SHOCKING, BUT Unbiased Reviews of my ZTR Demo's the past few months...

AndrewS20

LawnSite Member
BEFORE WE START, I HAD ZERO PREFERENCE FOR ANY MOWER, I WAS UNBIASED FOR EVERYTHING. I GAVE ALL DEMO'S HONEST THOUGHTS.

Looking to upgrade my entire fleet of Dixie Choppers (Before they turned bad with the Jacobsen/Textron Agreement) which have passed the 4500 hours on their Trusty ol Generac's, I have put too much work into them and neither run good anymore.

Within the past 6 months, I have been setting up dates for demo's on many commercial cutters - Exmark, John Deere, THE NEW DIXIE CHOPPERS, and Bad Boy.

Note : I cannot go with any other brand, as these are the only companies within a quick drive to the dealer.

Also Note : I am picking the mower/model I want, NOT THE ENGINE SIZE. I want other opinions on Lawnsite on the engines. I'm not gonna judge the power, anything above 28ish HP will be fine... I don't go 10mph through 2 foot tall grass.

RESULTS BELOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, I demoed the 2015 Exmark Lazer Z X Series 60inch Cut

Model Number LZX940EKC606T0

Comfort and Ride Quality - My team and me have young, tough backs. We don't need a suspension seat. Sorry, but it seemed perfectly fine and comfortable.

Cut Quality - Super tight baffling, for a very manicured, clean crisp cut. It FAILED in morning dew covered glass. Going 2mph, it still spat out clumps no matter how high my throttle was. At 11am onward, it cut beautifully. However, no matter wet or dry, this Ultracut 6 deck does not like thick and tall grass. It likes to "play with its clippings" so even though it has bad clipping dispersal, the grass clippings are very fine and ground up. This is a deal breaker. Sorry Exmark.

Handling - Very smooth controls, nimble handling, decent hill stability.

Build Quality - Very nice, front to back. Thick 7 Gauge deck. Nice sturdy frame. However, not a big fan of the bearings on the deck spindles. Seem a little cheap.

Power - Kohler EFI ECV940 is a beast, never bogged down on. Decently quiet and very nice fuel savings.

Overall : Well for some perfect lawns, I could've gotten this. But we cut morning, afternoon, evening, wet, dry, tall, short, and this deck could not live up to our demands. Deck aside, a pretty good mower all around.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next up : John Deere Z960R 60'' Cut with 31HP FX921V Kawasaki (only model)
I knew I would love this mower, and I also knew I would never end up getting one...

Comfort and Ride Quality - Decent, again, I'm not being tough on this category. Seemed fine enough.

Cut Quality - Exceptional Cut Quality in all conditions. Cut morning dew covered grass without any issue, stripes very nice, however, it is stamped, and I question its strength compared to a welded 7 gauge. Clippings were cut pretty good, not as good as the Exmark but not as bad as the SCAG. Seems like it is a very open deck, it just slashed it and flew it out.

Handling - Wasn't a fan for it on the hills, bad traction tires, and didn't feel stable. Also, it got really wobbly on this one steep hill, which although is expected, performed worse on that hill than ANY OTHER mower.

Build Quality : Very nice, although the deck lift motor is just plain bad. Other than that, nothing to complain about. Seems commercial qualtiy.

Power - 31HP DFI Kawasaki, it was raw power. Very nice, but I have heard too many horror stories of Kawasaki compared to Kohler EFI's. EXTREMELY LOUD also, and we start at 7:30 AM, I would piss too many people off.

Overall - Although I overall liked it much better than the Exmark, the hill is only one client, and I can always change my patterns up to avoid the stability issues. Although, it's a Green Machine, and OEM parts are gonna cost you a TON of green down the road. I also question Deere's customer support, as they have not answered an email regarding their MOD deck in 4 weeks. It's a no go.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The next unit demoed was a Dixie Chopper 3366EFI XCaliber Model. 2015 Model.

Comfort and Ride Quality - Every bump I hit, and every dip I hit, I felt the thing jerk my neck and back. Guys, I'm a 31 year old male. I'm not fraile, I got toughness to me. This thing HURT.

