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Belt Drive WB Users....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PrecisionLawnsInc, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. PrecisionLawnsInc

    PrecisionLawnsInc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    I've been thinking about belt drive walk behinds for a couple days now and the thing I don't get is turning. I understand how its done but it seems to me that every other pass on each side is going to leave a smear mark and tear the turf. Is that the case? I'm not really in the market for one, just wanted to know how you would avoid leaving ugly smears in the lawn.

  2. PrecisionLawnsInc

    PrecisionLawnsInc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    oops would a moderator move this to commercial mowing. Just noticed im in the wrong forum.

  3. Dixie Rob

    Dixie Rob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I can go full speed and not tear up the turf. If it's wet, you definatly do NOT want to use one.

    Also, the reason I bought a ZTR was b/c turning the belt drive would absolutely wear me out after an hour or two mowing on my JD. I don't know if it's just my mower, but on it, you have to pull the levers with your fingertips very hard.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Ditto on the wet, once the belts get wet, they slip and the Wb is dead.

    Far as turning, I have a Toro and with a toro you do the racetrack because you waste no time in the turns, the mower is constantly cutting. And, the T-bar control is engineered to reduce operator fatigue, so operating the machine never wears my arms out.

    I keep telling ppls don't buy pistol-grips, but what do they do...?
  5. Dixie Rob

    Dixie Rob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I sure wish I would have known 3 years ago when I bought her not to get the postol grips.
  6. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 620

    If you don't have the money to sink into a hydro, don't be scared to get a belt drive. I've been using a belt for years now. The only real disadvantage as said before is in wet conditions. Wet belts and an incline of any degree don't mix. As far as tearing the turf, you can wreck a lawn with any machine, belt or hydro. Takes a little practice with either drive type to get used to the machine. And as far as pistol grips go, that's what I learned on, and really don't see why people hate them so bad on a belt drive. I can turn my belt drive w/b with pistol grips faster than I can my hydro ztr.
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Looking at your equipment lineup I'd guess a belt drive would be a letdown even if you were in the market for one.

    But the RIGHT kind isn't as bad as some would say. The Toro T bar steering is pretty good. It takes very little effort and you can even mow one-handed for short stints when needed.

    When turning the key is just to SLOW the inner wheel, not skid it. You make a short circle with the mower at the end of mowing rows. Picture driving around a cul-de-sac, swing right, then left to turn around. The bigger the properties, the easier it is and the less the advantage of a hydro. I wouldn't want to use one all day on small lots. You often have to manhandle it in tight spots.

    A lot of the bad rep of belt drives comes from pistol grip users. I've used a belt drive pistol grip mower and it was a bear to control compared to the T bars. Lighter, smaller mowers do better as belt drives since when you do need to give them a pull to back them up quickly, they're light enough to not be a problem.

    It's true they will slip in wet conditions, but usually they are ok in any degree of dampness that I would be mowing in anyway. If it's raining, you will have to push the thing back on the trailer, but if it's just damp grass it will be ok as long as the belts stay decently dry. I use two belt drive mowers as my wet day mowers, actually, since they are light enough on the turf not to damage it, but I don't mow when it's raining. They also have a more smooth and progressive wheel engagement you can control by touch on the control bar, so you don't tear turf in those conditions. My hydro wb was more jerky and you had to baby it.
  8. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Belt drives are ok as long as you don't want to speed up or change from reverse to forward and vice versa. . .because you have to stop what you are doing to change gears.
  9. slebeau20

    slebeau20 LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 103

    If your going to go with a belt drive, go with one that has a wider belt design. My JD has a skinny belt and a little moisture and you dead in the water. You could cut grass fast with scissors. Talking to others with that wider belt they don't tend to have many problems at all. I'm going away from my belt drive and going into a stander.
  10. Justcutitshort

    Justcutitshort LawnSite Member
    Posts: 187

    From your display of equipment posted, go spend the money on a good Hydro walk behind. The drawbacks of beltdrives are endless compared to the few thousand dollar outlay for a hydro, which is benifit you for years and years. You will easily recoup the outlay for the Hydro in the first year.

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