Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by pinnacle, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. pinnacle

    pinnacle LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791

    I'm selling one of my Zs and getting a ridder/bagger.

    I like all the options on the Cougar and it seems to be better built than the Walker. I did a search and the gerneral consensis was that the Cougars cut is inferior compared to the Walker.
    How much better could the Walker be when it comes to quality of cut??
    Any info on these units is appreciated.

  2. lawnkid

    lawnkid LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 935

    Never tried the Scag Cougar but have tried the Walker, it is a sweet machine but you have to go slow to get everything. Other than that, the 26hp EFI Kohler is very powerful and overall it is a sweet machine. Do a search on it, I posted about 2 weeks ago on it. The walker has a good cut but only when goin slow. I couldn't tell you how the Scag fairs.
  3. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    I demoed both, and ended up going with the Walker. The Cougar was a great machine, and is built Scag tough. The reason I went with the Walker was because of size and weight though. If we did all wide open commercial I would have went with the Cougar.

    I found the Walker to be more compact. :cool:
  4. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    Hi Alex,

    I own a 25 hp Walker, they pick up clippings and leaf fine, despite the hype you hear, these are no speed machines, they have small drive tyres, very rough ride, transmission is scary to fix, they wear parts fast, jerky, lighly built, I even believe they are built for estate use with commercial engines, their build is certainly not commercial compared to mid mounts etc.

    Their catcher is crap, very old technology e.g when you look at one notice how the flap on the catcher door roof lets the exhaust blow all over you, the little shock absorber arms get hit off, the 9 busshell catcher is narrow and high set, a bad stability design, the wheel base is quite small compared to the rest, these things are not built for slope work or rough work. They have poor traction in forward movement and side ways grip, many folk end up with cracks in their chasis. Mine has the high lift catcher, I love this, but limits the machine due to centre of gravity problems, but makes bagging fast, just back up to your trailer/bin and it raises and dumps, great system.
    Mine is for sale for $18000, which is cheap considering all the extras and high lift.

    These things aren't cheap and are far from perfect, but many love them, as you know I have a Toro Z355 now, if you want a commercial machine that bags better, better catcher, mulches great, wide wheel stance, loves hills!, very, very solid, like a mid mount, more versatile 2 mode deck, more comfortable, low chance of scuffing, large tyres, better balanced construction, fast, ultra neat cut, yes, better than my Walker, is the Toro Z355.

    If you want to jump on the Toro and play around, just give me a yell. The Walker is at my parents place in Gympie, no where to keep it here. If you want a side by side comparison Alex, I could get both machines together for you and you could compare them on the exact same grasses.

    Grab your self a copy of a new mag. out now called "The Groundsman"
    Box 421 Millicent, SA. 5280

    This is a full colour trader mag. for the turf industry, must have.

    If you want to contact me privately anytime mate, drop me an email at and I'll try to answer any questions about walkers and toro z355.
  5. pinnacle

    pinnacle LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791


    I 'm gunna be putting the bagger mower on a side ramp setup at the front of the trailer and have a Charriot on a rear ramp setup at the back. Thats the plan anyway. What size trailer would I want for that setup??
    I would realy like to hear that the Cougars cut is almost as good as the walker and I would definatly go that way. I like the Cougars build, fill alarm, drive shaft to the deck, Ability to mulch,sidedischarge and bag with the one deck (hate the idea of having a few different decks lying around with the walker)
    It's a tuff call................How do they compare to each other on hills??

    G'day Tony,
    I'm looking at all of this for next year (I'm pulling out some $$ from a few investments and getting a small loan) So i'll be cashed up next year and ready to move and start all over again. I'm changing the name of the biz to "Callaghan Lawn and Landscape" and going to opperate around Cabareta. I'm guna hire a Tech (cert III in green keeping) and an experianced helper. New logos, signs,trailer, Utes etc, Small depo with some materilas bins and a demountable office. And if things are looking good arfter that outlay I'm guna look at a proper landscape division. (bloody big buisnees risk going out like this on a new venture.....But It's a well calculated/educated risk.)
    My dad keeps telling me " All that bloody outlay on a new venture is buisness suicide" but I have to trust my ideas.
    Just thought i'd run that by you.
    So ya reckon the walker is'nt what it's cracked up to be ay? The thing is It's only guna be used on really nice lawns (1/4 acre- 1 acre) nothing else and I think thats what they were designed for.
    The scag cougar is a tank mate! I have seen the TORO bagger that you've got in person at my dealer and it looks good. I just don't want to go with TORO if i can help it. I spouse I'll have to demo.
    Thanks for the info on " the groundsman".............Have you seen a copy yet??
  6. PKB005

    PKB005 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

  7. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    PKB005, with my comments to Alex about Walkers....I am only a matter of hours away from Alex, what I should of stated is, "in our conditions which are much different to many of the conditions Americans mow in..." Aussie mowing is a lot harder, hotter, dryer, tougher, terrain is rough mostly, we don't have those nice big lush lawns to mow, we do, but not like you do....

