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Whats the deal with the pull behind reel mowers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by instyle, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. instyle

    instyle LawnSite Senior Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 380

    On ebay you can but pull behind reel mowers up to 11' wide. it is really just a bunch of 22" reel mowers that are connected. But that almost seems to good to be true. Why doesn't every one run them?
    Are they a decent cut? I have a bunch of very large properties, so this seems like the cats ass. Are they worth it?
  2. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    A rotary mower will be more efficient in the way of maintenance. Ever had to sharpen a set of reel mower blades?
  3. TimsLawnCareVA

    TimsLawnCareVA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 361

    They are used by most of the golf courses around here to cut the fairways.
  4. instyle

    instyle LawnSite Senior Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 380

  5. mnglocker

    mnglocker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 758

    Sharpening all those blades will break the bank.
  6. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    First of all that unit advertised on eBay is not a commercial unit.
    Being a ground driven unit you must be able to get into the gear case to reset tolerances and to grease the unit as part of a normal yearly maintenance cycle.
    On these you can't.
    Secondly, true ground driven reel assemblies similar to the Toro, Jacobsen, Brower and some Deere units are heavy and even a decently powered atv cannot pull 3 on an A frame at one time. So you need a fairly good sized tractor - not easy to place on a trailer when the reel frame is almost 15' long unless you are totally non hydraulic powered which then means the reels don't fold up for transport and storage = take up a bunch of space.
    Servicing reels, especially commercial units found on golf courses usually require sharpening once per year. What most of the readers here confuse facing/back lapping with grinding.
    Unless the reel itself is damaged it shouldn't require grinding.
    Why more LCO's don't use ground powered pull behind reels is simple - when was the last time you had to mow 20 or 30 maintained acres?
    Plus, price per unit - without the transport or hydraulic frame is usually $1,500 for a beat unit to over $3,000 each set up ready to go.
    Factor in the tractor, 7 reels, a hydraulic lift frame and now you are talking $30G +.
    It is much more cost efficient to operate a wide area mower or three less skilled operators on 72" rotary units.
  7. mowingmachine

    mowingmachine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 253

    Those units on ebay will only work in short grass that is maintained often and they will not cut at the speed of a zero turn. Stick with a rotory type mower.

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