys for $3999 here though... The new Kohler 7000 motor on them is supposed to be awesome, I know it sounds a lot better than the Courage Pro and has a very tight air filter assembly....
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2014, 12:24 PM
ducnut ducnut is online now
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Great thread and info!
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  #7  
Old 02-25-2014, 01:22 PM
Marque Marque is offline
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retrodog, thanks for the great info. Being that I came from a 1/3 acre lawn that I pushed mowed in 20 minutes I am really trying to get as much info from people who know about the ztr's so I buy the right mower.

I'm going to "test drive" the exmark and the hustler once the models are in stock at my local dealer, and maybe a couple of others. Being in Michigan the store floors are still stocked with snow equipment but I was assured that the mowers will be in stock soon. After reading a ton on the subject I think I'm leaning heavily on a mower with a fab deck. I'll still test the stamped deck models so I get a better feel for the options but I just like the idea of having a sturdier deck. I also read that it's not just the potential problems of banging the deck but that the fab deck provides a sturdier mount for the rotating parts and having experience with an older Bunton walk behind I know the value of having a solid contruction.
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2014, 03:43 PM
ducnut ducnut is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marque View Post
retrodog, thanks for the great info. Being that I came from a 1/3 acre lawn that I pushed mowed in 20 minutes I am really trying to get as much info from people who know about the ztr's so I buy the right mower.

I'm going to "test drive" the exmark and the hustler once the models are in stock at my local dealer, and maybe a couple of others. Being in Michigan the store floors are still stocked with snow equipment but I was assured that the mowers will be in stock soon. After reading a ton on the subject I think I'm leaning heavily on a mower with a fab deck. I'll still test the stamped deck models so I get a better feel for the options but I just like the idea of having a sturdier deck. I also read that it's not just the potential problems of banging the deck but that the fab deck provides a sturdier mount for the rotating parts and having experience with an older Bunton walk behind I know the value of having a solid contruction.
With a stamped deck, the metal is stretched to the given shape, so it's much thinner in a variety of areas. They seem to always crack somewhere. I've seen them braced around the perimeter edge, to avoid bumping damage. But, that doesn't stop them from cracking around the deck mounts or spindles.
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1st Class Lawn Service

'13 Hustler X-ONE, 60", Kohler ECV749 EFI
'05 Hustler FasTrak, 42", Honda GXV530
'13 Toro Timemaster 30"
'02 Lawn Boy SilverPro 21"
Stihl BR600 blower
Stihl BG55 blower
Stihl KM55R trimmer
Stihl KM55R Kombi system
Stihl MS180C chain saw
Stihl HS45 hedge trimmer
RedMax Reciprocator
Echo SRM225 trimmer
Echo GT-2000 trimmer
Gravely WB edger
'14 Ariens Compact 24" Sno-Thro
'08 Troy Bilt Squall 2100
'06 Chevrolet Silverado
'13 Bravo Star, 7'X12', V-nose
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:56 AM
Marque Marque is offline
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Bumping this to see if anyone else has any info for Hustler Raptor or Exmark Quest E-Series.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2014, 12:42 PM
Ridin' Green Ridin' Green is offline
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Test as many different models on your own lawn as you can. If a dealer won't allow you to demo, then move on to one that will. You want the one that cuts best, handles the best, and fits you the best, and the only way to know which one that will be will be to demo.


I live in MI as well. I used to live very close to where you are now. I have used both types of deck to mow, and it doesn't make any difference what-so-ever on how they cut or last. I have a stamped deck on a JD garden tractor that is now 24 years old. It is still on its original sealed bearings and the deck is still going strong. This is only a 12 gauge deck too. I have used the daylights out of it on all sorts of turf too.

The stamped vs fabbed thing is a non issue. One is really no better than the other strength wise, but if I had to choose, I'd take the stamped deck first. The fact is, that for commercial applications, no one that makes commercial mowers (outside of Husqvarna, who also uses stamped decks) but JD has the wherewithall to afford the press to do the stamping of 7 gauge steel. If other companies could afford the press, more would be using stamped decks for commercial use. The radiused corners act like arches for bridges. The Romans knew that an arch is stronger than a square corner thousands of years ago. It's nothing new in technology, but it does take a monster press to stamp steel that thick. JD ZTR's use stamped decks and they cut better than most other brands of deck in all conditons. I have NEVER seen a JD stamped commercial deck tear anywhere, and no H.O. grade deck either, unless it was allowed to sit outside in the elements for years, or allowed to sit constantly with wet clippings underneath it and it finally weakened from rusting out. A fabbed deck will do the same exact thing under the same conditions. Take care of either and both will serve you well. Fabbed decks do tend to collect damp clippings in all the welded corners a lot more than stamped decks do, and don't kid yourself, a fabbed deck with welds can crack at the welds. Both deck types will bend if you ram them into something immovable if made from the same quality and gauge of steel.

Take a serious look at Gravely machines too. They are a first rate company to deal with, and make excellent products.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl G
I can also tell by looking back to see how they're hanging and often reach back and feel them to see how firm they are.
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