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Walk behind with or without a sulky?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by IA_James, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2,592

    How many of you guys are using a wb with a sulky, or without? Is it your primary mower, or for edging? If you use one without the sulky, do you wish you had one? Do you prefer 1 wheel or 2? I was mowing a lawn the other day, and had it up in 4th gear, and was thinking, "Self, this would really suck if I didn't have this sulky."
  2. lawnman456

    lawnman456 LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Messages: 90

    i cut most of my lawns in 5th as long as it is not high or wet. I could walk that fast if i didn't havy my sulkyand it is one wheel. i have one wheel
  3. kjslawn

    kjslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    sulky all the way i walk small yards or steep inclines
  4. gavin478

    gavin478 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 139

    I have the one wheel, and wouldn't leave home without it. If I had to walk I'd be done after the first 4 lawns. With the sulky I can go all day. I think I would prefer the one wheel, only because of the smaller size, however I don't like how my heel can rub against the wheel. Ideally I'd like a 'bull rider' type sulky, that stays in the same position all the time, and you eliminate the risk of jacknifing in reverse. However, I do take it off for hills, as that is safest if the mower flips or gets away from me.
  5. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    I have an exmark WB with a 2 wheel sulky on it. It stays on it all the time. If I am using it for a steep bank the sulky hangs from a chain from the bars. Other than that, it gets used all day long. I couldn't imagine using a wb without a sulky. I can just see myself or the helper stepping in a small hole or on a rock and twisting an ankle. Even worse- stepping in doggie pooh.:mad:
  6. IHusky

    IHusky LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 478

  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I have a one-wheeled Velke, and a two-wheeled BullRider for my Exmark Viking (36", 15hp, hydro). Some days I take both, and use both of them over the course of the day. Some days I take one or the other, and never take it off the trailer.

    My w/b is on its tenth season. The first season I walked (no sulky). The next year, I had the one-wheeled Velke. I used it widely, but never on my "better" properties. I don't like the line down the middle. For those properties, I walked.

    After a couple of years, I bought a ProSlide. I quickly learned my machine was too small to handle a ProSlide. I managed to sell it. The next investment was the BullRider. At that time, they were convertible, that is, able to be used in either a caster mode, or a trailer mode. I wanted to use it in caster mode, but quickly learned my machine was too small to handle. I changed to trailer mode, and have never tried caster mode again. The same behavior was exhibited for both the ProSlide and the BR in caster mode -- could not control the direction of the machine.

    I used the BR for a few years, but bought a John Deere Z-Trak (717A) last season. It can be used for my larger properties (3/4 - 2 acres), rather than the w/b and sulky.

    But, I still need the w/b for many of my properties. I work solo (about 45 properties), and over half will not permit me to use the ZTR. A two of them are very small (only about 10K sq ft), and those are mowed with a hand mower. This leaves me with many properties to be mowed with the w/b.

    The sulky is often too much bother, slows my productivity too much. In a couple of places, I can make the one-wheeled Velke work -- many turns, corners, terrain, etc. In other places, I can use the BR to great advantage, but only on a small portion of the property. I might mow the non-sulky pieces, and then add the BR and continue. Or, in many cases, I just keep walking. Taking the sulky off/putting on takes more time than I save by just keeping walking.

    Also, control of the w/b is much more demanding with the sulky. It has to be handled much more severely, taking more energy -- better to just walk. For example, tomorrow morning I will mow a backyard that is about 15K sq ft. It has a slope, not too bad. But, it has a couple of large rocks to mow around, several trees, a kids playset on a bank, and it is rough and uneven. I believe I gain no time by riding the one-wheeled Velke. I never even want to try to handle the mower with the two-wheeled BR. Most of the time I walk, just not wanting to take the time and effort to mount the sulky, nor the extra effort to handle the mower. Yes, I can move more quickly on the straight line passes, but also loose time in the turns.

    On Friday schedule, I have three properties, side-by-side. The rear yards are about 15-18K sq ft each, some slope, some obstacles. The front yards are mowed with the hand mower. It takes about three hours for these properties, but I usually walk them all. Again, some time gained on the straight line passes, but time lost on the turns. The one-wheeled Velke works best, but I don't like the line down the middle for these properties.

    I also have a couple of properties where I will not use the two-wheeled BR, despite the wheel tracking in the same line as the mower. The reason is the heavy tracking. Often the sulky tracking is heavier than the mower. In one case, the owner keeps the property well irrigated, and the ground is usually soft. The BR leaves heavy tracks in that instance, and I will never use it here.

    So, what am I saying here? I am often in conflict. I feel I should be saving my legs by not walking. But, so often, when push-comes-to-shove, the sulky stays on the trailer. I can walk pretty well, but am not a strong man (5-9, 165#, nearly 66 years).

    Maybe this helps, maybe not ...
  8. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    sulky only or we stop working:rolleyes: :laugh:
  9. Kid With A Mower

    Kid With A Mower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    I use a 2 wheeled sulky.
  10. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2,592

    That was what I was thinking after the 1/2 acre lot in 4th gear.:laugh: :laugh:

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