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  #1  
Old 04-03-2012, 06:55 PM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: ohio
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Best choice

I am looking to spend around 12k
Need 60"
Mow 5 acres mostly flat
3 of the 5 are pasture for horses kinda bumpy
so far looked at
6000 series Toro
Gravley
Hustler
skag-operator suspension nice feature for pasture
exmark-nice warranty

Currently work on my ztm200 Steiner 300 hrs nothing but pumps going out
(3sofar)
Would like some input please.I`m waiting for parts for the 200ztm and the grass is growing.Thanks Everyone
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2012, 12:22 AM
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mtmower mtmower is offline
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IMO, Hustler SZ, Scag TT, Gravely 460 would be my top choices out of what you mentioned. Hustler has the best warranty. The new 460 Gravely looks good on paper. Scag is time proven. Out of these you'd want to demo the 460 and SZ and see how they cut before deciding. The Hustler deck is new this year and the 460 is an all new machine and the small discharge on it is in question. Scag cheetah is new and some very mixed reviews. I personally don't think the hydros will take the speed they're giving them and last. Let us know what you do .
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:09 AM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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Thanks for the advice,ive been watching youtube videos trying to make a decision.Exmark has 5 year Warr. for residential use correct?
The only thing i dislike on the hustler are all the hoses.
Are the 4 points of adjustment on the exmark deck useful?
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:30 PM
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mtmower mtmower is offline
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Sorry when I was talking warranty, I was talking commercial. I have no idea what residential warranties are on any of them.

The deck adjustments are somewhat helpful. Set decks (without adjustments) usually will either cut southern wide stem grass well or northern fescue well. But will not do both well. Some decks have the ability to handle tall field grass (6"-12") much better than others but then usually will be a weaker deck in manicured turf. The adjustments are an attempt to make the deck fit more of these different scenarios. Different mower blades can also help and hinder this.

Exmark is a quality mower. IMO they have done little to improve a good product in the last 12 yrs. I actually like their older model mowers better than the new out now. I know the first year or two of the new style were rough with quite a few problems but I'm sure they've worked them out for the most part by now.

Speaking from experience. Don't let the hustler hoses bother you. I've logged 1k hrs. on more than one with out any problems. They use to state a lifetime warranty on lines and fittings. I'm not sure if that's the case any longer. I actually like the separate hydro pump/wheel motor set up better. It's probably the automotive tech and farm boy in me. But I feel that the heat dissipation that occurs going from one unit to another alone is a plus. I honestly think it's the best hydro system of any brand out there bar none. Also Hustler SZ have the full front leading edge baffle that is adjustable.

I don't believe Gravely has any available adjustable baffles.

These are all good machines. The QOC would be my biggest concern and the only way to tell if it will cut the grass well in your are, is to well.... cut the grass. Demo them an hr each in worst case situations. Thick, wet, weeds, tall, etc.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2012, 05:50 AM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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Thanks for the reply again. I went to a local Hustler dealer in Dover yesterday.The super z features seem to be the best sofar.flex forks and the suspension seat look like good add ons.What`s your take on the stripe kit.They say it`s not needed.I ran the mower around the parking lot,wish I could mow with it.(I may ask them today for a demo)Hoses are lifetime warranty item.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2012, 11:05 AM
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mtmower mtmower is offline
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The reason he says the stripe kit is not needed, for the most part, is they had to pull them and are supposedly reworking them. Not available last I checked and they were to be priced out at around $500.00!!!

From what I've seen they stripe ok without a kit. But given the option, if they aren't too crazy expensive and function well (ie. out of the way, don't high center the mower, don't require a lot of maintenance) I would buy one. Hands down take the striping to a hole different level. I had the original version on a 60" standard deck which was virtually a thick mud flap on the rear frame between the rear wheels that was adjusted 2" from the ground. Did pretty good, especially 11 years ago and it helped brake up the clippings a little. The only down side was if you were mowing nasty places like ditches with a front caster hanging in the air etc. it would some times high center,leaving one or both rear wheels spinning, even though it folded a little. You'd have to get off the machine and pull the front end to the right or left till it was off the striper. Doesn't happen often once you use it you know what to watch for and how to handle it.

