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My Walker dose the job for me. Not the fastest mower out there, but it's well built and dependable and provides a quality cut. Demo one first. Your particular conditions should be a majour factor in mower choice.
To do hills the best setup is a 62" deck ,low profile tires, and no GHS. We have two units like this and they are great for hills. We lived by walk behinds a few years ago. Now we have one WB that goes out one day a week.
We also have two GHS units with 48" decks. They are great for leaf clean up.
All our walkers have 20hp kohlers. Our dealer said the 25hp is only a stretched out 20 and the parts wear much faster. We get over 2000hrs on ours before it needs rebuilt.
We also fert, spray, aerate, dethatch, blow,and sweep parking lots, push snow with the walker.
If you do small to medium yards,do need the ablity to handle
material,and need to be very adjile, i think you would be happy with a walker,on small yards 7000sqft or less with tight areas you can't go wrong.if you have a lot of acreage
like most the northern opperators here go with a dixe chopper or an exmark after all,you need the space to strech out a mower too 9+ mph and leave the ground looking good when you have too turn.i a walker an a dc and the majority of my accounts i can't manuver or strech out the dc.and if its in your buget go with the kubota a have a gas model and can work on it saving $$$$$$. plus the engine is modestly rateed for 5000 hrs of use compared to 2000-3000 on the kolher in the walker, anyway demo one hey just sevreal diferent peices and brands ourfront decks and mid mounts if trimmingis a issue look close at an out front after all your the one that has to operate and pay for the machine you need to be cofortable with it.just about any commercail
mower talked about on this forum in a good light will definitly be a good choice.
emerald--I don't have a walker and I don't know a thing about them other than what I have read here.
one of the questions that I would ask if I were you is about the walker spindle gearboxes. I've read a ton of comments about hitting things like bricks and iron pins hidden in the grass and whammo! you are out a gearbox whereas on a belt unit, no big deal.
just ask and I'm sure the walker owners will tell us both.
Our Walkers we would not trade. we have 1) 20hp, 1) 25hp and a new 26EFI all with GHS handling system with different side and mulching decks. First opt to buy the 26EFI with a 48"GHS system and purchase the 52" deck, the reason on the 52 over the 54 is the 52 is belt driven and if you hit anything the belts slip, as the 54 is gear driven and can get nasty if you hit something. Plus after owning the decks we opted for the 52" for its clean cut. Now for your hill issue By the bagging GHS model, Walker sells the pickup type bed seperately so when you do big hill take the bagger of but I can tell you that we put the all terrain tires on ours and its night and day, we climb and mow hill sideways that will almost roll the machine over even with the GHS system. What to buy 2001 Walker 26EFI 48"GHS system, 52" side discharge deck, tail lock, all terrain tires and you can mow most any hill. Feel free to contact us for we have been using these mowers for a while. We lease ours through Telmark which is a agrilcuture loaning provider, GOOD LUCK!!
I have a 1996 48" GHS 20HP unit.I mow steep areas that I wouldn't use a WB on. I burn a gallon of gas an hour with the 48" deck. This year I bought the 62" deck for my large properties or heavy grass areas and have plenty of power.I also just bought a new 48" deck with the splined shaft, its like night and day compared to the old 48" deck.They look the same but the new one seems to have a higher tip speed.I haven't experanced any of the problems with the new deck that I was plaged with while using the old one. The Walker may not mow as fast as other units but with the GHS unit you can trim cut in either direction very close to eliminate hand trimming and by collecting you don't have to worry about covering the flower beds or anything else with cut grass.I would not buy or recommend the new larger collection box simply because it adds too much weight to the tail wheel when full. It will offset the traction on sloping aeras also.
Ive got a 2000 Walker 42" GHS with a 26EFI and I love it. I am a solo operator and I do use it on some pretty steep hills. I do not have the All Terrain tires. The setup I have goes up hills in reverse better than foreward because of weight placement. I have used the 62" and it is heavy and will do the hills foreward. My situation allows me to bag and use the no catch deflector if I have to.
The mower is a great moneymaker for spring clean dethatchings as well as picking up leafs now. I will always own a Walker. The company is teriffic and they care what the small operator thinks. They have been making consistant improvments on the machine if thats possible. Find your local distributor and demo a few combinations that may work for your properties.
Don't be intimidated by the price as mine is paid for and I only do 24 a week. It WILL make you money.
One last piece of advise is if you are mowing 4 or 5 days a week consider a w/c gas Kubota or the diesel. I would stay away from the 25hp as I owned one and sold it. The 26EFI has lots more power and the fule economy is much better which will mean $$$ in your pocket at the end of the season. Gas prices are not going down so choose wisely. Good Luck.