Objective opinion needed on Front mount

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by westone, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. westone

    westone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Hey everyone, I need some good advice.
    I have about 3-4 acres located in the NC mountains I have been mowing with Kubota L3000DT and a 5' brush cutter for the last 5 years. On the open areas, which comprise about 2 acres or so, the tractor and brush cutter are a fine setup. I run in 2nd gear high and it takes about an hour and half.
    The rest is a different story: Hills, ditches, trees, a pond, stream and dam, rocks, and the house. With all the maneuvering and tight spaces(for a tractor), it takes about 4-5 hours.

    Last year a guy I hired to do some tree work brought a 60" Dixie Chopper and mowed one of the steep hills and I thought, "I need to get a good mower". I looked at Dixie Chopper, but now I'm thinking a 60" Front mounted deck on something with bar tread tires and ample HP (27-31) might be best.

    Am I on the right track here? I'm looking at eXmark and Grasshopper and I'm needing the voice of experience on what will hold up over time. I'm partial to liquid cooled, and our Kubota diesel has been nothing but a workhorse. But that puts us into a whole higher price range. I am just a little wary about how much attention a 30 HP air cooled engine will require over the years.

    Another issue is the terrain itself. This is not a manicured lawn, there are dips and rises. Which is why I am concerned about durability. I don't want to exaggerate the terrain, the DC did OK, it's just not flat and smooth like a residential lawn.

    Any advice or experience will help tremendously. I'm not looking to start a brand loyalty argument here, just to get some good advice on what works and what holds up.

    Thanks,
    Bill
     
  2. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,022

    Some options

    Look for a older/used speciality ZTR mower such as the Deweze ATM or Hustler ATZ. Dixie Chopper also used to make one that had a roll cage.

    Several mid-mount ZTR's with an extreme wide wheel base would work also. Just make sure you get the roll bar on it.

    A front-mount ZTR mower like Grasshopper/Woods/Exmark/Encore/Snapper will work on slopes to a certain degree. Just make sure you get a agressive tire tread and the roll bar.

    Another option to consider is a Steiner mower. You can get a 4 wheel drive unit with a front mount deck (the 4wd is not a ZTR). You can also get several other attachments for it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. westone

    westone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I looked at the Steiner. We already have a tractor and some implements, and I'm not really looking to replace all that. Just a more efficient mowing option. This morning I'm looking at the Kubota F series. Diesel engines, and our Kubota tractor has been so painless, I expect it would be reliable. Got to get some prices though. Probably almost as much as our tractor.
     
  4. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,022

    Sorry, based on your first tread, I thought you were more interested in a zero turn unit.

    Yes, the Kabota F-series would probably fit your needs. You already know about their engines. I would also want to make sure that I got the "auto-assist 4WD" for the steep hills.

    Maybe the Kabota dealer can find the same size tire in a more aggressive pattern. You can't go too much wider because of the gage wheel on the back side of the deck.
     
  5. westone

    westone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  6. Bay de Noc Lawn Car

    Bay de Noc Lawn Car LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    Grasshopper is one of the best ZTRs for hills, front or mid mount.
     
  7. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,022

    Another type of mower that might handle your needs is the 3-wheel riders like Scag and Ferris. They are a nice/simple cutting machine that should handle hills easily.

    You might even find a deal on a used one since they are no longer the mower of choice of mowing companies that want to fit more units on a trailer. There are some on ebay right now - one even has a Kabota engine.
     
  8. westone

    westone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Yowzer! The Kubota F2880 4WD w/ a 60" deck was just quoted at $16K. That is what we paid for our L3000 w/ a front loader. I'll be taking another look at the Grasshopper and other options.
     
  9. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    Ditto. Demo demo demo. can't stress that enough. what works for one person doesn't work for another. get out there and check some out!
     

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