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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have noticed that I see fewer and fewer grasshopper front-deck mowers out and about these days. What's happened to them?

Are there disadvantages to the mowers that have caused them to be passed by? Looking through their brouchure, they seem to have a lot of good features that appeal to me

1. Flip up front deck eases changing blades, mounting/demounting mulch kit, and reduces trailer space required to about that of a mid-mount mower.

2. A single deck discharges, mulches, and can bag, unlike the Walker

3. Deck height can be adjusted from operator position, unlike Walkers.

4. Front-mount deck seems to offer advantages trimming under stuff and getting into tight spots vs. mid-mounts

5. It has various attachments like the "aerovator" that are cheaper than buying comparable extra single-purpose machines.

6. It has deep 5.5" decks, how's the cut quality?

7. Seems affordable vs. Walkers which share some of the features.

8. I suspect turf damage is a little less with these mowers. Am I correct? It seems the weight is better balanced front to rear than with mid-mounts.


Walkers seem to give a great cut and are tops for bagging and mowing fine turf. But I don't think that mower is what I need for wide open areas and cool season turf. Getting lots of power on a Walker gets pretty expensive, doesn't it? And I've not heard much about their heavy/tall grass mowing ability at higher speeds.

I may be moving and will be cutting primarily Kentucky Bluegrass. I want a decently fast mower but don't need to fly at 12mph either. I welcome any comments from users or others who could point out potential pitfalls with this mower. I've used Lazers for years but have always liked features of Grasshoppers, plus sometimes it's good to have mowers with complimenting abilities. I will be using two mowers, one big and one small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

The answer is "voodoo economics"

Ok, seriously, let me add to the mix the new Woods mowing machine outfront mowers. Their video sure looked impressive. The articulating deck, good ground speed, and suspension seat are good.

I might wind up living 25 miles from their HQ, too. Plenty of dealers in the area.

Anyone have experience recently with Woods mowers?
 

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I live in Bowling Green, KY and Grasshopper is the main mower around here. It is all I have run and love them. I have tried DC and they just aren't up to par with the Grasshoppers in my opinion. This is my opinion so don't start a new discussion on this please. People around here in the higher class neighborhoods will actually request that you run a Grasshopper if they want you to mow. They stripe awesome, very reliable, superb quality and impress customers. I wouldn't trade my mowers for anything else.
 

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I run two Diesel Grasshopper midmounts, two Walkers, and a Dixie Chopper. for large properties, my helpers all prefer the Grasshoppers over the Dixie Chopper. I have found , by doing a demo, that the front deck Grasshopper give a much nicer cut on rough, uneven ground than any midmount I have ever owned. I plan on getting a front deck Grasshopper next year.
I think a lot of people have switched to midmount ZTR's. However, I plan to go just the opposite way. I do not know who builds the Woods machine now. It used to be built by Grassshopper. I thought that all Woods ZTR's were built by other companies and painted in Woods colors.:)
 

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"If" I do decide at some point to pursue some larger properties in the future, I will be taking a very hard look at the Grasshopper outfront for the same reasons already mentioned. In addition, I would be checking out the Ferris IS and a few other mid-mounts, but Grasshopper is the only outfront.

Just so you know, Grasshopper also has an articulating deck option that allows the deck to float side to side in addittion to the way he deck already flexes.

The main thing I wonder about them is which drive system unit is best. I hope some owners will chime in about that.

Now,,,,, who was is that posted a picture of a lawn cut with the outfront?.....I'll have to see if I can hunt that one down.....
 

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Ah hah!!! Found that pic on another site.

Photo courtesy of....

Emerald Greenscapes of Frederick
aka.....dhicks

Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Tree
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies and especially the photo. Looks good to me. The Woods mowing machine video pointed out a few advantages it claims over the grasshopper out-front. bigger tires, front and rear, a standard suspension seat, and a somewhat faster transport speed come to mind, plus they claim their deck articulates in a wider range so that your drive wheels never lose traction in certain situations.

I'll be sure to check them all out. I think I'm about ready to try a front-mount deck.
 

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Just remember, they are a L O N G mower. Not going to be your first choice on smaller properties. The 900 Series is 120" long!!! And their shortest is 95" (44" deck 600 sereis)

Thats a BIG difference in length compared to a small midmount Z at 75"

Trim along side a building then turn right. With a midmount, you simply turn. With a frontmount, your damaging the building/mower. You have to do special turns to avoid the back end swinging around.

This SOLE reason is why frontmounts aren't as popular as midmounts.
 

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TLS ..You said what I was thinking grass hopper makes a good mower for 10 years ago but now I think they are a little behind in technology.I have run them in the past and the main thing I disliked about them was they are wayyyyyy tooooo loooong.I think I hit almost every thing when i ran it.I personally WOULDNT buy one.Thats just my opionion.
 

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Lakeside,
What specifically do you think they lack in technology? They seem to be a well designed, hi-tech machine to me. They use components and designs that are equal to , or better than, (in my opinion),all their competitors, so what technology do you think is lacking in their design?
I will agree that the front deck mowers seem to have fallen out of favor due to the increased manueverability of midmount machines. However, there is no lack of high tech design on Grasshopper front mount or midmount mowers. My two Grasshopper midmounts have outperformed, and replaced, my Toro, Bobcat, and JD ZTR's.:D
 

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A 700 Series GH Is No Longer with the Bagger on Then a Lazer With the Ultravac, Now You have the Front Mount Deck That will Give You the trimming You Need Under trees And Other things The Midmount Cannot Do.The one Main Problem With them Or Mowers Like them Is They Don't Clime well. GH Has 19000 FPM,5.5" Deep deck,9.5 MPH. Now they Offer The 27L/C Kohler Aegis Not Bad! Plus All Those fun attachment's.
John.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More good points, pro and con, thanks.