The later version of the stripe kit is similar to Exmark. It looks like a piece of heavy duty, large, drive shaft material from a truck made into a roller that fit on the back of the deck and is adjusted again roughly two inches lower than your cutting height. It worked much better. Bearings wore out about every other season and were expensive $100ish). But it moved with the deck and you stop and start the striping by raising and lowering the deck which was handy. It also helped with scalping.

The new model is more like the early idea. When they built the new machine they didn't allow enough room for the roller to fit between the deck and rear wheels. This is the theme a lot of manufactures are going with. I believe the closer the main wheels of the machine are to the deck the better the deck follows the contour of the ground, helping in both QOC and scalping. So the new unit will hang off the rear. Question is if we will need to raise and lower it manually, if it can be left down all the time, if you have to get off the machine to do it etc.

Flex forks are a love hate thing. Def. helps the ride. Down side is until you get use to the mower you will scalp and terrace more because the deck is moving up and down with the front of the mower. Stop too fast, turn too fast,
Hit too big a bump and you will see it in the lawn. It's easy to do on a fast mower. Also side hilling, the lower edge will dip more causing terracing where the joining stripes don't match up in height. This is worse on the bigger decks (66" and 72") You learn to float the deck with your foot pedal in any or all these situations, when needed, which lessens this a lot and gives you one strong leg. The only other negative is if you buy a bagger. They weigh quite a bit and will lower your deck cutting height by about 1.5". Which requires you to add air to tires and raise the deck height by eye and not the gauge. This being said I'll have another set on my next Hustler if I buy one.

Do the suspension seat for sure. Don't even question it. Even with the suspension seat it's not the smoothest out there. The earlier XR7 decked machines had an $200 optional flex or rocker platform that could be added under the suspension seat which I've never tried but have heard it was wonderful. The new machine will not accommodate one due to the huge hydro reservoir. In my mind they need to do what some of their competitors have done and add a isolated platform where the foot tray, steering levers, and seat tray are mounted in rubber in addition to the suspension seat. Husqvarna and Gravely have gone to this. Scag Cheetah has their own version witch looks comfortable but I've read threads about center of gravity being higher and the movement interfering with operation of the machines controls. Gravely also took it a step further and has an air adjustable air ride seat in addition to their isolated platform. IMO this would the correct direction to go instead of flex forks.

Some other things you may consider is pneumatic tires on the front. As of this year most commercial Zs have gone with flat free tires which ride hard and get sloppy on the rim, but they never go flat. I've had only two flats in 2000 hrs machine time on a front wheel, so to me it's not an issue. The ride is twice as good the the ribbed Carlisle pneumatics.

I'd get the trailer hitch. Not a big item but comes in handy.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2012, 09:44 PM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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Well I Am buying the Z got the seat, hitch and flex forks I`m also getting to standard casters.They insist on the noflat tires,I asked if I could trade them in if I didn`t like them.Time will tell. Thanks for the help
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2012, 10:57 PM
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mtmower mtmower is offline
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Congrads.

I forgot earlier, they offer rear anti-scalp wheels for the deck 1-3. You may consider them in loo of a striper. They may make some difference, esp. if adjusted to the lowest setting assuming they have multiple mounting heights.

Keep us updated on how that new deck performs.
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2012, 05:46 AM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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I will call and ask about the rollers,Looks like they do offer them in the brochure.I guess since the striper isn`t available yet I will just have them call me when it is.I will keep you all posted on the performance for sure.I`m glad to have found this forum.
Thanks
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  #10  
Old 04-07-2012, 08:49 PM
nightrain nightrain is offline
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Beyond my expectaions for sure.The balance front to rear of the machine is perfect with the flex fork option.Even going down steep hills and some of the choppy terrain I have.Deck broadcasts clippings evenly.I do not have the anti scalp rollers on rear of deck yet.(Had to order them).unless the rollers flatten the grass (which I doubt they will)I told them to order the striper.Plenty of speed also,I didn`t feel the need to go flat out yet,want to break in correctly,keeping heat down and so on.Anyone looking for a new piece of equiptment don`t hesitate.Also seat feels like airride.
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