Manuvering an Hydro Walkbehind


LawnSite Senior Member
It's time to buy a new Toro midsize walkbehind next spring. I plan on buying a hyro traction unit, but I have one question of you current users.

I use my current Toro gear drive very ferquently on steep inclines that are too steep for my ZTR. I have gotten very good over the years at using the laws of gravity to turn the mower around on a steep hill by pointing the mower up hill then feathering off the T-bar till gravity takes hold pulling the mower down hill slightly, turn, then off on another stripe across the side of the hill.

Is this manuver possible with same ease on a hydro?

Also, when going down a steep hill is there a brake or just reverse acting as a brake?

Thanks for any info guys:)


LawnSite Fanatic
N.E. Wisconsin
I have a Toro 15hp Hydro with a 44" deck that I use on some steep hills. I really like the hydro because it is quick. The T-Bar set up is the best. I have not had any problems mowing on the hills in normal conditions.
The beauty of the hydro is that there is no reverse gear, you just pull the t-bar back and back you go. The hydro works as a dynamic brake. The tires will skip on you if you are nosing down a steep hill and it is wet but so will any mower. It seems that your maneuver is possible but you may possibly find an even faster technique with the Hydro.

I have equipped mine with a Pro-Slide which helps on the bigger lawns. It also makes some neat stripes. I use a Walker as my main mower but the Toro has a place on my trailer for hills and wet lawns as well as a great backup.
Good Luck.


Toro has a new midsize hydro wb coming out in the new year. It will have larger tires, faster blade and ground speed, flat proof casters, engine shifted forward for better weight distribution and some other stuff.


I've used several different brands of pistol grip hydros and like them for the most part. My hands are small but after a few mods the grips are no problem. It is real easy to control the speed and direction of each wheel. Letting the grip all the way out is fast ahead, pulled half way up is neutral and pulled all the way up is reverse.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I have a 48" hydro with pistol grips. It makes my hands numb sometimes but for the most part, it works just fine. Foward to reverse is instant. Compared to my 36" belt/gear drive it's wonderful!


LawnSite Member
Seattle WA
Go test drive a hydro and you will never consider a belt drive again, no kidding. You probably will not even want to use your belt drive anymore. As far as levers or t bar, I feel that the levers are far easier to operate with precise control. You probably won't understand until you use one but with a hydro you can virtually eliiminate the need to trim because you can get so close and maneuver so easily around things mainly due to the instant reverse and infinite speed control at your fingertips. On hills you will have no problem with control, the only thing you need to learn is to use both tires for traction when it gets too steep or wet since the mower has such strong drive(no more slipping belts)
Good luck.