2012 Walker Super B Review

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtmower, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    Well I'm in the market of a new mower this spring. The only dealer here that actually a come close to doing a good job is Walker. I buy my Tanaka power equipment from him. Every time I'm in he kindly ribs me about getting a Walker. Recently I had a need for a carburetor part on a four year old trimmer and he fixed it for free. I offered to pay him and lightly argued but he refused and jokingly stated "just demo a walker".

    So I was up front with him and told him I'd be happy to try one but I don't believe it would fit into my business scheme. I need to bag about four weeks out of the season for leaves and thatch and side discharge the rest. But I agreed to demo it and I'm a man of my word, plus it sounded fun running a new mower for a day.

    Up to this point I've run Exmark belt drive 48" a Ferris hydro walk behind 48", a Encore hydro walk behind 36" and two Hustler Super Zs that I've put thousands of hrs. on which have been lacking int the clipping dispersal area. I've use a buddies early Exmark Zs and liked them but have found their newer Zs to be less impressive. I've also used a 12 year old Scag Turf Tiger of a friend years back. So this is what I have to compare mowers to.

    So I thought I'd give some feed back to anyone interested. Be aware, a lot of this is just my opinions that are based on what I've used up till this point.

    I was given a brand new shinny Super B or MBS with a 27 air cooled Kohler on it with only 1.4 hrs on the clock, a suspension seat, and a 60" side discharge deck. He showed me how to get around it and the next morning I cut five good size yards with it.

    What I found for pros were:
    The QOC was decent and so was the clipping dispersal. It was some what damp and I did have some minor clumping while cutting at pretty much full stick (9-10 mph). Dispersal was better than the Hustlers (older, not VX4). Almost looked like less than half the grass coming out of the shoot compared to my Hustlers. It was spread out in the discharge opening better but I'm guessing some is forced down into the grass like a mulching system.

    Decent power. But if you were going to run a Peco bagger, which I understand is being done, and a thatch rake I would play it safe and go with the 29 EFI.

    Well built as in heavy duty and nice finish on weld and paint. Double/enclosed anti scalp wheels. Heavy frame. Lots of zirks.

    Fast enough at 10 mph. for this type of machine. I wouldn't want to go much faster. Mid mounts are a different story.

    Under side of deck accessibility of course, but for those who haven't experienced it, it's still work. You flip to couplers to loosen deck from tractor. You remove a foot rest plate which also serves as a cover for the deck belts.
    you pull a storage pin to remove the hitch lift lever then insert and repin it in the lift hole. This is all fairly quick and simple. Then you lift the deck up. Get ready to bust a nut if it's the 60" or 72"! Coming down is even harder and make sure that pin is in place because if that lift lever comes out on the way down damage will be done most likely to the lift person. Here I have to say I'm not sure if all that is easier than driving a mid mount up the edge of my trailer ramp and laying down under it. But that's just my opinion.

    This unit comes with the wide track dual pivoting rear caster wheels that looks like the nicest set up that they offer. These wheels track more behind your main drive wheels instead of being in the center rear like the standard single or dual caster that mess up the stripes in the grass.

    The cons I found were:
    $s up front. They're proud of their mower. I'm sure there is deferences dealer to dealer but they are asking $12500.00. While shopping I've found a lot of mower in a mid mount for about 2k less.

    Ride. It reminded me of a tractor. Rough as a cob. Even with the suspension seat it had a much rougher than my mid mounts and even at lower speeds. Then you have the deck articulation. This mower is somewhat limited to how much you the driver can fold bodily! I'm getting to old to have my knees touch my chest or my feet almost hang in the air on the same lawns that I would never have given a thought to go over with my mid mount.

    Clumping was minor from the deck but I did noticed the deck quickly pack up underneath with the damp clippings. QOC didn't seem to be effected very much though.

    Deck lift I already mentioned. As I said I wasn't that impressed. Now if a guy is running the smaller decks this may not be as big a deal.

    Anti scalp wheels. I was cutting at 2.5" which is low but the type of wheel they use is quite flat with a short lip or edge that goes to hollow real quick. If the slightest knob or high spot is hit while turning this becomes and instant can opener for turf, tearing a nice gouge out several times for me.

    I'm told they only run Hydro Gear 3100 pumps. This seems small to me but maybe not a negative. I know my early Hustlers run big pumps and have a nice cooling system to boot and are still having pump problems. The new Hustlers have been change to state it lightly.

