do belt drive WB and single hydro handle the same

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cpt87gn, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. cpt87gn

    cpt87gn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    I been reading here alot about how hard the single hydro walkbehinds 32''-36''
    are to handle that they get tiring .when i worked for a freind i used a toro 36 beltdrive and it wasnt too bad .Is it the same on the single hydro or harder or easyer thanks for the help
  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    belt drive is just like a dual hydro operation wise. You have power going to both wheels and you can control how much to each wheel. Single hydro is like a regular self propelled mower. It drive both wheels the same and you have to force the turns.
  3. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,173

    IMO a belt drive is better for hills or tight spaces as it can drive each wheel separately, also maintenance is simpler. A single Hydro will probably be better in a downpour.
  4. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    Yeah when the belts get wet that can be a problem lol. Had it happen, but I think I would prefer the belt drive. Although the next mower I get will most likely end up being a hydro.
  5. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Dual hydro is the best for tight spaces real working reverse!
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I own both. A 2005 Ferris 36" belt drive and a 2005 Ferris 36" Hydrocut. Before I put brakes on the Hydrocut the belt drive was easily the easiest to use. Now that my Hydrocut has brakes it's a toss up as to which one I prefer.

    Single hydros without brakes are worthless when working from side to side on hills.
  7. KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

    KeystoneLawn&Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 774

    My Exmark Viking with duel hydro you can "dance" with! My Ferris single hydro, with brakes, doesn't turn as nice, but its not tiring.
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Except the single hydro can be reversed, which can be a big asset in tight spots and turns. The lighter single hydros like the Quick 36 may be better suited for this technology, but on hills you may have to fight them more.

    A big long belt drive, even a nice Toro T bar steering system, can require a good deal of manhandling in tight areas. Partially the length is the problem. Narrow decks require tighter turns at the ends of rows and so a little more muscle. An experienced operator will learn over time little tricks that help make a belt drive mower more tolerable (such as turning into the uphill side, so it will coast back easily to complete a 3 point turn, almost like a hydro) but if I were doing postage stamps I'd probably take a hard look at a single hydro over a belt drive.

    That said, there are plenty of dual hydro wb's for sale that are quite affordable and certainly less than either of the other types new. They are fairly out of favor these days and now is the time to catch one at a good price.
  9. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,713

    I dislike belt drives, they lack finesse, They are pain especially when operating in tight quarters when you have to do a lot of back and forth action. Difficult to slow down when going over significant bumps/ roots etc. Hydro drives, be it a single or dual is far more desirable than belts. Just my opinion. They tend to lack control when going down a slope too.
  10. lawnboy852

    lawnboy852 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 219

    I run an exmark metro 48, and I can use it with minimally more effort than my hustler trimstar (with the H Bar). If you get to know the machine its really not hard to make it perform well. Things like drive belt tension and the braking adjustments make all the difference. On hills I prefer the belt drive, BECAUSE it will roll. I put it in neutral, and let gravity take over, using my brakes to keep my speed appropriate, then shifting quickly with a knee and you can head right back up. Furthermore with it adjusted properly I can make a full zero turn without it being too difficult.

    Other thing about belt drives, is the weight. My fixed deck metro is SO much lighter than my hustler. This means that in WET GROUND conditions the belt is better than the hydro, less weight less rutting etc. RAIN is a different story, there the hydro wins out.

    I would look around and see if you cant find a used dual hydro, They can be aquired in pretty good shape, not much more than a newer belt drive...

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