From sitting to standing - demo day

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mag360, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    Here's a photo of the lineup...

    I had the opportunity to meet with a couple dealers from our area as well as an exmark rep and a gravely rep and line up most of the relevant stand on mowers for a head to head comparison. I got a little sidetracked running equipment but managed to take some decent pics and get a good feel for each unit.

    The test property was a church that we maintain regularly. I'm extremely familiar with the property and mowed it personally for years before handing it over to employees. We use only 60-61 inch zero turns and there are a few key sections that tell the difference between perfectly balanced machines and those that have a little less traction. One section in particular is a curved hillside with a tricky turn that has you angling slightly downhill then turning slightly up with the curve. It tests the tractive limit of the uphill tire and is only manageable with a very low center of gravity and/or rear weight bias. There is also a rough field and some prime scalping sections to test comfort and deck/wheel/gauge wheel placement. It also illustrates the need to be able to lift the deck while mowing with these (or any) machines.

    Thanks first to:

    1. Conway Power Equipment of West Chester Pa. (and lepco distribution)
    They personally provided a scag v ride from their own demo fleet at short notice and arranged for an exmark distributor rep to come out with two vantages. Mike from Conway came out also and helped put the machines through their paces.

    These guys have let us try out new models in the past from scag and kubota and even pulled out a non-demo turf tiger for us back in 2004 so we could do a head to head comparison with models from husqvarna, deere, exmark, ferris, and everride. Lepco really came through as well with two EFI vantages using both the twin bar controls and the new ECS controls.

    I've done business with Conway before and find them (Mike especially) to be extremely knowledgeable when it comes to commercial equipment. If I need to find a part in stock they are the first place I look. It takes experience to build the correct inventory and it sets them apart from some other dealerships in my opinion.

    2. Little's John Deere of Downingtown Pa.
    I stopped in looking for a demo on the new deere quick trac and found a knowledgeable and helpful staff. They set us up with a 52 inch demo unit and when they heard I preferred to test a 61 inch unit they pulled their own showroom unit out the front door of the building and sent it over. That goes beyond normal service, especially for a company that deals with large, expensive deere farm equipment as well.

    Sean from Little's came out for the afternoon as well and helped with the comparison. He took some slope estimates on our test areas and was probably pretty pleased to see that the new deere 661 was able to hang onto a side slope measuring around 30 degrees (34 degrees at the test measurement).

    3. Gravely
    I mentioned the new pro stance here on lawnsite and was quickly contacted by Mary Lyn via message in this site as well as Jack and Ryan via phone. They set up demo units earlier this week and Ryan (a traveling rep) came out with the 61 inch machine for the side by side demo.

    My experience with Gravely so far has been great and they definitely seem focused on a good experience for the end user. I also had a good experience stopping in at our local dealer Gravely of Hockessin De. They were very knowledgeable and actually had a few unique custom touches that they apply to units sold there. The owner really loves the brand and has quite the collection of classic machines and parts.

    As I find the time this weekend I'll go through my experience with each unit

  2. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 16,745


    I'm very interested in reading your experiences on these machines.

    I have to ask though, are you going to be satisfied with your findings since the grass is still so dormant up in the region we are in? In thick lusg spring grass would be ideal, but that isn't always possible, and you probably need to make you determination/decision/purchase before mowing actually gets going.
  3. Spiffygreencutclean

    Spiffygreencutclean LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I look foward to your results! I have a 60 grandstand that I really like now but interested in buying another standon this year. I also would like to see if anyone has done a demo on the bad boy standon as well. I know one person in this forum owns one and he had a cut issue due to weight distribution since he is a big guy 300 pound plus.
  4. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    You're right
    I actually didn't test mowing performance because of that. We're taking a slight risk without an in season test of mowing performance but fortunately the decks on these machines have generally been reviewed on lawnsite in the past. The scag velocity deck is known to give a good all around cut with no clumping in wet or heavy grass. The exmark ultracut deck is known to leave an excellent cut in most conditions with good suction. The gravely deck has good reviews for cut quality and very little clumping or buildup and the gravely dealer here retrofits notched foil high lift blades to reduce buildup even further. The aerocore deck on the deere has been out on wrights for a year or two but deere may have changed the baffling. My understanding is that they bought the design from wright and are building them in house. They made something like 72 tweaks to the machine before painting it green according to the sales staff.
  5. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    Can't wait for the results.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    I haven't tried the badboy but would be interested in trying that and the wright zk. I plan on purchasing from one of the three dealers who helped out with this test though. There were others who wanted nothing to do with it...

