My Quick 44 Samurai Story. (The attached PDF is the same story with pictures.) Although this is a story about a mower named "Quick", the story itself is anything but...fair warning. I just wanted to give a full account of what one guy experienced in his dealings with Better Outdoor Products (BOP) so that everyone could read this and perhaps have a little more information on which to base a decision. First, a little about my situation: I am not a lawn care professional, and I am a novice when it comes to mechanics. Im an acreage owner, and it seems like I learn a little every day about what it takes to live out here. I have about 2 acres to mow. For the last four years, through most of last season, I used an old Ariens EZRider 1540...15hp Briggs/40 inch deck. Nice little machine, but not made for what I was putting it through. The deck finally fell apart at the end of last season...a couple of "mows" before the grass stopped growing. So I was now in the market for a new mower and I began weighing options over the winter. I decided that I wanted one that was commercial grade and would stand up to my large lawn. I also wanted a walk-behind. Im a big fan of accomplishing two things at once, and with a walk-behind, I figured I could mow my lawn and get some exercise at the same time. (The wisdom of this line of thinking is a topic for another time...) My search led me to an eXmark Walk-Behind. Great mower, and I loved the ECS, but I just couldnt quite justify the price for the Hydro (virtually the same price as a rider...close to 6k). The belt-driven ones were more in my price range, but the hydro drive was an important feature to me. And, I just couldnt seem to find anyone in Nebraska willing to part with a used one with a reasonable number of hours on it. (Used mowers kind of scare me a little anyway.) I had just about decided to go to an auction and pick up an old cheap junker that might have a good chance of making it through one season, and Id revisit the issue next summer when Id saved a few more pennies. But on Saturday, March 22nd, I happened across some posts on this site mentioning "BOP" and "Quick" in a favorable light. After a little Google-ing, I found http://www.betteroutdoorproducts.com. Now here was a commercial grade walk-behind for HALF the cost of that eXmark. More reading...more thinking. BOPs web site was unique in that it gave specific instructions with photos on how to do nearly every kind of maintenance or repair to the Quick that you would typically do. Being such a novice at these things, I really liked that. Those instructions were also a great way to see exactly how the mower was put together. I gave Tommy & Co. a call on Monday. In the end, in addition to the low price, what it came down to was that more than a few guys on this website rely on Quick mowers to make their living. I figured if the Quick was good enough for them, it was good enough for me. And so, on Monday, March 24th, I placed my order: Quick 44 Samurai (w/ free Full Service Kit) Landscaper Pro Pack I placed my order over the web, and then called them just a few minutes after Id completed it. I wanted to verify exactly where the mower was going to end up. A very nice lady (Kim?) from BOP pulled up my order, gave me a choice of terminals to which the mower would be shipped, and then noted my choice on the order. On Tuesday, March 25th, I received an e-mail from BOP, saying that my Quick 44 Samurai was scheduled to leave the dock that day. Included was the name of the carrier, the contact information for the terminal, and a tracking number. The engine kit was on backorder and would be shipped later to my home, but everything else was in the crate. It was scheduled to arrive Thursday, March 27th. Cool! On Thursday morning, I logged on to the FedEx tracking site and saw that my new Samurai had arrived and was waiting for me!! I gave the Service Center a call and they confirmed that it was ready for pickup. If I could be there before 6:30pm, theyd have a forklift ready to load it into my truck. By the way, this turned out to be a very long day at the office. After work, I drove to FedEx and picked up the crate. I was looking for dents or other abuse to the crate that would indicate a rough transport. None of this was present. The box was in good shape. It was also larger (wider) than I expected it to be. It barely fit in the back of my pickup. My truck has one of those drop-in bed-liners and that is probably the reason for the tight fit. Just be sure that a full-width pickup is the smallest truck you bring to pick up your Quick. Got it home safely. I didnt have the equipment necessary to get the crate out of my pickup, so I just started unpacking it while it was still in the truck. No problems here. Lots of staples. The cardboard box came off easily after the four wooden corner posts were removed. The accessories that I ordered with the mower came all boxed up. The blades, kits, etc. were packed inside the grass catcher. The free T-shirt is awesome! Hooked up the handlebars. I recommend you get a friend to help you do this -- just like it says so in the little letter they write to you. At this point, it was getting cold and dark and time to call it a day, and I went out Friday night so the Quick would have to wait until Saturday to roar. Saturday. Got up early and unloaded the Quick from the back of my pickup. Very easy. Just put 'er in "Easy to Roll Around" mode, disengage the brake, and roll it down the ramps. I connected the battery ground cables, put in some gas and fired it up. And it fired right up. No excessive cranking or anything. Im used to the sound of an old Briggs