Two days ago I got a chance to demo a new BB lightning for half a days worth of cutting. In my area there is several dealers that apparently sell the BB line of mowers, but one dealer ( STI Turf Care ) is a large dealer and they have been selling BB's for a few years. I never bothered to even look at one till about 2 weeks ago. I had to run up to Turf care to pick up a bearing for my Scag Wildcat, while waiting for my turn at the parts desk I was browsing the floor looking at new mowers, and they had a pair of badboy mowers parked next to the sales desk. First thing that caught my eye on the BB was the suspension. My Scag rides rough, there is no suspension and the run flat tires in the front are hard and the rear tires are fairly stiff too. I have several yards that aren't in the best shape and needless to say I take alot of abuse riding around on a stiff mower. The idea behind getting a mower with true suspension really appeals to me. so I quickly look over the BB, and didn't see anything that turned me off. The price was right too, the 60 inch lightning they had, had a 7499$ price tag with a free 500$ gas card as a incentive. I have never paid more than 7500$ for a mower, and the last 5 or so ZTR's I have bought over the years all were between 7000-7500$ so the price is something I am comfortable with, but what makes the price more appealing is that most of the big brand mowers have jumped up to 8500-9500$ for a comparable mower. So anyway, I got my bearings and fixed my scag and forgot about the Badboy till last week. I got to thinking about the bad boy and the suspension and how much I would love to have a smoother ride. So I surfed the hell out of the net trying to learn as much as possible about the mower. And to be fair and honest, I didn't learn that much. The Bad Boy website doesn't have enough info on the mowers in my opinion, and searching on this site typically turned up positive comments from the few dealers that sell BB that also post here and negative comments from several ignorant people, comments such as the BB is ugly, or the company hasn't been around long enough for a good track record, etc.... So I went back to the dealership last Saturday and spent a while just going over the machine, visually inspecting it. I was impressed. I honestly didn't notice anything that looked cheesy, underbuilt, poorly designed, etc.... The shop was closing so there was no time to fire up the mower and drive it outside for me to ride it around in the parking lot, so I asked them to set up a demo for me asap that I wanted to buy one, and if it worked as good as it looked I was already sold. So fast forward to this past Wednesday, I finally got a chance to demo the mower. STI's field salesman brought the mower to me and let me have it for several hours. I used it to cut about 13 yards, and each yard had different turf conditions, some flat... some hilly... some nice fescue... some fescue mixed with bermuda.... some fescue mixed with all kinds of stringy weeds.... And also noteworthy was we had thunderstorms Tuesday evening so the ground was not soaking wet, but wasn't dry and dusty either. So getting to the nitty gritty here with my story, I demoed the unit, and here is what I found. Negatives...... First off I didn't notice this in the store, but noticed it on the demo... There are two design screw ups that stand out right away. First, the parking brake when fully on is too tall, the seats left arm rest hits the top of the brake lever and I see this causing damage in no time to the arm rest. Secondly, the choke knob is on the right side of the mower, beside the seat, and it does not stay on by itself. And the key start is also on the right side, so it takes two hands to start the engine, one to hold the choke on and one to turn the key to start. Another issue is the electric deck lift. The lift moves fairly fast and it is not very hard, but it is difficult to stop the deck at a specific height. Also there is no hard stop you can pre select that will allow you to set the height to say 3.5 inches and allow you to raise the deck to clear a curb or stump and then lower back to the 3.5 inches fast and easy.... with this electric lift, once you lift the deck you would have to stop mowing and look down at the height indicator as you lower the deck and stop at the height you desire or else you could easily end up cutting lower than you wanted to. Having the electric lift was nice, but the mower needs some kind of mechanical means of pre selecting cutting height, and probably also should have a standard foot lift pedal to help you quickly and easily lift and lower the deck to allow you to "float" the deck over stumps and so on. Another issue was the seat height. It is really high! Especially coming from my Scag Wildcat, which has one of the lowest seat heights on the market. The tallness of the BB seat was only a problem for two reasons, one I couldn't get under some trees I can ride under on the scag and then loading the mower in my trailer, I had to really duck my head to avoid hitting it on the roof as I stepped up and off the machine inside the trailer since the seat and foot platform was significantly higher than my scag. Last issue was the tires too easily ripped up turf as I went around trees and made turns. Any ZTR mower will put a hurting on the turf as you make turns and go around stuff, but the tires on this Bad Boy were the worst at digging into the dirt and ripping up grass. To be fair, I demo'ed a Everride mower twice last year and it had simular tires and it too ripped up the turf far too easily. Maybe a change over to different tires would help. The front casters did not like to easily change direction. When backing up they would stay in the same position they were in when going forward for quite a while then if they turned around it would be sudden