    Per the weight distribution problem - we took the empty weight on the front casters of each stander to get an idea of the balance of each piece. Never got the scale to read on the deere unfortunately but I may get a chance to check again.
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 16,745

    You're right about all the reviews here, but it seems that most guys still want to see for themselves on their own properties, so that is why I asked.

    I was looking at the new Deere 652 yesterday at the dealer when I went to buy my FS250;)

    He showed me several of the things Deere changed on them from the Wright. Looks like a great mower, and after we get to the point here where I can go demo one on something other than mud, I am going back on an invite from him to try one out myself. All standers seem short to me coming from a Z, but the Deere seems extra short and handy. The only thing I saw on the Deere that I didn't like was the battery box is right over the left rear tire. I don't like the idea of wet grass sticking to the bottom of it causing rust, or water from wet grass getting in at the corner opening where the metal was folded to form the box. If I bought one I'd have to have something like rhino lining coated over the bottom and side of the box.
  8. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    The first unit I ran was the 60 inch vantage. The 60 inch deck now only comes in the X series with the ecs controls but this was a 2012 model with the bar controls. It is available for 2013 up to a 52 inch deck.

    I found the vantage's platform to be very comfortable and soak up the bumps nicely. The edges angle in and are helpful on slopes. There's also plenty of room to move around and put your weight where you want it to help with traction.

    One of the control bars is spring loaded for the operator presence system - same thing on the gravely and on the updated scag models. This is a necessary evil as far as I'm concerned. It does require a little bit of effort or forethought to constantly keep that bar down but I got used to it pretty quickly.

    The weight on the front casters with no rider was 310 lbs vs an overall weight of 883. That leaves 573 lbs on the drive tires for about a 35/65% split front to rear. Putting a rider on the back obviously puts more weight on the rear and (due to the position of the platform) takes some off the front. A rough estimate for a 200lb rider would be an additional 250lbs on the rear and 50lbs off the front for about a 25/75% weight bias to the rear. This machine also had a wide rear track (it's adjustable on the vantage) and proved to have excellent traction. The engine and pumps raise and lower with the deck which helps to keep the weight down low. I had no problem with the front lifting going uphill and it stuck like glue to the hillside.

    The deck lift was spring assisted and wasn't too tough to raise on the fly although it did require using the controls with one hand and using that same hand to hold down the spring loaded opc.

    The wide rear track minimized scalping and definitely helps traction. This also provides for gentler turning and nicer striping and is a big plus with the larger deck. It is adjustable so it can be pulled in for more trim edge - that's a fantastic feature in my opinion.

    With 10cc pumps and 12cc wheel motors (they are 12cc and 14cc on the x series) I really liked the hydro feedback. There was no "freewheeling" feel when slowing down or riding a hillside and I actually prefer the smaller system depending on the shaft size and weight rating on the wheel motors. These are holding about 400 lbs each on 20x10.5 tires with a reasonable backspacing on the rims so I wouldn't expect problems especially since the larger deck is no longer available without the larger pumps and motors. This and the gravely had the nicest hydro feel to me. The combination of smooth speed increase and (most important) smooth and responsive speed decrease. I have never had a machine get "tighter" over time so I do put alot of stock in a system that doesn't freewheel at all.

  9. Blades Lawn Maintenance

    Blades Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Baton Rouge, La
    Messages: 1,228

    Oh this is is going to be good. Looking forward to your reviews.
  10. chagh2.0

    chagh2.0 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    thank you for putting some time in to this i look forward to your findings i run wright standers xs and love them but would like to see more stand up machines

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