I have a diesel and I love it. The diesel should pay for itself in fuel savings alone and should outlast the gas engines. Mine burns 3/4 of a gal. of fuel per hour. Plenty of power, I have cut grass that should have been cut with a bush hog with no problem.
Get the new 24hp honda ,the deisel is nice,but its really loud,(wouldnt bother me,but neighbors and customers wouldnt like it)and very rear heavy,trim capabilitys aret quite as good as he narrower gas models.The diesel has a 64" track width with a 60" cut,so the deck will go thru a tight spot ,but you'll get stuck on the wheels.trimming isnt to good like that either.They needed to make it that wide,so the wheel motors could clear the oil pan on the diesel.If your doing open area's mostly,by all means buy the diesel.Do not under any circumstances buy the 25Hp kohler.I would take the 23 kawi,23 kohler in that order after the honda.I have the Kohler 25,big,big mistake.its a clattering fool,lifters start tapping like crazy at least twice a week,,and has a low power problem,head gaskets blew, drinks way to much oil for having 170 hrs on it.another thing,my diesels start better in the cold than this thing,its very hard to crank over,and even when it does,it wont fire right up,itll run on one cyl for about 5 minutes,then clear out.All these things are normal too,says Kohler and the dealer.Ive got the "good" updated one too,the one with all the problems fixed. LOL
John your scaring me again about the 25 horror stories(lol). My new updated one has been peeeeerfect so far but still very new, im just praying. Just wanted to say though honda motors are so so excellent quiet very dependable and much power, excellent choice.
I'd go with the diesel as first choice. Second choice would be the Honda, the the 23 Hp Kohler. I have the 25 Kohler which has been trouble free so far. The diesel will pay for itself in the fuel savings, plus it has higher torque reserve than the gas engines.
Ed, first of all, John tested an older diesel Chopper that wasn't balanced like the new models. The 2001 like I have, has a solid bar steel front piece on the front of the frame and a solid rod bumper for extra front wieght to counter balance. My machine weighs less than some other MFG's gas model. I have not had any problem with any hills on any properties I have. It is as stable as my gas Chopper. Don't take my word for it, demo them and see for yourself.
If you rev it all the way up and push the levers forward, you can bring the front end off the ground, but the torque of that engine is unreal. I also can do this same thing with the gas engine. I tested an older Diesel Chopper and it was lighter on the front and did have a problem on hills compared to the 2001. The 72" has a heavier deck on it and should be even more stable, but I haven't tested one. Check them out and decide for yourself. Most dealers will let you take them out on your properties to see how they perform and that would be the best thing for you to do.
As far as noisy, I've never had a customer complain. I have had them say that they was surprised that it was as quiet as it is for a diesel. Once I rev them double blades up, that's about all I hear and with my hearing protectors in place, that FM stereo is about all I hear.
The economy of the diesel is great. The 60" holds 9 gallon of fuel which is 12 hours of fuel on board and the 50 HP has 12 gallons on board.
Chris from Norcott Inc in Maine bought 2 of the 72" 26HP Choppers last spring to do sports fields and likes his. I hope this helps Ed. Do the demo thing and then you will know.