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  #71  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:26 PM
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DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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Originally Posted by TheOctagon View Post
Sounds promising. I wanted to make it to GIE this year but it just didnt work out.

Did you stop by hydrogear and see what the 4400 series was all about?
I did not. BUT Altoz is using the new 4400 series in a few of their models.
I hope Altoz makes a go of it, being they are a MN company
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  #72  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:27 PM
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Ok. First some photos from the event.... then I'll get on to some details.....

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  #73  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:30 PM
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Some more photos.......

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  #74  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:33 PM
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And some more.........

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  #75  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:37 PM
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And a couple more.......

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  #76  
Old 10-25-2013, 09:44 PM
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Nice pics Jim. We tried out 4th St one night....but froze and went back to the hotel.

Did you win some good stuff? I got a free membership for Deere's Green Fleet. Next Deere Z I buy would be $500 off, not bad
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7x14 Stealth SE Enclosed with 48" side ramp
08 Toro Z400 48" deck, 21HP Kaw with EZ Vac twin bag
09 Exmark Turf Tracer HP 36"
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Stihl KM90 Kombi w/ straight shaft trimmer & tiller heads
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  #77  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:23 PM
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And I'd post a bunch of photos from HNA too, except this isn't the forum.

So on to my comments.....

Some guys asked me to ask about the Exmark and Toro 30s and if there were any changes. I did talk to both of them today about that. The Exmark model is essentially the same, except that there was some flaw in the transmissions last year. That's been fixed now. For the Toro, they told me it's the exact same.

As for the Altoz, I hate to say it, but my preliminary opinion was that it is just lipstick on a pig. It does have beautiful curves, no doubt. But everything else I learned about it didn't really impress me. First, I learned that it's made by a company called Central Boiler, which I was told is one of the leading manufacturers of outdoor furnaces, etc. Not sure how that qualifies them for making mowers, but whatever. Second, they told me that they actually hired a automobile designer to design the look, hence to sleek look. Third, I drove just about every ZTR that was there at the show and the Altoz was the one that bothered me the most. It was fast, I'll give it that. But there were plenty of others that were just as fast. But what was really annoying about it was the really loud, whiny hydrostatic transmission / hydrolics. It was REALLY loud and obnoxious. Not when you drove it straight. Only when you turned. But it was a good 3-4x louder than any other mower I drove. That, alone, would kill it for me. I found it obnoxious.

I thought that maybe it was a fluke. Maybe I got a bad mower or one that was low on oil or something. So I asked one of the guys at the Altoz booth and he said they're just like that.

Good Lord, riding ZTRs is fun!!! I spend over an hour today riding them through obstacle courses, fields, racing them, etc. Kid in a candy factory...

I don't think there's anywhere in the world, other than GIE+, where you could walk up and just grab any given ZTR and take off, without anyone caring or asking you anything at all in terms of your qualifications to ride. Awesome!

Now, keep in mind I never use ZTRs. I know nothing of which ones last longer and I've never bought one. But based on the ones I rode, this is what I found: The ones I really loved were the Gravely, Big Boy, and Toro Z Master. The ones I wasn't at all impressed with were the Ferris (and the guy who helped me was a total ass!), Dixie Chopper Magnum 2250, and Altoz. Some that I didn't get a chance to drive were the Kubota, Club Cated, and Skag.

The Big Boy was really cool, but top speed wasn't very good, which surprised me. But the handling was amazing. I really loved the handling and true Zero Turn.

Overall favorites for speed, ease of control, zero turn ability, and handling were the Toro and the Gravely.

There was a lot of battery operated machinery at the show this year. Lots of different brands. Batter operated mowers, blowers, trimmers, edgers, whatever.....

There were a ton of booths selling software. Some pretty impressive software. Many helping you track your employees hours better. Others helping you track leads, bids, orders, follow-up, billing, etc. I was surprised at really how many different software there were specific to our industry. There were dozens and dozens of them.

There were a ton of brands for power equipment (blowers, trimmers, etc.) that I had never heard of before. Not in trade journals, distributors, Lawnsite, or anywhere. Tons of new Japanese and Chinese companies trying to break into the market - most of them with names I can't pronounce or remember.

Same things with pruning tools. A dozen brands I've never heard of.

For that matter, there were a few dozen brands of mowers I'd never heard of anywhere before either.

One thing that was new to me was: I didn't know we landscapers had a "look". But apparently we do. Because a good 75% of the guys in attendance all had the same basic look. A few lbs. overweight or stocky, tightly cut or buzzed haircut, wearing jeans, hiking boots and a hooded sweatshirt. Apparently, I didn't get the memo. I forgot my hiking boots and hoodie. But that was funny to see how many people in our industry looked alike.

There was a lot more I learned in the HNA area, but that wouldn't probably be as interesting to guys in this forum.

I probably didn't ask as many questions or the mower and equipment companies as many of you would have. Mostly because I don't work in the maintenance side of our company much anymore. So I'm just not as interested in that stuff.

There were lots of nice giveaways. Hats, metal sports bottles, shirts, lanyards, etc.

Well, hope that helps someone. It was an amazing show. I never imagined it would be that huge. I'm glad I came and we're already planning next year's trip. Riding all the different the ZTRs was the highlight for sure.

Hope that helps...Leaving tomorrow. After I go to the Louisville Slugger Factory!
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  #78  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DA Quality Lawn & YS View Post
Nice pics Jim. We tried out 4th St one night....but froze and went back to the hotel.

Did you win some good stuff? I got a free membership for Deere's Green Fleet. Next Deere Z I buy would be $500 off, not bad
Yah, 4th Street was super cool. I went every night. First night was the night we stayed the longest. But yah, it was crazy cold. Listened to the bands, walked around, had some good grub and beer. Met up with some guys at some suppliers that we knew. I wish I had known more people here though. It would have been more fun at 4th street if I had.

The second night one of our suppliers had an event at the social club. That was alright. Free food and drinks, at least. Tonight we only went to 4th St. Live for dinner and then just went home early. Had dinner at the Maker's Mark restaurant. That was delicious! Then just back to the hotel for the evening.

Didn't win much except the freebie give-aways. Wish I had. But I came away with a lot of new usable info. - especially in the HNA area! And I had a total blast riding and racing the ZTRs.
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  #79  
Old 10-25-2013, 11:46 PM
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One thing I don't like on the Altoz deck is the way the pulley/belt compartment is completely closed off. I like how I can take a blower and place it at the ends of the VX4 belt covers and blow out all the grass. My 42" requires removing those guards, plus they're bolted on.
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  #80  
Old 10-26-2013, 01:35 AM
StanWilhite StanWilhite is online now
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Jim,
Thanks for the time and trouble it took to write your posts and take/upload your pics! I'm sure there are a lot of people like me that will enjoy the posts.

You made reference to a "Big Boy" mower, and since you included pics of both a "Big Dog" and a "Bad Boy", I'm trying to figure out which one you're talking about. (Or.... taking into account how many ZTR manufacturers there are now, they may actually be making a "Big Boy".....wouldn't surprise me at all)!

Thanks again Jim!
Stan
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Last edited by StanWilhite; 10-26-2013 at 01:36 AM. Reason: typo
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