After owning both machines I thought I would give my thoughts on them. I have a 2004 27/60 Super Z with opened up deck, and a 2006 with 30hp XR7. In my opinion the XR7 excels in wet grass. It does not seem to build up much of anything under the deck, and does not seem to toss chunks of grass. It seems to cut pretty clean in most conditions. If the grass is not to long it disperses the grass evenly and stripes nicely. In really tall grass, similar to lot cutting once per month the XR7 is vastly superior to the old deck. The elevated front really cuts down very tall grass well. My old Super Z will clump when wet and will build up under the deck something terrible. In wet conditions the XR7 dominates the old deck. In tall conditions and proper blade choices I can get this machine to disperse clippings better then the XR7 when the grass is tall. It will not cut super tall grass as well, but normal tall and thick grass it will cut well and disperse better then the XR7. I think I can get as clean of a cut with the Old machine, if not better if the grass is dry using Super high lift blades. I prefer them to the Fusions. I can not get them in the new blade size for the XR7. If I could take either deck, I would opt for the XR7 because of it's ability to handle wet grass even if I had to sacrifice some of it's dispersion capabilities. Now that is not all, but because to have the new deck they had to redesign the frame making it about 6" longer. This effects things to some degree. In my opinion the new machine is rougher riding. I think the longer wheel base makes you really feel the undulations causing you to have to go slower. I believe the difference is very noticeable. I think with the flex forks the machines would be similar in performance if not giving the advantage to the new machine in smoothness of ride. I have a bagger and can not use the flex forks, but did demo one with them. I fear scalping with the forks as I experienced this with my demo. Perhaps lowering the anti-scalp rollers would help, but I have already broken one off because of their lower position. I don't like the added length on my trailer, nor do I like the length when turning as it makes the machine feel longer and less nimble. This is just my opinion. I also think that the deck bounces up much easier then the old deck. I would think the deck would be heavier on the new, and stay down better, but perhaps the springs are tighter. This again slows ground speed where there are bumps because the deck will elevate causing unlevel cutting. For ride comfort I would choose the old style machine. For cutting at high speed I would choose the Old style machine. For trailering I would choose the Old style machine. If I were ready to buy again I would save a few hundred bucks and get the Old style deck machine. If my business were in a climate with lots of rain and flat properties I would choose the XR7, but with a mix of small and large properties with rough terrain the Old style deck with more blade options is more productive for me. These are just my thoughts. Don't let me sway you, but demo to be sure what is right for you.