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  #1  
Old 07-19-2004, 03:32 PM
SAKummer SAKummer is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Roanoke, IN
Posts: 9
Country Clipper vs. FasTrak

Over the course of the last two weeks I have read a VAST assortment of previous postings regarding homeowner ZTR's. Without the assistance of this forum, I would not be anywhere near making an informed decision. So in advance, THANK YOU!

I have about 2 acres of new lawn and an additional acre that is basically weeds that I will cut semi-regularly (all previous farm land). I have tested many makes and models, having narrowed down the choices to the Country Clipper JAZee 19/52 and the Hustler FasTrak 20/52. The difference in price is minimal, $4200 & $4500, respectively.

I welcome any input on these two models, as I quite honestly cannot make up my mind. Both drive nicely and will adequately perform the necessary tasks, while each possesses qualities I really like. My choice will be made within the week, so I will try not to milk you all for too long.

Again, THANKS!
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2004, 07:02 AM
wvbill wvbill is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Summit Point, WV
Posts: 17
Hello, SAKummer

I've been "lurking" here for the past several weeks, learning all I can about my options for a ZTR to cut my 3.5 acres (less house and numerous flower beds & trees) in the Northern Shenandoah Valley where VA, WV and MD come together.

Through this site and various manufacturer's websites, I narrowed my choices down to the following list. All have 50"-52" decks. (Although I'd have loved a 60" machine, I borrowed my neighbor's Toro and found that there are quite a few places in my yard where I couldn't get to and I figured the time I would have to spend coming back to those with a smaller mower would eat up any time advantage the larger deck would have given me.) The list, with my opinion on each:

Encore Z52 - Although it has commercial-quality independent pumps/motors and a heavy guage formed/welded 52" deck, the rest of the machine looked less substantial. 21HP Kawasaki engine. Quoted Price - $5,799. Eliminated due to price.

Exmark Lazer Z CT - Nice machine. Commercial-quality independent pumps/motors and a heavy guage formed/welded 52" deck. Overall, high quality. 19 HP Kawasaki Engine. Quoted Price - $5,889. Eliminated due to price.

Snapper Fastcut - Commercial-quality independent pumps/motors but a light duty stamped-steel deck which was only 50". 20HP B&S Vanguard Engine. Eliminated due to the stamped deck at only 50". Quoted Price - $4,499.

Simplicity Consumer Z - Commercial-quality independent pumps/motors but a light duty stamped-steel deck which was only 50". Independent front suspension would have been a plus in the rough areas of my yard. Quoted Price - $4,599. In the "final three" but eliminated due to the 50" deck. Had it been 52" vice 50" I'd have chosen this one.

Hustler FasTrak - Integrated IZT Pumps/Motors and a heavy guage formed/welded 52" deck. Good solid machine much smaller (both length and seating height) than the rest. 20 HP Honda Engine.
Quoted Price - $4,899. In the "final two" but eliminated primarily because of two factors I though would be significant drawbacks in mowing the rough areas of my yard: The wheel base is much shorter than the rest and I think a longer wheelbase will handle the bumps better, combined with the seat has no suspension (not even springs under it) - it relies on the fact it's made of a thick foam. This felt comfortable enough on my test drive but I worried about durability of it's cushieness (also, I'm a big guy so I'd really be compressing that foam on the bumps).

And the winner is:

Country Clipper JaZee - Integrated IZT Pumps/Motors and a heavy guage formed/welded 52" deck. 19 HP Kawasaki engine. The deck flips up for easy access to clean it and sharpen blades. I tried the Joystick control and found it to be very comfortable. Quoted Price - $4,599. I considered the JaZee Two but the only difference between it and the JaZee is that it has 20" v.s. 18" drive tires.

I pick it up this afternoon - I'll let you know how it mows.

Best of luck in your selection.

WVBill
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2004, 01:58 AM
mowhigh mowhigh is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 198
The JAZee is the most rugged of the above comparisons (ExMark CT was the next closest) and has the highest blade tip speed (19,500). The JAZeeTwo offers a heavier duty drivetrain that should last at least twice as long (much more relevant for commercial use). I've just posted a review of the mulching kit. For rough terrain, try reducing your tire pressure by 2-3 psi.
SAKummer, both should easily handle your turf. If your reclaimed farmland is anything like mine (far from manicured) than the JAZee should get extra points. The 19/48 that I demoed easily took care of my thick overgrown (2-3 feet high) back section that I gave up mowing two years ago with my previous JD. Good luck...
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2004, 07:35 AM
bantam bantam is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: iowa
Posts: 76
Actually the Jazee mower (and all Country Clippers) have a blade tip speed of just under 19,000 feet per minute. This is due to ANSI / OPEI safety standards. But they do cut well.
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2004, 10:58 AM
SAKummer SAKummer is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Roanoke, IN
Posts: 9
wvbill,
I found your list to be very similar to mine. I looked at most of the models and eliminated many for similar reasons. If you have a mowing update, I would love to read it!

mowhigh,
Your responses to several postings regarding the JAZee have been quite persuasive. I hope I like my choice half as much as you apparently do yours!

bantam,
Thanks for the clarification.

I've successfully negotiated the JAZee 19/52 down to $4,200, so I'm going to get it on Thursday. I like mowing, but never thought I would be excited about spending over four grand on the proper piece of equipment! Just for the record, I know it could be a LOT more.

Thanks again for all of your help.
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  #6  
Old 07-29-2004, 02:42 AM
mowhigh mowhigh is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 198
SAK, ya dun gud (and at a fantastic price!) Are your negotiating skills for rent?
bantam, thanks for the update.
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2004, 11:49 AM
wvbill wvbill is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Summit Point, WV
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally posted by SAKummer
If you have a mowing update, I would love to read it!
Here ya go.

I just finished my third mowing session with my JAZee last night and I continue to be all around VERY satisfied with my selection.

The time to mow by 3.5 acres has gone from about 3.5 hours to about 2 hours.

Cut quality is much improved over my 5-year old Craftsman GT and is every bit as good at either of my neighbors. One has a 62" Commercial-level Toro and the other has a 61" Scag Turf Tiger.

For my first mowing the grass was a bit longer than I usually let it get (maybe 6"). The JAZee handled it at up to top speed without complaining. Clipping dispersion was as even on this first mowing as it has been on two subsequent mowings of shorter, less "juicy" grass.

The mower comes with two springs supporting the seat and I found that my 250lbs caused the seat to bottom-out when I took some of the rougher areas of my yard at full speed. The mower also comes with a third spring in a storage location that I easily moved up to support the seat. The ride is now very comfortable at full speed throughout my yard.

I flipped up the deck (very easy to do) after the first mowing and found very little build-up. I have not yet flipped up the deck to check again because clipping discharge is still strong and even and a quick look down the discharge chute before starting doesn't show any build-up. I'll probably check, just for comparison, before my next mowing.

The joystick control is quite comfortable, responsive, and easy to get used to (at least going forward). I'm still getting used to it for backing up.

I have found that it's VERY easy to scuff the turf with the wheels when doing tight turns. I need some practice in that area.

In summary, I'm pleased with my Country Clipper JAZee. It was the right choice for me.

WVBill
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