Mowed my yard last evening...gave my personal Exmark Metro 21 a break and put the Metro 26 demo unit into action. Bigger sometimes doesn't equate to being better. While I'm able to cover more ground in less time given the 26" cut, the wider deck also presents some challenges as well. Due to it being wider and longer in wheelbase than the 21, the 26 doesn't seem to handle uneven terrain as well as a 21" will. There are a few places in my yard where my 21" has trouble getting an even cut due to the terrain. I knew with the 26", that will only be exaggerated. And I was right. When I did the string trimming part after I mow [standard modus operandi] I found myself hitting areas that I don't normally hit with the trimmer just to even them out. So, taking that extra time to do that...I'm not sure having a 26" cut will benefit me except, to get the mowing portion done faster. I burned up about the same amount of time as I do mowing with the 21"...except the 21" handles those other areas that the 26" didn't. For my use, it doesn’t benefit me at all. Weight. Major issue here. The 21 is a svelte 122 lbs. Big boy 26 tips the scales at 150 lbs. Therefore, it takes a bit more "OOMPH!" to sling it around when you get at the end of the row, to go back the other direction. The rearward positioning of the Kawasaki FJ180V 6HP engine on the deck helps to shift the balance point toward the rear wheels a bit. And because it isn't as nimble as a 21", you have to make more calculated maneuvers...or maybe, it's just me using it the first time. I'm sure if I was able to use it longer I probably would get used to it. Mulching - some guys poo-poo'ed the 26's mulching capabilities. I think overall, it mulched as well as my 21 does. You go too fast, it doesn't cut as well mulching...just like my 21. But, slow it down going through the thick areas and you'll be fine. No clumping, no windrowing. I noticed that even though the 26 is considerably heavier, it doesn't leave pronounced wheel marks in the grass due to the wider wheels/tires that spread the weight of the mower out over a larger surface area. The 26 stripes pretty well too. The sound of the mower reminds me of a single blade consumer rear engine riding mower. It's got that kinda low rumble to it, not as high pitched as my 21". Blade tip speed of the 26 is rated at a 17,500 FPM blade tip speed, my 21 has an 18,500 FPM blade tip speed. Did not use the mower in side discharge or bagging so I cannot comment on performance of those modes. Quality of construction - this thing is built like a friggin' tank! It is very solid through and through. Due to the rearward positioning of the engine, it has a bit more forward reach than a 21", getting underneath shrubs or fences better than a 21". The demo unit obviously, has hours of use on it from others who tried it out...and it still functions very well. I believe the Metro 26 has a place in the commercial mower market...but it still isn't "there" yet in terms of quality of cut on uneven/undulating terrain. I think a machine like this is better suited for those "knock-it-down-and-keep-going" cutting jobs where the name of the game is just to cut grass. But if you want to cut grass and make it look good, I think a 21" produces better results especially if uneven terrain is afoot. Also, it is best when jockeying/turning around is kept to a minimum. I can imagine weaseling this 26 incher into and out of tight spots would tire anyone out faster if you have do a lot of maneuvering. The Metro 26 has its good and bad points. I wouldn't recommend it for residential use where you have a lot of uneven terrain. I guess, this is something that one would have to demo first to see the results on his/her property because YMMV. Verdict? I'd rather stick with my Metro 21, with its tried-and-true design that has stood the test of time. Overall, I was impressed by the quality of the overall build and the mulching performance of the Metro 26. On the totally flat sections of my yard the cut quality was excellent. Start getting into uneven/rough terrain and that’s where your cut quality may be compromised due to the wider stance and longer wheelbase than a 21 inch walk behind. -------------------------------------------------------- Here are some photos I shot. First pic is my Metro 21 alongside the Metro 26. Size difference is apparent. Note the width of the wheels on the 26. Second pic is of the BBC/idler arm. The demo unit was missing the belt cover. Third pic is of the spring assisted rear height adjusters. It's a single point adjustment design for the rear only, just move the lever to raise/lower the rear axle. Front height adjusters are like on any normal commercial 21". Fourth pic is the mulch plug fully inserted. Fifth pic is the spindle. I was told the Metro 26 uses the same spindle as found on the larger Metro intermediate WB's.