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Envy "eats crow"

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, since the very first time I ever saw a Toro Z Master mow in anything but drought conditions, I have had such dis-taste for Toro that I said I would NEVER own a Toro. The SFS deck performs very poorly in teh conditions around my neck of the woods.

    However, the ad I saw in Turf Mag about the new Turbo Force deck has had my interest up in Toro. So I checked into it a while back. Today when I came in for lunch I had a message that the new machine had arived for me to check it out. As luck would have it, I was going to be mowing an account that afternoon within just a few miles of the dealer.

    Anyways, when I got nearby, I went ahead and stopped by. I thought I might take one out fo a demo. But to my disappointment, they only had 2 units. The Z500 (20 Kohler/52) and teh Z553 (23 Kohler 60). I am in the market for a 60" so the 52" was out, no sense in it at all since I already have a 48" mower. Also the 23/60 combo was a no go for me too as I feel sure it would be too weak for my application.

    So I didn't take one "out" for a demo. But I did check one out there. I must say this mower is vast improvment over anything Toro has ever built.

    Beginning with the deck, even though it is not totally fabricated, it certainly does not fall into the stamped classification. The portion that is not totally fabricated is the front. The deck top appears to be cut to size for stamping and the better term to use is that the front is rolled down to form a 1 piece front and top.

    From tat point the sides and rear are welded on. A generous amount of wear plate is also welded to the deck. A J shaped channel is welded to the front, forming a u channel out front and a lip inside the deck at the same time, for the prevention of blowout. It looks just like if you had taken a J and laid it over to the right. All the steel is 7 guage, 50,000 psi min yeild strength.

    The rubber discharge chute is a simple stroke of genius because not only is it flexable, it is actually functional as well. Why? Because it does not direct the clippings right down to the ground like conventional chutes. It allows discharge straight out instead of down.

    Another nice feature is the new design of the belt/spindle covers. They feature 2 quick release latches that just unlatch for instant access for clening the area and greasing the spindles. But the best part is these latches are fixed to the covers so the latches don't get lost when you remove the covers.

    The really interesting part is the new spindles. The mounting bases must be like 9 or 10 inches in diameter with 6 mounting bolts each. The pulleys have a huge amount of belt wrap around contact. And man are hey built tough! I won't comment any more on that other than to say you "have" to see the promo video and watch what they put them through.

    Otherwise, they have added an adjustment bolt to the botom of the deck adjustment that makes it easier to make fine adjustment to the chains for pitch and leveling. Also the footplate has protruding holes for grip and it just simply flips right up for access underneath. Also the heigh adjustment pin is a "pop in" pin that is just like your pin and key setup, less the need for a key, which makes seting the height pin a lot simplier and again there is nothing to loose.

    It also comes w/ the Z Stand, ROPS and a seatbelt. The ROPS are also nice. They're there in he even of an accident like rolling over and being trpped under the controls. Plus they puppy folds down quick and easy for low clearance.

    The adjustable baffle is also trick. It's quick and easy to adjust. Otherwise it's nothing super special. It would be easy to replicate to an extent for use on some open decks. But the quick change on the baffle system is really nice. Also the faty drive sticks are nice and comfortable.

    Now here comes the kicker!!!! Shoot me but I think they cost too much. They were able to give me a price on the Z57 27 kohler 60" deck. Now take a guess how much? Try $10,000

    Anyways, can anyone get me a balkpark figure on the Z555 (25 Kawi 60")? They didn't even have a price on that one yet. All in all, huge improvent overall and I might be persuaded to buy one if the price is right on the Z555.

    So there, I ate crow.
  2. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Thanks for the verbal demo Envy. I am always interested in new stuff and I still haven't made a decision yet. I have a good rapport with my Toro dealer but I was waiting to hear about the mower before I call him.
    Sounds like Toro has been listening. Now for that air conditioning...
  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    envy--I'd wait 'till you mow with one of those before you finish off that plate of crow. it still might not cut to satisfaction. but for my needs, wants and desires $10K aint gonna work for me. I feel certain that as good or better can be had for much less.

