thoughts on a dixon black bear 34"?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by maui8, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Posts: 33

    Hi,
    I am planning to start a lwan business this spring 2006 and decided today ill stop in the local lawnmower shop.

    there they had a 34" ztr and the sales person told me that this is a good product.
    http://dixon-ztr.com/view_product_group.php?product=7345

    he also told me that this mower cuts grass easily running at 9mph, even if the grass is 16inches high.

    would you recommend this for someone looking into cutting residential properties?

    i am hoping to get 20-40 residential clients. most properties will be 1/4 acres.

    i think the price he quoted me was 5200 or 5400.


    thanks.
     
  2. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Haven't seen or used one Maui, but here is what I know.

    It is about 300 pounds lighter than a comparable exmark 44 or gravely 34. If you are the only operator and you take care of your stuff that may be okay. It probably won't take the beating the others will. Keep in mind you are going to get pressed and get behind and run it harder than you intend to.

    Knee high grass at 9 mph (in peak season)? Maybe, but I don't believe it. That's what the big diesel wide area mowers do.

    Ask the salesman for names of LCO's that have one and if he will help you with that info, call them and ask.

    This late in the season there is no rush on buying so you can do your research first.

    All I'm saying is learn all you can about it first, before making the investment.
     
  3. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Haven't seen or used one Maui, but here is what I know.

    It is about 300 pounds lighter than a comparable exmark 44 or gravely 34. If you are the only operator and you take care of your stuff that may be okay. It probably won't take the beating the others will. Keep in mind you are going to get pressed and get behind and run it harder than you intend to.

    Knee high grass at 9 mph (in peak season)? Maybe, but I don't believe it. That's what the big diesel wide area mowers do.

    Ask the salesman for names of LCO's that have one and if he will help you with that info, call them and ask.

    This late in the season there is no rush on buying so you can do your research first.

    All I'm saying is learn all you can about it first, before making the investment.
     
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Sorry Moderator, don't know why it posted twice.
     
  5. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    Jason Rose runs Dixons but I think his machines are all the larger ones. Maybe he'll see this thread and comment on them. We have a great Dixon dealer here and I would really like to throw money his way if we ever need a bigger ZTR. I'd like to hear from owner operators about how well these machines work.
     
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    My ears must have been burning! lol

    Mine are in fact the larger ones (50") and older to boot. This is the first Iv'e even HEARD of the Black Bear... Dixon has never had a commercial grade machine smaller than the 50", sure they have 30" 36" 42" 44", but none were more than homeowner grade, too small of HP and either a cone drive or cheapo hydrostats on the smaller machines.

    Looking at the "suggested retail price" seems pretty steep, plus 700 bucks for the catcher system. I only know one LCO that has a newer Dixon, a Kodiak 50" with the "new and improved catcher". (the old catcher is awesome and I don't see any need for improvements, honestly so much better engeneered than ANY other mower's catcher) The old 5023 units were tried and true, built the same for 10+ years! Now they change management and everything gets a makeover... I just HOPE it's for the better!

    I do want to see one of these 34" units in person, with a catcher. Unfortunately my dealer has taken to selling Hustler (the small units only) and is not stocking Dixons like he used too. I am really wanting to get a smaller machine for small lawns and gated areas, tho I may still be beter off with a walkbehind 44" than a rider, or a 42" walker, if I could find one cheap...
     
  7. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    Thanks for the interesting comments :) The newer Dixons we looked at seemed to be true commercial machines-25 kohler, Parker pumps and wheel motors, very heavy deck material and frame. I wonder how different they are from your older machines which seem to be serving you quite well.
     
  8. Cutter LLC

    Cutter LLC LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 100

    I had a dixon 5023 for about 1000 hours. Pretty tough machine, light weight, and held hills okay to my surprise. I've since gone to a hustler super mini z and the differance is night and day. The only thing that is not a ton better on the hustler is the weight. The spindles on the dixon sucked and it could not stripe very well also it was slow with a very very shallow deck. I would like to see this new small ztr from dixon.

    Price does sound a little high for that ztr but it should leave a good cut and be a light weight mower. I would try the new mini z 36" from hustler before I jumped on that dixon. Also the gravely, scag, and dixie chopper would be in the running for a small ztr IMO.
     
  9. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    The decks on the newer Dixons look EXACTLY like the decks have for the past 12 or so years, whenever they switched from the stamped decks to the fabricated decks on the 50" machines. If they are made of a heavier gague steel, well that's all good I suppose, though I have never seen a deck "fail" or bend on one before...

    I totally agree about their decks not being deep enough, but you have to also remember, they are a tunnel design and get deeper from left to right. The discharge chute is about 6" from top to bottom of the deck edge. Still, They don't handle excesseve growth very well, it may cut it all, but dosn't always get it all moved to the chute to be picked up by the blower.

    CutterLLC: Did your Dixon have a catcher? I have used mine enough without to know that without the catcher on it SUCKS on hills! I even resort to putting wheel weights on the rear wheels in the fall when I have a mulch kit on one machine just so I can traverse slopes without sliding all over the place... WITH the catcher I can get it to go anywhere I need it too.

    Keep in mind, this is a 34" unit, not a 36". Most chainlink fences are a pretty ridgid 36" opening and a 36" mower is usually more like 37" overall width. Getting thru is not gonna happen. Plus it has a catcher with a BLOWER! That is also a quick on and off, pop the blower off, sneak in the gate, put the blower back on. Not really handy, but could beat walking when there's a lot of growth or leaves to clean-up!

    Dixon really needs to PAY me for all this boasting and free advertising I do... Everyone bashes them and tells me xyz mower is better, or abc... Iv'e owned others, keep going back to my lightweight, fast, nimble, easy to operate, and user friendly Dixon.
     
  10. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    This has been some great stuff on Dixon and somewhat mirrors my own experience with a very old 30" cut Dixon with the cup and cone drive. For a homeowner's machine it was amazingly tough and it also had a very shallow deck with an excellent bagger system. It was just a simple tube directed into
    a hardtop/cloth bottom catcher. We did some horribly wet cutting many times and it would bag all but heavy growth. The cut wasn't great but the new decks are so vastly different to the first generation that it's an irrelevant point. The hydros should answer the constant adjustment problems of the old style transaxles but it's sure good to hear from those who run these machines on a daily basis. Our dealer is one of the nicest most helpful people we have ever encountered plus he's only a few miles away from us:D
     

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