Zero Turn Mower - Front Disc Brakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ted corriher, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    When you go down a hill with Carlisle Super Lugs digging up the grass, I don't think the slicks will do much. But with 2 master cylinders and a tiller/joystick they'd be great for steering.
  2. GracesLandscaping

    GracesLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    theres a youtube video of the first version of these brakes... you might wanna look at it if you dont believe this will work... you will be surprised!
  3. milo

    milo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,259

    brake setup looks really nice but i dont see it ever being a mowers, not really needed. also im a solo guy but think about a crew out with your equipment and putting front brakes on and spinning rear tires for fun.. its good people thinking of safety but this item does not make sense in the real world.
  4. kjslawn

    kjslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 618

    Maybe not in your world but 70% of my yards that I mow with my Zero turn I wish I had brakes.
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,231


    This looks like a motorcycle rear brake caliper or a 4 wheeler caliper. On cycles the slides on the caliper don't move much and I'm guessing a 4 wheeler caliper doesn't move much either. What happens when grass clippings get in there or you go through thick grass? Wheel lock up? I would think some kind of brush to keep stuff out would be a fix.
  6. ted corriher

    ted corriher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    We have been working all day to install our new disc brake setup on our demo mower. Wow, they are great! On our initial test run, we have found that they are more responsive and take a lot less travel on the pedal than the other version. The new version does not effect the way that a Bad Boy front suspension works. All other versions of suspension from other manufacturers would not be effected by the braking system.

    We will be field testing the new system and will be posting a new video of the trial for those who are interested. We will also be sure to run the mower in a tall grass area to see if the grass affects the braking. These are the same brakes as my son's 4wheeler and he rides in three foot high grass all the time with no problems so I am expecting that we will have no problems as well.

    Thanks to everyone for the input as we are trying to make zero turn mowers safer for everyone that uses them.

    We are going to put to rest the comments about the brakes not being an effective with slick tires on our next video. Maybe a side by side test with a mower that does not have brakes?

    When you are on a hill and the weight of the mower is shifted forward, you will see that these brakes are more effective than you might think.

    Just for thought, next time you are sliding down a hill while mowing and getting ready to hit something (hopefully not a pond), Do you want your front wheels rolling or sliding?
  7. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    Duh Id like stopped, buton wet grass with hard ground there will be a difference, but not much... The main Vid on your page showed soft dirt and and soft ground with some grass, so the front end of the mower when brakes applied pushed the wheels into the dirt... On a normal hillside you wheels/tires wont sink into the dirt..

    Under normal use and proper operation ztrs are safe machine and are not prone to rolling over or loosing control when they are operated within the confines set out in the operators guide.

    The problems arise when an operator gets complacent. ie buzzing along the retaining wall on flat ground at 8-10 mph and sees a sprinkle head still up or a rock or a stick and tries to avoid it., and ends up swimming with the ZTR. Or when they are running around the lake on a 30* incline hit a wet spot, and start sliding. My mom was a victim of a walker rollover... she was cutting along a bank and made her turn the tail wheel fell off the edge of the turf and she and the walker were swimming... roofers working on the house next door jumped off the roof to lift the mower off of her. thank fully it was shallow water and her head was not pinned under. i would have been mortified if she had been seriously injured, but the machines are not dangerous. Its the operators that make them dangerous.

    I'll snap some pics of a hill here at school one of my guys decided to take a shortcut down the hill, rather than take the sidewalk around the hill. It would have taken him 60 seconds to drive around the hill as opposed to the 15 seconds going down the hill. Ended up bending the front caster frame on the Scag, and the mower was in the shop for a week. My point is that you can't fix stupid. And folks who operate ZTR's outside of the range specified in the operators manual are being stupid and careless. And yes I've been stupid and careless but I've been lucky. We've all had those "pucker" moments and many folks don't learn from those moments..

    I think brakes are a great idea...but i think that all you are doing is giving folks another reason to push the limits of their machines..
  8. milo

    milo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,259

    im still not trying to be mean (i think the new setup looks nice) but when a zero turn starts sliding its the rear wheels that give. i know and understand riding front brake down a hill would help this but to try to build and sell this item i just think not ever gonna work.
    i have a secernao that happened to me, i slid down a about 10 foot very steep slope and at the bottom was a high curb now if i had brakes on it and hit the brakes the rear of my mower would have maybe flipped from getting cought on the high curb making the mower flip on me. this did not happen to me i slid down sideways and slammed into the curb... your building something that needs the perfect secernao to work. and like another post, you are giving ideas that well i got brakes so you can do something that you should not try
  9. ted corriher

    ted corriher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    I have seen several comments about brakes only working in "perfect situation" and not being needed. IMAO the perfect situation would be if you were sliding down a hill, and put your foot out quickly (like you would in a car) and having a brake there to stop you. That is our goal, and that is what we are going to achieve. Here is an email we got the other day from Roger in Kentucky . . .

    Enter you message ::

    " Ted,

    Keep pursuing your brake system. Your project is extremely important! This past weekend, my wife had a relative to die from a zero turn accident where the mower could not be stopped as it slipped and went down a hill. Thanks."

    . . . we get a lot of email like the one above, as well as requests wondering if we have a kit yet for their particular mower model.

    One thing that we are definately not doing is advocating "wreckless mowing". We are not trying to extend the capabilities of slope to mow on, or trying to create something for people to do burnouts with.

    We are trying to create a safer ZTR mower. Since ROPS, the majority of ZTR deaths are from . . . Sliding down a hill, going over a retaining wall, and having the mower flip on top of the operator and drowning them.

    I will be the first one to agree that you can't FIX STUPID. I will also be the first one to tell you that just because someone is KILLED by this happening to them DOES NOT MAKE THEM STUPID . . . It makes them dead. Dead as in no longer a husband, dead as in their sons grow up without their dad.

    They are now Dead when they could have possibly still been alive if they had front brakes on their ZTR mower.

    I am obviously going to keep on with this project, and will be very detailed in my testing them in different situations. . . then I'll post another video of the results.

    How many people who are reading this are in North Carolina? Maybe someone interested in coming to a demo? Just thinking out loud.
  10. ted corriher

    ted corriher LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    Pucker Moments is a very good way to state it. Almost being in a wreck where you were seriously injured is another. Would you have pushed the brake if it was there?

    Just curious.

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