Scag V Ride VS. Toro Grandstand - The Rundown

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GroundWorkx, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. GroundWorkx

    GroundWorkx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Hey Guys. For the last month or so, our company has been in the market for an additional mower, and so i've been browsing this site a bunch. However, i have just registered to become a member and this is my first post. It's going to be long and wordy, but i'd like to be thorough, because i was unsuccesful at finding a thorough post on this (it may exist though).

    Everything I'm about to write is going to be my OPINION on this topic, and i have no problem if someone respectfully disagrees with me, and welcome any corrections if i am off on something.

    I'm writing this because as i said before, i spent a lot of time browsing this specific topic, but didn't find anything with as much detail as i was looking for. Hopefully, this will be informative to someone who is interested in this topic.

    Our company has 1 crew currently operating, we have a couple small toro proline walk behinds (32 and 36 inch) and a toro grandstand (2009, 52 inch, 19hp Kawasaki FS). We bought our grandstand used with 75 hours on it for $5000. We had some problems being that it was an 09 (REALLY stiff controls, Assist on deck lift went out), but toro fixed it for free and we were happy. We have a little over 85 accounts, mostly residential and some commercial. We have some weekly customers with nice, mostly weed free yards, and on those, the toro stuff does great. However we have A LOT of bi weekly, weed infested yards where the toro stuff doesn't do as well as we would like. Thus began our search for something more fitting in those situations.

    A month ago, we decided we were ready to demo some stuff. We had been hearing good things about the John Deere decks, and there abilitly to cut cleanly and evenly disperse clippings. We called up our closest Deere dealer and the next day they had us set up with a no cost demo of a 52" hydro WB (our request) with a velke. We used it on about 4 yards and took it right back. With new blades on both that and our GS, the cut was not as clean, and it didn't disperse the grass as well. Kind of the opposite direction from what we wanted. We talked to the dealer and he said that what we were looking for was the deck on there bigger ZTRs. So we left the dealer with a 31hp 950z with a 60" mod deck. We had to cram it on our 16' trailer with our other stuff, but we got it to fit and we were anxious to try it. We ran it back to back for about a half day with our GS and here's what we found. The Deere cut pretty cleanly, and it threw the clippings out like a champ, but not without bogging down in moderately heavy grass. Where we found the real issue was in its ability to reduce the clippings. We rolled up on one of our thicker taller yards where we usually have to double or triple cut with the GS, and started cutting with the deere. Now i'm telling you this yard is thick, and i swear i went over it 7 times with the deere, and for the life of me could not get the clippings to go away. We got the GS of the trailer and within 2 passes the clippings were gone. This deere also felt like a step backwards to us.

    A couple weeks later, we got in touch with a scag dealer, who we had heard had a new shipment of scags which contained a couple v rides. We have been interested in the v rides as we are fans of stand on mowers, but had NO experience with anything scag. Coincidentally, this dealer also sold toro, as well as some other things. One of the nice things about that was that we felt like we could get a fairly unbiased opinion when asking them to compare the scag to the toro. The dealer told us that he wanted to set us up with a demo of the scag, because he thought that it would be exactly what we were looking for. The Demo we got was a 61" v ride, with a 29hp Kawasaki FX engine. We Cut 23 yards with the scag, took it back to the dealer, and purchased it the next week.

    I'll start of with where each mower shines. Please consider that we are not really comparing apples to apples (i.e. 52" vs 61", 19hp vs 29hp). Also, we've clocked a lot more hours on the GS than the V Ride, so my opinions on certain things my differ some over time.

    Grandstand Pro's:
    -Small & Nimble (MUCH friendlier on the turf, especially when turning around)
    -Great on hills (If a WB is a 10, this is an 8)
    -Fuel Efficient
    -Controls are smooth and not stiff
    -Quicker adjusting deck height
    -Turbo Force cuts well in dry, shorter conditions.
    -Will Wheelie (great getting out of ditches where you might scalp)

    V Ride Pro's:
    -FAST (it will run 11mph, and believe me, it WILL cut clean that fast)
    -Velocity plus deck is amazing (the cleanest cutting and by far best clipping dispersion of any mower i have ever used)
    -Powerful (We can hardly get that thing to Bog. 2 ft tall, thick wet problem)
    -Doesn't Wheelie (going up steep hills is definitely more comforting)
    -Anti Scalp rollers work pretty dang well at keeping that big deck from scalping.
    -Effective parking brake
    -Secure locking deck travel position


    GS Con's:
    -Turbo force doesn't cut as clean or disperse clippings as well/WILL CLUMP in wet grass no matter how the baffle is set.
    -Will scalp stuff pretty easily (no anti scalping rollers i believe)
    -Underpowered at times (going up steep hills, thick grass)
    -Parking brake tends to undo itself on the trailer (even after some fiddling)
    -Deck tends to drop itself out of travel position if the trailer hits a medium sized bump
    -Wheelies (can defintely catch you off gaurd from time to time)

    V Ride Con's:
    -Not as good on hills (This is definitely its biggest weakness. Reverse tends to spin the tires much more often than the GS, and will definitely not stop you from nose diving into anything. If a WB is a 10 and the GS is an 8, this is a 6)
    -Big (much bigger than the 52" grandstand, though i've heard the smaller v rides are along the same size as the GS)
    -Not as fuel effficient
    -Much Harder on turf (tends to tear up the grass much quicker)
    -Controls are stiffer, though not overly so.
    -Doesn't wheelie (would be nice getting out of ditches, etc.)

