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52" vs 61" Deck

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GTAlumnus, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. GTAlumnus

    GTAlumnus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Real close to getting a Scag Wildcat 26HP LC.

    We are currently only mowing a couple of acres, but I can see where the "yard" could expand to as much as 5 or 6 acres with fast mower. I've pretty much been set on the 52" but wonder if it would be smart to go ahead with the 61".

    About 20% of the area is slopes, humps, dips, trees, etc, the rest is pretty flat and open.

    The 61" would probably work, but I wonder 2 things:

    1) Is 26HP comfortably enough power for the 61" velocity deck?

    2) Is it worth the extra $400 for the machine?
  2. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    Yes, 26 hp would be plenty for your situation (home owner).
    Yes, 400 dollars would be worth it to me. It will trim better
    and be about 17% wider.
  3. JShe8918

    JShe8918 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    Get the 52". I was torn between the wildcat 53 with the 26 kawasaki liquild cooled and the 61" witht the 27 Kawasaki liquid cooled. I got the 61 but there are many times that i look back and say i coulda saved 2 grand and had a slightly smaller mower that did just as good of job and in some cases better than my 61. If it is hilly or has hole of if it has bump it will scalp much worse. Just my two cents.
  4. wheels910

    wheels910 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    $400 is a great price for almost a foot of cut.

    as long as you don't have gates, trees, or obstacles to worry with, go for it.

    will 61" fit on your current trailer? just a thought
  5. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,386

    Go with the 61" deck. 26hp has plenty of power for it and the extra width is a worth it for trimability. The 61" will not scalp anymore than a 52" deck, you will kick yourself later for not going with the larger deck.
  6. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Go 61. If you are mowing just your own yard, you will quickly learn any rolling areas and how to mow without scalping. Scalping isnt that big of an issue with most mowers anyway and it will speed things up too.
  7. GTAlumnus

    GTAlumnus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Would you have considered the 61 with 26HP LC Kaw engine? Its only $400 more than the 52". Did you feel you needed the 27HP with the 61?
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I would weigh the options very carefully, there are big differences between those two sizes...
    Please let me put money aside, 400 dollars one way or the other when you're spending 7-8-9 thousand, forget it.

    Power-wise it won't make that much a change unless you let the lawn get away from you, but the deck itself a 52" is noticeably easier to keep from scalping AS much but they both do it. The 61" will get done faster, if this is an issue you're looking at an almost 20% time difference speaking in terms of raw path coverage, and for a commercial outfit where time is money there's no question here... For myself I wouldn't even consider a Rider below 60" but then I'm commercial.

    I ride these things every day, to the tune of 6-7 and 8 hundred cuts a year, you could stick me on a 72" and it wouldn't take long, but there's always a learning curve. These curves have but so much sharpness to them, they only come in various lengths, and the bigger the unit the longer the curve, so for a 60"+ there's a fair bit of curve going on.

    For myself it takes a month to get down with it, then another 3-4 months until I'm half good, and a year or two before I'm proficient... 3-4 but really 5 years of riding the same machine before I can ride it like an expert, again the bigger the unit the longer it takes.

    For my own lot (1 acre) I use either the 48" Walk-behind and other times the 60" Z, either one or the other gets it done... 30-35 minutes one way, 45 the other, how important is time, my 48" almost never scalps (of course this still involves paying close attention).

    If I were a homeowner I think I would opt for the nimbler, more maneuverable, smaller unit. But you have to know because 5-6 acres will take 4-5 hours with a 52" vs. 3-4 for the 61, so one extra hour but I find the smaller mowers are more fun, easier to drive, less cumbersome around hurdles.

    I'd recommend the 52" but don't come yelling at me if I told you wrong, I think that would be a fine choice thou, speaking from having cut about 4,000 lawns to date. Of course by the time you're into the 3rd of 6 acres you might curse me, but unless you plan on being out there more than 2-3 times a month, unless you plan on using this machine more often than say once every week or two, I'm not really sure if the extra one or two hours is worth the extra learning curve.

    Why not see if they'll let you demo one or the other for a weekend?
  9. leaflawnandlimb

    leaflawnandlimb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 198

    I would go 61 over the 52. The 52" deck doesn't have the scalp roller in the center or nose of the deck and the 61" does. Might make a difference.
  10. Ford850

    Ford850 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    The biggest difference in my opinion is the amount of deck overhang for trimming. If you have curving beds or trees with mulched rings, the wider deck gives you an advantage. To me, that advantage is as important as the reduced mowing time. Your best bet would be to test the wider mower at your place.

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