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Demo'd Turf Tiger and Next Lazer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FastMan, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    Ok,,, I tried the Lazer last week, and today got my hands on a Turf Tiger. Here are my thoughts.

    First, I'll point out that the TT had the kaw 29 DFI, with 0.1 hours on it. They should have put 0.2 hours on it before sending it out, because it has some definite issues going on. Just climbing a hill, or fast acceleration would cause it to bog down to the point I though it was going to stall.

    Doesn't matter, because if I were to buy one it would have the Brigs 35 anyway, and if the Exmark the 34 kaw, so I know lack of power would never be an issue. As such, this review will not focus much on the engine comps.

    The Lazer provided a great cut, and I was surprised how cutting lush 6 inch grass down to 2 inches left little balling. With the chute up it shot it out quite a distance. The clippings were cut very fine.

    But that said, for some of the stuff I get into in my area I like the Scag's volocity deck better. It cuts the grass once and gets it the heck out. Longer blades, but the dispersal is very good, and because it's only cutting the stuff once before it spits it out, the engine seems to be barely laboring. I do see a less perfect cut with the scag, but the general customer would not notice the difference. Still looks very good when finished.

    For my cutting purposes, I give the thumbs up to the scag volocity deck hands down.

    Now for the ride and handling. The scag has a standard suspension seat on it. As such, I found it's ride a bit smoother. But I also found keeping it tracking straight a much more challenging proposition. Just felt a lot more side to side waiver in the Tiger when trying to straight line, and the controls were not good at providing instantaneous correction for it. Too much lag time. The Lazer tracks straight like it's name, and if any corrections are needed, it's the response is like light speed. Just think it, and it happens.

    I was also not impressed with the handling and response in the Scag. Felt like an ocean liner. Once you get it going one direction it doesn't like to change course without a fight. You have to be careful turning when going down an even slight grade, because it wants to track straight. It's like the front wheels aren't full engaging, and the machine's forward momentum over powers them. I swear, it often feels like I only had 3 wheels really in solid contact with the ground. That's great for rock climbing, but not for a ztr.

    The Lazer is so much better with this. It's one of the things that impressed me so when I drove it. Even going downhill the front tires bite and turning happens the moment you ask. So much better too than my old Lazer, which had the same issues with this as the scag tiger does. I think the Exmark design team did a great job of getting the machine balanced for great wheel loading and responsiveness.

    In overall handling, the scag is, like I said, tank like. The controlls and machine take some time to respond to your operator input. But even with the lag response time, slow down too fast and you can skid a tire. Reverse direction of titanic tiger too quickly and you're spinning a wheel. Turning 180 to lay the next stripe is not nearly as easy to do with out inflicting turf damage than it is on the Lazer. The doggy lag time in the control arms of the tiger require a lot more skill development time, and will in my opinion never perform like the Lazer.

    In comparison, the Lazer is a sports car that just happens to cut grass too. Where the tiger feels like it's operating with a sloppy early version of auto power steering, the Lazer feels like it has the rack and pinion of a highly refined sports car. Seems as though all you have to do is think what you want it to do, and it instantly delivers. Change direction from forward to reverse in a blink of an eye, with no turf damage. Do your 180's with ease. From the moment I sat down on the Lazer for the first time, it felt like I'd been operating it forever. Felt right at home, and in complete control.

    Handling performance goes to the Lazer,,, by a country mile.

    Hills. Both are good. The tiger is reknowned for its hillside prowess, but I really didn't feel a significant difference. I suppose because the center of gravity in the next lazer has been lowered by dropping the gas tank under the seat, that it's narrowed the gap that existed with the older lazers. And actually, with the handling superiority I explained of the lazer, I actually felt more secure on the hills with it. When I need to make an adjustment, it's right there for me. So:

    I give hills to the Lazer, but only by a wisker, and I'm sure with more time in the saddle in the tiger I'd feel equally comfortable.

    Now, ergonomics. Both decks are foot lift operated. About the same amount of force needed to operate each, and with my skier legs both are easy. I like the deck height adjustment on the Lazer better. Easier access, and a small rod that you simply give a 1/4 turn to pull out and relocate in a new setting hole. No pin to pull out of the rod and replace, like the scag has.

    The platform where you rest your feet down is wider on the Lazer. I find it more comfortable, in that I can widen my base of support in rougher terrain.

    Both seats adjust over a similar fore/aft range. No edge to either.

    I like the build of the Lazer seat better. It's more comfortable to just sit in, but the scag's suspension makes it a better ride when you're working. When working is what counts, so Tiger gets the nod on that one.

    The rops fold down function is better on the Lazer. Retractable spring pins that you just pop open and fold the thing down. Quick. The Scag requires, again, pulling pins and putting them back in. Not a biggy here, but Lazer wins.

