Ferris makes an excellent machine. Ferris's only problem is that there aren't enough dealers around. The ride quality of the Ferris is unmatched in the industry thanks to 4 wheel independent suspension. Ferris was also the first company to offer hydrostatic drive in a walkbehind.
Kutnkru, I want to add a little to what fdew wrote. There are 2 kinds of decks, formed and fabricated. A formed deck is made from stamping the deck shape out of one piece of steel. The fabricated deck is made from welding pieces of steel together to form the deck. If built correctly both decks can produce very good vacuum. This is because there is baffling added to the fab'd deck. Almost all fabricated decks come with baffling in the rear. The best decks come with baffling in the rear and the front. Take a look under and Exmark and you'll see what I'm talking about.
I had a pro Cut Z, for about 3/4 of the season last year. I decided to sell it and get me Dixie Flatlander. The ferris does extremly well on hills an articulating ground. I just think it lacks the blade tip speed and deck design to cut well. The cut on my Dixie is twice of what was on the ferris. It rides nice. You still get a rough ride, you justr don't feel all those little clods of dirt and small bumps. Hit a hole, or some thing like that and you will get reminded that your back on a ZTR.
Richard Martin and Fdew, I was wondering how many hours you have on your machines. The reason is, the independent suspension has a lot of extra wear points and I was wondering how they are holding up after 2 or 3,000 hours of use. Is the independent suspension greasable?
I have never seen a Ferris around here and I can't imagine anything smoother than my new diesel Chopper. I know tires have a lot to do with the ride of a mower, the bigger the better. It has 25 X 12 tires which ride much nicer than the 22 X 11 tires on my old one, plus the extra 200 lbs it weighs, 1200 total, helps hold it down to the ground.
Blade tip speed and baffles in the right spots of a deck is the key to a good cut. I agree with Luckylawnboy, the cut of the new DC's is great.