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[B]Advantages / Disadvantages for hydro vs. belt drive?[/B]

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CURB APPEAL NC, Jan 12, 2005.


    CURB APPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    I need to buy a 36" WB asap, and need to know if this is a big deal or am I worrying about nothing. I am trying to decide on a EXMARK METRO or a BETTER QUICK 36. So far I gather the exmark is probably the way to go but the quick 36 is cheaper! thanks guys!
  2. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,228

    I have not used the Quick 36, but from what I have read from those who are using it it sounds like Y turns are necessary at least some of the time, since there is no independent wheel drive. But there is a true reverse.

    A belt drive Exmark has no convenient/easy reverse but has independent wheel drive, which allows you to turn without doing a Y turn with little physical effort. Which feature is more important to you. For me turning is more important than backing because you do it more often on a typical lawn.

    The real solution even though it increases cost is dual Hydro's which allow you to use a sulky. Floating decks are also mandatory IMO. EXMARK TTHP!
  3. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    I went through this bout two months ago. The Quick 36 is hydro on one wheel. It is much less expensive. The question would be can you make the repairs yourself. If you can, it is a great buy. I looked at the exmark and the Gravely. I bought the Gravely hydro with mulching kit. I think you would be well served purchasing a hydro. The difference between Exmark and Gravely came down to the folks I was purchasing from. Gravely dealer spent about 3 hrs with me on three different occasions answering my questions, showing me the mower. I'm new to this and had ALOT of questions! The Exmark is probably the same in quality....but the dealer acted as if I was wasting his time. I bought from the people who I thought would offer me the best service down the road. Just my opinion. Good luck in whatever choice you make.

    CURB APPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    whats the advantage of a hydro, even if it were dual hydro vs dual belt?

    CURB APPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    im confused! how exactly does a single drive turn?
  6. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    With the hydro I seem to make better turns. The belts stretch and wear and that affects performance. I would suggest you give each a try at a dealership and talk to their maintenance folks. I know you are in a hurry, but doing this may save you a ton of money. Also, I think the hydros work better on hilly terrain.
  7. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 637

    Your better off going with something that has good dealer support in your area IMO
  8. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    only one wheel will turn, ie only one drive wheel. My Gravely has dual hydro, and the steering is like the zero turn riders. I did not like the pistol grip. Call me at 901-268-5275 since it seems we're on at the same time and I'll talk to you about my experience buying a wb in more detail.
  9. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,228

    In a small yard or area you can back up easily, so for a tiny area or confined area you can mow back without turning, this equals speed and less work. With dual hydro's you can turn easier, faster by allowing one wheel to reverse, again increasing speed without operator fatigue. This same feature along with true reverse allows you to efficiently use a sulky, again adding speed and less operator fatigue. Hydro's don't slip in wet conditions, this may or may not be a issue for you. The downside is Hydro's increase the initial cost and maybe repair cost and also add weight to the machine, which can effect overall cut quality, i.e. it lays the grass down more or compacts wet soil more. This is USUALLY not a issue.

    I used belt drive 36 in machines for over twenty years and would not go back. If you are young\strong have a good back, a belt is OK if you don't mind walking on small yards. Again Exmark TTHP
  10. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,036

    what jordan river told you is not correct. the quick 36 has a single hydro that turns BOTH both wheels and a differential to let turn.

    also, you can take the quick 36 to whatever dealer you want for warranty repairs, this was a large part of why I bought the q36.
    many of the brands out here are exorbitantly priced compared to the mainland and the ones who weren't had horrible service.

    with a single hydro you steer it manually instead of a dual belt or double hydro where you have one belt or hydro for each wheel. the quick 36 only way somewhere around 350lbs, so you could man-handle it all day with out feeling fatigue.

    another advantage of a single hydro over a belt is that it does not slip in wet conditions.

    you cannot do a true Z turn with a belt, but you can with a single hydro.

    with a hydro you have infinatly variable speed, instead of shifting.

    a dual hydro is a whole lot better than a single. if you have the cash, I would get a gravely pro H with pro steer controls.

    If I were you I would E-mail gary, owner of better out door products, and ask him to compare his mower against a belt drive. he knows the mower inside out and would be able to explain everything better than I can.

    you are also in NC, so why not give him a call and ask if you can go to his factory and demo one?

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