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Help me make a good mower decision

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Shumdit, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. Shumdit

    Shumdit LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I am a homeowner with a 2.5 acre lot in Upstate South Carolina. My lot is fairly flat (except for the drainage culvert at the road), but has many bumpy spots from installation of the irrigation system, and just the lay of the land. I had a fairly new Craftsman Lawn Tractor (25HP Kohler, 48 inch) that would cut it all, even the culvert, but was slow, rough riding, and gave a poor quality of cut if the grass was even slightly higher than normal. I have a wood fence and leyland cypress along half the property (back yard) and a grove of hardwoods in the front (about a 60x200 section, that is not landscaped or seeded, just leaves). I want advice on a long lasting mower that is comfortable to ride on, not too loud, and most of all FAST. I know a ZTR is probably my best bet and I am considering the following:

    Kubota ZD-21 w/ 60" - I know the diesel has a great rep, and people seem to love Kubota's other products. I can get one for around $8900-9000 from what I have been told.

    Exmark- Not sure which model I would go with, but I know the dealer about 30 minutes from me is a nice guy, and seems to have a good reputation. I hear great things about their mowers, but I am not sure about ride quality without spending extra for the deluxe seat, and a 10 mph mower is no good if I can't hadle the jarring at anything above 6 mph. I also don't know about the
    price I should expect to pay, maybe you can give me a idea of a good price to pay on a particular model.

    Toro Z355- I know this mower is not discussed much here, and I wonder if there is a reason for that. In concept it seems to be simlar to a Walker (that will probably start a fight!) with the rear bagging and 48 inch deck. I would have probably bought this already as I have found a demo with 10 hours for $7000, but the small deck size, and possible bad ride quality have me on the fence. I like the idea of bagging, esp. in leaf and sweetgum ball season, but I don't know if trading away the bigger deck is worth it when I could pull a sweeper in leaf season instead.

    Walker- Not sure again, about the model, and they seem too slow for me, since my lot is pretty open, and the price seems hard to justify. Again the deck size is small and I wonder about the ride quality vs. a suspension seat like Kubota's or Exmark's optional one.

    I know this is a very long post, but I hope those of you who have not fallen asleep at this point will have some insight and advice. Remember, I am a homeowner, so fuel economy, ease of trailering, sidehilling, etc. are not my concerns. My wants are FAST cut, with a ride that will allow me to use the speed the mower can do (even with my bumpy yard). Thanks in advance for those who have taken the time to read this and respond!

  2. TSS

    TSS LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 31


    Out of the mowers that you have mentioned i only have experience with exmark. As far as my experiences with exmark i will probably never have any other mowers. We have a shop about 15 min away from me and they are great. There service is second to none and everyone is very customer friendly. I know that they are in it for the money but its nice to walk in and they remember the last big idea that you had and ask how it went.

    I would talk to as many places as you can and tell them what you are in the market for. More times than not they will let you demo their mowers. Ask them about the pro's and con's for purchasing their mower. If they are concerned about customers they should be honest with you. Then you can take it from there. Get the mower you feel most comfortable with.

    As far as prices, I was just quoted $6800.00 for a 52 lazer with a 23hp kaw engine. I know that prices vary from town to town so check around.

    HOWARD JONES LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    I own a Toro Z255 and also have an acreage that is rough in some places - I think you are right on track with your comments and concerns about rough ride. I would strongly suggest test driving potential purchases - some of the guys here claim their machines ride better with the "tractor style" tires, such as Dixie Chopper uses.
  4. kerr lawn

    kerr lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    i have the toro ztr 72" 26 hp efi i love it
    I looked at the exmark, and looked at the toro seeing that the toro has bigger gas tank openings for less spillage, and the z stand so then you poop it up where ever needed is awesome for new blades, clean-up, or if you run something over.
    But look at your options and who is in your area.
    tell us what happens?
  5. E-man

    E-man LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 136

    walker mowers are great machines they are comfortable for the operator too. Walkers top speed is 5 miles per hour with a speed up kit you can go 6.5 You can also get a air ride seat wich are pretty pricy but very comfortable. You can go with the bagging unit (GHS) or you could get aa side dicharge unit with your choice of deck from 52" to 74". (all depending on engine size) Everyone has there own opinions of mowers I sugest as said before try them all and make your decision.
  6. Bladewielder

    Bladewielder LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Be careful with Walkers. Their blades are shaft driven, which sounds good untill you hit a rock and shear a pin or gear. I'd get something with belt-driven blades. The Kubota you mentioned I have looked at and it is one sweet mower. However if you are only mowing your own place the price could be a little steep. For example I paid only $5200.00 for my 23hp 52" Snapper Pro Cruiser. If all I mowed was a place the size of yours it would last forever. Don't think you have to get a high-end ZTR to get something that will last. Any commercial ZTR is a class above what you were mowing with. Of course it all comes down to what you want to spend.
  7. keifer

    keifer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 320

    I have a 3 acre lot my self,mostly flat with a hill on one side.
    i use a deere 240 with 14 kawi and 46in cut works good and fast even faster when the old lady drives it.
  8. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Only one comment:

    No matter who makes it, buy one with a 'front' mounted deck vs. the 'mid' mounts.

    Trust me.
  9. Shumdit

    Shumdit LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Why only front mount? Most ZTR's are mid mount and it seems to be the most popular for a reason. What is your logic on this statement?
  10. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 166

    Commercial guys trailoring their stuff around save space on the trailor with the mid-mounts.
    I am a homeowner who bought a unit last winter and I love it. The front mounted deck allows you real easy access under fences, bushes, pines, etc.
    Plus, the newer models generally feature a 'flip up' deck, when I'm done mowing it takes me 1 minute have the mowing deck standing upright to allow me to clean and inspect it.
    Also, when cutting around small ocstacles, the front mount will make for easier trimming.
    I believe that the quality of cut is also better, imaging a large pushmower - instead of pushing it yourself you're sitting behind it versus the mid-mounted deck hanging from the tractor.
    The flexibility of the deck (up/ down movement) allows for a good cut when going up embankments or mowing across bumps, it usually offers more movement in this direction than a midmount without any restrictions by chains or frame.
    I hope this helps.

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