    Controls. This is something someone may get use to, like anything else. Placement of deck engagement lever, fuel tank switch, and park brake are almost behind the seat. You need to move and reach around your leg to get to the ignition key, arm rests on the seat can't be used due to arm position when steering, and the deck lift pedal is way out in right field so you can't comfortably ride with your foot on it, plus it's a barely a pedal, more like a stub . The deck lift also leaves something to be desired. It takes quite a bit of effort, especially since your foot is way out to the right but in addition your left foot fights you by trying to brace your seating which in turn is pushing down on the deck your trying to lift with your right foot. The steering controls work on the same idea as my Encore hydro walk behind. You have neutral and pulling back either stick for corresponding wheel reverse. To move forward you have another lever for forward speed. This lever sets the forward speed ceiling. When this lever is moved it allows both steering handles to move forward. So in a nut shell you're pulling back one or both levers at all times to control movement, speed, and directon. Your never pushing forward. The spring tension on these was quite strong and I noticed fatigue in my first hour of mowing from it. These are much more sensitive after having run a mid mount for so many years but I was able to adapt. Since you forearms are laying on your thighs and knee area, every time the deck moves much flexing your body at your hips, your steering, speed, and direction is jerked around. Lastly it just feels weird having your hands in you crotch all day.:rolleyes:

    I didn't take the time to look in manuals but I've read and heard there is more daily/weekly maintenance, mostly from grease zirks and some that may require some work to get to. I did not verify this and things may have changed on newer models but I did see quite a few zirks which is both good and not always necessary in my book so I'm somewhat neutral here.

    Fuel capacity is only 9.4 gallons. Many of us kill that in a day or less.

    Poor traction. One of the things my dealer talked the Walkers up on was on traction. I was anxious to see how it would do. I honestly have to say it was far worse than my mid mounts. Even on minor banks drive wheels would spin if the rear of the unit was raised a little or the rear caster were against and incline. Then I took it out on my big hill property and slid off a bank into the woods. Not near as good or safe. Down hill it was ok. It could not climb and barely could side hill.

    Rear end comes off ground. If stopping fast or backing up a steep hills, the rear end of the machine comes off the ground and we're not talking jump up an inch. I had the rear wheels come up at least 6' plus according to my wife at one point backing up a slope. This snowballs quickly because your knees come up quickly and your steering/speed/direction control is quickly changed. This was to the point of scary and unsafe. I parked it and finished which my mid mount. Added weight to the rear end would be beneficial. Maybe they could bolt a rear bumper/weight on like John Deere did after the fact.

    According to the web sight this particular unit is very limited to which attachments can be used with it. For me this is not a problem, but for the person looking for the "one tool does it all" beware.

    Shaft drive and belts. I'm not big on shaft drive even on the Scag TT. I think it's a step in the wrong direction. I easily put 1000 plus hrs on a $75.00 deck belt so I don't see the benefit in longevity plus you still have a deck belt. I know Scag boasts that you get away from belt slip for blades. I don't see how this can be since they still have a belt on the deck anyway. In addition I've never had deck belt slip on any mower, walk behind or ZTR. I can see it being one more wear item that needs greased and or replaced. Also the belts on the Super B are a very specialized double belt and the have that thing turning and bending every which way to Sunday under there. Just looks unnatural and it's hard to believe a belt could last as long making all the twist and turns.

    So the Walker Super B is not for me. Again this is just my take on the unit so take it for what it's worth. I don't mean to say this wouldn't maybe be the perfect unit for someone else and that it wouldn't last a long time and get the job done. The third picture from the end show stripes on the left from my 66" Hustler and stripes on the right from the Super B. Second picture from the end is minor clumping from the Super B. (this was very intermittent). The last pic is of poor clipping dispersal from my Super Z. (this requires patients with a backpack blower). Hope this helps someone.

    This week I'm hoping to demo a Gravely 460 and a Husqvarna PZ. The following week, hopefully a new Hustler Super Z and a Bad Boy Outlaw.








  2. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    I dont' know why dealers compare Walkers to a mid mount ZTR. It is apples to oranges IMO. Walkers are great for tight areas but in the wide open they take too much time and are slower on hills than a ZTR. Nice review of the machine and let us know about the Husqvarna, We had one a while ago and I would like to see how they are now.

    JABBERS LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 459

    Mtmower thanks for the review. Im in the same boat you are in with choosing a mower and im very picky. In looking for a 72 inch though and its hard to pick the right mower. Please keep me up to date on what you think on various types of mowers. I tried gravely and demoed a pro turn 260 which had enough flaws to make my decision easy, please let me know what you think. I might try and find a dealer that has a 460 to demo if you think it needs a second look. Also I thought your review was well written and informative.
  4. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    As a long time walker user I might be able to help you out on some of the "negatives".

    The single rear wheel does not mess up stripes. I get A LOT of compliments about how nice the job looks as do most other walker users.

    Another thing you mentioned was the traction. I'll bet you a 6 pack that the tire pressure is probably at least 3 times too high. This will also effect the ride quality you mentioned.
    Drop that to around 10 psi and watch miracles occur. Both in ride quality and traction. That isn't a walker brand issue, thats a dealer issue that doesn't know how to set up his equipment properly.
  5. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    Very true about comparison. That's also why I was going to length to let everyone know what I was comparing it to.

