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help.......walker or rider

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rjmj, May 27, 2003.

  1. rjmj

    rjmj LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Posts: 16

    i have about 12 lawns that i mow weekly on the side of my full time job. i currently use a 2002 JD sabre with a 17hp/42in deck home owner machine. i would like to up grade to get things done a little faster. last week i demo'd a hustler fastack ztr and i got things done in a lot less time. it seems like a good ztr for 12 lawns but i am also considering a 48" gravely walk behind(but i have never tryed a walk behind. none of my propertys have small gates to worry about. is it a pain to make 180 turns with a gear driven walk behind? will the walk behind get me done as fast? 2 of the lawns are pretty big and take me about 2 1/2 hrs to do. is there anything else i should consider?
  2. rjmj

    rjmj LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Posts: 16

    please give me your opinion:blob3:
  3. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Walk behind all the way. Much more agile, easier on the backside.
  4. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    Lazer HP 52 23 Kohler.

  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I started almost exactly like you with a Toro garden tractor. Same deck size,motor, number of customers. But I had no access to Lawnsite as it was not around in 1995.

    I did those lawns the hard way until I tried a Walker. I cut my time in half and my fatigue was cut 100%. By dumb luck I initially got a bone of a motor on my first Walker, not their fault it was a Kohler 25. I had to get a backup so I bought a Toro 44" hydro w/15hp Kohler.

    The Toro is great for wet grass or to use as a second mower. It is slower than the Walker. I know because when the 25 broke down, all I had was the Toro. It got the jobs done but it was slower in the fact that what took me 6 hours then took me about 8.5. A garden tractor took me about 10 to 12.

    Now the Walker isn't for everyone but it has a front line place for my properties. It is by no means a 10MPH Exmark but it isn't a tractor either.
    I suggest contacting dealers and demoing some more units on your properties but in the end I would absolutely recommend a riding ZTR of whatever make fits the properties that you do. It is an absolute necessity for my operation. There is a difference between riding and standing behind a mower all day. It can be done but if you can sit, why stand. Good Luck
  6. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    How big are the properties? Do you want to expand the business?

    If the average property is 1/2 acre or less and you wouldn't mind expanding a bit then I would say walk behind with a sulky (ride on attachment, you stand on it) but if you have properties that are 1/2 acre and larger and definately want to expand then I would say the ZTR as your fatigue goes down and productivity goes up compared to the w/b. A walk behind is a good machine for the money but if your properties are 1/2 acre and up, then a 36" walk behind for instance won't be much of an improvement over your tractor, but with a sulky you would see some decrease in time spent. With a 48" walk behind you would cut some time just walking but with a sulky you'd probably see your time cut by 30% or so? With a 52" and sulky you would probably see a 50% cut? I used to use a 32" rear engine rider (homeowner) and one half acre property took me maybe 45 minutes to an hour with it just to mow (no trimming) then when I got a 52" walk behind and sulky, it only took 25-30 minutes or so and fatigue was way down (the little rider had a rough ride and I was burning alot of time turning around as it wasn't hydro like your tractor probably is, but I had it down to a fast shift!) then I got a 61" rider (not a mid deck ZTR but an outfront) and I'm only taking 15 minutes to mow that one property! Just mowing only. That is a half acre property so you can picture on a larger property the 61" would really make a huge difference over the walk behind, but the walk behind was alot better than what i had before. If you have alot of slopes/ditches/banks/hills, etc. then a walk behind may be for you. If they aren't terribly steep then a rider might take them. An outfront rider like mine generally is better on hills than a mid mount ZTR as they sit lower and are better balanced for that type of work. If you get a walk behind and sulky I'd recommend a hydro not a belt/gear drive. They do alot better on slopes/ditches/banks/hills etc. and pull a sulky alot better than a belt drive.

    Sorry that got long! But I hope it may have helped you somehow...

  7. a1 lawncare

    a1 lawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 153

    with only 12 properties i would go for a good w/b, later if you decide to expand you'll need a good w/b anyway. a w/b or a z either one is going to increase your efficiency over a lawn tractor considerably.
  8. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    I'll challege you on any hill. My 757 against your STHM. How many mid-mounts have you ran? :rolleyes:
  9. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    I will accept the challenge. I have run enough to know that they are not going to beat my STHM that is for sure. I have had a JD M655 54" and a Toro Z153 52" on hills, both did better than I thought but my STHM will still be king of the hill. I'm tired of everyone on LS thinking that just cause I'm 16 that I haven't run any equipment other than what I own.:rolleyes:
  10. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,446

    You will lose miserably---STHM can go (dare I say it) down hills and change direction in the process

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