Some mower comparisions and a couple questions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by marrt, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. marrt

    marrt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I have a history of making one decision, to save money or whatever, and then regretting the decision later. Therefore, ever though I really like the Ferris, I’m looking at all the top mowers just to be sure. My personal priorities, in order of importance, are: 1) ride, 2) brand reputation, 3) cost. Notice that cut quality is missing. That’s because I assume cut quality is part of the brand’s reputation. I’m not an expert so I wouldn’t recognize a great cut from a good one. However, you guys do, so that’s part of the brand’s reputation here. Same, to some degree, with overall dealer support (all the brands I’m looking at have a local dealer). So far, I have the follow observations:

    - Ferris, 60 Fab Deck, 27HP Kohler - $8600. Love the ride but its expensive.
    - Exmark, 60 Fab Deck, 23HP Kohler - $7340. Love the reputation but think I need more HP. Suspect the ride is much worse than the Ferris on my property. Didn't get a price on the 27HP but suspect it is closer to $8500.
    - Toro, 60 Fab Deck, 23 HP Kohler - $7200. Basically, the same as the Laser but with a new deck design. Going to demo on my property (dealer wouldn’t allow Laser demo). For the difference, I would just get the Laser.
    - Cub Tank, 60 Fab Deck, 27HP Kohler - $7500. This thing really is built like a tank. Grease fittings everywhere. Cast Iron pulley’s and deck support. Looks too heavy to me but is impressive to “look at.”
    - Kubota ZD21, 60 stamped deck, 21HP Kubota Diesel, - $8700 ($9400 w/ Fab Deck). I love Kubota diesels. I think the suspension seat may give a decent ride. But, even though diesels have more torque, I wonder if a 21HP diesel is enough for my needs. I sometimes let my grass go a bit (sorry).

    Of these options, I like the Ferris and Kubota the best, although they are the most expensive. I have a friend with the Ferris and I’m going over tonight to mow his lawn for him. I don’t think the Kubota dealer will allow me to demo a unit (closest dealer is a jerk). I would love to try the Kubota to see how it rides compared to the Ferris and see if 21HP is enough. Thoughts or advice on these mowers?
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    My advice would be.....Don't forget resale value on your choices, especially if you're like me and can't always be sure of what you will need when you buy it.

    Some brands are more popular than others. So a more expensive mower might not be more expensive in the long run. I was VERY pleased with the resale value on my Exmark Lazer Z HP 48" 18hp Kohler that I sold last year. Worked it hard for 4 years and sold it for $3500 with 1050 hours. I don't think I had even $6000 in it. And had tons more calls on it with offers. Not sure how it works on the bigger models, but I would choose a brand that fits my needs and is popular nationwide, since I resell mine on Ebay when done with them.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Look at a Lazer - with a little more horsepower, and you'll never look back.
  4. lawnmedic1

    lawnmedic1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    Since I tend to run my equipment a long time I feel dealer support is a must. The dealer closest to my business blew me off first couple of times I was in shopping. Went to a dealer 15 minutes further away and he treated me like gold. I now buy everything from him....Chuck
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    marrt -

    I run Ferris mowers, only for the ride. I do all mid-sized commercial accounts and mow 5 schools. I'm on this mower 10-15 hours a day, 6 days / week. With the suspension that Ferris has, you don't get all the choppy moves most lawns have here in MN. If you're going to compare Ferris to others, you have to realize that it is going to be more expensive, since others don't have suspension.

    Other than that, all the other mowers are basically the same with their own little quirks. I believe that Exmarks will stripe better, but that can be overcome with a little bit of chain or a flap hanging off the back of the mower.

    As long as you have the same horsepower and deck size with each model, the rest, you're getting what you pay for.
  6. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    ZTR-Dixie Chopper is the best ride and speed and power. How's this...60" cut, 27HP Generac commerical grade motor, 13 MPH mowing speed, 6+ acres per hour going full out for $7499. Blows everyone away
  7. barnard

    barnard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 618

    I run a ferris IS 3000. I had a Kubota ZD21 previous to it I sold it due to a broken lift arm and leaking head gasket which weren't big items by themselves but botched repair attempts by my local dealer convinced me I'd had enough. The controls are smoother on the kubota and thereis not a big difference in the ride. As for the Ferris, why not get the standard IS300 with the pivoting front axle instead of the ISExtreme with the coil overs on front. I demoed them both and the ride is actually better on the pivoting axle. Demo them both and I think you willagree. The standard IS/pivot axle can also be purchased for about 2 grand less than the extreme. (about 6,500). I paid $6,400 for mine. But the previous poster had a point Exmark will resell easier if thats a concern.
  8. marrt

    marrt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    As I understand it, the IS 3000 with the pivoting front axle is no longer available. In fact, the only Ferris units I can find with two wheel IS use a front, rather than rear, suspension. Doesn’t make sense to me since your butt is over the rear (no pun intended).

    As to the resale of the Exmark versus the Ferris, I’m pretty sure the Exmark would be better in my area, as a percentage of retail. However, I still probably wouldn’t loose too much on the Ferris if I had to sell and, hopefully, if I do enough research, I won’t have to sell anytime soon. If it weren’t for the Ferris suspension though, I would definitely buy the Exmark. ALL the pros use Exmark in my area. That says a lot.

    Barnard, my local Kubota dealer does not have a ZD currently available for a demo. However, let me ask this…if the ZD21 and the 3000 were the same price, which would you buy today (if you had to buy one of these and considering only the mowers and not dealer support etc)?

    If you would go back to the bota, then maybe I should wait until I can demo one. My guess is that they are underpowered versus the 27HP Kohler. And for the hours I would likely put on it, the longevity of the diesel would not matter (although it does sound cool).

    If money were no object, I would buy the Ferris with the CAT diesel…just because. That thing would increase the testosterone output so much I would have to take two wives.
  9. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    I have been running the Kubota ZD21 for over 2 years now. Its the best mower I have used. As far as power is concerned it is enough 99% of the time. It has more power than the 25 hp Kohler with a 54 in deck. If the 28 hp was available on the 60 in ZD when I bought mine I probably would have went with the bigger motor, just because. But I have been very satisfied with the ZD21.And I ran the others on extended demo's . Such as the Hustler,Exmark,Grasshopper,Cub tank. These other machines all cut just as well as the Kubota , but I liked all the other features the ZD has.
  10. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Had the bota ZD 21 with a 60 inch deck and sold it a few months later. Realy under powered and I love "bota" would like a zd 28 to demo.


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