Cheetahs and Tigers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by dathorpe, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    I've been demoing Turf Tigers and Cheetahs recently and I thought I'd share some notes on these machines.

    35 Briggs Vanguard Turf Tiger - When I demoed this machine, the first thing I did was drop the air pressure in the rears to 10lbs. With the lower air pressure and the standard suspension seat, this was a decent ride. But this mower is really all about brute strength. She rolled through 10" tall, thick, field fescue with ease. On a normal lawn that had grown to about five inches, I cut at 3.25 and she cut beautifully. I believe this is a good all around machine able to handle many different mowing jobs and able to do well at all of those jobs. Really, the only drawback I can see to this machine is a 8.5 gallon fuel tank on a machine that sucks down 2.0 gph.

    29 EFI Kohler Turf Tiger - On the Scag website, they list the 29 EFI Kohler TT as a 10.5 mph machine. At the dealer, they have Scag literature that advertises the 29 EFI TT as a 12 mph machine. When I demoed the machine, I used a GPS and clocked this brand new - fresh out of the crate - 29 EFI TT at 12 mph. It makes a decent cut at top speed but at normal mowing speed, this machine leaves a beautiful cut. The steering was tight and it was very easy to lay down perfectly straight lines. I really like this machine and I really like the EFI engine. The thing that stands out to me about the Turf Tigers is how they always feel stable and balanced... always under control. They are known for their hillside stability and the 29 TT didn't disappoint. I put her on some ridiculously steep areas and she slid just a little but I never felt that she was going to give way and skid down the hill. Plus, if you just stand and look at a Turf Tiger for a few minutes... it is one very impressively built mower. The thing that is so appealing about the 29 EFI TT is she'll consume about 1.0 gph and since she only has an 8.5 gallon gas tank, that's important. Plus, she can handle the really thick stuff (10" field fescue) just not as well as the 35 Vanguard but she really wasn't that far behind. She was able to do it, just not as quickly or as cleanly. This is overall, probably the best mower for everyday mowing conditions. It's fuel efficient, plenty of power, leaves a beautiful cut, has a decent ride, and is built like a friggin' tank. There really is no downside that I could see.

    34 Kohler Cheetah - I must admit, I wasn't a fan of the Cheetah. When the dealer loaded the 29 TT on my trailer, I looked over at the Cheetah demo unit and thought, "Oh, what the ... let me try that one too". I asked the dealer if he could throw the Cheetah on the trailer also and he said okay. This cheetah had over 300 demo hours on it. It looked like it had been beat to death but it ran like a bat out of hell. This machine impressed the hell out of me. It blasted through 10" tall field fescue with ease while on a 3" setting. I clocked her with the GPS and she hit the 12 mph mark in low, 15 in high. The ride was really very good but I wouldn't call it excellent though it was better than the Turf Tigers. I love the hydros on this machine. They were very smooth but at times, they were almost too responsive. It took a little getting used to. It seemed very easy to tear turf with the Cheetah. Compared to the Turf Tigers, she didn't seem as balanced. On the Tigers, you run a quick straight line, hit a 3 point turn and come back again. It all feels tight. You do the same things with the Cheetah and, I don't know, she feels a little loose... but not terrible. The Cheetah did suprise me on the hills, though. I've read some people on Lawn Site saying the Turf Tigers have better hillside stability than the Cheetah and I'm here to tell you that is incorrect. The Cheetah stuck on the hills just as well as the Turf Tigers. I specifically pitted the 29 EFI TT against the Cheetah on a very steep hill - both did very well and both slid in the same spots. I couldn't give the edge to either of them. Which actually speaks volumes for the Cheetah given the Turf Tiger's reputation for hillside traction. The Cheetah does seem to scalp a little when your setting is below 3.00. They need rear anti-scalp rollers and in my opinion, Scag blew it on this detail. Also, I hate having to switch over fuel tanks... c'mon, it really throws off the balance on the machine. Overall though, I was very pleasantly suprised by the Cheetah.

    I need to buy three machines. I'm definitely going with two 29 EFI Turf Tigers. They make the most sense for everyday mowing. But for the third machine, I'm now leaning towards maybe getting the 34 Kohler or 36 Vanguard Cheetah. Originally, I was going to go with the 35 Vanguard TT but... I don't know... maybe mix it up a little.
  2. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Great reviews! Thanks.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,112

    I'm a cheetah ower with the 34 kohler. If the tt with 29 got 1gph I would make that my third machine also. The ride is nIce with the cheetah but 1gph is pretty sweet. I get 1.5 with my cheetah. Very good detailed review.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,965

    i find it hard to believe the 29hp kawi will only use 1gph.

    my 26hp kawi uses about 1.2gph.

    i think the 29hp would be more like 1.4gph.
  5. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Excellent review! I am looking at getting the 52" TT 29 EFI Kohler very soon. Can't wait to put it to work.
  6. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    The dealer told me the Kohler 29 hp EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine gets 0.9 gph under normal mowing conditions. The chart from the Scag website that I've linked below seems to backs him up. It shows the 29 Kaw DFI and the Kohler 31 EFI at 1.0 gph under normal mowing. Is it accurate? I don't know. I don't own a 29 hp Kohler EFI... yet. I do know my Exmarks and Toros carried 27 hp Kohler carbs and they ran at 1.2 gph... which is exactly what the linked chart shows. So, to me, that lends credibility for the chart being accurate. DFI & EFI engines are more fuel efficient so it stands to reason that they would be, at the very minimum, at least as fuel efficient as a carb engine a couple of horses smaller.
  7. T Scapes

    T Scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,224

    Did you feel that the 29efi was under power at in the thicker stuff
  8. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

  9. mach14604

    mach14604 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 231

    The 29 Kohler EFI to me was a dog when I used it. I have the 34 Kohler on my Exmark and I am very happy with performance.
  10. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    I wouldn't say under powered. I felt like the 29 EFI has ample power to do most any job you ask it to do. It cut the thick stuff well... just not as well as the Briggs 35 hp Turf Tiger. The Briggs is a true beast. I had to slow the 29 EFI down a bit... where as the 35 hp Briggs Vanguard just plowed right through the thick stuff without skipping a beat.

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