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Need a Mid-Grade Mower -- Please Help

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by nolimits76, May 5, 2014.

  1. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Thats awesome! Looks pretty comfortable... I'd say you got a pretty good deal on it.
  2. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    No limits,

    My PM reply was too long , lol.

    I just used the machine for the first time tonight. I wanted to wait for the turf to dry up a bit as it has been raining here. I'm very pleased with it so far. The quality of cut is quite good and it leaves decent stripes. I'm still getting used to the handling but initially it feels a little touchy with some jerking movements when trying to be careful with edging or trimming close. The engine (Kawi 23 hp) is quieter than I expected and very smooth running. I have a 12-15* slope in one area of my back lawn and it tracked up and down it like a champ.

    Major impressions:
    - Great quality of cut
    - Surprisingly fast (I guess 7 mph is faster than I thought)
    - Mulch kit works great. Cannot tell it's been mulched.
    - Solid. It's like a little tank, but nimble, too.
    - Surprisingly small footprint (I have the 42"deck). Fits in my shed no problem.

    - It has the Hydro-Gear EZT transmissions. While these have a very good reputation from what I've read they are still disposable trannies. Can not rebuild them although I have read of some who have replaced fluid in them and have got them working properly after failing. This was something that held me back from getting it and had me looking at the Simplicity ZT2500 which has the ZT2800 trannies (rebuildable). I'm hoping for ten years and an engineer from Toro replied that they should last with care. He also said I might consider the 50" MX which, like the Simplicity, has the 2800's.

    - The tires are narrow (7.5"). I've been informed by another knowledgeable person about the width and apparently wider does not mean better traction, necessarily. These seem to work fine so far although I did leave about five divots. I plan to improve my handling of the machine so there will be no divots.

    - Cost. It was a lot of dough for a home owner mower. I still feel a bit queasy about spending over 4k with the bagger, mulcher, and tax. Not sure the fabbed deck and slightly more larger trannies were worth it over the regular (non MX) Timecutter. But I was thinking longevity.

    Finally, I really like the Hustler. I think the Raptor is the way to go if you have a strong dealer nearby, which I do not. I am surrounded by certified Toro service, and that is one of the main reasons why I went with the Timecutter MX. The Raptor is just a great value with a fabbed deck and the same EZTs as the Toro. If it has the Kawi engine it's hard to beat.

    Let me know if I can help with any other info. I think you'd be good with either machine. These work on a half acre just fine, especially if you have a lot of leaves in the fall (looking forward to that).

  3. nolimits76

    nolimits76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Thanks for chiming in DC!

    For those that might be reading this and not understand....I had seen some threads where DC was in a similar debate as me, and that he went with the Toro MX4260.

    FYI, I have the luxury that the dealer I'd like to buy from carries both the Toro and Hustler lines. And they are located just a few miles from my house, and are known as a quality dealer. I am going in the morning so I can kick the tires of each unit being considered. Hopefully they will let me test drive them as well. It won't tell me much about their grass cutting ability, but I am curious if I can feel any difference between the 2800 and EZT hydros.

    What annoys me a bit is as you pointed out the MX5060 has all the goodies as the MX4260 + the 2800 hydros. I'm not sure Toro's thinking why the 42" didn't get the 2800's being the same MX line. If they did, it would probably be my solution as I like the size and some of the features of the Toro MX (foot assist deck, rear engine guard & 18" seat, 10ga fab'd deck).