I'm aware they're long, that's probably why I never got one, primarily because I wanted to keep my trailer size reasonable. But so is the Walker, and their owners seem to prefer them on small tight properties. What's the difference there?

As for running alongside a building, then making a right turn, swinging the tail towards the obstruction, you would really have to account for that. But to avoid turf damage with my Lazer HP, I already am jockeying and backing out of tight corners to avoid making sharp turns that tear the turf anyway. I suppose it would take some getting used to.

I've heard comments about their climbing ability too here and there. Why is it that they don't climb as well? Not that it would matter in the converted cornfields around Chicago, though. I would think side to side hillside stability would be better, with the weight more centered over the drive wheel and not front-heavy like on mid-mounts.

I want a deeper and wider deck on a mower, the grasshopper can fit the bill there. I would probably keep my lazer hp around for gates, narrow spots, even hills if need be, as as a quality backup. I'd also set it up to mulch when the grasshopper is discharging and vice-versa to have that flexibility. Might come in handy during leaf cleanup to mulch em up, then make a pass and vac em up.

I also like the ability of the various front-mount mowers to use attachments. There will be snow and the idea of a riding on a snow thrower sounds pretty nice. I have zero experience with the stuff, though. I don't plan on doing any snow removal for a year at least until I know what to do with it. But even on my own drive, it'd be a nice thing to have around.

The aerovator also sounds interesting. Not sure how fast it is, though. But again, I could have it set up for that while still retaining a mowing mower if I had both the lazer hp and the grasshopper on the trailer (need a bigger one).

I'm just looking for mowers that compliment each other's abilitie so that I have everything covered. I prefer the Walker in many ways, but it seems less suited for high speed wide area mowing of tall grasses than the Grasshopper deck. Am I wrong?
 

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I bought a 721 way back in 1994. It was a well built machine, but had hydro problems within a year. This was the regular old Gemini series. I had issues with the local dealer network and distributor that made me decide by 1995 that I would never buy another one. The last problem came in 1998 with Grasshopper themselves. I wasn't too happy with the way I was treated by them, we'll leave it at that. No sense cluttering up your thread.

Anyway, if I had never had dealer/distributor problems, I likely would have looked at another one. But it's hard to say, there were faster more compact machines out there by the time I bought my next ZTR. I know Grasshopper has really stepped it up in the past four years, so that really isn't an issue anymore.

Some things I did not particularly like about my Grasshopper, problems aside:

The front caster wheels being as small as they were, would tend to dig when the mower reversed. Not a problem everywhere, but if you got one of them into a bed, it would pull the mulch out and dig a hole coming out.

The mower would cut lower backing up than going forward. Again, probably related to the small casters. May have been resolved, and would hope it has.

The blade drive system that sold me on the mower ended up being more trouble than it was worth. Every piece from the PTO belts to the gearbox in the deck eventually failed. The last time I needed the mower back in service. I had to replace the PTO belts, powershaft pulley, powershaft, pillowblock bearings, the driveshaft and u-joints and the gearbox. That added up to quite a bit of money :eek: Especially considering all that stuff takes the place of a belt and couple idlers on a lot of the midmounts on the market.

It is a long mower. I could not fit two on the trailer. You really have to watch the back of it too. If you are used to a midmount, you are not used to the extra machine swinging out behind you and you will run it into a lot of stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Keith, that's the kind of things I really need to know.

Which do you think makes more scuffing/tearing on turns at the end of mowing rows, a midmount or a out-front? This is another major reason I'm looking at other mowers.
 

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A front-mount GH wont do hills:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Is that some kind of joke,because if it is,its the best one I've heard.


Sanfords in Flinstone,GA sells GR,exmark,and wright he can tell ya what will hold a hill.--;)
 

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Honestly, even with the Chevron tires on my Grasshopper, they did not "scuff" anymore than Lazer or my Kees did. That says alot bacause they are a very aggressive tire. I have not really had a problem with bad scuffing on any of them though.

I always liked the balloon type bar treads on that mower....but stay off the concrete and asphalt :eek: They mark it up big time!

My Grasshopper never would climb a hill as JohnnyG mentioned. At least forward :( It would flat pull up a hill in reverse though :) I still use it pull out the other mowers when they get stuck, I just have to tow them out in reverse ;)


grassdaddy, I am talking about climbing, not tracking across a slope. That brought a seperate set of issues. Even though it would stick to an incline, often you would look back and see the rear was tracking about a foot more toward the bottom of the slope than the front deck was. It would leave some funny looking tire tracks, but it did hold the incline.
 

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Grasshopper has a traction kit option for the front deck mowers. I demoed one with that kit a couple of weeks ago on a hill that my midmounts won't stay up on without sliding sideways to thebottom. The 721D-2 held the hill very well, much better than the midmounts. I was surprised.
The front deck machines have a flip-up option that works easily. When up, the mower takes no more room on the trailer than a midmount. I checked the measurements.
I run a couple of Walkers on small to medium properties. On larger properties, I use my midmounts due to their speed and bigger decks. The Grasshopper front deck I am planning on buying will replace a midmount, not the Walkers. Both of my crews take one Walker and at least one big ZTR on the trailer every day. Both types of machines have their place, but the Walkers are too slow on the big, (one acre +), properties.
:D
 

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Mine had the traction kit. I won't argue that they will hold a hill that you are running horizontally on, but they have rough time going straight up a hill or making a turn upwards on a slope. Backwards they are fine, the complete opposite of a midmount.
 

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700 Sieries 61" Deck down With Bagger Is 105.8, 700Series No Bagger No deck Is 65". With Deck Is103.0. 700 Series Deck Up No Bagger Is77.5.
John
 
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