Opinions on Scag and John Deere ZRT 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 offer my opinions on Scag and Deere ZRT's that I demo'd. Both lines offer outstanding products and either one will offer years of service to the professional OR to the homeowner with a lot of grass to mow.

    Scag Wildcat and Turf Tiger
    I really liked these units. The Wildcat was the first Scag I demo'd and it created a very positive impression. It got even better with the Tiger. However, the fact that my closest Scag dealer was an hour or more away is really what drove my ultimate decision to not buy a Scag. Actually, that is about the ONLY reason I didn't buy a Scag even though they did not cut slightly as well as the Deere.

    *They are a Scag - that says a lot. They're heavily built and well designed, typical of the Scag lineup.
    *Handling - extremely crisp and responsive, as good as the Deere and Hustler if not a slightly better. Definitely better than all the other models considered.
    *Cut - excellent but not quite as good in heavy, wet stuff as the Deere deck. But on normal mowing conditions, it was as good as it gets.
    *Deck construction - ok, it's built like a tank. It flowed grass well and chop
    *Hydraulics - top of the line. 16cc pumps are huge (on the Tiger - the Wildcat has 10cc pumps).
    *Hydraulic oil cooler.
    *Seat - one of the best seats out there, if not THE best.
    *Overall construction and componentry - Scag uses the best there is in my view. From the bearings to the blades the unit is top shelf.
    *Hillside handling - outstanding.

    *No close dealer. What a downer! I loved these units.
    *Wildcat has a vertical shaft motor. Not a big fan of VS motors.
    *Seating position - for me, I sat too low on the unit. When seated, my legs had to stretch out too far in front rather than down lower. It was almost as if I was sitting in a recliner. Now, this is comfortable - very much so! But the problem came when I tried to get back up. Because you sit so low, it's like trying to get up off of a seat that is about 20" off the floor - it was hard to stand up! I've got some arthritis in my knees and it hurt like hell to try and stand up from a seated position on the Scag Units. In spite of this, I probably would have bought a Scag had a dealer been closer.

    Overall Impressions
    I loved the Scags. Just wish the dealer had been closer. I just couldn't pull the trigger when it came down to it because the distance away was outside of my self imposed limit and due to the fact that overall, I liked the Deere just as much.

    Deere 757 and 777
    Ok, I'm a former farmer so John Deere will ALWAYS be synonymous with quality. Their new Z-Trac Mid and Max frame units did not disappoint me in any way.

    *They are John Deere Built - this says a lot.
    *The Dealer. The local dealer is outstanding in presale and demoing, sales and in service. I've dealt with him for years so I know his system well and he has never let me down. This was a huge obstacle for competing brands/dealers to overcome. In the end, it was the nail in the coffin for everyone else. They were simply the best dealer I demo'd from.
    *7-Iron Deck. This deck is a stamped 7 gauge unit and it flows grass like none other. Seriously, this deck will not clog and grass did not stick to its underside, even the heavy wet stuff. It cut better than anything else and has greasable spindles - a big issue to me. The deck was the second most important reason I bought a Deere - it is THAT good.
    *Overall construction. It is outstanding! JD has always reminded me of a Cadillac - big and solid. The 757 and 777 are no exceptions - they are luxurious in design and ergonomics in all facets.
    *Cut height adjustment. The dial is so easy to use, I'm amazed other brands do not use it. I love it!
    *Greasable caster spindles. Not all other units have this feature.
    *Serviceability - outstanding.
    *Seat - huge and very, very comfortable. Armrests are easily adjustable. The yellow material is not nearly as hot to sit on as the black material on other units such as the Gravely.
    *Handles - large and beefy, easy to put into 'Park' position (unlike the Gravely).
    *Handling - second to none. As good as the Scag and Hustler in my view.

    *Engine options - none. This is the only thing I could find that I didn't really like. I would have liked to have the choice for a Kohler units but Deere uses Kawasaki exclusively on their larger ZRT's.
    *Single hydraulic pump casing, dual pump internals. Not sure about this setup but time will tell.

    Overall Impressions
    The Deere impressed me the most overall of all the units. Part of the credit for that goes to the dealer and the rest goes to the unit itself. They are solid and extremely well engineered and built. It may sound corny but I do believe it -

    Nothing runs like a Deere.

    That's why I bought one.

    I hope all this helps you make up your mind or at least encourages you to demo, demo, DEMO! And above all else - if the dealer doesn't blow you away with his style, run like the wind to another dealer. The dealer WILL make or break your overall happiness with what you buy.
  2. Dupontcar

    Dupontcar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Very nicely done comparison Steve. That is the valuable info most our looking for when shopping for a new ZTR. I also have been shopping for a new ZTR, and like you found the Deere to be my mower of choice.

    The Everride is also very interesting, but being so new, and having a much closer Deere dealer in relation to me, seals the deal for a green Machine for me.

    Out of curiousity, did you have an Everride dealer nearby for the sake of another comparison? I found them to cut as close to the Deere ZTR's as any.

  3. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Unfortunately, there wasn't an Everride dealer anywhere close to compare.
  4. rott_dobe

    rott_dobe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52


    Why don't you like vertical shaft engines? Also, based on your comments, if you DON'T mention the vertical shaft in the "con" section, do those manufacturers use horizontal shaft engines?
  5. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    I'm not particularly fond of the VS engines only because of some past experiences with them. They just didn't seem to hold up as well but again, that was just my experience. The ones that gave me the most trouble were a couple of B&S Industrial/Intek units and it was related to oiling troubles.

    I've tried to buy Horizontal Shaft units since then. I know that there are thousands of VS units with hundreds and thousands of hours on them out there. This is just my preference but if they have done well for you, by all means get a VS unit.

    For example, the Hustler had a VS motor but had it cut better, in all likelihood I would have bought it. I just didn't care for its cut as well as some of the other units I tried so that's the main reason I ruled it out.

    There are no perfect ZTR's out there - that's why it's wise to demo and find what's 'perfect' for you!

    And yes, if my negatives or positives didn't specifically mention a Vertical shaft motor, they were horizontals.

    All the units did VERY well. I just am maybe a little pickier than some about certain details. :) Any one of the units I tested would give someone years of great service. I just happened to like the Deere best because of its cut, the way it was made, and the dealer in particular.

    You've got to have a reputable, stable and servicing dealer. The one I bought from is first class all the way and that's the one of the main reasons why he got my business. If he had sold Scag as well, then it would have been an incredibly difficult decision!
  6. rott_dobe

    rott_dobe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Thanks for your reply. As you know I have recently began researching the ZTRs and your comments are a tremendous help. BTW, I got into contact with W.R. and he confirmed the price on the 260z for me. He just asked that since I would be coming from so far away to call ahead so he can make sure one is ready for me.

    Now it's time to demo myself!

Share This Page