Wright stopped making products for John Deere back in 2016. The John Deere walk behind has some elements from the Wright models but isn't an exact copy.
My biggest issues with the Wright Velkes were the following, especially the 61-inch units:
- Max Speed was less than that of Exmark, Deere and Scag Units whose max speeds are 6.5-7.5 MPH, wright was only 5.5 MPH when I used mine. The Website currently says the max speed is 8.2 MPH for the Velke LC, which could have been an update
- Hard to get on curbs when backing them up, had the same issues with Scags as well. Plus trying to go forward onto a curb will eventually result in the front casters breaking off after guys beat the front of the machine into the Curb too many times
- Didn't hold as hill as well as other units (Even the Scag SWZs did a much better job)
- The speed selector arm is limited to only 4 speeds. This was a huge drawback. Deere and Exmark have an infinitely variable speed selector arm where you can get the speed you want to be "Just Right"
To be fair, these were all older units. It is possible they have worked out the kinks in them. My Exmark dealer is also a Wright dealer and he says some people are buying the Wrights with Exmark lacking in Availability and are liking them. I may demo a newer unit to see how it is.
As for Deere, these were the things I liked about them:
- FX Series Kawasaki engines on all 2023 R Series models from the 36 to the 61
- Strong, Durable build
- Very responsive controls and easy to use, very fluid with infinitely variable speed drive
- Great hillside stability and easy to jump curbs with
- Dealer Support. My dealer has been great to work with
- Availability , Only company besides Scag I talked to that could give me a definite date I would get my mowers. Exmark, Toro, Wright and Gravely could not promise me a delivery date for my machines. Gravely had to cancel my order due to not knowing when I would get my units...
Keep in mind for years I would rip on John Deere and their equipment, now I am a convert. Been very impressed with the machines.