    The chute on the Lazer is better for moving between closed and open. Just flips up. Just raise the seat arm and lean over and get it. Can do it right from the seat. The scag is spring loaded. You need to hook it up with a bungee or something. Another win for the Z.

    The control arms on the scag adjust fore and aft. A nice feature. The Lazer's dont. Fortunately, they both felt fine for me right where they were. The grip size on the Lazer is thicker. I like that. I have big hands, so I feel like I have more control of the stick. It just feels more right to me, but I also use a 4 3/4 tennis racket grip too. By personal preference, I like the Lazer's. Smaller hands may like the feel of the Tiger's thinner grip.

    Soi bottom line. I love the deck on the Scag, but I like almost everything else on the Lazer. The handling and responsiveness of the Z is just so outstanding, and the Tiger's so sub par, I'm going to have a hard time making the sacrifice for a superior rough conditions cut. I've though of giving the Wildcat a go, but I'm concerned about the lack of high HP engine options for the elevation (8500 ft) I operate at, and sometimes deep grass have to deal with.

    Thinking of giving the Bobcat a go next. Decisions, decisions!
  2. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Messages: 2,331

    good honest review. how come you decided to try the turf tiger against the lazer? isnt the wildcat a more closely matched machine? im sure it will be more nimble than the tiger.
  3. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    I'm concerned about the lack of a big engine option in the Wildcat, and the higher center of gravity for the hills up here. The lazer has the same low Center of Gravity, and the big engine option. I knew they were different machines, but had to try for myself, just to be sure before I plunk down $10,000 plus on my final decision.
  4. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    from OH
    Messages: 2,331

    i kinda figured it had to do with the hills as i was writing my post, good luck with whatever you decide!
  5. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    Thanks, ProTouch
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466


    Great review and comparison.
  7. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    Thanks for your honest and unbiased review. I hated Scags, they just grew on me after continued use and seeing that most jobs were too much for the Ultra Cut at least during the Spring. I can adjust to any ZTR though. I often climbed off the less responsive Scag onto the fast hydraulics of the Lazer and I adjusted in seconds. I make turns very slow and methodical, even with the Lazer. I'm not bragging but I'm a smooth operator (maybe I am bragging) Rarely ever a 180. On larger lots the turns are not as important as strait line performance. If I had a smaller lot I would grab the Lazer. I have had other LCO's watch me run a ZTR and they have all said the same thing, if we had employees that operated equipment as smoothly as you we would have a lot less repairs and problems. I have heard the same comments on my driving of tractor trailers (my bosses always said the trucks lasted well beyond their years because of my smooth shifting and smooth acceleration). Didn't mean to toot my own horn so much but my point is that I don't need a really fast response because I don't operate that way. No jerking, fast 180's, popping wheelies, or pushing the sticks fast. I just need a machine that will cut when dependably in all conditions.

    The only thing that suprises me about your review is the tracking. Maybe because I've had a lot of seat time but the long wheel base and heavily dampened sticks on the Turf Tiger track strait and feels "very"solid and stable to me (big but firm and solid, no drifting). Hit a bump and it continued to track strait while the 05 Lazer with it's sensitive hydraulics hitting a bump meant a crook in the stripe for sure. My Scag rode better but I attribute that to the longer wheel base, which is good for open area's but may not follow contours as well as the shorter wheel base ZTR's. The Tiger really isn't made for small areas, or a lot of dips and contours.

    Great review, thanks!
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  8. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846


    Yeah, can't explain why the tracking issue, but it was noticeable,,, hard to keep er going straight. Perhaps the tracking wasn't set properly, and I just wasn't used to the control arm response yet. I'm sure I'd get accustomed to it. It's just that on the Lazer there was nothing to get used to.

    I can relate to the adaptability factor. I do the same thing on skis. Although the change to a faster turning ski is much easier than the change to a longer turn ski. Get off the quick turn ski and onto the long turner, and it takes a run to learn to wait for them to come along with your body when you tip em on edge. I imagine it's the same on these ztr's. Easier to go from the tractor to the sports car than vice versa.

    As far as smooth operating, I agree with the philosophy completely. Being a sole operator, I've always been very gentle on my equipment and the grounds of my clients. It behooves me in many ways. Cost of ownership, resale, contract retention, and referrral.
  9. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    Thanks, BladeScape. Fellow Colorado man I see. :waving:
  10. Razorblades

    Razorblades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,251

    very nice, in depth review Fastman. Interesting points made. Are you going to demo a Bobcat? If so what model and engine combination? From what i've "read", the Bobcat may not be as sure footed on the hills as the othe two you tried. I've read some good things about the Country Clipper Boss or Charger models being very good on hills, do you have a dealer out there that handles them?

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