Opinions on exMark, Hustler and Toro demo's.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Steve1, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    I thought I would put my pro's and con's that I came to of all the ZRT's I demo'd so that others may get some ideas to look for. I demo'd several so I'll break it up into a couple of threads.

    What I was shopping for was a 25 hp (minimum), 60" cut ZRT that had a reputable and servicing dealer within a reasonable drive (45 minutes or less). Other than that, the door was wide open. Here are my takes on the first three models, a Hustler Super Z, an exMark Lazer Z, and a Toro 557, all with 27 HP Kohler's and 60" decks.

    Hustler Super Z - this machine ended up being a VERY close second in my choice. Only the few things I listed in the 'negatives' section bumped it to 2nd place.

    *Incredibly well engineered and built unit.
    *15 mph transport speed.
    *Huge pumps and motors.
    *Hydraulic oil cooler, fan cooled.
    *Suspension seat - standard equipment on this model Hustler.
    *Handling was outstanding, as was the stability on hills/ditches.
    *Guarantee against hydraulic leaks on hoses and fittings.
    *No gauge wheel on left rear corner of the deck to impede close in trimming on tight radius curves.

    *Deck is only 5" deep, clumps in heavy, wet grass even at lower speeds than competitive mowers.
    *Did not cut clover well at all. Possibly due to deck setup but blades were sharpened prior to demo's (I demo'd this unit twice).
    *Vertical Shaft Motor - not a huge negative but in my view, I like the Horizontal setups better. For me, it was a negative, albeit a small one.
    *Small wheels at rear of unit limited approach/departure angles on hills. I got the unit stuck crossing one ditch I had crossed with all the other units I demo'd, only because of the the little wheels at the rear of the unit.

    Overall Impression
    Loved this machine enormously. Had it done a better job cutting - which I blame solely on the deck design (not the contstruction) - this machine would have been bought at the first demo; I was that impressed with it overall. It just didn't cut as well as I felt it should and had hoped it would on my grass.

    exMark Lazer Z and Toro Z-Master 557
    Both are outstanding units that were very impressive and near mirror images of each other except for the deck. Overall, they did as well or better than all the other units in 99% of the demo but neither cut as well as the Deere units I tested.

    *Built solidly
    *Seat was extremely comfortable, even without suspension.
    *Handled very well on level surfaces
    *Fuel gauge on left hand tank.
    *Good view of deck and drive tires.
    *Loved the adjustable baffle on the Turbo Force Deck.
    *Very good cut on normal grass and even in clover.

    *Both units did not handle heavy, wet grass as well as the Deere 7-Iron deck.
    *Did not like/want the rollbar and hated having to pay for it.
    *The gauge wheel on the left rear side of the deck sticks out too close to the trim edge, making it hard to trim narrow radius curves. On the Toro unit, it can be unbolted - on the exMark, it is welded.
    *High purchase price - did not see additional value for additional monies in my opinion.
    *No dealer close enough that was willing to deal on price - both units could be bought much cheaper at dealers further away than nearer ones. Both units were at least $1000 cheaper at other dealers than the locals.

    Overall Impressions
    Both of these units are top guns in the ZRT lines. They just didn't impress me enough to warrant buying them, all things considered. Had I had a dealer closer that was willing to offer competitive pricing, I would have possibly given them a second demo but I didn't.

    I'll list my takes on the Grasshopper, Gravely, and Ferris units in my next post. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts. Please don't take my opinions as a slam to your own favorite ZRT because none was meant at all.

    These are just my impressions of similarly designed mowers placed against each other side-by-side on the same grass. Nothing more, nothing less.
  2. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    Great post!

    Honest informative no BS assesments like these are what really help others in the buying market.

    out of interest, when you demoed the toro, did you practice with the adjustable baffle?
    The baffle is not a 1 set for all, many times I adjust mine going from a thin lawn to a thick, long grass to short etc, weedy to non etc, but it changes the deck vacume which effects cleaness of cut , changes how often the clippings get re cut etc.

    all I'm saying is, I bought the toro because of this new deck, I actually loved the super Z, liked the Ferris is3000 too, but in my demos the toro shon, but after I started messing with the baffle, wow, talk about having many decks all in one. Very impressive!

    not trying or wanting to change or influence you, just wanted to mention that without correct setting of the baffle a true test wasn't done, I realise you get a feel for things and take this stuff in your stride though.

    Any questions ever about the toro, feel free to ask or search and you will see posts dedicated to the new toros.

    You can't lose mate, all of the machines you are testing are market leaders, I'd love to have one of each!
    EXCEPT Exmark....Toro is much better, no need for it LOL! (just kidding!) Toro's are now called "Exmark Intimidators!" True! LOL!
  3. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Hello Tony - yes, I adjusted the baffle a couple of different times and it certainly helped the Toro in the tall stuff. Still, it didn' do quite as well as the Deere but it wasn't horrible either.
  4. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    I also forgot to list in the "Positives" section on the Hustler:

    *The parking brake setup. An outstanding idea to have the P/B engage whenever the operator puts the control levers to the outward position.

    *The cutting height adustment feature. Using a positive stop on the slide bar that has holes in, the operator positions it vertically with a plated pin (the pin has a heavy duty flat plate about 2"x3") welded to it either toward the stop or away from it. By varying the position of plated pin with the plate facing rearward or forward, the height adjustment is able to be changed in 1/4" increments. I REALLY liked Hustler's (and Deere's) cutting height adjustment systems the best. Very simple and quick.

    *The foot assist pedal is very easy to depress. It is positioned out a little farther than most which makes it easier to reach it without hitting the right side control bar with my thigh as I lifted my leg to position my foot on it.

    *Greasable spindles. A must in my view.

    Again, I really, really liked the Hustler Super Z! A VERY close second in my ranking, a lot of which was only due to the fact that the Deere dealer always has bent over backwards to satisfy his customers. The only other reason I chose the Deere was the way they both cut - I just liked the Deere's cut a little better.

    But the Hustler is a GREAT mower.
  5. bigoak333

    bigoak333 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    hay great info i had the toro z500 for about 2 mo this year all u ever get done doing is adjusting the deck and cleaning the deck.i dont get paid to do that also after all that adjusting and cleaning the mower still mised a lot of grass i had toro area rep and the toro company.and they where no help very poor on custemer service.after a long fight with toro i got all my money back.i bleave they new that their is problems with that deck and mower.they try to say the same things that i hear on hear that u have to understand the deck ! witch is kid talk for it does not work i have baught a kubota 23 hp kaw 54 in deck and it will cut any of my custemers grass without adjusting the deck.also i never have to clean the deck it just does not clog up.also no clumps .custemers have noticed the difference also thats what counts.someone saying u dont understand the mower ha keep cleaning and adjusting the deck lol i will be on my next yard and with a better cut.any time someone wants to bring a toro turbo around and se if it cuts better than my kubota 100.00 $ this is a site for us all to be honest not play around .i want to know about your experences. i am finding out what all the schools and public parks have know for years.i am so very happy with kubota over the toro i am making mony now.also another good thinglol

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