top mowing speed and zero-turn riders

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mark McC, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    The manufacturers talk about the top speed of their zero mowers, but I'm wondering just how fast one can really mow, given a typical set of conditions.

    Just for jollies, I ran my exmark metro (36", 12.5 Kawasaki) in fifth gear for a bit today to see how cleanly it would cut. The deck bounced a bit, which does not bode well for a clean cut.

    A few of my jobs have pretty flat lawns, but most have at least a little roll to the terrain that seems to eliminate the possibility of going faster than the 6.2 mph (or even THAT fast--fourth gear was okay, but that isn't 6.2 mph) advertised as the top speed for the Metro.

    Next year, I'll get a bigger mower, but I'm wondering if the better speed of zeroes is really of any use. Any opinions?
  2. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    Definitely of use but you won't cut much grass at ten miles per hour. We do in the middle of the summer but that's about it.
    Summer cutting is good!
  3. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    The full size ZTRs don't bounce like WBs. Like you I have a metro wb its a 48 and we never cut above 4th gear or about 4 miles and hour. The lazer I use does 10 and its pinned there most of the day around here grass is rather lush so your double cutting most everything till around mid june or early july. So why not go full speed it looks great when where done.

    We picked up our newest ZTR yesterday a lazerZhp 20 hp koler 44 in deck Let me tell you I am in love with this baby ZTR. It can't cut what my 60 can but it fits in gates I only dreamed of. It has a top speed of 8 miles and hour and despite it being 4 inchs smaller then my metro it does a little more then double the work we did in the same amount of time with the WB. Well worth it and yes we do cut at top speed only she does bump a bit more then the larger one so that does slow you down a bit but you know what areas that cause that did the same to the WB so no time lose at all.
  4. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    I can't cut at top speed, either too many obsticles, uneven terrain etc, and the grass would need to be very maintained for the deck to perform correctly, and if you are finding your deck is bouncing, you are going too fast and on the way to breaking something, these things are expensive tools, look after them to get the most out of them.

    Top speed is used in driving with blades off, not sure how fast this is but I don't try to cover anymore than 3 acres an hour with a 60'' deck, but most times with residential acreages mowing a 1.5 acre property takes about an hour which includes clean up, and some time consuming areas.

    Cut quality is more important than top speed to me, but the trick is to find the happy medium of best cut at an exceptable pace.

    I don't have big agreages or sports fields etc. to play with fast cutting either so I may be off base...
  5. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    The more I think about this, the more I realize that I need to decide what areas I'll market my services to next year before I try to ace out what sort of mower to buy.

    Right now, I have several jobs that won't accomodate much more than a 36" deck for one or more of several reasons, but there are neighborhoods I'll be looking into that will take anything up to a five- or six-foot deck.

    I guess I'll see what sort of business plan I come up with for next year.
  6. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    Top speed makes a big difference if you cut like I do! I may mow a lush lawn at half, but then I go back over the entire lawn with the deck up several inches higher than the cut and utilize full speed. Even if your deck bounces, it won't scalp because you've set your deck several inches higher. The double cut disperses clipping and doubles the striping effect IMO.
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    the other thing is if you can cut well at half speed and your max speed is 13mph that is alot better than if it is 8mph.

    My new gravely (13MPH) can do about 10 on flat terrain and still give a great cut if the floratam isn't too tall. Darn Bahia I am down to about 5 mph or slower if it is a bit overgrown.
  8. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    I cut the turf at the fastest speed possible. Usually between 5 to 10 mph. And I only cut it once, no double cutting.

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