SHOCKING : Cut Quality
The Dixie Chopper's X2 Deck was the most horrendous, most terrible, cheapest cutting deck I have ever used in my 13 years in the company. A normal looking lawn with lush grass made this deck spit clumps and LEFT STRAGGLERS! I even changed the blades to my old custom Exmark High Lift's. SAME THING! I didn't have a smartphone at the time, just a good ol' flip phone. and I didn't have a camera at the time. Stripes were non existent, and 1.5 HOURS INTO THE DEMO, 2 DECK SPINDLES BROKE! 2!!!!!!! After I complained to Dixie and they "fixed it" without explaining, they offered a extra day to demo. I didn't trust this mower on a client's yard, so I took it to a baseball park, where there are big open grassy spots. Yes, I know, I probably pissed off the landscapers who work that lawn, but I was desperate. 15 Minutes into cutting with this "KING" as described by Dixie-SuckChoper, THE FLY WHEEL BROKE, and then after that piece of crap was fixed, 2 BELTS BROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was offered a complentary Dixie Chopper Coffee Mug, are you kidding me???? What I want is you guys to go out of business! I probably pissed off Snyder's Lawn Care, sorry, but I utterly hated this machine.


Handling : While not as bad as the Deere, I felt unstable on hills, while of course, leaving 100 stragglers behind me, even after a double cut. INEXCUSABLE. However, I really loved the smoothness of the controls, and the locations where the nice gadgets come on it.

Power - C'mon, its a Dixie, it slashed through everything, but then again, it didn't, because it only slashed 3/4 of the lawn, while 1/4 was still uncut stragglers. What a joke.

Build Quality - For such an outrageously expensive "MOWER FIT FOR A KING, AS DIXIE CHOPPER DIRECTLY QUOTES FROM A VIDEO", this mower is a hunk of trash.

Overall - Dixie was OK for me before my old Generac engines broke, but these new ones are utterly embarrassing, not only to the looks of a client's lawn, but to the company.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
While I was really bummed that none of my 3 demos so far worked, I had little hope I would love anything that Bad Boy has. I don't see many, but again, I went in thinking positive. I had ZERO PREFERANCE for a company over another.

Since Bad Boys offer such amazing prices, I had to try one out...
Bad Boy Outlaw Extreme 29HP Kohler EFI 61 inch Deck.
Still speechless about this mower.

Comfort/Ride Quality - We didn't need the extra comfort that the one-step-up XP model offers, but this was suprisingly comfy, and absorbed light bumps. So far it's a go.

Cut Quality - This is the ArmorTek5 Deck. I had my mouth wide open, grass clippings flying into my mouth, just staring and what happened. I cut my own home that has thick Bahia grass, and I was just like, WHERE DID THE CLIPPINGS GO?????? This side discharges, not ONLY DOES IT HAVE TIGHT BAFFLES LIKE AN EXMARK so you get that ground up clippings, and manicured cut, but it has the Discharge opening of the SCAG or John Deere deck! AMAZING! It dispersed the clippings so well, I didn't even need to double cut the 7:30AM THICK WET TALL BAHIA GRASS!!!!!! It left a beautiful cut, which would rival any damn Exmark out there.

Handling : Suprised me... Very stable on the hills, and nimble turning and handling makes me fall in love with this mower. Folks, we are only getting started.

Power - 29 Kohler EFI was quiet, cut ANYTHING I wanted no problem, and was fuel efficient.

Build Quality - The ArmorTek 5 Deck is fully fabricated/welded, and is made from 5 GAUGE STEEL? This thing is a monster of strength. I loved their deck spindles, and everything from blade to bearing was the highest quality I could ever want. The frame was super strong too, and every other visible component seemed rock solid.

Overall - I was so much in love with the mower, AND!!!!!!! IT WAS ONLY 9000 BUCKS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I was the happeist guy alive, I would spend 1000 bucks and MORE cheaper on this, And it was also my favorite.

I emailed BadBoy about how happy I am with this mower, and they PERSONALLY invited me to take a tour of their factory and watch how they build their mowers. I was shocked. What company would do that for one possible future customer? I was so impressed. I had to respectfully decline, due to work reasons, but their youtube channel shows their factory in Batesville, Arkansas.

1 week later, I received a Bad Boy coffee mug, Bad Boy OCDC (FREE!!!!!!!!!!), and a special quote for 8400 bucks each if I purchased the two soon.

Guys, I am really sold on Bad Boy, don't listen to what people say and make it a fact. Get out there and demo the hell out of them.

I WENT TO THE BAD BOY DEALER FEELING DOWN, ABOUT HOW THE PAST 3 DEMOS WERE NOT MY CUP OF TEA, AND SAT ON THE BAD BOY OUTLAW THINKING, "Hopefully I like this, BUT, I am going to be very picky about it."

