Who likes their gear drive?

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by petemoss, May 5, 2002.

  1. petemoss

    petemoss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I have been cutting grass for several years using only 21" mowers. I have been looking into upgrading to a bigger machine and am trying to decide between hydro and gear drive for a first machine. I have been talking with my eXmark dealer about a 36" Viking with fixed deck and hydro or a 36" Metro with fixed deck and gear drive. His opinion is that the hydro is well worth the extra money and he wouldn't own a gear drive. He doesn't work on commission so I trust what he is telling me. Everyone else that I have talked to has the same opinion on hydro vs. gear drive. I was wondering if there are still alot of people who purchase the gear drive eXmark models and are happy with them, or do they wish that they had went ahead and purchased the hydro.
  2. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    Yes to both questions. I LOVE my 48" belt drive eXmark. It's about 8 years old and was used for home cutting. Guy was in a divorce and let it go for $ 500. To me it's worth 3 times as much.

    If I didn't fall into that sweet deal, I would have got a hydro. You can't beat 'em for hills, zero turning, and pulling a velke just to name a few.

    So......Love my gear drive, would prefer a hydro.
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    You also need to decide between need and desire. I have a 36" Metro and it gets used so little (around 4-1/2 hours a week) that I would have a hard time justifying the expense of a hydro. Now it would be nice to have a hydro, I probably have to back up at least 3 times a week, and that is the one area where the hydro excels over the gear drive. I know a lot of people will say that a gear drive won't pull a sulky but that's bull. And they will tell you that a gear drive has problems with the belts in the wet and if you really soak the belts it will have trouble. Just look at the purchase from a business point of view. Most of the really big companies around here use gear drives.
  4. petemoss

    petemoss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Your right Richard. I really do have to balance the need vs. the want. The truth is that I want the hydro, but I would probably be better off starting with a belt/gear/whatever drive. My problem is that this will likely be the only machine I buy for some time and I want to make sure that I am happy with it and not consantly wishing I had gotten the hydro. I know that either one will be vastly superior to using a 21" only. Thanks for your responses.
  5. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    Get a floating deck, they are so much easier to adjust, you will NOT regret it. As far as hydro vs belt, I only have operated a belt, and I get along just fine with it(metro HP 48). There will be plenty of people that will tell you to get the hydro that have used both, and I probably would tell you the same if I had used a hydro...but for the use it gets, the belt drive is fine for me. Good Luck
  6. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    I think Richard hit it right on the head, but I would also add that it's also a need vs. want dilemma. Lots of cutters want a hydro but can only afford a belt-drive.

    We sell truck loads of belt drive Metros every year. It's just a quality, entry-level walk-behind. The mower still cuts great, and the cutter is able to keep a little bit of money in his pocket.

    You'll be ecstatic going from your old 21" to a 36" walk, and as long as you understand the limitations of a belt-drive, you should be fine. For instance, belt-drive walks require a bit more maintenance, and there is a potential for the belts to slip in wet cutting conditions (especially if the drive belts are not adjusted correctly).

    With the hydro, you don't have to worry about any wheel drive belts slipping or needing adjustment. You also have plenty of power to pull a sulky, which is not a problem for every belt drive operator. You're going to get the same great cut that you would from the Metro, and you do have a positive reverse, instead of a reverse assist, which is a nice feature when you're trimming under or around things. It's also nice when you're positioning the unit on a trailer.

    If this will be your primary mower, I think you should consider the hydro; however, if you are going to use this mower for a couple of properties here and there, I would go with the belt-drive. Create another post or e-mail me at Dustin.Schwab@exmark.com.

    Talk to you later,

    Exmark Customer Support
  7. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    <----Belt driver here

    I have looked at a hydro to eventually replace my Metro HP, but still have trouble parting with money. My HP is working perfectly right now as it enters its third year. I added a sulky to it this spring and it pulls it fine. Today it rained, no slippage. Only the tires slipped on the trailer ramp.

    Im hoping/expecting I can get at least two more years out of this mower.
  8. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    Actually, I can't see anyone making a fair decision for you with the limited information you've given us. How many lawns do you cut? How big are they? Will you transport the machine in a truck or trailer? Do you want to make money or just have a good time? How much time to you want to spend mowing??? Why get a 36 machine? A 48 cuts better and cuts about 30% more grass in the same time as the 36?
    If you want to cut grass and make money, a hydro is the only way to go. Backing up, or actually mowing backwards is all part of cutting "to make money". Most guy's that cut are still in the dark ages, expecially if they say they don't back up all the time or mow in reverse. I have one "outside" contractor friend that mows once a week with me. He still has a belt drive. When I let him use my hydro, he just laughs at his own machine. When I use his belt drive, I just laugh at his machine, too. As they say good information isn't expensive, it's "priceless". Good luck,
  9. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    i love my gear drive metro 36, can't keep up with it at full throttle in 5th gear. fourth gear is a work out. i don't see why a sulky wouldn't work with a gear system, but then again i am a small guy so i'd pull me all day long like i was never there.

    hydro's would be good on a hill, but i think i'd spend the extra little money and get a lazer z over a hydro WB.
  10. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    I've finally seen the delimma that a 1,100 lb. rider presents. There's a nice complex on a hill that has been mowed for the last 3 years with a rider. After watching the ruts become deeper and deeper, no matter the amount of times they switch cutting directions, this year they are mowing it with WB's. Riders are good for some lawns, but I'm seeing more and more homeowner lawns that are getting ruts from the heavy machines. Frankly, it's the early season mowing, with the rain, that "sets" the ruts that won't go away, later in the year.

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