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Wow! If you folks haven't demoed this mower, you are missing out.
I put it (a 2000 model, not identical to this one) up against an Exmark which is a great machine as well. If you have hills, ditches, rough terrain, etc. this is the machine for you, I assure you. Exmark is a great machine, as are a few others. However, <b>none</b> of the other great machines have IS. It may sound hokey, but IS makes all the difference in the world.
The lower center of gravity makes a big difference even head-to-head with another great such as Exmark. I assume Ferris kept the same low center of gravity of the previous models. It was listed as the lowest center of gravity in the industry. I can tell you that it held hills <b>much better than the Exmark</b>.
I could not mow faster than 1/2 speed with the Exmark in areas where I could run wide open with the Ferris. Not that the Exmark wouldn't go that fast, just my guts/back couldn't take the ride at that speed. I'm sure the difference is in the IS.
Now, not everthing we cut is this bumpy, but this one is 4-5 hours of mowing straight. The IS is priceless under those conditions.
I'm not bad mouthing other mowers, just stating that Ferris is built and designed as well as many more popular brands with the additional benefits of IS. If you have exceptionally smooth ground, it may not matter to you, but where I'm at it literally saves my butt.
It looks like the redesign with the springs to dampen the front axles is going to make that much more difference. I'm not going to even sit on one until I'm ready to buy it since I'm sure the ride is even more impressive. As the mower was designed previously, the shock was mainly from those front wheels. With the springs up front, that thing will ride even more smoooooothly.
A 27 Kawi with the 61"??? I think Wavy Gravy said it best, "I think we're in heaven, man!" The IS puts the Ferris in a class of its own. Some of you with ZTR's probably don't realize how much you slow down while cutting bumpy terrain. If your sticks aren't all the way forward in wide open areas, you are losing productivity. Productivity equals profit. Don't listen to the naysayers, try it for yourself!
I had a 2000 pro cut Z. But I sold it for a Dixie. The Ferris was a great machine for uneven groung and hills. But the cut was not even close to my chopper. It seemed like the blades didn't spin nearly fast enough to keep up in the heavy grass.
Changing the size of the pullys isnt really economical in my opinion. when u change the pully size u would end up having problems with finding a deck belt that would fit properly. And it would put an encreased stress on your spindle bearings if they are not rated for the increase in blade speed. Let alone the increassed stess on motor. I think you would run in to a lot more problems down the road than it would be worth.