HYDRO COST MORE TO REPLACE THAN BELTS
HYDRO MOWER COST MORE
HYDRO CAN CUT WHEN GRASS IS WET
BELT CAN SLIP IF THEY GET WET
BELT EASIER TO MAINTAIN
WHY NOT GO WITH A 36 IN WB?
IF YOU ARE GOING WITH A 32 OR 36 I WOULDNT WASTE THE MONEY ON A HYDRO. IF YOU GO WITH A 48 THEN I WOULD CONSIDER HYDRO, BUT GOOD LUCK GETTING INTO BACK YARDS. AT LEAST WITH A 36 YOU CAN GET IN THE BACK YARDS WITH OUR NEEDING A PUSH MOWER
I sometimes wish I had gotten a 32" instead of my 36", now that I have a 60" LazerZ. The 32" would go in 100% of the backyards, no prob. As it is now, once a week I must drag out the 21", sure would be nice to be able to leave it home.
As for belt vs. hydro, hydros are quicker, easier to handle, less fatique, more productive being they are a true zero turn, where belt is not. Belts are still beasts that will cut for years, but if price is no matter, get a hydro.....they cost more for a reason.
This isn't what you asked about - but is a real interesting alternative.
Gravely has a new Z rider they call the 34-Z. Here is why I think it's a real interesting .
1. Its price is the same as their 36"hydro walk - $3995 and you said price is not a facter to you.
2. It has a 5 1/2 inch deep, 7 ga. thick steel deck, with the same spindles they use in their 60 inch riders - This is a terrific mower deck. 18,500 bl. tip speed !
3. The deck is floating type , which is unusual in this small size mower. Do the other walk behinds have a floating deck in this size ? The height of cut is set with the foot pedal lift - almost instantly. Most walk pro mowers take much more time and effort to change height or lift over a curb etc.
4. I checked the overall length of some 32" to 36" walk behinds and they were mostly 80+ inches. The 34 Z Gravely is only 75 inches long. Since the operator is behind an 80 inch long walk mower, it won't be able to manuever in tight quarters as easy as the much shorter rider that has its operator sitting mid ship.
Also, since the operator is sitting not standing, they get under trees with low limbs much easier !
5. The 34-Z has a 15 hp Kawasaki engine, and most walks this size use a 13 hp engine. It also has 21 inch dia. rear drive tires, most walks use a 13 to 16 inch dia. tire.
6. The Gravely uses separate Hydro gear pumps and wheel motors, not the cheaper IZT or AZT combo pump/motor units that you find on most of the cheaper "homeowner" Z riders. The Gravely is built commercial grade in every aspect of the machine.
Sorry for the long post - especially since it's not what you asked about to compare, but I thought the Gravely 34Z rider has some neat qualities that you might not be aware of.
To me not so much a pain, as it used to be on some, but the deck-pitch changes. (not meaning to put my big nose in this conversation).........or adjust the blades, but to me that's more trouble than it's worth. But I'm lazier than most.
But, in theory, wouldn't raising the front, make it cut the grass "twice"? (provided the grass was taller than the front of the blades) I know that with a "bush hog" (to use a name brand in a generic situation) If the front is lower, only the front of the blades are cutting the grass, and the back of the blades are "cutting air" so to speak. Could be totally out of my mind, and it wouldn't really make that much difference, but just in theory. (pamper my mower as much as I can, and less stress, is always better to me....he he he)
If you dont have to cut around any obsticles such as trees etc, and hardly ever need to back up then sure a belt is a no brainer. Also floating deck makes most sense. If not all 21s,riders ,walk behinds would only adjust front tires. Check your owners manual. Deck should be 1/4 inch higher in back.
I feel the smaller WB will be used for areas that need more maneuverability and I believe the hydro is easier to do that with. I have a metro hp and am looking at a 32-36" hydro for the same reason. Also I heard it has instant reverse. That would work great for me. As far as the Gravely, would the weight of the unit with the rider be to much on the tires, Rutting?? That would be my concern. I have not seen one so I don't know what size the tires are.
The tire size on those 21"x10" seems to be about proportional with its 750 lb weight to the bigger ZTR's with their 23x9.5" and 24x12" tires and 900-1200 lb weights.
I belive the length on the Gravely 34 is only about 71.5", even shorter than the regular compact ZTRs. If you don't have hills to handle it might be a better mower for a lazy man. It also will out-produce a 36" hydro wb with a sulky for the same price. (9mph!) I know that even hydro wb's with sulkys can be cumbersome on postage stamp lawns and tight areas due to their length (over 100" with sulky). I usually found myself just unhitching and walking small lawns.
I would recomend three machines. If cost a 32" eXmark Metro( i have one and love it), If not a 32" eXmark Viking. If you really wanted something no one else has the new wright 32" Velke mower. I have ran one and love it. But i don't use my eXmark enough to replace it. The neat thing is the velke folds up into the mower, so its out of the way when you don't need it. Like on a hill.