    Over here the conditions simply break these machines.
    They weren't made for Australian mowing.

    Walkers were made for finish mowing, like my Toro, as they are lighter than any competitor they (Walker) are built for leaf cleanups and nice finish on nice grasses, I won't deny them of what they were built to do, they aren't a billy goat, weren't meant to be, I will say, Walker has not said anything about their products that are incorrect, the company is great, the mowers are great for their intended purpose.

    Why I'm critical about them is simply their light built, and the fact the Toro is better built, better balanced, better cutter, dual mode deck, trouble free catcher system, smoother ride, more stable etc, etc, toro is cheaper too!

    Alex, Re, nice lawns (1/4 acre- 1 acre)
    This is their exact purpose, this is the machine for that buy different decks is expensive though, but just running a collection deck (GHS) for finish mowing they won't let you down, if you buy 2nd hand, have a through look.

    Groundsman mag, great stuff!
    I have the latest one here, I gave previous copies away, if buying 2nd hand or checking prices, must have, cheap and great quality.

    Keep in touch.

  8. weedwoop

    weedwoop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    PINNACLE, I have a cougar and it has a very good quality cut. Also like being able to use the same deck for collecting, s/d and mulching. I use all three modes and can change over pretty quickly. It is a high maintenance machine however, so only get one if you have good dealer support. Mine has about 400 hrs and has been in the shop at least a half dozen times for one trouble or another. I looked at a Walker this past summer. It looked like a nice mower but for the mowing conditions here, the deck looked much to shallow to do a good job.
  9. Sam-Ohio

    Sam-Ohio LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 304

    Walkers quality of cut is excellent, and the turf appearance is excellent - can't fault them a bit there.

    The Scag Cougar has an equally good cut [not better, but equal] if the deck is correctly set and leveled, and if the ground speed is kept down to around 6 mph. The Walker will only go about 5 mph or so and can't out run its mower or vac systems capacity to handle grass. The Cougar will fly [10+ mph] and I believe it has gotten its knocks from operators with no common sense about ground speed.

    The Cougar has a 5 inch deep mower deck, and it won't choke up in deep or tall grass like machines with shallow decks do. It is probably the best leaf vac I have ever seen, because again the deeper deck has room to move a lot more material without wadding or plugging up. The vac pick up tube from deck to blower is about 50% bigger diameter and is not inclined to plug up like the small tube does in the Walker. In fact, I have been able to mow and vac with the Cougar while it is raining ! Soaking wet grass doesn't seem to bother it at all. The Walker is real sensitive to moisture, and even morning dew seems to make the pick up tube want to plug up repeatedly.

    The Walker has enclosed shaft and gear drive for timed mower blades. The blades use shear pins to keep from wrecking the gear boxes on each mower spindle if you hit anything. The trouble is these pins break real easy if you even scalp a high spot . I've even had a large wad of leaves break the shear pins. When this happens, the timed blades beat each other to bad health. The gear boxes still have problems and are subject to breaking keys and even gear teeth. I even lost a gear box from fishing string that wrapped around the mower spindle and went up the shaft and cut the seal, this let the oil in the gear box out [which you can't see happening] and destroyed the gear box [$800 repair] plus it left dots and spots of killed turf on a real nice lawn.

    The Cougar doesn't have this fragile, critical drive system in the mower deck. It has 3 blades that are not timed together, and they are on standard Scag spindles which are exceptionally strong, and are all driven by a 5/8 inch belt. In other words it's just exactly like all the Scag mowers are driven. These are much stronger and more reliable, plus the blades can't smash into each other.

    The drive tires on the Cougar are are 23-10.50X12 not the little mini wheels like the Walker uses. This helps smooth out the ride, but it also really helps the hillside traction. The extra rubber it lays down really makes a noticable difference if you have to climb any banks, plus it has a few more inches of ground clearance under the frame. You will really appreciate this clearance when you load it on a trailer. The Walker would get stuck on the top of the tailgate ramp, but the Cougar with the higher frame clearance will drive right on and never touch the ramp.

    As for fitting 3 walkers on a 16 ft trailer - maybe so, but who is driving the other truck you need to haul the six mowers you need to complete the 3 Walkers ? As far as I know Walker is the only company in this whole industry that can't get their mowers to do more than one thing. It makes their total cost really high, and it makes them too difficult and cumbersome to work with.

    For the price they charge a Walker should be made a lot sturdier too.

    Anyway, for quality of cut and lawn appearance, I don't know of anything or any brand of rotary mower that is better than a Walker. If used properly a Scag Cougar will be about equal, but not better ! For just about everything else about these two, the Scag is hands down the winner.
  10. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    Hey Alex, going by the report by Sam-Ohio about the Couger, I would be keen to try it out, about the deck drive system, the later model Walkers come with the new German gearboxes, the older ones used to blow to bits often.

    I will admit, the toro z355 runs a very similar system as Walker, shear pins, direct drive to a timed gearbox etc.

    The couger sounds like the most versatile out of the 3.

    I would love to see the deck, why they all don't offer something like this I don't know! Only need one Z then too!


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