I am going to have to buy a new mower next season and thought I'd start researching different products now. I was pretty much set on ex-mark, but now I'm wondering about hustler, dixie chopper, and john deere also, mainly because i have heard that some of the ex-marks are difficult to maintain. By no means am I bashing ex-mark, just going by what i have heard. I haven't really considered other brands because these brands have local dealers and if I have a problem, I need to be able to take the mower to the dealer on my lunch break from my regular job. The closest scag dealer is like 40 miles away which is too far. any thoughts on the above listed brands would be appreciated. I am especially looking for thoughts on ease of maintenance, reliability, etc. There is not much that I can't do myself as far as repairs but really don't want to sink 5-8k into a mower that needs to be repaired frequently. feel free to share any thoughts, please.