I can not give you any info on the 44-48" mowers but I personally have a 13 HP 32", Gravely ProG, and I LOVE IT. My dealer is AWESOME, and thier warranty is tops.
Here is my story:
I had my mower for about 2 months, and only put on about 20 hours. After about 4 hours of cutting, the mower would start to whistle. It would never do this until the last property of the day, no matter where it was. So, I brought it in, and they said that the transmission was damaged, and they changed it. AWESOME. Well, about two weeks later, the noise started again, so I brought it again. They looked at it, and they noticed that the main (if i remember correctly) drive belt was not tightened, so as the day progressed, the belt would loosen, and whistle. They fixed that in 30 minutes and I have not had any MAJOR problems (knock on wood) in the first year that I have had it.
I love my gravely, and am looking if i get enough business to get the PM 252 or 260 Z.
Are you looking at fixed or floating deck ? Also, gear drive or hydrostat ? Vertical hand grips or the standard type squeeze grip steering ?
I think Gravely has one of the best pro walk mowers around today.
Notice that they have the bigger diameter tires [16 inch] on even their gear units. If you will be using a sulky, these larger diameter tires will have much better traction. They are also better on hillsides and big tires back up over a curb much easier.
Notice how the Gravely deck height is adjusted. They have spring loaded latch pins, and it is quick and simple to change cutting height. The deck adjusts evenly on all 4 corners, so the quality of cut is not affected as you move it up or down. Some others change cutting height by adjusting the front caster wheels up and down. This is much more time consuming, but worst of all it can tip the deck [and blade level] up or down since only the front of the mower gets adjusted, and this can really mess up the cut, or cause front blow out.
The Gravely decks are all 5 1/2 inches deep, and are I think 7 ga. steel - Deep decks cut good, and heavy made decks hold up , plus, if you do use a sulky a heavy deck will stay on the ground. If the deck is too light it wants to jump up every time you take off going forward.
The Gravely decks all come with a stripe enhancing kit already installed. This is a strip of rubber belting bolted to a metal bar, and it brushes the top of the cut grass and sort of combs it over all in the same direction. The stripe effect it gives is really terrific.
Gravely has both vertical and horizontal hand grip controls. This is something you need to demo and see which you prefer. Most other brands have either one or the other type control - Gravely at least offers you a choice of what's right for you.
I too was impressed with the Gravely wb's, at least on paper, and I plan to check them out. They have all the features I want and the price seems lower than big E too. My only beef with them is that they offer a 42" deck on the gear units but for some reason not the Hydros.
Another innovative mower I noticed is the Yazoo Kees floating deck model that uses a rear engine design to make it very compact. It also has a very convenient foot pedal type height adjust, like a ztr.
Exmark is great, but they've been adding fluff features like cupholders and control panel and cosmetic redesigns and features I do not want at all like the ROPS, while the smaller makes have made real strides in features I do want. I'd rather their engineers spend their time on time/energy saving features.
I looked at the Gravley 1548 WB and even had it on hold! But in the end I good not buy it. I should have waited and demo'ed it but instead went with the old faithful Exmark 48" with the 17hp KW. I would love to see more on the Gravely here. I still may buy a ZTR and the Gravely's look soooo Good.
I have a pro G with a 48 in deck on it and I love it. The thing cuts like a champ rarely leaves clumps still have the original blades on it. The only problem I have experienced in the two seasons I have had it is not having a first or second gear. This happened at the end of last season and I am taking it in today to get fixed and will let you know. But I would recommend Gravely walk behinds to anybody the quality of work they do speaks for themselves.
I will not say Gravely is the best because I don't know. I do know feature for feature Gravely is at the top of the list. Having just bought all Gravely products I cannot see how anyone can say brand X, Y or Z is a better product.
If you look at all the features, price and if you have a good dealer in your area I bet you might just load your trailer with a new Gravely.
I am not a commercial user, I will only be cutting my 2 acres with many trees and some decent slopes. I am seriously considering the gravely Pro G 48" walk behind. I did notice they are not offering it this year with a Kawi 17 hp. My local dealer has a leftover Pro G 48" 17HP KW electric start with a floating deck for $3100. Is this the right machine for me? Any other suggestions on alternatives? The price for this machine is as high as I can go.