Ok, Here goes... I have been on my Local Grasshopper dealer about getting in a demo unit for me to try out. He was able to get the 52" 23hp Kohler mid-mount with the twin cloth catcher that I wanted to try out (he also had someone else wanting to try it as well). He called me this morning and was able to bring it by my house so I could meet him and put it on my trailer at 1:00. 1:45 rolls around and his helper finally arrives, puting me a little behind now... Unloads it and leaves, ok, now all I have to do is put it on my trailer and go. Bear in mind I usually always carry 2 Z's (my trailer is 20' long) a 33" walk and a 21" walk. went to load 'er up with one dixon on the trailer and it is 2 feet too long! Freaking thing is HUGE. TWO inches wider cut than my dixon and this beast is a foot wider and 2 feet longer. Not scoring too many points with me already. So, I had to unload my Dixon and my 21" to get this beast on the trailer and I head out to the 12 house development I mow, takes me between 2.2 to 3 hours depending on the growth start to finish (trimming and everything). great place to test the machine. First off, did I mention that it is freaking HUGE? Plus it has ROPS on it which I couldn't take off since It wasn't mine, and they don't fold down. Trees are a problem! Every tree I came too I was swearing left and right. Horrible PITA to maneuver under limbs. (I'll try to mank this readable by breaking it up) Right up there with the PITA factor was the width of the machine, remember, this has the blower and catcher on it, the blower sits horizontally on the side adding what seems to be a foot to the width! I couldn't get in a number of places that I'm used to getting to with my 50" dixon. On the subject of the blower I did see that it collected very well. Packed the bags extremely full and then some. Downfall: there is no way to check periodically to see if the bags are getting full, like reaching back and feeling or by sight. It dosn't even change in sound in any way when the bags are full, it just plugs the chute full. The tripple bag catcher would work fine on this unit as well, it's sooooo wide and the twin catcher is tiny in comparison. The cut on the unit seemed fair at best. I was cutting at 3", I bumped up to 3.25 for a bit but it seemed taller than I was cutting with my dixon so I went back to 3". The deck didn't really stripe much. I can usualy make pretty nice stripes when it's dry like it was today but I wasn't seeing much with the Hopper. It was cutting smooth and picking up clean, however I was only cutting off 2 inches at best. The grass is thick and usually this time of year it's growing at least 6" a week, but all the freezes and frosts we have been having have stunted everything. One issue I was having with the unit was the lack of trim on the left side of the deck. The deck only stuck out about one inch past the rear wheel making it very difficlut to mow close to things. This was even harder mowing aroung curves, inside and out. I found the rear wheel running over edging and still not being close enough in a curve situation to not leave a strip uncut. On the topic of the cutting deck I want to add, the foot pedal deck lift on this machine SUCKS!!! I don't know just how much you need to be able to leg press to lift this thing easily but it's certianly about 3 times more than I can. I could get the deck up but it was one hell of a strain and the notion of raising it peirodicaly while mowing to go over sprinklers or bumps was out of the question! I have problems with my right ankle as it is, and today was a good day where I really didn't have much pain. If it had been a bad day there would have been no way. I have sat on a few other mowers with foot deck lifts and all seemed easy to operate to me, but this thing was terrible, seemed like there was no spring assist to it at all. The ride was pretty cushy I will say, the tires are very oversized all the way around and are ran at low pressure. Bumps seemed to melt away. The seat is also mounted on some sort of cushioning system, though it had a squeek to it that was coming from under the seat all the time that was driving me nuts! Steering was pretty nice, compared to ExMark the GrassHopper is a dream. I remember the ExMark being so stiff it fealt like a rowing machine trying to go from forward to reverse. the hopper is very smooth and easy to move the levers back and forth. However I wasn't terribly thrilled with the lack of response in the levers. At times it felt like a wet sponge to me. Steering a zero turn with one hand on grass is really out of the question. It takes nearly a 6" seperation on the handles to make a zero turn and head back the opposite direction for the next pass. Once again, I am used to very small movements on the levers and one handed operation being very simple on my dixon... Since I only ran it a couple hours and didn't tax it a lot I really can't remark on the engine performance. It is a 23hp Kohler horizontal shaft, I have used the 23hp Kohler vertical for years now and have had good luck. Overall on a scale of 1 to 10 I would probably give it a 5.5. Not the greatest... But if I was mowing a lot of wide open areas I would get the 3 bag catcher and it would work nice I think, it's just not made for tight residential mowing given it's overall size and lack of trim on the left side. Please ask questions, I have the machine for as long as I want it, HA, Right now it's sitting in my garage and is staying home tomorrow so I can mow with my dixon that actually fits onto my lawns. I will most likely call the dealer tomorrow and tell him the bad news that he didn't make a sale and the next guy can try it now. Am I just too dang picky?????