  4. jones735

    jones735 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6


    I just purchased a Z555. Also, my dealer just ordered 10 of the 79 units they made this year. He will list the Z555 b/w $8,000 and $8,100. From what I understand, they are going pretty fast since Toro will not have back in production until February 2004. They are on snowblowers now!! Go figure! Anyway, hope this helps.
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    What does b/w stand for? Forgive me if it's obvious, it's 3 AM.

    $8,000 seems a little more reasonable. I think $10,000 is just outreagous for a plain 27/60. I also thought that $7,800 was a bit much for the 23/60.

    With those low production #'s I won't hold my breath until they get a Z555. Especially since I have noticed the dealer orders Kohler powered units by default. I don't recall them having any Kawi's in the past. Not even on the w/b's where ou have a choice of a Kohler single or a Kawi twin.
  6. jones735

    jones735 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6


    b/w = between

    I understand about the Kaw vs. Kohler. Luckily, my dealer is a Kawi fan. He ordered 10 with all Kaw's.
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    $10,000 is too much for me. Mower prices seem to keep rising along with the added features and improvements.

    I've debated this elsewhere, but I think a lot of the higher prices have to do with the multiplicity of options and models and the resulting low production volumes of each individual model, especially the high end ones. 555 units. Even for a partial year.....No wonder they cost so much!

    When you think about the fact that some economy cars cost about that much, it's really pretty funny. They have more powerful and sophisticated engines, 4 seats, complex interior upholstry and trim, air conditioning, heaters, sophisticated transmissions, emission systems, complex suspension and steering systems, high speed tires, radios, use much more steel than a ZTR, lights, more instruments, they last longer in terms of hours of operation, etc, etc. Yet they cost the same as a lawnmower.

    It's all about volume and splitting those fixed costs among very few units. I personally think that the first manufacturer to come up with a mower that combines solid construction, quality deck design and cut quality, and the various expected in-demand features in a no-frills package that sells in high volume will be able to dominate the market if they can deliver quality product for $1000-$2000 less. So what if it has engine brand A instead of my preferred brand B, or lacks a cupholder, or isn't liquid cooled, or only comes in one frame size, or only has two deck sizes (say 48" and 60"), etc, etc. If it mows the same as one that costs me $1500 more, I'll take it.

    So far, some brands have come out with lower priced mowers, but they all seem to offer either inferior cut or quality or both. But I certainly don't hear people complaining about their variety of options.

    Just do the math. I can buy a basic 52" 20hp quality brand ZTR for around $7500, but adding 8" of deck size and 7hp costs 33% more? That's hard to stomach. I suspect that much of that price difference is for the low production volume of the various models of each mower, plus the small "nice to have" items do add up in terms of price.

    (btw, think about small engine prices.....they all require similar engineering time, production time, weight of raw materials, shipping, etc. How come adding a few hp costs twice as much? Partly supply/demand, but also LOW VOLUME?)

    That said, if a mower PRODUCES more it's worth every penny extra. I'm just convinced that that someone coming out with a very productive mower that sells in high numbers can produce one for less money.

    I personally would pick up a slightly used 60" plus model if I needed one. New they're just not the bargains that the small/medium riders are.

    I'm amazed some of the smaller manufacturers can compete at all with their relatively low volumes and correspondingly higher per-unit costs. (you need a factory whether you're selling 10,000 or 100,000 units) But I think there is room to get the bigger makes down in price if we can get away from the "every option under the sun" mentality
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    I second what what you said. 10k is too much for the 555, heck you can get a diesel for that.

    Personally I think we are all getting gouged on equipment prices. I do take what you are saying about production #'s, but still. I think all commercial mowers are way over priced.

    Look at it like this. Mower MFG's are basically just frame/deck builders...metal fabricators no less.... All the other components are bought in bulk...engines, hydraulics, wheels, tires, spindles..yada yada yada.

    The thing is they know we need these mowers and that we are stupid enough to pay the ridiculous prices they ask for them. They start out high with the lower models and we somehow rationalize paying the extra for upgrades, whatever they may be.

    Sure there are actually rational reasons for paying the price. The cost is not all that bad when you look at what you can earn with them long term.....

    But they are still just an overpriced lawn mower
  9. angus

    angus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    My uncle just paid 8400 for his
  10. jones735

    jones735 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I don't think anybody said the 555 would be 10K. That was for the 27 HP Kohler Liquid Cooled. Everyone that I have seen is running around 8K.

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