motor, and the Kawasaki purrs like a kitten in comparison. The way that the blades engage on the Quick is awesome. My old mower had an electromagnetic "clutch" that, when activated, would slam two plates together and start turning the pulley that drove the mower belt. It was a sudden transfer of power that pulled the engine down until the blades got up to speed. The Quick has a more sophisticated clutch that brings the plates together slower, and the whole blade engagement process is very smooth and efficient. When the blades are spinning at top speed, you know the Quick is ready for business. I have read some complaints that the Quick vibrates more than other mowers. I did not find this to be the case at all. I thought the Quick was very smooth I spent the next half hour "practicing" -- driving the Quick around to get a feel for how it handles and how to steer it. Ive heard people say that it is very similar to steering a shopping cart, and I would agree. Although, I think it would be helpful to describe how the mower handles in specific situations. 1. Regular mowing: Very, very easy to control. In fact, I would say that the Quick is easier to control for your regular mowing than a lot of the dual hydro machines out there, simply because theres only one throttle to worry about. Just point and go. If you need to adjust the direction slightly just push it in the direction you want to go, and you really dont have to push that hard at all. It is easier than turning a full shopping cart. 2. Cornering and 180° turns: Again, very easy. Here it helps if you remember that youre dealing with a differential. Think of a car when it gets stuck and just one wheel spins. Youre basically trying to create that situation. One way that this can be accomplished simply by pulling back on the handlebar on the side youre turning toward. This will put extra stress on that side, and the differential will transfer the power to the other side, turning the mower. For a 180°, just hold on a little longer. The only warning I would give here is to be careful when you spin to the right. That is the side of the throttle. If youre not careful, when you pull back on that side, youll also squeeze the throttle, and instead of a nice slow controlled 180°, youll whip around fast! I am now working on the "art" of holding the throttle with my index finger while I grip the handle with my other three in this situation. Alternatively, you can push on the other side, or do a combination of both. The whole cornering and 180° thing does take some practice, but it is not hard, and before you know it, youll be flipping the Quick around without thinking about what youre doing. 3. Backing up. I thought this would be more difficult that it is. Its actually very natural to adjust your handle slightly and push your thumb down to back up the Quick. Bravo to BOP on the design of the throttle. 4. Up and down hills: The Quick handles these very easily. It will crawl right up a hill with no problem, and it is easy to control the Quick going down hills due to the natural braking of the hydro. 5. Mowing a side slope: This is the one area that required more physical effort. When you mow a side slope, there is naturally more weight/pressure/torque on the "bottom" or "downhill" wheel. Because of this the differential will transfer the power to the up hill wheel, and the thing really wants to just turn and go down hill on you. You have to counter this manually to keep the Quick in a straight line. I dont know if this is even possible, but if BOP could find some way to put a button or something for the operator to easily lock and unlock the differential, this problem might be minimized. (I gave Tommy at BOP a call and asked him about this and he didnt indicate that any changes were in the works for this, so for now, well all have to be content with bigger biceps that will probably result from operating the Quick on side slopes.) 6. Around trees: This is one of the main reasons I went with a walk-behind. I have a lot of pine trees on my place, and the walk-behind allows me to mow close to the trees without brushing up against them. It was easy to approach the tree at full speed, slow down as I got close, back up, go to one side and repeat. The Quicks throttle design works well in this situation. For regular trees with a 2-3 foot circle of mulch around them, you can just mow a complete circle. Its easy to control the Quick and run the left edge of the deck along the edge of the circle of mulch. As far as the quality of cut, the grass has not started growing here in Nebraska yet, so I couldnt really get a good idea. I did take it out into the part of my property that I dont mow, and it went through that tough grass (hay?) out there very easily at top speed. After mowing, I took the belt guard off. To do this, you need to remove the two "hand screws" holding it on, as well as at least one of the supporting bars that runs from the main frame the caster wheels. The bar is removed with another one of those "hand screws". A quick shot of compressed air cleaned out the pulley assembly. In other photos Ive seen, and even in person, that black plastic belt guard looked a little cheap, but after taking it off, I no longer feel that way. The whole thing is quarter-inch think molded plastic. I should hold up nicely, and since its plastic, it wont get bent like a metal one might. Again, these are all first impressions, but all in all, I am very happy with the whole experience so far. BOP provides great service, quick delivery, and a quality product at an unbeatable price. I cannot wait until the grass starts growing and I can mow for real.