    From reading, I get the impression the Hustler Raptor has a more solid frame and built in tow hitch. Deck is fab'd but only 11ga. Same EZT's. It has the Kawi 21.5hp engine. No foot assist deck, no rear engine guard and a standard seat the best I can tell. But for $2800. For $3900, the Raptor SD offers the 2800 hydros, bigger wheels, more solid frame, taller seat w/ armrests, engine guard, etc. Not sure about the foot assist deck though. But all in a 48" deck. I really like the price point and size of the MX4260...just those hydros have me concerned.
  4. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Nolimits the claim is that the 2800s are better capable to move a heavier machine, which makes sense. If you step up to the mx5060 or the sd you're getting into the 5k range out the door. I couldn't justify that on my 3/4 acre. I really wonder if the fab'd deck was worth the cash on my mx4260. I think Toro's stamped deck is 12g. The non-mx 4260 has the same features but with the Kaw 21.5 and Hydro-Gear 2100s. I read the specs on the trannies and couldn't see much difference in performance other than that the EZTs seem a bit beefier.

    In the end time will tell, but depending on your property the Raptor or the SS 4260 both would probably be fine and save you a grand that you could spend on fertilizer. :cool2:

    Good luck,
  5. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Nolimits: From what i have been reading on other boards, some say that the 2800-3100 hydros do feel smoother and not as "jerky" (Personally i love jerky, especially spicy) sorry too early for jokes right?

    If the hydro's have you concerned i would see if you could get a the 2800 hydro if possible, I'd do that and pay for the better mower.

    Same tires, same engine, pretty much the same decks (fabricated 10 and 11)

    Not sure if this would sway you, but another nice feature on the Toro is the hour meter. Nice to know pretty much exactly how many hours you have on it vs guessing. Helps with service intervals.

    In my mind, you only have two choices on this not three: The Toro MX50 and the Hustler Raptor SD 48". If you get the 42" you get the EZT Hydro's and at that price point, thats a deal breaker for me. If you compare apples to apples and price is the deciding factor, Hustler is going to be your winner here. Toro MX50 is going to be $4K vs $3,900 Hustler SD... Both will have the exact same features.

    Only things the Hustler won't have is hour-meter, and it has one gauge less thickness than the toro. Larger front tires on the hustler, same tires on the rear as the toro. Same mow height adjustment. Similar seats, same warranty.

    I'd drive them both if i were you and see which one you like. At a $100 difference, you may be able to increase that difference by talking with the sales man... Find out which one he has a bigger profit margin on (not easy to find out all the time) and buy that mower... he might knock off another $100 on it.

    Also check online and see what you can get without tax... That might help you negotiate a bit... 6% TAX on a $4K mower is $240... So look online as well and see. That might help, but again be careful not to burn a bridge with a reputable dealer for service.
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  6. nolimits76

    nolimits76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I went. I looked. I kicked the tires. And I test drove the different units. After the dust settled, I opted for the Hustler Raptor. The dealer is delivering for free, doing the initial setup (including adjusting the lap bars to fit me better), installing a free hour meter and upgrading the seat to a high back version for free. Pretty much made it like the MX4260, but Hustler branded (and no foot assist deck, which isn't a huge deal to me) which I preferred. Oh yeah, the Raptor has a built-in hitch, whereas the MX didn't. All for just a shade under $2700.

    Yes, there is a part of me that wanted the Raptor SD. Mainly for the 2800 hydros, but it just got hard to part with the extra $1,000. And surprisingly, my dealer didn't try to up sell me. He said the Raptor was more than enough for my yard, but if I wanted to spend the money he would put me in whatever I wanted. Realizing I'll only be running the thing 30 minutes per week, I tended to agree and decided the Raptor was the best fit for my situation.

    It delivers Monday or Tuesday of this week and I can't wait to mow -- which sounds a bit warped, lol. :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:
  7. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Congratulations! I think you made the right choice. As noted before, I probably would have gone the same route if I had the dealer support for Hustler. I think the seat and hour meter probably added 200 bucks to sweeten the deal. Excellent value.

  8. nolimits76

    nolimits76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    I took delivery of my new beast the other night. Holy smokes -- Raptor is the appropriate term!! It eats grass and spits it out like a lion on a rampage!!! Okay, maybe not that bad but it carves up my small 1/2 acre lot with no problems whatsoever.

    I am checking into a mulching kit to help control the discharge. But overall, I am pretty happy with my decision. Thanks for the input.

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