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SCAG: Turf Tiger vs. Cheetah

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by smithlaw, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. smithlaw

    smithlaw LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 10

    First off, I know this topic has been discussed before but every time it seems to go off course. Plus, I wanted to see if there were different opinions since some people may have had longer to run the Cheetahs.

    1. I have narrowed my choices to the Scag Turf Tiger and the Scag Cheetah. I am certain these are my two choices so I don't need to hear any other suggestions ;)

    2. I am really just mowing my yard, etc. we have about 23 acres with about 5 that I will be mowing. I have several trees and obstacles to mow around. I currently have a JD 48" lawn tractor and an old front mount Grasshopper 720k. It takes between 3-4hrs to cut the grass.

    3. I have sat on, and ridden the Turf Tiger, the Cheetah, and the Tiger Cat. While I know the Tiger Cat is more than enough for me, I like the extra power and stronger frames on the other two.

    My concerns/likes/dislikes:

    Turf Tiger:
    Almost everything

    More than I need?
    Ride not quite as good.
    My cost would be roughly $1400 more than for the Cheetah.

    Newer technology?

    Hard to see side of deck over the gas tanks-biggest concern
    Belt vs shaft
    No cup holder (I know doesn't really matter but seems strange it isn't there).

    I would appreciate everyone's feedback on these. I am making the purchase on Monday. I feel they would both do a great job. I feel the Cheetah would be great but am wondering if the issue with the tanks blocking the side view will make a huge difference.

    Thanks in advance!

    David Smith.
  2. WilsonBoud

    WilsonBoud LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    Hello David, I conducted a research probably longer than need in search for my perfect ZTR. We cut 3.5 acres that was taking about 4 hours and 15 minutes. My property is very rough, so I felt that I needed a demo on my property so I would know first hand the performance level of suspension.

    Originally I focus on Ferris, then discovered the Cheetah. I set up a demo of the Cheetah (61" 36 Vanguard). As a suggestion from someone here, I demoed the Gravely 460 (Air Ride Seat, 61" 36 Vanguard) as well.

    (There is a rhyem and reason for my post)

    As it turned out. I demoed the two units one day apart. They cut equally well at speed on my rough property, but the air seat on the Gravely was just a little bit smoother.

    Then I discover the gravely is $2000 more the the Cheetah. SO, I purchased the Cheetah (61" 31 Kawasaki), and the Optional Scag Suspension Seat, and still saved a large chuck of change in the purchase.

    I had my first cutting experience last Monday when the unit was delivered, and again this afternoon (because of all the rain, it's growing out of control). The unit cuts very well at speed, and leaves "NO" stragglers. The suspension platform and optional Suspension Seat in combination puts the Suspension Preformance "over the top".

    The Cheetah cut my mowing time in half (yes in half). and my yard is left "so very pretty." We are totally pleased..... OH, we settled on the Kawasaki 31 hp. The 36 Vanguard was just too thirsty.

    :usflag: *trucewhiteflag* :usflag:
  3. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 673

    Search scag cheetah and maybe you will find the review of a guy who demo'd the cheetah. He basically said that a turf tiger was way better and that he has all the scag models and was disappointed in the cheetah. What i remmeber from his post was that he said the cheetah was fast but was really bad on slopes, tires would just spin. That's enough for me to stay away from the cheetah. You never hear anything bad about the tiger, so i would poney up the extra $ for something that has been tried and tested. I am torn right now between the tiger/toro groundsmaster / and walker mowers. TT for the over all best machine, toro for the best cut, and walker for easy of use and versatility.
  4. smithlaw

    smithlaw LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 10

    Thanks for the info guys. WilsonBoud- did you try the TT?

    I don't have that many hills but do have an uneven yard. I have several trees and obstacles to mow around. Did you have any issues with the tanks getting in the way visually?

