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Opinions on Grasshopper, Ferris, and Gravely Demo's

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

  1. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    In this thread, I'll list my likes/dislikes about the following models of ZRT's: Grasshopper 227/61, Gravely PM260Z, and the Ferris IS 1000/3000's.

    Grasshopper 227/61
    This ZRT was a very close third in my overall impressions.

    *Outstanding ride - the absolute best ride of all the ZRT's I demo'd, even up against the Ferris units.
    *Excellent Cut - this mower cut about as equally well as the Deere 7-Iron in all conditions. Maybe slightly less well in the heaviest, tall stuff (over 12") but not nearly enough to affect my thoughts.
    *Design - well designed and easy to service.
    *Good warranty.

    *Dealer - the dealer was very blase' about demoing this piece. I had to pursue HIM to get a demo arranged rather than him offering to let me demo the machine. Did not care for that at all. Also, when I went in the dealership, I had to go searching to even find a salesman.
    *The unit was not presented professionally for the demo. It was dirty and had sat in an open shed for over a week so it had a lot of bird droppings on it. (Ugh!). Yes, the dealer presented it to me to demo after using a shop towel to knock the heaviest of solids off the machine. NOT PROFESSSIONAL AT ALL!
    *Access to the engine compartment - the shrouding was difficult to remove and re-install for some reason. It looked like it should be easy but it took some finagling to get it lined up.
    *Concerned about the G2 Hydro setup and especially the cost of the fluids.
    *Dealer - did I mention how unprofessional the dealer was??? What a turn off. Then, after I told him I wasn't interested after the demo, he decided that he would get interested in selling me the piece - sorry, my first impression of his service was not positive and I wasn't willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Overall Impressions
    I REALLY loved this unit but the dealer turned me off on buying it. I am sure I would have been satisfied overall but I could not get past how the unit was presented to me for the demo and how hard I had to work to even get a demo in the first place. His attitude was almost that "It's a Grasshopper - you don't need to demo it. Just buy it and go away."

    Well, that cost him my business.

    Gravely PM260Z
    My dad bought one of these units before I got into the market. He loves it and his was the one I demo'd the most although I was offered a demo by two dealers as well.

    *Fuel capacity - 14 gallons!
    *Liftmaster system for raising the front of the unit.
    *Hydraulic lift - NICE!
    *Good cut in most conditions.
    *Wide stance - handled hills well.
    *Well built and engineered. All major components are easily accessible.
    *Very low amount of service points (but this was also a concern for longevity, especially on the spindles).
    *Pivoting front axle.
    *Low price - $7199 for this unit was the 2nd lowest priced unit I was offered (did not include the Liftmaster; another $135 for that option).
    *Dealer - very impressive dealer, both in his serice department as well as his sales area. His knowledge and willingness to assist me was as good as the Deere dealer I bought from.

    *Handles - the handle setups (the little floppy parts on the top part of the main handles) is a joke. I did not like them at all as they seemed absurdly designed and would only get sloppier each year.
    *Deck discharge chute - ok, I know a lot of people take these off or put a OCDC on but I will be leaving my stock chute in place for safety reasons. The Gravely discharge chute is freakin' HUGE and only looks like a major bendup waiting to happen.
    *Vertical shaft motor - just don't care for 'em.
    *14 gallons of fuel sitting high up on the unit - that's a lot of weight up high that affects the center of gravity and that was noticeable on hills.
    *Did not handle hills as well as other units. Wanted to slide easier, even after verifying tire inflation. Made me uneasy at times and I didn't like that.
    *Non-greasable spindles. Did not like that idea!

    Overall Impressions
    A very good ZRT for the money. Maybe I'm picky but I liked others better, even though my dad owns one.

    Ferris - IS1000 and IS3000
    Liked the idea of the independent suspension and the demo's proved that the ride was much improved over solidly suspended units. (However, they did not ride any better than the Grasshopper in my view.)

    *Independent suspension - a good idea but not worth it for my applications.
    *Handling - very good and crisp. Hills were easily handled as well as any other unit.

    *Dealer - yep, the old "Lousy Dealer Syndrome" raised its ugly head again. Very similar experiences with the local Ferris dealer as I had with the Grasshopper dealer. In fact, I think both managers went to the same management style of school. This is the same dealer that had a Yazoo-Kees sign out front but didn't stock them because 'he prefers Ferris'. I'm not kidding - it was almost an identical to the Grasshopper dealer in the manner I was dealt with (other than the fact that the Ferris units were clean). I won't buy from a dealer like that. If his sales motivation is that bad, how bad will his service be? You guessed it.
    *Deck - poor cut compared to others. This was the second BIG strike against the Ferris's - they did not cut well at all in my view.

    Overall Impressions
    Well, after the horrible dealer response I got, I wan't all that hepped up to demo the Ferris. I did demo both the 1000 and the 3000 on the same day but I guess I was so turned off, I just wasn't interested. In all fairness, I probably did not give these units the thorough look over they deserved. But when I saw the cut after the dealer experince, it was a no-brainer. I had the dealer load them up and I didn't even go back a second time. Blah...Dealer attitude, service and support are critical!

    Bottom line These three units (Grasshopper, Ferris and Gravely) are all very good units. The dealers affected my opinions on the Ferris and Grasshopper units in a hugely negative way so that's why they were down further on the list.

    Just my opinions. The next and last thread I'll post will be about the Deere and Scag models.

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