Exmark Vantage Full Review and Pics

JLC Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cincinnati OH
Hey guys, I bought this Exmark Vantage on Saturday to give it a try after doing some research. So far I have mowed 19 lawns with it, varying from steep hills to flat and bumpy ground. Now that it has been put to the test I wanted to do a good review for those of you on the edge about buying one.

Some Good Things:
1) Versatility. The Vantage is much more powerful than most walk behinds, and the model that I have is a 24hp Kawasaki. It seems like it has plenty of power for what it does.

2) Maneuverability. The Vantage is a lot more compact than walk behinds, and is shorter in length. The fold up platform saves a fair amount of space, and is very comfortable. I am only 140 pounds, but personally I can really feel the spring in it as oppose to a sulky. The impact from the bumpy areas goes in to your back not knees. This may be good or bad depending on your own situation.

3) Back tires. The rear tires are so much larger than a wb which is very nice on hills, but can make turf tearing a bit easier. The large rear tires are good for stability though.

4) Controls. The controls are basic imo. I have only used an actual ztr a few times, and have used pistol grip wb's almost 100% of the time in the past. The ztr like controls were easy for me to get used to in about 2 hrs of use, and of course being careful.

5) Speed. The speed is average, but what is nice is I am able to get up to higher speeds where in the past my wb's were too hard to adjust speed quickly enough to be efficient. The speed of the the Vantage has taken about 15% off my mowing time, and now i need more accounts :laugh:

6) HILLS. The Vantage did surprisingly well on hills (about 40% of my properties) I was a little scared to go up and down some of the hills that my wb could barely make it up, but I was pleasantly surprised. The nice part is you can lean foreward when going straight up a hill, and I never slipped once up or down. On the other hand, going sideways across a hill, I did slide, but I think in time I can improve that as i fully master the controls.

7) Hydros. The hydros are a little touchy and very reactive. Its something that I like alot, but would suck to teach employees.

Some Cons:
1) Fuel Consumption. This thing gulps gas compared to other mowers I have run. It does have a fuel gauge on the tank which helps some.

2) Filling up at the gas station is a pain in the @ss The tank is designed where the cap is at an angle to make fueling easier, but there are two problems, 1. its on the wrong side, 2. If you were to fill the tank to full capacity it would overflow out of the opening :confused: The opening on the wrong side is only a problem if you fill the mowers at the pump, using a gas can would solve this, but I am waiting for the time that I accidentally over fill the tank, it would be easy to do, esp for employees :nono:

3) Deck lever. The height adjustment is barely assisted by the springs. It feels like you are lifting the whole deck. The .25 adjustments are nice though.

4) Backfiring? Every time I shut the engine off after using it for a while the muffler back fires. I dont think its a problem and I heard of it happening to others, but its just annoy AF to me :dizzy:

Overall the Vantage is a great mower, and I am happy that I bought it for the reasons above. Feel free to ask questions, and i can get more detailed pics if anyone wants.

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OP
J

JLC Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cincinnati OH
Detail on the fuel tank.
The circle is the fuel cap, and the line is where the top of the tank is. This just blows my mind. I guess you just supposed to never fill the tank all the way up, oh well :confused:

vantgae wtank drawing.jpeg
 

jman228

LawnSite Member
Location
Nj
Great review. From what I've learned from brand new mowers is that letting them idle down for around 3-5 minutes before shutting them off keeps them from backfiring, plus its easier on the engine. Transitioning from 3000-4000 rpms while mowing to 1200 at idle and quickly shutting it off isn't smart. My 14 year old metro still backfires if you don't let it idle for a few mins lol. And also with the gas tank...if you look at most new commercial mowers they all have that gas tank design. Exmarks, walkers, bobcats, etc. What i have been thinking is its some new EPA bs where you cant fill the tank up all the way and must have some air in it. Stupid design... They don't realize more fuel capacity=more productivity and less downtime!! Good luck with the new machine man!
 
OP
J

JLC Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cincinnati OH
Great review. From what I've learned from brand new mowers is that letting them idle down for around 3-5 minutes before shutting them off keeps them from backfiring, plus its easier on the engine. Transitioning from 3000-4000 rpms while mowing to 1200 at idle and quickly shutting it off isn't smart. My 14 year old metro still backfires if you don't let it idle for a few mins lol. And also with the gas tank...if you look at most new commercial mowers they all have that gas tank design. Exmarks, walkers, bobcats, etc. What i have been thinking is its some new EPA bs where you cant fill the tank up all the way and must have some air in it. Stupid design... They don't realize more fuel capacity=more productivity and less downtime!! Good luck with the new machine man!

Good to know about the backfiring thanks
 

gcbailey

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
WV
Noticed you have a 36" TT.... Would you mind measuring the difference in track width between the two... We have some 48" TT but I'm really intrigued by the Vantage, but like you we run a LOT of hills and slopes.

On the hills were you mainly going up and down? Did you travel across any of them? Did it want to slide? How about using it as a WB, have you done that much and how does it compare to a true WB?
 
OP
J

JLC Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cincinnati OH
Noticed you have a 36" TT.... Would you mind measuring the difference in track width between the two... We have some 48" TT but I'm really intrigued by the Vantage, but like you we run a LOT of hills and slopes.

On the hills were you mainly going up and down? Did you travel across any of them? Did it want to slide? How about using it as a WB, have you done that much and how does it compare to a true WB?

Ill try and get those measurements when i get home. The hill climbing is very good, I tried both straight up and down and across. Going up and down is far better than across, never slid once, and these were hills that my Deere wb could barely climb.

Going across hills it works about the same as a wb, it only slides if you forget to lean or go too fast.

I have only gotten off the platform once, the 1st time i put it on the trailer. Now that im comfortable on it i just always ride. If you get off of it mid-hill it loses all traction. The wb feature is only good on flat ground so there really isnt a reason to walk behind.
I tried to take pics of some of the hills i took it on but they didnt turn out, ill see if i can take a few more soon.

Hope this helps
 
OP
J

JLC Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Cincinnati OH
can you use it as a walk behind to????

The wb feature really has no purpose. You can walk behind it but I have never had a reason too. There is plenty of space to walk with the platform up or down which is nice.

For hills you have to ride or you wont have any traction, as soon as you get off it starts to slide. The wb feature can only be used on flat ground, so again really no purpose.
 

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