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  #1  
Old 05-05-2014, 03:14 PM
nolimits76 nolimits76 is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 32
Need a Mid-Grade Mower -- Please Help

I would like to get some input into a mower for my personal property. No intentions to go pick up yards, etc. on the side. Just need this for my own use.

My lot is approximately half acre. Itís a cul-de-sac lot meaning the front is narrow and limited. The back yard is much larger and kind of funky shaped as you might expect with a cul-de-sac lot. In the back I have a gentle slope, approx 5-7 degrees, away from the house towards my fence line. Like many yards, it isnít perfectly smooth. We just moved there, and later in the year I plan on landscaping, so some of my wide open space in back will shrink.

No worries on access or storage. I have a 14í wide drive gate on one-side and a normal walk-gate on the other of my yard. And I have plenty of space in my garage to store the unit.

My budget is approximately $3,000. Iím paying cash. I could expand my budget a little, but only if I am on the edge of getting considerably more/better features for just a little more cash investment. I am primarily looking at ZTRís for the speed and ability to maneuver in the yard. Because of my limited yard size, I am trying to stick as close to a 42Ē as possible.

Here are a few models Iíve considered:

Hustler Raptor 42Ē
Hustler Raptor SD 48Ē
Toro TimeCutter SS4260
Toro TimeCutter MX4260

Iím not close minded to other brands or models. I am looking for honest suggestions. I realize I donít need a commercial unit, but donít want to buy junk either. My main considerations have been Kawasaki engine, fabricated deck and 2800 hydros (if possible for my budget). I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2014, 11:22 AM
ernie_h ernie_h is offline
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Location: Quinlan, TX
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Ztr's are nice but, with the size/shape of your lot, might want to consider if you really need one. Something the equivalent of the Exmark 30" commercial walk-behind might do you just as well, should have lower maintenance, and might just get to areas that you can't easily get to with a ztr. Plus...at least with the Exmark as an example (which, BTW, does have a Kawasaki engine).....you'll still have a little over 1/3 of your budget left for other things! FWIW

ernie
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2014, 03:03 PM
SkeetShooter SkeetShooter is offline
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Location: Seymour, CT
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Hey there,

I just went through this problem and ended up staying completely away from the ZTR's. The Hustlers are great, but there is no way you will get the SD for $3K new. Same with any MX series Toro... At that price point you have to settle for residential grade ZTR's. I decided to up my budget to $3500 and was able to get a nice 48" Bobcat walk-behind belt drive. Now this may not be for you and i understand if you don't want that.

If you don't have much of a slope and you have a half acre (I do as well) I would probably recommend a nice Honda walk-behind for around $800-1200.

If you are set on a ride-on I would say you can't go wrong with either the regular Toro ZTR, or the Hustler Raptor, but again its not going to be commercial quality components.

I thought about the Toro/Exmark 30" walk behind commercial, and decided against it because I hear they can be a pain to maneuver sometimes.

I love my bobcat though, and if I get lazy i can always go and pick up a used Sulki for ride-behind use. (doubt I will though since I'm young and don't mind the walk behind aspect)
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:03 PM
nolimits76 nolimits76 is offline
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I would agree that a rider is probably overkill for my lawn; however, if I'm going to spend a few thousand on a mower I'd at least want something with an option for a sulki. The problem is I'm a big and tall guy and just not sure if those will work as planned with me on it.

Also, for better or worse, I'm attracted to the ZTR because I had one about 10 years ago when I had almost 2 acres to mow. Fast and fun. I'd like to replicate the experience if possible -- but maybe it's just not feasible.

I might note I anticipate about 6 months of mowing every week, or 26 weeks total. I'd say 30-40 minutes will be realistic, but will plan an hour. So I'd be looking at putting around 25 hours per year on this mower. Am I being unrealistic to think these units (even the residential grades) would last 10-15 years given the low hour count?
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:35 PM
doublesharp doublesharp is online now
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I'd get a 36" hydro walk behind for a 1/2 acre irregular lot.

