First off, any mower with a deck smaller than 44" in width is a big waste of time. They consume just as much fuel, and the small decks hardly get the job done. Bluntly speaking, a 4-foot deck gets 25 percent more work done than a 3-footer, for the same money. But ... Meanwhile, everyone knows the Toro T-bar is the best control out there. Thus, it would make sense to buy the 48" Toro model 30197 for 3 grand and be done with it. But, why doesn't everybody do that? Toro produces a limited number of machines every year, some of every size and configuration and since everybody wants a Toro, there exists a waiting list... And with any brand, the larger the deck, the rarer the machine. Yet you can find a Anybrand 30-36 inch mower anytime, anyday. But if it's a Toro with a large deck, that's a ueber-rare machine, much like an exotic automobile - It is hard to find, and even with a brand-new one with cash in hand, it can take up to a month or longer before you have your mower. Ahhh but the dealers are smart, Johnny needs a mower NOW not in a month! Well, we have this 3-footer, sir And, the first 3-foot deck is sold to the unsuspecting noob. Old-timers are not immune to the disease, either. Comes a customer who just begs and whines and somehow there exists a soft spot and they hit it just right, and oh allright, old-timer goes out and buys a 3-footer so he can get through the stupid gate. A year later, old-timer can't stand the thought of the 3-footer anymore. Johnny noob meanwhile, he's either out of business because his 3-footer couldn't cut enough grass / hour, or he's sore from the mistake as well. Both put their 3-foot deckers up for sale. And, who comes along, just in time? Another old-timer or Johnny noob who has never experienced the bs associated with 3-foot decks, and they quickly convince him 'hey look it gets through all those small gates!" Yeah, yeah, that's it, that's the ticket! And of course, no large decks anywhere in sight, especially not a Toro... And if you do find one, it's just way over-priced, yes, it sure is. Hence the 3-footers get handed down from generation to generation, I see the same mowers make the rounds every year.