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Walk behind advice for a newb.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by zanemoseley, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I am looking at a walk behind for residential use. I currently live in a rental house and it takes 3 hours to mow my lawn with a 21". I am building a house on a 2 acre lot on a pretty good slope, about 1.5 acres or more will be grass. The grading hasn't been done yet but it should take care of a good bit of the side to side variations in slope however the front to rear slope will always be there.

    I found out from reading that ZT's aren't the best when using on slopes, especially if you're a newb who's never used them. Besides my budget would only allow me to get a cheaper Home Depot Toro.

    I have a budget of about $3k which I know isn't much. I am looking at a 48" Dixon Walkabout Hydro. My step dad has a $6k+ dual hydro Dixon ZT and loves it so thats why I started with the Dixons. The only thing that makes me wonder is that from what I've read here Dixon doesn't have the best buzz ever, that could be because even though they're called commerical they aren't up to the grade that some brands are.

    I'd like to stay away from the used market so from what I found that either leaves me with a hydro drive 48" Dixon or possibly a 48" belt drive from a better brand like Exmark, Scag.....

    If it helps I hope to buy a 2 wheel Velke sulky to ride on when possible. Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. Danielslawnservice

    Danielslawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    look for ferris they are tough machines, exmark Metro wouldn't be a bad choice either
    hope it helps
    Ztrs aren't that hard to learn u'll get used to it. just make sure ur not going too fast on the slopes....

  3. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,179

    I don't understand why you didn't post this on the Homeowner Assistance Forum, but I guess it doesn't really matter. Also, it might be easier for others to give you advice if you were a lot more specific about the slopes. "Pretty good" really doesn't describe much. I think you could be helped better if you specified the slope in degrees and the size of the area that is sloped. My lot is a little smaller than what you described and although I had mowed it with a walk-behind once upon a time, now that ZTRs are available, I wouldn't consider doing it that way again. My ZTR handles slopes up to about 15 degrees with no problem. But I won't try it for those over 20 degrees, so for those I have a Quick 36. Maybe a Quick 44 would be ideal for you, but if your slopes are too steep, even that or any other walk-behind won't be adequate.
  4. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Sorry I put this in the wrong forum, I didn't see the homeowner one at the time I posted this. I would like to say most of the lot except the front 1/5 would be 15% or less but I'm not good at eyeballing it, we will get the grade "shot" soon so I may have a better idea then. The only part that may be more would be in the very back past a retainer wall in our back yard which we plan to cover with ivy. One thing that appeals to me about buying a walk behind is that I can get more quality for my money , expecially with my budget.
  5. thechevyman

    thechevyman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 24

    Don't get a Dixon. The hydro pumps are really weak on the slopes. Dixon is ok for a nice flat yard but you will have major problem on a hill or slope.

    I would recommend a belt drive walk behind if that is what you can afford. Scag and Exmark are both good brands with parts easily available.

    I would also look at the Toro, Gravely, or Ferris machines. The belt drive machine are all real close in quality. The Hydro machine is where the big difference is in the pumps.
  6. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Will a nice belt drive walk behind be strong enough to pull someone on a 2 wheel sulky on say a 10-15% grade? Also how do the belt drives work as far as speed control and steering. Do you have to change gears or does the amount you squeeze the pistol grips affect how fast you go?
  7. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Also to be clear about why you don't like the Dixon. If I understand right even though the Dixon has a 18hp Kohler you're saying the hydro pump they use isn't strong enough to take advantage of the engine which underpowers the drive on hills?
  8. zanemoseley

    zanemoseley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Ok guys I realize some of my questions are dumb but I truely appreciate the help.

    I did some reading and spoke with a dealer exmark and ferris belt drives and the more I think about them the more they don't sound fun on a hill where it may be necessary at times to stop mid hill to change gears.

    Are there any around $3k hydro walkbehinds, preferably 40"+ that will run a 2 wheel sulky with with reasonable power/speed on a 10-15% lot, its flatter in the front and as mentioned before will probably be steeper in the back but will be covered with ivy. I looked at the Quick 44 Samurai which is in my price range. The thing I don't know about is the weight, it weights about 120lb less than comparable models from other companies but still has the same size Kawasaki 16hp motor. This would imply more than enough power for pulling a sulky but the lighter weight seems it might make the mower with me attached a bit unbalanced especially on slopes. I was also wondering how you steer the quick 44 when on a sulky as the video just shows the trigger for speed not for steering, it appears they steer it similar to a conventional push mower.
  9. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    I dont think you would have a problem with belt drive. You dont shift gears in the middle of a run. That dealers comment doesnt make sense to me. Even if you do stop and change, it wouldnt be that difficult. Personally, and I dont care what the Quick lovers say, Ill take a Toro or Exmark belt drive over any Quick. You do your own repair work when you buy a Quick and thats OK if you are handy with the wrenches.
  10. Lovingreen

    Lovingreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    Everyone will have an opinion, like ford vs chevy. Stick to hydro drive on the hills. I like Exmark, the cut quality at high speed is great. The 48" viking is a great machine if you don't need change the cutting height alot. If you absolutely cannot swing the extra cash, then I might look at some of the lesser known brands, but still hydro drive.

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