I went and ran a new John Deere 27 L/C Kawasaki with a 72" Iron II deck on it for about an hour this afternoon. The machine is beautifully built, I liked the smooth air filled front tires, I liked the ease of the foot lift on the big deck, it is not as loud as my XR-7 not even close. I was cutting with the height indicator set at 3.5 and probably taking 1 1/2 " of grass off, this gave the 27 Kawi no problem at all. I would say if you got into heavy damp grass you probably need the 29 hp to keep it from having to work so hard. My cut with the 66" XR-7 28 efi would have been the same in those conditions, I was running full stick 11 mph at all times with the John Deere on a flat smooth lawn and it rode very well. I could have run 15 mph on the same lawn with the same cut but I would have been cutting at 3" or a little less, the flex forks would not be necessary at all on that lawn and they would actually make the cut not as level looking on the stops and turns. I really liked the mower a lot but I catch myself wanting to make it go faster, does anyone know what this JD can be bought for and how does it ride on rough ground? I don't know that either one would outlast the other but I would say if you had help that is rough on equipment they would have a harder time tearing up the Hustler because it seems to have heavier metal in needed areas.