ZTR Questions - "BigDog" model, also ROPS

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by coughlin47, May 31, 2010.

  1. coughlin47

    coughlin47 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I’ve just begun my research on ZTRs and plan on the purchase by early next spring, unless I find a good end of season sale. I have two acres to mow, and I spend up to 3 hours per day commuting to/from my job, so spending another 3 hours mowing my yard twice a week is really wearing me down – hence my desire to move to a ZTR. The Hustler FasTrak 48/54 is on my short list. I noticed that they launched their ‘BigDog’ model, and there really isn’t much information regarding feedback/reviews from owners. I’d like to keep the purchase less that $5k, and the BigDog R754 falls in that price range and has some features that other residential models do not have, including roll over protection system.
    Does anybody have experience with the BigDog model? I’ve read some stories about some serious accidents with ZTRs, and resulting injuries to those operators not using ROPS (mainly commercial use). My land is approx 300 by 300 and slopes approx 20 feet, so I really don’t have any hills/slopes to worry about. (Other than the sand mound, which I’ll mow by hand). Would I be advised to look for a unit with ROPS, or is it really not needed in my case. (Interesting in that I have two neighbors with ZTRs – one with flat land and has a mower with ZTR, and another neighbor with a very steep hill, and he doesn’t have ROPS, and drives his unit like crazy!).
    Important to me is having a ride that is easier on the back than my current tractor. I have a lower back problem, and after riding the tractor for 3 hours I can hardly get off the machine, much less walk for a while.
    This is my first post, and I’ve read many of the ZTR message threads, and will continue to do my research, however, if you have other suggestions to add to my short list, I’d appreciate it. I look forward to being an active participant.
    Oh yeah – just upgraded my ‘shed’ in anticipation of the ZTR (good excuse) – now have a 12 by 24 high side with 9ft garage door – so, I’m ready for a new occupant.
    Bill
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  2. 2001FZ1

    2001FZ1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    If you are worried about your back, look for a model with the suspension seat. Also may want to consider a Ferris or Simplicity - they have models with 4-wheel suspension.

    ROPS - I took mine off so I didn't have to trim all my trees to high. If I was doing a lot of steep hills, I would leave it on.

    NOW IS THE TIME FOR DEALS!!! The dealers are wanting to get rid of their left over 2009 models. Call around to see who has what left. You could take that 3hr chore down to 90mins easy. My 1.8 acres (and 60 trees) with the 44" Simplicity went from 2.25hrs to a 68 minutes with the 48" Scag.
     
  3. MS_SURVEYOR

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,002

    ROPS? I own a Bad Boy ztr without rops. I too would have to trim way too many trees to get under them. I have some slopes on my property. Not bad. I have a couple of steep banks I stay away from. The last thing I want to do is flip, roll, or turn over. Common seance goes a long ways!:hammerhead: I don't know anything about BigDog mowers. I know they are built by the same company that owns Hustler. As far as a rough ride. I have found that large rear tires with low tire pressures sure does help the ride. I have 23 inch tires on my Bad Boy Pup. I run 8 psi of pressure front and rear. Really a lot smoother than my lawn tractor. But you having back problems sure could use a suspension seat. My mower is rated for 10 mph. I've tested it on pavement at 9.5 mph. I mow at about 4 to 5 mph. Anything faster would give me a bad mow, and take it's toll on me and the mower. Like I said, Common Seance goes a long ways.
     
  4. biggziff

    biggziff LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    The suspension on the smaller Ferris models (500, 1500) really doesn't do anything. I demo'd several Ferris back to back with other makes like Exmark and the 1500 Ferris rode about the same as the Exmark without suspension. Now, the 2100 and 3100 Ferris really do have an advantage, but even the 1500 would be overkill for the size lawn you've outlined here.

    For what you're doing, you'd have a hard time buying a bad unit. Commercial units are overkill so either buy a new homeowner unit or a used commercial and you'll be perfectly happy. Don't over-think this....not really much to it.

    Have fun.
     
  5. coughlin47

    coughlin47 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62


    Good advice. I tend to over analyze everything I purchase. I usually end up buying what I can afford, as long as there aren't any major negative reviews. For this purchase, I'm finding many 'can't go wrong' models, and it may come down to the service I've been receiving for 20 years from my dealer. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Bill
     
  6. coughlin47

    coughlin47 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I've been reading various message threads here, and the good advice seems to be 'use common sense'. Once in a while I tend to do some stupid things without thinking, and it's obvious that if I purchase a ZTR I have to be much more careful and pay attention to what I am doing.
    Thanks,
    Bill
     
  7. biggziff

    biggziff LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    We share a common trait...I also research this stuff to the nth degree. I like research, but sometimes we just need to pick one and go!

    Have fun with it. I'm loving my used Exmark! :dancing:
     
  8. coughlin47

    coughlin47 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I don't have as many trees, and I hadn't thought about cutting under the trees. I shouldn't need ROPS, other than the sand mound and I don't think I'll be dumb enough to try to cut that. I think Scag Freedom just made my short list as well, although now I'm pushing the higher end of what I want to spend.
    Bill
     
  9. 2001FZ1

    2001FZ1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    The 2009 Freedom Zs are selling for a tad under $5k around here. They seems to be pretty well built. The only reason I didn't go with the Freedom is due to my yard and the church's yard being rough.
     
  10. thomasglenn

    thomasglenn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I just got my first ztr about a month ago. I got an exmark with ROPS, the only near flip, roll over, or whatever you want to call it was because of the ROPS. I wasn't paying attention to my overhead clearance, hung up on a light pole guidewire and almost flipped backwards. I put it down and it hasn't been up since. I say if ROPS comes with a good deal on a mower get it, but if you don't need it don't let it be a deciding factor in your purchase. As far as what brand, I am partial to Exmark, but if Scag, Toro, or any other brand was what I chose I would be partial to that brand. Mine is a quest sp, bought it for about 5350.00 delivered. It has springs on the seat to add comfort. I've had back issues in the past so I am very careful with it. My mower is only a 44 inch cut but honestly it cuts the mow time so much that I don't regret not getting a bigger deck. I made the decision on what to buy by reading reviews, comparing hydrolics, decks, prices, location of dealer, and my personal needs. I would say get the lower end of commercial equipment rather than residential equipment.
     

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