I just demo'd a couple of machines and thought I give my observations on the two. The machine will be used on my own acreage, since retiring from the landscape business and will replace my 48" walk behind. Now remember my opinions are worth what you paid for them and I'm sure they will be some who differ greatly. My background. I had been a landscaper for 17 years and have recently retired. I've run many different brands. My first round of Machines where Bunton's. I think my Bunton 52" walk behind was the finest cutting machine I ever had. Not saying it didn't have it's likes and dislikes , but as a finish mower on a normal cut cycle it always left the best cut. I've used Scaggs , Ferris , Xmark all equal in the walk behind in my opinion, Ferris getting the nod for the lower price point in my area. They were all equally durable and all took the abuse the same. My last years of business I was running a combo of 15 or so different machines. Now you have proponents of the two machines I demod. Each will probably disagree with me on points, but hey you get what you pay for. The Machines: Huslter Fast track 54" 21 HP Flex forks Ferris IS 2000 61" 25 HP Not the exact machines I wanted to Demo, but that's what they had in demos at this time of year. Some will say it wasn't fair because I demod I "home owners" machine vs a commercial machine. Well that's what they had. The Hustler didn't have the exact setup I wanted , which was flex forks and Suspension seat as you can't get the suspension seat on the Fast track series. They also didn't have any mini Z's in that set up. I wanted to test a 52" Ferris, but they only had a 61" My reasoning on decks size, which I found is the smaller the deck the prettier the cut. I've found that 52" give you good productive combined with a nice looking cut. First up Hustler. Looks like it's built to last, no frills machine. Cut: good, doesn't strip well at all. No scalping even at top speeds. Speed: Fast, but even with flex forks it could fling you off the machine at top speed. No way I could cut at top speed. Controls: Parking break setup is slick and really speeds up things if you have to get on and off to pick up debris. Deck lift peddle is a bad location/setup. I had to contort my leg to lift the deck as my knee would hit the levers. It was a nice gnarled piece for nice foot grip. Hill holding: It didn't do a great job holding the hill I tested, but the hill was pretty steep and I crabbed on a good portion of it. With no roll bar it certain kept you thinking. Customer support: Outstanding. I couldn't say more about the local shop. Walked in asking for a demo to be be dropped off. Walked out with the demo and a trailer they loaned me. Signed me out for a week to demo the machine. Next up Ferris: Cut: Now here is where people knock Ferris. Justified? Maybe yes , maybe no. Maybe just not used to a full suspension machine, which obviously requires some retraining. The knocks on the Ferris cut is with dipping decks. Will that happen yes. Is there something you can do about it, yes. Just push on the deck lift slightly when making your turns and the dipping is gone, What I found was that due to the increased cutting speed, due to the suspension you tend to turn too fast. That being said, yes it cuts nice. Yes it does strip , even on centipede. For residential the 61" Ferris is WAY TO BIG. This machine is made for some wide open commercial accounts. Speed: This things blows the hustler away. On the hustler I was always backing down the speed to keep me on the machine and my teeth in my mouth. The Ferris WOW, Comfortable and you can cut wide open. As I was cutting at top speed , I noticed I was more involved in cutting , then thinking getting slammed around. Controls: While not on the less is more theory as the hustler, The Ferris controls were well placed, foot pedal in good location. I preferred the deck height lock out on the ferris as I had the hustler drops it's deck coming off the driveway. Hill holding: Appeared not as good as the Hustler, but I was on a MUCH LARGER MACHINE and it crabbed as well. Still decent. Customer support: I have to say the support I have received over the years in NY was nothing but outstanding. Since moving south, not so good. Took me over a month to get a demo set up and would have been even longer had I not sent a nasty gram to Ferris HQ. Even still I never received a response from Ferris HQ, but the rep(who I had been dealing with) did call the next day and had the demo shipped out right away. When the demo arrived it was a fresh out of the box machine. It also wasn't left for me to test, they actually stood there and watched. Which has never happened to me before. Conclusion: Construction: NOD TO HUSTLER. Both machines appear and felt well built. Both operated well. If you're running a large crew or multiple crews you might prefer the less is more approach of the Hustler. Cut: DRAW. As hard as it is to strip centipede grass, The Ferris stripped it FAR better then the smaller Hustler, which left nearly no visible strips.. Bear in mind you have to retrain yourself when cutting with the Ferris in ref. to deck dipping, which I find is due to the increased cutting speed. Controls: Draw. Hustler gets points for their slick parking brake setup and loses some for their poor location of foot pedal. Ferris foot pedal was in a good location and a better deck lock out. Speed: NOD to Ferris by a wide margin. While having a higher maximum speed, you could also use that speed due to the suspension. I found I couldn't run the Hustler flat out often, yet I easily ran the ferris wide open. Productivity: NOD to Ferris. This one was tough to call for the following reason. The Ferris cuts far faster and thus you can cut more acreage per hour, BUT on and off is faster on the Hustler due to the slick parking brake setup, which requires one less step. Now if your guys run over debris like some of my guys do(which drives me nuts) , the the Ferris is FAR more productive. If you have a area with lots of junk blowing around the Hustler catches up some. Customer Support: NOD to Hustler, but this will vary from area to area and dealer to dealer. Cost: NOD to Ferris. Now if you deck out a Mini Z with flex forks and Suspension seat to get a ride closer to the Ferris you are also at least 1K over the price of a ferris. Which will I be purchasing? Probably the Ferris. While each machine has trade offs, I'm just tired of the all the years of being pounded and having bad discs like lots of old crusty landscapers do, it was a pleasure to drive the Ferris. ALthough, a local Hustler dealer is discounting a Mini Z and with flex forks and suspension seat it may be close to the ferris. I would have been nice to test that set up. Please note , I have a flame proof suit I wear when reading forums.