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  #1  
Old 04-22-2005, 05:58 PM
AndHeDrew AndHeDrew is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Freeland, Michigan
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Best ZTR for residential use advice PLEASE!

Am looking for the best ZTR machine for under $4000. Have just over 2 acres to cut and bought a JD L130 last year. It took over two hours to cut and have since planted 30 trees to cut around. Need to replace the JD L130 ASAP.

I'm just starting my research on ZTRs but was unable to find anything comprehensive and recent on this site for ZTRs in my price range. Any opinions out there as to which machine is best for under 4K?

So far I have been interested in Hustler Fastraks (no dealer near by though), Simplicity Consumer ZT18H, or Gravely ZT 1944 but have no idea whether any one is of better quality or if there is something better out there... I guess I'm just looking for help or opinions here. Anything will help as I am in a hurry to get a new machine before this newly predicted snow melts!
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2005, 06:58 PM
carb454 carb454 is offline
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AndHE, Well it took me about 6mos of research, but I was looking for a 60" model but while doing that I saw some other machines in the 44-48" catagory that seemed worthy of a second look for a smaller lot.

One you mentioned is the Gravely ,the one I saw was the 2148 21hp 48" cut and it is built on what they called a commercial frame. Priced at about $4400.

Also you can't go wrong with a hustler unit either IMO. the fastrak units are very good but I'm not sure on the honda engine thing. I just have no experience with them(more research)

Another unit that may be a good fit ,but I have no first hand knowledge or experience with is the Dixon you could check them out as well.

Note: Stay away from cheaper store brand units . You need 2 good wheel drive pumps and a heavy(welded) deck.

At the $4k barrier you are just about in no-mans land for a ZTR except for a cubcadet z-force which is a residential unit,and could be a good fit or it could be just satisfactory for now, But just over the $4k line you step up to entry level commercial which would give years of mowing pleasure w/out problems (at least in theory)
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2005, 10:31 PM
ZH Turf Man ZH Turf Man is offline
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Location: Lewistown, Pa.
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Two of the mowers that you mentioned are over $4,000, the FastTraks with the 20/52 are around $4400 with the $700 rebate, the Simplicity Consumer Z is selling for $4600 in this area, the Ariens 20/48 at the same price as the Simplicity. Both the Ariens and Simplicity weigh about 740 lbs and have independent wheel motors and pumps, the Simplicity has a stamped deck and I think the Ariens has a fabricated deck. I looked over the Dixons and they are nice mowers and I believe have quite a few models for less than $4000.
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  #4  
Old 04-22-2005, 10:33 PM
AndHeDrew AndHeDrew is offline
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Thanks for the feedback Carb. A local dealership pushed me toward the Simplicity over the Dixon (they sold both). They felt the Simplicity was hands down a better machine. They also said that there were very few other if any other machines in that price range that had the dual wheel pumps.
The dealer that sold Cub Cadet and Gravely (which I'd never heard of) insisted that the Gravelys were better machines than the Z Forces. It may be me but I'm having a hard time believing that a machine produced for the big chain stores (CC Z Force) can be of exceptional quality. I can't shake the feeling that they are making a buck off the name. HA... and to think that I bought that John Deere from Home Depot! What kind of hypocrite am I?
Anyway, the Gravely, Simplicity, and Cub Cadet are probably the front runners for me right now as they are the only ZTRs of any quality (at my price) sold near by. I will need to drive about 60 miles to check out the Hustlers and was wondering whether I should bother.
Sorry about the long winds I'm producing people... haven't slept in a couple of days... literally.
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  #5  
Old 04-22-2005, 10:43 PM
AndHeDrew AndHeDrew is offline
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Location: Freeland, Michigan
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Turf Man, Thanks for the reply... I wasn't sure about the prices for the FasTraks but I know I can get into an 18hp Siplicity Consumer Z for $4000. I'll have to check into the Ariens but as I stated in my last post (which I was probably typing while you were sending yours) the dealer in my area who sells both Simplicity and Dixon didn't seem to think the Dixon was worth a look. So I didn't bother looking into them myself. I think I'll rethink that thought! Thanks for the input Turf Man.

Does anyone have a strong opinion about what the best machine might be in that price range?
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2005, 11:21 AM
ZH Turf Man ZH Turf Man is offline
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I would like to know why the mower manufacturers are charging more for the Honda engine than the Briggs. If you look in the Northern Tool and Equipment catalog the Honda 20 V-Twin is selling for $1089, the Briggs 21 Vanguard sells for $1424 and the Kohler 20 for $1429. You would think you would get a break if you bought the Honda?????
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2005, 04:42 PM
Travis Followell's Avatar
Travis Followell Travis Followell is offline
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I think that the Simplicity machine will give you the most for your money. I don't know about the one your considering but I know the larger 50' machines has front wheel suspension which would give you a little better ride. The Simplicity machines are simular to the Ferris IS 1500 series ztr's. I've heard they roll off the same assembly line but i'm not for sure.
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2005, 04:59 PM
ZH Turf Man ZH Turf Man is offline
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I believe the Ferris IS 1500 and the Simplicity Citation are just about the same machines, same weight, looks like the same deck and same features.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2005, 11:47 PM
AndHeDrew AndHeDrew is offline
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Thanks everyone but I'd like to get back to the original topic of "the best ZTR machine for under $4k". I really appreciate all of the feedback but what I'd really like is some solid advice on which brand to get.

Its understandable that machines in this price range are going to have to give something up in order to keep costs down (compared w/commercial models). I have a pretty good understanding of what the important items are on the machines. What I am looking for most is opinions based on experience with or knowledge of the "best" machines out there.

I've spoken with the nearest Hustler dealer and he has been the most enthusiastic about his product so far (and has been the only dealer to offer a demonstration ride). I will probably drive the 60 miles to take a spin and think I am leaning towards the Hustler. But it still makes my stomach ache to not have any solid opinions about what machine I should buy. I don't part ways with my money easily and I love performance. I sure wish I could spend more but I will have to settle for the best that I can afford.

Thanks again for the help to this point everyone.
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2005, 11:53 PM
AndHeDrew AndHeDrew is offline
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By the way, I say "machines under $4000" but advice for machines that exceed that by up to $300 or $400 is ok. I don't plan to spend the asking price for any machine. The Hustler dealer quoted me a price of $4200 for the FasTrak with a 44" deck and 18hp Kohler (which I didn't see on the manufacturer website). And no, its not a mini FasTrak that he was talking about.
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