I ended up loving the hell out of Bad Boy Outlaw mower, and sorry, (I am 1/2 Mexican, and english is my 2nd language, and I am ALMOST fluent, but my grammar isn't always best sometimes.)

Should I pull the trigger this weekend? I'm REALLY CLOSE TO BUYING.

Thoughts? Comments?
 
OP
A

AndrewS20

LawnSite Member
Don't know how to edit the post, but forgot to mention that the Dixie also scalped the hell out of my lawns as well.
 

retrodog

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Paris, Tx
I have been a dealer for 8 years after using one and having my Mower fly down the highway like a saw blade, them hearing about it on lawnsite, fixing my Mower for me along with a factory tour and hats and t shirts, 5 years after that I became their largest dealer in the world. Not a perfect Mower as I am sure perfect to alot of people is different, but no one builds a machine close to it for any close to the money, and nothing throws the grass as far. I have been selling them for 8 years my first year out of the house... I am blown away to hear this review it is pleasant among the ls crowd..
Posted via Mobile Device
 

AMC32

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Lincolnton, NC
I would if everything you said was true! Plus it sounds like it would be perfect for you and like its kinda your last option... Not sure how their customer service overall compares to Gravelys but if you have a good dealer go for it
 

puppypaws

LawnSite Fanatic
BEFORE WE START, I HAD ZERO PREFERENCE FOR ANY MOWER, I WAS UNBIASED FOR EVERYTHING. I GAVE ALL DEMO'S HONEST THOUGHTS.

Looking to upgrade my entire fleet of Dixie Choppers (Before they turned bad with the Jacobsen/Textron Agreement) which have passed the 4500 hours on their Trusty ol Generac's, I have put too much work into them and neither run good anymore.

Within the past 6 months, I have been setting up dates for demo's on many commercial cutters - Exmark, John Deere, THE NEW DIXIE CHOPPERS, and Bad Boy.

Note : I cannot go with any other brand, as these are the only companies within a quick drive to the dealer.

Also Note : I am picking the mower/model I want, NOT THE ENGINE SIZE. I want other opinions on Lawnsite on the engines. I'm not gonna judge the power, anything above 28ish HP will be fine... I don't go 10mph through 2 foot tall grass.

RESULTS BELOW
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, I demoed the 2015 Exmark Lazer Z X Series 60inch Cut

Model Number LZX940EKC606T0

Comfort and Ride Quality - My team and me have young, tough backs. We don't need a suspension seat. Sorry, but it seemed perfectly fine and comfortable.

Cut Quality - Super tight baffling, for a very manicured, clean crisp cut. It FAILED in morning dew covered glass. Going 2mph, it still spat out clumps no matter how high my throttle was. At 11am onward, it cut beautifully. However, no matter wet or dry, this Ultracut 6 deck does not like thick and tall grass. It likes to "play with its clippings" so even though it has bad clipping dispersal, the grass clippings are very fine and ground up. This is a deal breaker. Sorry Exmark.

Handling - Very smooth controls, nimble handling, decent hill stability.

Build Quality - Very nice, front to back. Thick 7 Gauge deck. Nice sturdy frame. However, not a big fan of the bearings on the deck spindles. Seem a little cheap.

Power - Kohler EFI ECV940 is a beast, never bogged down on. Decently quiet and very nice fuel savings.

Overall : Well for some perfect lawns, I could've gotten this. But we cut morning, afternoon, evening, wet, dry, tall, short, and this deck could not live up to our demands. Deck aside, a pretty good mower all around.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next up : John Deere Z960R 60'' Cut with 31HP FX921V Kawasaki (only model)
I knew I would love this mower, and I also knew I would never end up getting one...

Comfort and Ride Quality - Decent, again, I'm not being tough on this category. Seemed fine enough.

Cut Quality - Exceptional Cut Quality in all conditions. Cut morning dew covered grass without any issue, stripes very nice, however, it is stamped, and I question its strength compared to a welded 7 gauge. Clippings were cut pretty good, not as good as the Exmark but not as bad as the SCAG. Seems like it is a very open deck, it just slashed it and flew it out.

Handling - Wasn't a fan for it on the hills, bad traction tires, and didn't feel stable. Also, it got really wobbly on this one steep hill, which although is expected, performed worse on that hill than ANY OTHER mower.