    To sum this stuff up would go like this. IN OUR EXPERIENCE - The Grandstand is great for delicate yards and hills. The deck will cut nice, dry, wet grass really well, but the scag deck will too. The grandstand is slower than the 61" v ride, but is still really quick and efficient on the smaller yards, except for the fact that we have to double cut A LOT (either to cut it clean or get rid of clippings/clumps). The V Ride is a BEAST and the additional 2.5mph on the top speed is worth getting the 61 over the 52 IMO. It's so fast, and that deck is literally saving us gobs of time ($) EVERY day. It cuts all kind of grass and FLIMSY WEEDS on the 1st pass, and i'm pretty sure scag has invented some sort of way to teleport the clippings somewhere else because they literally disappear. Both mowers are comfortable to be on, and are built well. Neither mower is perfect though. The scag will get away from you on hills (though i will say, it will go up just about anything, and generally tracks pretty good going sideways unless it is wet out). After running both decks i can honestly say that the velocity plus has my vote over the turbo force in pretty much every situation.

    Our Perfect mower - Toro grandstand with a 26hp Kawi Fx motor, and a 52 inch velocity plus deck with an 11mph top speed.

    Hopefully i will have time to snag some pics and video of the differences between the two in the near future.

    Excited to hear any questions and of course the opinions and other experiences!

  2. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    I demoed a GS. It was slow. Im used to the G3's 12mph. If it were faster Im still not sure Id bother with one over a Z but lawns are generaly large. It certainly did have its advantages though. Hard to believe you are operating the same size cut between a G3 and a GS 60.
  3. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 4,759

    Great review!! Very informative. Try adding weight to the back of the Scag. I think it will help on hills. Exmark/Toro have balanced their machines with more weight on the rear leading to wheelies but they are better on hills. Sounds like the Scag is balanced in the other direction. This is a total guess but adding 100# to the back should make a big difference. Down side is the machine now weighs another 100#.

    Good luck with your new mower!

    Your review confirms I made the right choice.
  4. GroundWorkx

    GroundWorkx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    i did have a G3 some years back and did really like it. We enjoy the visibility of the stand ons, and the ability to get on and off them quickly (remove trash, sticks, etc). Plus, i do feel like in the long run the lower weight helps them to be a little more friendly on the turf.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Welcome to Lawnsite GroundWorkx. Yours has to be the best first post I've seen on this site.

    I've been considering getting a stander to replace my aging Exmark Turf Tracer HP with Bullrider sulky that cuts much like you describe your GS as cutting.

    So what kind of grasses are you cutting down there?
  6. fobaum

    fobaum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    I have a 60'' GS w/26hp kawi. I cut in pouring rain and right after rain, no clumping issues, when I first got the 60'' GS it clumped up a lil so i looked under the deck and i seen alot of threaded bolts sticking out , cut them off real quick ground them down BAM no problems. also I think a 19hp is way under powered for a 52.
    benplow likes this.
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,807

    Very good first post with lots of info. Well done.

    The only thing I'd like to comment on is your experience with the Z950 w/MOD. Something was definitely wrong with that one if it bogged down, or didn't get rid of the clippings. I have one that I bought new this spring, and while I have had a hard time getting it to cut as clean in one pass as I'd like, it seems everyone else is having QOC issues this year as well with the drought, so maybe that's all it is because now that we've had a few rains, it is cutting pretty good. As far as cutting thick tall grass, mine will walk right through it easily, and leave a very evenly dispersed layer of clippings that totally disappear on the second pass. Unless it was new, I'd guess it had less than freshly sharpened blades on it and/or a clogged up underside of the deck.
  8. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    Not sure if the 61 has front weights or not but I took my front weight off of my 48 v ride and it made everything better. You can wheely out ditches and it'll take your 6 rating on hills to a 9 or better. If I had to buy a new mower right now I would buy the 61 v ride. Maybe I would try the wright zk also.
  9. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    Good review! Makes me want to buy a V Ride!
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    I have thought about removing front weight on our 48" bride for that exact sucks on hills and I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice it. I recently went back and forth with a fellow on here that swore it would do as we'll on a hill has a WB...I have to disagree, there is a difference between a long smooth hill up north than a short and steep hill in the south...around here they will build a house on any lot...I mean any lot.
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