and most of the time the tires would dig a small divot into the turf. I did not have the time to lift the front end of the mower to check to see if the front casters were over tightened and were hard to turn... That may have been why this was happening, The salesman told me after the demo that he felt the weight of the caster assembly itself with the suspension was the reason the casters resisted castering. positives...... The machine was smooth riding. But I do have to say that I did not see the front forks suspension move one bit. I think the rubber donuts up there are too stiff to be of much use. I feel like the rear suspension is moving somewhat, helping smooth out the ride, but overall the main thing that makes this mower ride smooth is the suspension seat. I confirmed this by changing the setting on the seat to the lowest weight setting and this basically bottomed out the seat, and once bottomed out the ride was only a little better than my scag. Eitherway though, as a package, the machine did have a smoother ride. One thing about the suspension though, is the left side of the front caster forks would too easily rub against stuff as you try to mow close to fence posts and walls, trees, etc... If the caster didn't have the rubber shocks I don't think it would rub at all, but with the shocks it did rub. Seeing how I never saw the front suspension move I think I would rather have the non suspension front end. I would want to keep the rear suspension though. The machine is fast. When at full throttle ( governer was set at about 3250 rpms when the machine was dropped off to me, but I reset the governer to 3600 rpms to see if it cut better and handled better with the additional rpms, and it did! ) and you push the levers full forward or full reverse, this machine goes extremely fast for a mower. Too fast to cut in my opinion but if you need to transport the mower under it's own power, this speed would help save you time. The deck did not scalp the lawn in areas my scag would have scalped on. I think this is mainly due to the wheels being closer to the width of the deck where my scags wheels are not nearly as wide as the mowers deck. Netural..... The cut was acceptable, but not as good as my scag. It didn't seem to discharge as far as the scag and it didn't seem to have as much wind coming out of the deck as the scag. I tryed laying down some strips with it, and if I followed existing strips in the yard it did good, but laying down new strips with it... it did lay some down, but they weren't as deep looking as the scags would have been. A couple things that did impress me about the cut was the mower had very little to no blowout in the front of the deck and the mower could cut almost as good going backwards as going forward, no other commercial mower I have used will leave a acceptable look if mowed in reverse, the bad boy did. All in all I would say that the mower has a acceptable cut and would satisfy most people. I measured with a tape measure and the true blade height was not the same as indicated height on the height indicator... It was off anywhere from 1/4 of a inch to over 1/2 a inch. To be fair my Scag is off a solid 1/2 inch at all settings, just would be nice to have a indicator that shows the true height. Handling overall the mower just felt bulky to me. Bear in mind that my Scag Wildcat is like a small sportscar compared to most big zero turns, so someone coming off a Scag Turf Tiger or a Big Exmark or Hustler probably won't feel the Bad Boy is bulky, but for me it just felt too bulky and oversized for cutting typical residential " Charlotte cookie cutter neighborhood" yards. To be fair, I have used the Turf tiger for several days earlier this year and it too felt too big and bulky, but not as bulky as the bad boy, probably cause the seat is lower on the scag TT. The flipside to the bulky feeling is The bad boy is a fast, smooth mower and I think it would be in it's prime element on larger, open properties. This mower had a 26 horse liquid cooled Kawasaki on it, and it felt like it had enough power. The engine would slightly bog - according to the tach/ hourmeter it would loose roughly 200 rpms when it would "bog" - if you were cutting and went up a semi steep hill or really pushed the sticks forward quickly. All in all I think it is a good machine. It is certainly alot of machine for the price. I think I would demo both the non suspension version of the lightning ( but with a suspension seat ) and the suspension version, and I am willing to bet that the non suspension version rides nearly as smooth, and this mower would be even cheaper and would probably be the better one to get. I feel that from what I saw, the mower should be a good solid mower, built well and easy to work on too. There were some faults, and design goof ups ( like the parking brake and choke knob placement and the deck height/lift lack of pre set height settings ) But all mowers have a few examples of weird engineering and or design issues. I think the mower is certainly a equal mower to other big brand mowers. It is certainly worth your consideration if your shopping for a new mower. It appeared to be extremely well built, yet easy to work on. Ultimately I decided to pass on purchasing one for now. I would want to demo the non suspensed version, and overall the bulky feeling of the mower was my biggest turn off. If I were using this mower to mow wide open areas I would have bought it, but I use my mower to mow small residential lawns, lawns most would probably use a 48-52 inch stander or walk behind on, not a 61 inch rider... and the Wildcat is about as big of a unit as I want to run on these properties, and the Bad boy feels noticably larger, even thought it probably isn't much bigger or heavier on paper. I would reccomend a Bad Boy to others and would say overall I liked it.