    I really wasn't sold on the tight area thing. I meant to put that in the review but missed it. Over all the mower is quite a bit longer. I found this out when I went to put it on my 20' trailer that still had my one Super Z, my walk behind and a push mower on it. I normally stack two Super Zs easily but I had to flip the walk behind sideways and put my push mower on top of it to get enough floor space to get it on. I've seen trailers running around where guys are flipping up the decks to get them shorter but this is time wasted and the lift bar needs about three feet of space out front to insert and lift the deck. Again smaller decks I'm sure would be easier. That being said the basics are to same as a mid mount. Your drive tire is located directly behind the mowing deck. This is the turn pivot point for both types of mowers. The upside with the Super B is that you could poke the deck under a tree or fence. But to me this is not time saved. Instead this is wear and tear in your most expensive equipment, going back and fourth with being careful not to tear or divot the grass. A seasoned LCO can run a string trimmer which uses less fuel just as quickly. The down side to the Super B set up is you have more rear end sticking out and not just rear end but rear end with wheels that must be considered when you backing or swinging into or backing over obstacles. As this also effects traction and could create damage. When it comes down to it, if you were to take out the flex point of the deck, move the drivers position and drive train forward about 6", and loose the rear caster, you'd have a mid mount.

    As far as wide open spaces. If the ride could be smoothed out, the machine could and did cut WOT and full stick (10 mph) with a 60" deck and seemed to handle the grass pretty good. Sure it would have been a little slower than my mid mount on the straight runs, but what I felt caused the biggest time loss was trying to get around uneven ground with the Super B, such as small ditches, banks, going over diveways. The mid mount has no problems here.
  6. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    No problem. I feel I've sucked my share of information from other people on this forum that have also taken the time to do the same, and not just post to compete or make waves for fun. It's only right to try and contribute in return.

    If I ever really had too much money I'd also love a 72" as a third or fourth mower. I'd have to strongly consider it in a rear discharge. It would really round out my equipment nicely.

    As long as my wife doesn't leave me over spending too much time on the computer I'll try and write a review for anything I demo. I keep telling her it's just research on our next investment. She says just buy one already!:confused:
  7. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    BPS, I'd say the rear caster stripes are totally opinion. It really isn't much of a negative for me either. I actually put that in due to all the threads I've read where guys have complained about it. Partly also to make the point that the wide rear pivoting casters pretty much make it a moot point. Without looking it up on their site, the nice thing is that I'm guessing you could order either set up on their machines to suit your preference.

    You very well could be right on PSI being too high. I didn't even think to check with all the excitement and the challenge of using a new machine. What I experienced was petty bad, especially being the tires were brand new and tearing up turf on turns and such just as easily as my mid mounts. I'm sure it would be a step in the right direction for both ride and traction. I should have paid more attention but I believe the large front and rear caster are no flat. I wonder if a guy swapped them out for pneumatics how much difference this would make as well?
  8. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Great review and pics!! Thanks. I'm very surprised about the clumping as I have always been told Walkers have amazing cut quality. Some guys use them around here on small flat lots. Everyone always says they are good on hills but I think that may be compared to other front mount mowers. Keep us up to date on your other reviews.
  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,461

    Great review mtmower!

    Lots of good and useful info in it. I do think you should have checked the tire pressure yourself though. Most of them come shipped with about 30-40 PSI in them so that they can be strapped down with bands and not damage the tires, and most dealers don't do anything about it until they are selling the unit (this goes for any brand, not just Walker). You probably would have gotten better traction. At one point in your review though, you said the rear came up 6'.:confused: I hope you meant 6".

    The discharge chute looks plenty wide enough, but it doesn't mean squat if the baffles underneath don't allow the grass to be splayed out across the full width of the chute on their way out.

    I simply can't stand the stripes the single tail wheeled Walkers leave. They are butt ugly IMO. It just makes the stripes look like some moron let their kid run his mini bike all over the yard.

    Again, great review.:)

    PS: I see you addressed several of my points while I was typing this. Sorry for the redundancy.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  10. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    :laugh: 6" is correct! But it felt like 6' when it would happen! It was getting late and this farm boy only has a AS in small business and auto mechanics. Plus out west here our inches are bigger...enough of that.

    Yea, my bad on the PSI. I mentally kicked myself when BPS pointed that out. Rookie move on my part. When I talk to the dealer I'll question him and see what he says they were at.

    I think the clumping I was seeing intermittently was acceptable (especially after running an XR7 deck:dizzy: which is not so much clumping as just carpeting the surface). I was pushing it hard in damp grass to see what she could do. I believe it was caused buy the high volume sometimes collecting on the rear lip of the chute. The baffles system is different than most I've seen. The deck itself is not real deep. and it uses sort of a graduated deck depth in it's baffle design. I did seem to disperse the clippings out of the chute very evenly. It sure collected a lot up under the deck though.

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