Tim: I'ts not what gear but how fast can I go without sacrificing quality of cut. Ok lawn maint 101: everybody knows the slower you go the better the cut right? Now assuming you work alone, keep blades sharpened, and don't run over everything in nine counties third gear looks most favorible on lawns maintained weekly. Use 2nd or raise your deck on the jungles and If I'ts around 1.5" tall may I suggest finding fourth immediately (sulky required).
If I had the money i would get a hydro but i dont cuz i'm just starting out, and i have to worry about buying a truck soon. What kind of mowers are you guys using that u can cut in 4th and 5th gear and still get a quality cut?
i shou7ld hope that any brand walkbehind could handle 4th and 5th gear and still give a quality cut. Belt drive walk behind dont go all that fast... i think a little over 5 miles per hour but im not sure.