Build Quality : Very nice, although the deck lift motor is just plain bad. Other than that, nothing to complain about. Seems commercial qualtiy.

Power - 31HP DFI Kawasaki, it was raw power. Very nice, but I have heard too many horror stories of Kawasaki compared to Kohler EFI's. EXTREMELY LOUD also, and we start at 7:30 AM, I would piss too many people off.

Overall - Although I overall liked it much better than the Exmark, the hill is only one client, and I can always change my patterns up to avoid the stability issues. Although, it's a Green Machine, and OEM parts are gonna cost you a TON of green down the road. I also question Deere's customer support, as they have not answered an email regarding their MOD deck in 4 weeks. It's a no go.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The next unit demoed was a Dixie Chopper 3366EFI XCaliber Model. 2015 Model.

Comfort and Ride Quality - Every bump I hit, and every dip I hit, I felt the thing jerk my neck and back. Guys, I'm a 31 year old male. I'm not fraile, I got toughness to me. This thing HURT.

SHOCKING : Cut Quality
The Dixie Chopper's X2 Deck was the most horrendous, most terrible, cheapest cutting deck I have ever used in my 13 years in the company. A normal looking lawn with lush grass made this deck spit clumps and LEFT STRAGGLERS! I even changed the blades to my old custom Exmark High Lift's. SAME THING! I didn't have a smartphone at the time, just a good ol' flip phone. and I didn't have a camera at the time. Stripes were non existent, and 1.5 HOURS INTO THE DEMO, 2 DECK SPINDLES BROKE! 2!!!!!!! After I complained to Dixie and they "fixed it" without explaining, they offered a extra day to demo. I didn't trust this mower on a client's yard, so I took it to a baseball park, where there are big open grassy spots. Yes, I know, I probably pissed off the landscapers who work that lawn, but I was desperate. 15 Minutes into cutting with this "KING" as described by Dixie-SuckChoper, THE FLY WHEEL BROKE, and then after that piece of crap was fixed, 2 BELTS BROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was offered a complentary Dixie Chopper Coffee Mug, are you kidding me???? What I want is you guys to go out of business! I probably pissed off Snyder's Lawn Care, sorry, but I utterly hated this machine.


Handling : While not as bad as the Deere, I felt unstable on hills, while of course, leaving 100 stragglers behind me, even after a double cut. INEXCUSABLE. However, I really loved the smoothness of the controls, and the locations where the nice gadgets come on it.

Power - C'mon, its a Dixie, it slashed through everything, but then again, it didn't, because it only slashed 3/4 of the lawn, while 1/4 was still uncut stragglers. What a joke.

Build Quality - For such an outrageously expensive "MOWER FIT FOR A KING, AS DIXIE CHOPPER DIRECTLY QUOTES FROM A VIDEO", this mower is a hunk of trash.

Overall - Dixie was OK for me before my old Generac engines broke, but these new ones are utterly embarrassing, not only to the looks of a client's lawn, but to the company.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
While I was really bummed that none of my 3 demos so far worked, I had little hope I would love anything that Bad Boy has. I don't see many, but again, I went in thinking positive. I had ZERO PREFERANCE for a company over another.

Since Bad Boys offer such amazing prices, I had to try one out...
Bad Boy Outlaw Extreme 29HP Kohler EFI 61 inch Deck.
Still speechless about this mower.

Comfort/Ride Quality - We didn't need the extra comfort that the one-step-up XP model offers, but this was suprisingly comfy, and absorbed light bumps. So far it's a go.

Cut Quality - This is the ArmorTek5 Deck. I had my mouth wide open, grass clippings flying into my mouth, just staring and what happened. I cut my own home that has thick Bahia grass, and I was just like, WHERE DID THE CLIPPINGS GO?????? This side discharges, not ONLY DOES IT HAVE TIGHT BAFFLES LIKE AN EXMARK so you get that ground up clippings, and manicured cut, but it has the Discharge opening of the SCAG or John Deere deck! AMAZING! It dispersed the clippings so well, I didn't even need to double cut the 7:30AM THICK WET TALL BAHIA GRASS!!!!!! It left a beautiful cut, which would rival any damn Exmark out there.

Handling : Suprised me... Very stable on the hills, and nimble turning and handling makes me fall in love with this mower. Folks, we are only getting started.

Power - 29 Kohler EFI was quiet, cut ANYTHING I wanted no problem, and was fuel efficient.

