Best Deck for Northern Grass: New Hustler VX4 vs Scag Velocity

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtmower, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It's not possible because no 2 people look for the exact same thing. There will always be something that someone won't like about a mower regardless of whether the next guy in line wants or likes that one particular feature.

    The best you can hope for is a mower that you generally like. Then you can fine tune that mower to your exact needs and wants. I've spent 6 years fine tuning my Dixie and I finally have it exactly where I want it. I don't even like to think about the prospects of having to do this all over again on another mower.
  2. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I'd like to fine tune my XR-7 deck, but I cant trust the hydro's! They you have an aging engine that's been overworked by the big pumps.

    I sold my Flatlander mainly because I was nervous about the hydro's...and they didn't really give me problems!
  3. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    I'm starting out with my cutting height at about 2.5-2.75" in the spring and slowly raise it into the hottest days to around 4". Then I start dropping it back down to as close to the 2.5" mark in the fall. We deal with a lot of thatch and voles in our area and this is supposed to help with this. This gives me a tiny edge on clippings but not always enough.

    Mick, did you have flex forks on any of your previous mowers? I wonder what made them limit the amount of adjustment on the anti-scalp wheels? My earlier ones have three settings. As much help as they are... My 66" with flex forks does terrace on slopes. My right foot basically never leaves the deck pedal. I'm always floating the deck. Every slope, every turn, every stop, etc. But then again I push my speed limits. If this were a 10 mph mower, flex fork may be a little more forgiving. This is something I only started doing with the flex forks. I try to float the deck height on a slope to match the next strip coming back to make the terracing less noticeable.

    On my early standard deck SZ with out flex forks it was a rare thing to float the deck.

    That brings me to another negative on the Hustlers that I can not believe they haven't addressed. The force required to raise the deck. I think they have the strongest built deck on the market, which also means it weighs more. I can overlook the additional weight to have a better built deck. Just make the stupid thing easier to lift!

    One story I'm not too proud of and haven't told before. I was traveling down hill FS probably hitting closer to 16-17 mph in a HOA common area of thin grass and caught a 10" cast iron water service pipe with the r/h corner of the deck, that I had mowed over without hitting before, except with maybe a anti-scalp wheel or stripper roller, for the last five years. It stopped the mower in about a 12" distance. Luckily I didn't come off the mower... completely. It happened so fast that all I remember is basically getting up off my knees and hands of the foot deck and finding some really odd bruises in places that I still can't tell you how it happened. It stalled the Kohler EFI. I counted my blessings that day. It gave me a wake up call. Only damage done to the machine was one anti-scalp wheel and a mounting bolt! 1500 plus pounds at FS, down hill. I could see down the edge of the water pipe at least a 1-1.5' and it was loose in the ground, side to side for 10" of travel. Just flopping in the ground.

    That being said with all the extra add in baffles not helping the weight issue. It takes way too much effort to lift these decks. My only other part time employee (my wife) almost can't get the decks locked in to transport height on her own. This is with the seat adjusted and I have adjusted the deck spring tension as tight as I can with in reason. Hustler's answer seemed to be a motorized deck lift. This is fine and good for the homeowner that's not making money but moves too slow for a LCO. I sat on an Outlaw last week and even though it's not for me, I have to admit I was impressed with the ease of the deck lift. I noticed they're using gas charged shocks for assist and I'm sure a different leverage system, combined with a slightly lighter deck. I also noticed a few brands have an adjustment on the pedal to change the distance and angle which wouldn't hurt a bit. Exmark also has the hand assist.

    Here's my "input". So my gripes with Hustler are:
    Poor clipping dispersal (unless rectified with the VX4). Heavy deck lift system. Newer gas tanks are smaller (other brands may have done this as well). I hear the gas cap tether system is not rocket science. Run flat front wheels (some other brands have as well). I have no problems with Kawasaki but for those who do, a lack of engine options (I would like to see the Kohler EFI). They could benefit from an isolation system like the Huzky's have. And of course the cost. If they fixed all these I'd be a lifer. Shoot maybe a dealer:rolleyes:!

    Tacoma, If asked today, I'd have to say that the Hustler, Exmark, Scag, and Huzky are my rides of choice. My bigger problem is lack of dealer support due to where I'm located. Demoing is just not an option. I'm already getting to the point of being worn down. My little local dealers will be pissed off and offended, when and if I have a demo set up through a rep. Then I loose the little bit of dealer support I may have had. So I'm living vicariously through all of you LCO's. I value your 2 cents worth. You've made many good points.
  4. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    I agree. But a lot of us with time under our belts tend to agree on a great deal of things. The hard part is to take out dealer support, product loyalty, and difference of performance at different geological locations when comparing products. And you will always have the few new LCOs with a season under their belts on only one product making quick judgements.

