Comparing best commercial reel mowers for Bermuda

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BigJoe, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. BigJoe

    BigJoe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I have been working on getting some demos together and right now I am looking at :: Jacobsen :: Tri-King 1900 and Tr-3
    John Deere :: 2007 2653B
    Toro :: 2100- D and 3100-D
    So my question is if anyone has any ideas or suggestions on which one would be the best in their opinion. I feel like Toro has the best way to adjust the height of the decks but over all not sure on some of the other features. Any ideas or complaints welcome . thanks
  2. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    Don't know about the others...But JD makes an excellent reel mower. The auto backlap functions are very nice, too. With a little instruction on the jd, you will be able to sharpen the reels yourself...Which is a big plus.
  3. saw man

    saw man LawnSite Bronze Member
    from utah
    Messages: 1,033

    I dont see how you can sharpen it yourself.
  4. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    Toro Sidewinder, hands down, you can off set the reels to keep tire compaction down, you are talking about large reels aren't you? On the walk behind, Locke is good, Trimmer, or Tru Cut.
    The JD Utility reel would be my 2nd choice, the side winder is good on hills as well.
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Joe, what size are the properties you are going to maintain and at what heights?
    Typically the big three, Toro, Jacobsen and John Deere are excellent performers, particularly in the utility tri-plex machines.
    The Toro has decent visibility, about the same as the Jacobsen yet the operators platform on the 2000 series John Deere machines provide the best out front/side views.
    Reel maintenance among the three are similar, especially after John Deere finally dumped their "floating" reel design and returned to a fixed reel set up.
    The hydraulic driven back lapping set up that one poster erroneously identified as a sharpening system is nice when you face and lap the reels yourself. Yet this will not take the place of spin grinding and knife replacement.
    Regarding the walk behind units, stay away from the home owner units such as the McClane, Tru-Cut or the lighter series Locke units.
    Terrible, terrible reel to bed knife design, are not meant for commercial use as rifling a bed knife is a huge problem and grinding is an absolute nightmare on these units.
    For instance, to grind reels with my Neary spin grinder I receive $140 per unit as prepped by the customer on reels up to 26".
    Bring me a McClane or Tru-cut and I won't touch it for less than $250 and I have to inspect the machine first for frame damage or torquing, as these two units are notorious for bending so far out of true the reel has to be massively ground in order to realign with the bed knife.
    The Locke units aren't quite as bad as the McClanes - maybe things will get better now that Ariens owns Locke.
  6. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    That wasn't erroneous...maybe a little bit misworded. The experience I have had with reel mowers is kind of limited. As senior equipment operator for the chatt city parks and rec(6 years ago), I was taught how to backlap our machine from the head mechanic of the golf course portion of parks and rec. When I said auto back lap, I should have said reversing direction reels that make back lapping easier. It was explained to me, that without this function, reels have to be taken off and hooked up to a machine to perform sharpening.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Accu-cut, backlapping is not grinding - which is in fact the act of returning the reel to a uniform, cylindrical shape in order to have an even gap with each blade of the reel as it passes across the leading edge of the bed knife.
    Don't worry, people confuse this all of the time.
    I have been working with reel mower equipment since the late eighties, as an equipment manager, golf course assistant and superintendent, athletic field manager and with my grounds maintenance business. I quite frankly couldn't even estimate how many reel mowers I have worked on over the years - what sticks in my mind are the terrible to maintain units like the McClane and Tru-Cut.
    That said, BigJoe, why don't you check out some used equipment web sites like Turfnet or Belair?
  8. BigJoe

    BigJoe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    To answer one of the questions is we have over 10 acres of Bermuda. I have already one at one of the colleges. It is a Toro 2000-D which has a Manual control variable reel speed for adjusting of clip frequency. It also comes with a on board back lapping. I have found that it has been a life saver for me cause I have another reel mower... National 8400. I have to hook it up to a Neary machine to get to spin the reels. Which at times can be a pain in the butt.
    I would have to agree with dave k who said the Sidewinder I seem to be leaning toward that one. I still have a few more demos scheduled, for new mowers. Used is not a option for me here at my place of work, even though you can get deals out there.Thank you all for your comments means a lot.

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