Build Quality - The ArmorTek 5 Deck is fully fabricated/welded, and is made from 5 GAUGE STEEL? This thing is a monster of strength. I loved their deck spindles, and everything from blade to bearing was the highest quality I could ever want. The frame was super strong too, and every other visible component seemed rock solid.

Overall - I was so much in love with the mower, AND!!!!!!! IT WAS ONLY 9000 BUCKS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I was the happeist guy alive, I would spend 1000 bucks and MORE cheaper on this, And it was also my favorite.

I emailed BadBoy about how happy I am with this mower, and they PERSONALLY invited me to take a tour of their factory and watch how they build their mowers. I was shocked. What company would do that for one possible future customer? I was so impressed. I had to respectfully decline, due to work reasons, but their youtube channel shows their factory in Batesville, Arkansas.

1 week later, I received a Bad Boy coffee mug, Bad Boy OCDC (FREE!!!!!!!!!!), and a special quote for 8400 bucks each if I purchased the two soon.

Guys, I am really sold on Bad Boy, don't listen to what people say and make it a fact. Get out there and demo the hell out of them.

I WENT TO THE BAD BOY DEALER FEELING DOWN, ABOUT HOW THE PAST 3 DEMOS WERE NOT MY CUP OF TEA, AND SAT ON THE BAD BOY OUTLAW THINKING, "Hopefully I like this, BUT, I am going to be very picky about it."

I ended up loving the hell out of Bad Boy Outlaw mower, and sorry, (I am 1/2 Mexican, and english is my 2nd language, and I am ALMOST fluent, but my grammar isn't always best sometimes.)

Should I pull the trigger this weekend? I'm REALLY CLOSE TO BUYING.

Thoughts? Comments?

How would you even consider "NOT" buying a mower that you love this much. Go buy whatever number of these mowers you have a use for, and do it immediately.
 

Patriot Services

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Tampa FL
I fail to see the reason for your hesitation. You thoroughly evaluated all your choices. I wouldn't put much stock in the negative BB reviews on here as most comments are made by guys that made theirs from a picture much less than an actual demo.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

13Razorbackfan

LawnSite Silver Member
Don't let the stamped 7 Iron fool you. It is as strong as any fab deck that has been welded. The difference is that only JD can afford the kind of press(4 million pounds) to stamp a deck out of 7 gauge. Also...no weld points so no cracked weld joints and no places for grass to get stuck. I mowed through some very thick wet stuff this morning and in comparison with some other decks hardly any grass stuck under the deck.

When most people talk about stamped decks they are talking about every other deck on the market that is stamped and residential. I think JD commercial mowers are the only decks stamped out of one piece 7 gauge. Other stamped decks are much thinner gauge...residential. There is not a thing about the 7 Iron that is residential in way.
 

13Razorbackfan

LawnSite Silver Member
How would you even consider "NOT" buying a mower that you love this much. Go buy whatever number of these mowers you have a use for, and do it immediately.

I agree and tell people the same thing all the time!!! Go with what you feel in your gut is best for YOU not somebody else or what you have read. Since my main concern with where I live is wet conditions and needing something for wet conditions it was either the 7 Iron or V+. I went with JD because they are literally 2 miles down the road. I am glad I went this route. They are very helpful to me. You need to go with the dealer that has the mower you want and also is very helpful to you.
 

puppypaws

LawnSite Fanatic
Don't let the stamped 7 Iron fool you. It is as strong as any fab deck that has been welded. The difference is that only JD can afford the kind of press(4 million pounds) to stamp a deck out of 7 gauge. Also...no weld points so no cracked weld joints and no places for grass to get stuck. I mowed through some very thick wet stuff this morning and in comparison with some other decks hardly any grass stuck under the deck.

When most people talk about stamped decks they are talking about every other deck on the market that is stamped and residential. I think JD commercial mowers are the only decks stamped out of one piece 7 gauge. Other stamped decks are much thinner gauge...residential. There is not a thing about the 7 Iron that is residential in way.

I would honestly believe (if you have the technology) that a stamped deck should be better than a welded deck. Without weld points you have a smoother finished deck, one that should never crack if stamped from heavy quality grade metal, and a deck that should hold a powder coating paint job much better. You have no weld points that are normally the first place you see rust, with the design being one of smooth transitions in all turn points.

I hear people degrade stamped decks, but honestly have never understood why, that is unless they only have knowledge of the thin metal, stamped deck used on cheaper box store mowers.
 

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