    How many hours do you have on your XR7? I just hit 1000. Let me know when you have the perfect recipe so it saves me a bit of time. I considered selling mine as well after reading of hydro problems but my only thought is it will be cheaper to replace a hydro if the rest of the mower is in good condition and dialed in, then buying two new mowers.
  5. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    When I demo'd the VX4, the cut was great. Much better than my ver 1.0 XR-7. Clippings dispersed well enough. I ran with the chute bungie'd up.

    Small gas tanks are something EVERYONE can probably agree is a bad idea. Especially when your used to much larger.

    I've had SOOOO much good luck with my ribbed Carlisle standard air filled tires, that I'd have a hard time going to flat-free. The smoothness of the ride @ 8psi is amazing! I've never had a smooth ride with slick tires at ANY psi. The ribbed Carlisles are a smooth riding tire. A crew on the other hand would pop a bead every day @ 8psi. So I see the need, but would hope that a cost free swap to a standard tire is backed by Hustler.

    I think we'd all like to see more engine options. EFI is the way to go for so many more reasons than just fuel efficiency!

    Exmark offers the isolated seat pan. It really is a nice feature. Wouldn't be hard to offer it on a Hustler. Just as long as they keep the seat height low. I have the Flex-Seat, and while that is about the best riding, the 4 point isolated seat pan is a close second!

    Yeah, cost is up on the Hustlers. They'd argue that there is no comparison to their superior pump/hydro system. Well they were touting that back when I bought mine too. My Hydro system has be far from superior even with maintenance intervals and fluids being better than recommended!

    I don't have the perfect recipe! I have right around 1500hrs without going into the shop to check.

    Have your priced SZ pumps @ motors lately!?!? How long do you think an overworked Kohler EFI will last?

    If I end up with another Hustler, it's going to take a considerable effort ($) by Hustler to do so. The amount of money this machine has cost me over the years.....I cant even talk about it w/o getting frustrated!
  6. mtmower

    mtmower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,111

    No I haven't priced pumps yet. I would hope I could easily go 3000 plus hrs. on the EFI Kohler. From Power Pros., out your way in New Holland, Jim Miller, which I have a great deal of respect for, has nothing but good to say about them. Not so much on the non-EFIs though. Are you saying you're expecting Hustler to throw some $s toward your next purchase? Let me know how that works out. Not saying it might not happen. Would probably depend more on the dealer going to bat for you. Would love to have the same thing happen. I can't begin to imagine how much time I've spent, second cutting, back pack blowing clippings and all the extra gas for mower and blowers. Let alone the time I could have saved allowing me to mow more yards in a day.

    Just talked to my local Huzky dealer. No demos. Nice guy. Apologized all over himself. Says he is just too small for that kind of overhead. But did offer up possibly purchasing the unit I want as a demo and passing the savings on to me. Will be calling back with prices for the PZ6034FX and PZ6034FXZT. Not so sure on the two speed set up. Maybe same as Cheetah I believe but locks out cutting option in higher speed which I understand Cheetah does not. Great if your running a crew but I would like the option. May be able to get around the lock out safety. Also would like to see more time on this pump system to make sure it too will not have an issue with premature death. The Hustler pump system sure is enticing.
  7. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I would hope the same with regard to the engine....but there isn't another mower out there that works an engine as hard as a SuperZ.

    As far as Hustler throwing money....I'll have to keep my mouth shut.
  8. randy100170

    randy100170 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hustler Vx4 deck stands for no vacumn, no volumn and no velosity and very little versatility. I just bought a new hustler x-one and it will not keep up with any of our exmark walk behinds even with hilift blades its the deck design thats terrible. We do have an older Super z before the xr7 series came out and it works great with exmark hi lift blades. Hustler is running shorter blades than most manufactures use allowing the outer blades to be mounted further forward resulting in less outside and backside wrapper shirts around the blades and then they opened up the front air channel resulting in less Velosity. Hustler still cannot figure out how to make a quality deck compared to Exmark
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Hey Randy.....

    If you put 1/2 as much effort into calling your dealer or better yet, the factory, and having THEM address the issue, this would be solved for you.

    I've had some VERY poor cutting decks in my 32 years of mowing.

    Hustler was very accommodating when it came to fixing the free-flow triangle issue of the ver. 1.0 XR-7 deck I have. While your having cut issues, I can GUARANTEE that it was no where near as bad as the two strips of uncut grass that these triangles were leaving.

    Hustler has the advantage that you can physically TALK to the owner of the company. Try that with SCAG or eXmark!

    They are not perfect, no company is, but they DO build a great machine....all they're missing is long term northern grass testing for their decks.
  10. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Now that I have some hours on my new Gravely 452 I would like to add the X-Factor deck to my list of the top cutting decks in northern grasses or cool season grasses. The Scag Velocity and Gravely X-Factor are my top choices. The Velocity cuts a little better in wet conditions and the X-Factor cuts a little better in dry conditions on KBG, fescue and rye.

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