I have a 48" with 20HP Kohler. Plenty of power. I wish I had the 52" because my deck is a little small for trimming. The rear tires are around 46" wide (basically the same width as my deck). Not the best for going around small trees.
I get a little blow in the front when going over lots of leaves but thats about it. I love the double blades for the mulching and the suction power when trimming. It pulls grass along fences, sidewalks, flower beds, etc.. under the deck just by getting close. It saves time on trimming.
Where do I put my arms? There is a black bar that is used kinda like a cruise control. You set it all the way forward went riding and all the way back when walking so it doesn't go too fast or anywhere in the middle. It gives you something to rest your finger tips on then you steer with your thumbs or palms. It also keeps you from jerking the controls when going over rough terrain. Then controls are centered with springs but there are no dampers. It is very similar to the Wright products. My arms have never been tired from mowing.
I'm always looking at upgrading to something "Bigger and Better", but I have yet to find anything that would give me more return / profitability for my money. Again this is based on doing small to med residential jobs with hills only. I would not recommend one of these for large jobs.
It takes me about 5-10 minutes to mow most of my clients assuming I don't have to walk lots of hills. With hills it takes about twice as long so I'm looking at fabricating a folding sulky where I can just leave it on the back of the unit when it's needed. It will hinge upward and clip to the back during the ZTR mode and fold down for steep hills. I'll post pictures once it's complete.
I read comments about not being heavy duty. Well, it's not a tank. It only weighs 750lbs which compared to some is pretty light. It is very easy on the grass which allows me to make quick 180 deg turns. I don't have to waste time making 3 point turns. Of course it will tear grass with the best if both tires are not moving at all times. I get most of my clients from word of mouth or people just driving by when mower a lawn. They like how the lawn looks and hire me. Then they tell their friends. I started in the middle of the summer (mid May) and I don't advertise. I have 20+ clients in one small (198 homes) subdivision. I usually knock out about 4 lawns an hour by my self. I'm using this first year to learn the business and looking to use aeration to expand during the fall and spring.
Just purchased a Gator-Rator and used it this weekend. I did 4 clients plus my self in 2 hours. Not bad for the first time using it. Pulls nice plugs and very quick on open areas. It is a little teadeous with lots of landscaping to go around. But the fact that I didn't have to get off my unit, didn't break sweat, and made $200/hr is pretty nice. I am going to start advertising this week for Aerations. Wish me luck! If you read this and want to get a Gator-Rator for your Convertible, I did have to make some minor modification (minor only if you have the tools / welding) to make it compatible. It only took me about 15-20 minutes.
This is getting too long.