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Am I going Overboard? Pro-ZTR?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by RayoVac, Apr 28, 2002.

  1. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    I am considering the purchase of a Commercial ZTR for my home use. Looking for some input from others. Here is my situation:

    I currently mow just under 1.5 acres. Though this is not a lot... a 21 inch push takes me 3 to 4 hours to complete. I have a large pine tree row, and deck surrounds the home. I also have a lake front lot that I mow with no improvements on it or seawall.

    Over the years I have gone through a number of push mowers... a 21 inch push does a fine job if I cut it when it is short.... but if it gets long... a 2 to 3 hour job on the main property can turn in to 4 or 5 (with all the bagging)

    I have been considering the purchase of a new or used OutFront ZTR. I think the Outfront would allow me the ease of reach in and around the pine tree row along with around the deck and lake front.

    My dilemma is... am I going overboard??? Opinions appreciated...

    Is it realistic to think this could possibly bet the last mower I ever buy, by spending the big bucks on a commercial ZTR that will let me complete the job in say an hour.

    I have considered the Walk Behinds... but the bagging options just stink... especially considering the close trimming needed.

    Riding Tractors and Mid Mounts put me in the trees when it comes to the trim work. A neighbor has a Hydro Deere with 48" deck... that's great in the open... but is difficult when it comes to the trim work around the trees and deck etc.

    I have been closely eyeing the 618 Grasshopper and the smaller Walker. Are there any other "smaller" Front Deck ZTR's to consider?

    Any guidance, previous experience would be greatly appreciated.


  2. che

    che LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Rayo I had the same problem you have , and I own a smaller property than yours, less than an acre , it took me 3 hours at least to do the front and back of my house , with a 21" push mower, it's not that I'm lazy , I work 11 hours a day and when I come home to do the mowing can never get the front and back lawn done in one afternoon I always left the backyard for the next day , my neighbor has the same property and hired a contractor to do his lawn by the time I was done with half of my front lawn he was all done front and back and gone onto the next house so after doing some research and thanks to this forum I decided to get me an early christmas present : a HUSTLER FASTRAK 18 hp Honda engine 44" deck. I did the front and back in 40 minutes and still had time to do trimming and edging and that was the first time I did it so maybe the next time will be faster ...my other 21inch lawnmowing neighbors were looking at me with envy ..so I think that you are not going overboard unless you want to be a real tired man and had no fun mowing your lawn at the end of the day...
  3. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87


    Thanks for the reply... I had actually read and followed your dilema in some of your posts. I have looked at the Hustler Equipment... it looks great... and certainly the FastTrak is way cheaper than a Grasshopper 618... my only problem is Hustler does not have an "OutFront Deck" model. With my configuration, I really feel like an Outfront is the way to go.

    So I am guessing by your reply that you don't think that I am crazy for thinking of putting down the cash for a commericial model???

    Thanks again... sounds like your mowing life has improved!!!

    Ps... Can you get any kind of a bagging option for the FastTrak? Or do you just Throw?

  4. Gunner

    Gunner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21


    In your earlier post, you stated that you purchased your Hustler Fastrack for $4100.00 plus tax. What did the dealer tell you that the "list" price was? My local (and the only Hustler dealer) in my state, gave me a "list" price of $5199.00 plus tax. Was just wondering how you managed to get one so "cheap".


    P. S. Keep us posted on how the cutting goes with it!!
  5. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Never really heard of the 'fast-track', I've been mowing with a 618 for the last year and love it.
    If you want to get a comparable quote check the Woods 6182, same unit but you may get some dealers to compete for price.
    I love the frontmounted deck and the flip up otion as well, encourages you to keep it clean and sharp at all times without scraping your knees.
    Also, why are you bagging? My lawn grows real healthy in spots and with the 'Gatorz' replacement blades I have no problems with grass layinf everywhere. Give them a try before you spend the money for the collection system.
    Last fall was also the first time I did not rake the leaves, there were no colors visible in the lawn when the mower got done with them.
    Good luck.
  6. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87


    Thanks for the input... especially in regards to the bagging. My initial thought was to go for the Model 7 collection system. But I think I will hold off after hearing your comments. After years of using 21" pushers... I t's hard to imagine that the commercial units are so much better that they actually permit a nice finish cut without bagging!