As far as ztr deals go, Southern Indiana Equipment sold me a new Big Dog R 7-48 power bar mower for $3350+tax and last time I was there they had one left. Pretty much same mower as a Hustler Fastcat and the power bar is same steering as Hustler Trimstar.
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  #6  
Old 05-07-2014, 09:22 AM
SkeetShooter SkeetShooter is offline
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Location: Seymour, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolimits76 View Post
I would agree that a rider is probably overkill for my lawn; however, if I'm going to spend a few thousand on a mower I'd at least want something with an option for a sulki. The problem is I'm a big and tall guy and just not sure if those will work as planned with me on it.

Also, for better or worse, I'm attracted to the ZTR because I had one about 10 years ago when I had almost 2 acres to mow. Fast and fun. I'd like to replicate the experience if possible -- but maybe it's just not feasible.

I might note I anticipate about 6 months of mowing every week, or 26 weeks total. I'd say 30-40 minutes will be realistic, but will plan an hour. So I'd be looking at putting around 25 hours per year on this mower. Am I being unrealistic to think these units (even the residential grades) would last 10-15 years given the low hour count?
You say you're a big guy... Height isnt really an issue with sulkis'... I would recommend if you go the walk behind route, go with a jungle wheel set or a comparable 2-wheel sulky... The one wheel might dig into the ground or create ruts.

I like ZTR's as well, just because I can ride it and have a "adult beverage" while I mow, but for me it just wasn't practical. Im not saying my 48" walk behind was that practical either actually, but I bought it because I want it to last for pretty much ever.

Regarding the Big Dog Mowers, I think you will be hard pressed to find a model that is priced below $4K that has any kind of commercial features that you would want. The way the market is for ZTR's there is the Residential Tier (Toro SS, Hustler Raptor, Husq, JD, Cub Cadet, Gravely, BadBoy) Mid Commercial Grade (Toro MX, Raptor SD, Gravely HD,BadBoy ZT Elite,) then you get into what I would say is true commerical Grade

I think your typical price points are $2500-$4000 for residential, $3500-$5500 for Mid-Commercial, $5000 and up for Commercial...

The reason I stayed away from ZTR's were two things in general:
1. Engine had to be commercial grade
2. Hydros had to be serviceable.

I could get both of those checked off without spending a bunch of cash.

I doubt you will be able to get a Hydro-walk behind in your budget either. I think you are going to have to go belt-drive if you really want commercial quality.

Hope this helps.
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2014, 09:28 AM
SkeetShooter SkeetShooter is offline
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Location: Seymour, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublesharp View Post
I'd get a 36" hydro walk behind for a 1/2 acre irregular lot.

As far as ztr deals go, Southern Indiana Equipment sold me a new Big Dog R 7-48 power bar mower for $3350+tax and last time I was there they had one left. Pretty much same mower as a Hustler Fastcat and the power bar is same steering as Hustler Trimstar.
You got a pretty good deal on that... I know that has the upgraded hydros, but what kind of motor is it? Residential or Commercial?
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2014, 11:25 AM
ernie_h ernie_h is offline
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Location: Quinlan, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkeetShooter View Post
Hey there,

I thought about the Toro/Exmark 30" walk behind commercial, and decided against it because I hear they can be a pain to maneuver sometimes.
Hi SkeetShooter.......saw this in your post above....just for the record, I really haven't had any maneuverability issues with the Exmark 30" commercial.....in and around trees, odd corners, etc., etc. If I recall correctly, two of the differences between the Toro and the Exmark versions were the wheel height adjustment (Toro is probably a bit easier), and the Exmark has separate controls/levers for the wheel drive and for blade drive (i.e., forward motion does not automatically engage the blades). Makes it kind of nice because, with all the post oaks I have, going over the leaves once then backing up with the blades engaged really does a nice job mulching the leaves :-)
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:30 AM
SkeetShooter SkeetShooter is offline
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Location: Seymour, CT
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Thanks for letting me know... I thought i read that somewhere. I thought i also read that they don't do well going up hills with the drive being a bit lacking... Might not be an issue in TX, but in the North East we basically live on hills.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2014, 11:46 AM
doublesharp doublesharp is online now
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Location: S.Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkeetShooter View Post
You got a pretty good deal on that... I know that has the upgraded hydros, but what kind of motor is it? Residential or Commercial?
Kawasaki FR651V. Does not have the Donaldson air cleaner but is sweet and plenty powerful on a 48" deck. I'm using G5s and it's a mowing machine
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