    I would be going with the Kawasaki engine on each. However, it appears the Cheetah option has more HP?
  5. WilsonBoud

    WilsonBoud LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    Hi Dave, I never considered the TT. Whatever I decided upon, would have to have mega suspension if I was going to cut my property with some speed, and cut well. The suspension seat alone would not have met my suspension/comfort needs.

    We were cutting with a JD 345 (48") and a 72" grooming mower. Both cut great, but both are old units and were very slow.

    In my research I read issues about the hills and slippage. "No hills here".

    The Cheetah has truly surpassed all my needs and did it fast and clean.

    :usflag: *trucewhiteflag* :usflag:
  6. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 459

    In the spring, I needed to add three 61" zeros. I demoed Cheetahs and Turf Tigers. I purchased three Turf Tigers. I liked the Chettah and may still add a Cheetah or two at some point but I just felt like the Turf Tiger was a better built machine. I have absolutely no regrets about buying the Turf Tigers - they are everything they were advertised to be.

    When I was demoing the Tigers and Cheetahs, there were several days that I had them side by side and testing them against each other in various situations. They both excelled. I took them both on a very steep hillside and made them track one exactly behind the other. They both were EXCEPTIONAL on the hillside. The Turf Tiger is renown for it's hillside stability but the Cheetah stayed right with it and faired just as well.

    On my Tigers, I have two with 29 EFI Kohler engines and one with a Briggs 35hp Vanguard. If I were buying another Turf Tiger tomorrow, I'd buy the 29 EFI Kohler again. It uses about 1.0 - 1.2 gals per hour while the Briggs is chugging 1.8 - 2.0 gph. The Briggs is more powerful but it's really not a huge difference. Not enough difference, in my opinion, to warrant such a higher fuel consumption rate. As for Kawasaki, you couldn't give me a big block Kawasaki engine. Do some research before you buy. They've had lots of issues and they suck down fuel.
  7. camobrute

    camobrute LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Love the power of the Kawasaki, but as everybody has said, they are really bad on fuel. I personally didn't like the 29 EFI on the TT, didn't seem to have enough power in thick stuff. Granted, I was not trying it out on a well manicured lawn as DATHORPE is probably using it on, but I noticed that the engine wanted to die out in thick stuff. It was a brand new machine, so that probably had something to do with the motor not putting out at its full potential yet.

    I did like the TT over the Cheetah. For my needs, the 2 speeds on the Cheetah just seems like something else to tear up, even though I am sure it serves some clients well. As Ron has said above, the TT is tried and true. However, I don't think you would really have any regrets with either machine.

    If I were you, I would purchase which ever one just felt right to you. If you don't, you will always second guess yourself.
  8. greenology

    greenology LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 816

    You should try to have your own demo on the Cheetah with slopes, ultimately its best to get your own idea/opinion from your seat time rather than others.

    I was under the impression that walker would give a superior cut to toro, what makes you say toro would be the pick for this? Cheers
  9. smithlaw

    smithlaw LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 10

    Thanks guys for the input. Very good information. I agree, I think both machines would do an excellent job. I am a person that always wonders "what if" and will beat myself up over a decision forever.

    I guess at this point my only two concerns with the Cheetah are visibility beyond the fuel tanks on the side, and does the belt vs. partial shaft drive make a big difference. Hills, etc. aren't that big of issue for my area.
  10. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,007

    I wouldn't worry about the belt vs the shaft drive since you are only using the mower on your property. If you were cutting ten hours a day it may make a difference.
    The visibility is not an issue if you put an hour on the machine . You will know where the deck is.
    I went with the Cheetah for my property, with the 31 kawi . The smaller kawi was underpowered and labored up small grades. I mow eight acres and couldn't be happier. I look at the difference between the TT and the Cheetah as marathon runner vs sprinter. I don't think you can go wrong with either machine, and it will be a personal preference.
    After reading many threads, seems that the Cheetah is easier to maintain.
    Good luck

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