    Do you have the mulch kit.... for the $150 or so, do you think I should get it?

    Was definitley thinking SL deck... I could not see going for a Front Mount without being able to flip her up... not to mention saving the room in the garage when not in use.

    Once last question for you... being a 618 owner. How would you say the Quality of cut is. I hear the ExMark guys talk up how well those Lazer Zs cut..... what can I expect from the 618? Are the Gatorz blades a GH blade or aftermarket?

    Thanks again,


    ps. Notice your in K-Zoo.. just (o.k. a couple hours) north of me... I got my boat from The Edge Marina in Portage and do a bunch of work for the guys up there. Nice area!
  7. JMcGuire

    JMcGuire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

  8. JMcGuire

    JMcGuire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I purchased a Toro Timecutter 17 kohler 52 inch deck. It is a stamped deck but the sturdiest that I have ever seen, and I am only going to mower my yard, so I won't have to worry about all that wear and tear of hitting trees. I have about 40 tree on my 1 acre lot, and the 52 does well with trimming around all of them without the tires getting in my landscaping. I have pea gravel down and, I never have a problem. I purchased mine fore $4100, and I like it alot, of course I would have rather had an exmark, but that is a lot of money and I already wasn't looking to spend, what I did. I can get done in about 35 min., and it will make a decent stripe when I mower slower.
  9. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Hello again Rayo Vac,
    well - I've used the pushers and the tractors, I was being told over and over about the quality of cut with a commercial unit but had no real idea what to expect. Them boys have the highest allowable blade-tip speed and that too makes a difference.
    When my Dad first seen me mow with the unit he thought I was going way to fast, feeling I would get a better cut by going slower over the lawn. Well, that stuff happened to be tall and wet - it looked great when I was done.
    I thought about all the add-ons etc, like the hopper and mulching kit. Just got the 18hp machine with a widestance & traction kit with the low pressure agricultural style tires.
    The blades are made by somebody else, your dealer should have them. They are like a regular 'high-lift' blade, the 'bend-up' part in the rear providing the 'lift' is heavily serrated so as to cut up the grass further.
    I have never tried mine with the mulcher, you can always get that afterwards - same with the hopper.
    I was really impressed how well it took care of all the leaves (only reason for me to have a bagger - which I guess I won't need now).
    Coming back to the quality of cut, I think the Grasshopper deck is able to move more when following the terrain than a mid-mount (never compared the two, so please take it easy on me guys), I get beautiful stripes, even cuts and I haven't trimmed in a year.
    The deck follows the bumps and dips nicely, giving a good cut even when going in and out of ditches or enbankments next to driveways.
    I looked at the Toro as well, but that pretty much is where it stopped.

    Thanks for the nice comments about the neighbourhood, too.
    It's like everything else - if you live there long enough other places start looking pretty good.
    You mentioned you're doing work the marina here? What line are you in?

    Good luck with the mower.
  10. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87


    I am in the Computer Biz. The marina that I purchased my boat from renovated an old marina next door to them. I took care of all their Data/Phone wiring and setup thier network, Internet access, new phone system w/voice mail etc. We barterd my services for a VERY deep discount on my boat not to mention lots for freebies over the years. I was in private consulting at the time, now I am back with a Mortgage Company HQ'd out of South Bend. I work as a Systems Engineer.

    Now... here is the rub. I went and talked to the local eXmark dealer today. Checked out the Lazer HP (23 Kohler, 52" deck Mid). He claims that the Lazers cut will be superiour to the Grasshopper and feel that it would be a better machine for me. Of course he would have to say that (it is what he pays his mortgage selling!!!). There are many nice things about it but... my main concern is how much would I miss the Front Mount of the 618? Would I really use the snow blade etc? He claimed nobody is using the Grasshoppers anymore, claimed my quality of cut would be better with the eXmark.

    The eXmark would end up costing me about $500-$600 more. Did you by chance consider them in your evaluations? How important do you weight the benefits vs. manuverabiltiy of the Front mount deck?

    I thought I knew what I wanted... now I am uncertain.



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