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ZTR cutting speeds does it matter?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nosparkplugs, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,444

    The fastest cutting ZTR I have owned to date was the Scag Tiger Cub's 48" velocity decks, and they were rated at 12mph. I never could sustain that 12mph speed for any lenght of time, poor cut quality and the mower beat you & itself up. When you get into the thick & wet spring grass I cannot see mowing at 15mph, and getting a quality manicured cut/result equal to a slower rate of speed, does the laws of physics apply?

    I am now using the slowest ZTR the Walker at 5 mph,:laugh: and still getting the jobs done quicker than when I was running Scag midmounts on highly visible commercial & high end residentals. Many said that would never happen not true. With that said I am needing to retire the old JD Ztrack F-680 60" 7-Iron 10mph top speed:laugh: to second back-up status over 6 years of trouble free service. I'm going to have to purchase something early this next season at least a 60" or larger to help "knock out" the huge wide area's I maintain.

    The last thing I have always looked at is the top speed of a ZTR, I would rather have a well designed mower, deck, and reliable powerful engine, with low end stump pulling torque to consume & digest the thick grass in this zone of the country. In reality, I think that I would not use the top speed, and be happy with a 12mph or less with a quality cut; although I guess with all new midmount ZTR's the high top speeds have become the new "standard" in the market.

    So in the end we all post threads about many subjects on Lawnsite; consequently members always hijack the thread with the speed debate to over come that companies shortfalls posted in the thread? I enjoy to see the trends or patterns form; which is what company makes the faster ZTR. Speed is not everything in the whole ZTR picture
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  2. Happy Frog

    Happy Frog LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,224

    Go get yourself a Bad Boy AOS diesel and be done with it...
    You can use it at any speed up to 15 mph :cool2:
  3. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I think it all depends on what your needs are. I too own a Walker and it is great in some situations. I also bought a Hustler SuperZ 31/66" a couple of months ago for the larger properties and the rough areas. On the big and rough properties this is the most productive mower I have ever owned and I have owned many brands. You are right that I cannot run full speed in all situations but there is places I can. Like I said when I was demoing different brands that my Hustler was not the best overall cutting but it was by far the most comfortable and best handling to me. So to me I would have to say in certain situations that speed is very important.
  4. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,548

    I can cut full speed on dry grass (afternoon cutting) and if I'm only removing 2" or so with my Gravely. I think it goes 13 or 14 MPH.

    The speed also comes in handy when moving around property, front to back etc.
  5. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    The Tiger Cubs I've read about all top out at 10mph, not 12.

    I've said it before,....if you don't see a need for a fast mower, then YOU don't need one.

    For others, speed is important.

    With the speed of my SuperZ, I can double cut a large lawn almost as quick as someone else can cut it once. End result.....my cut is PERFECT with a nice checkerboard pattern.

    If you find it hard to stay in a seat at speed, lower your tire pressure.
  6. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Speed is important to me. This is why I am buying a Hustler.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    My experience with speed is two-fold:

    One, I love it, so don't throttle my machine!
    Two, it doesn't cut so good at those speeds.

    As was said, it beats me and the machine to death, the cut doesn't look so hot,
    and slow or fast in terms of quality, if I go fast I have to double and triple cut it
    so by the time it's all said and done it takes about the same length of time.

    It's also dangerous, straight up those high speeds anything could happen, equipment damages and then customer item
    breakage (such as when clipping or running into things) cost as much, as they say haste makes waste but if it wasn't
    for equipment speed this job wouldn't be no fun.

    A lot of it also has to do with knowing the turf, remembering each yard for its little details and then maneuvering the machine
    in such a way that the bumps and ruts of that particular yard's turf have the least impact, this takes time but learn the yard.

    So I like the speed, personally I don't have to cut wide open but I like having that option, even if it doesn't look so good it sure
    comes in handy when I'm pressed for time. Other than that I like pushing my mower not quite to the top end but to where it is
    really cutting a lot of grass and where a double cut leaves a nice finish, I probably mow most lawns at around 8-10 mph,
    the top speed of my mower is somewhere in the 13mph range, my Wb's do 7-8 and it's just darned nice to have the option.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2008
  8. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,656

    I have a 72" Lazer Z XS and just this week with minimal growth I was able to cut many places at full speed (12mph) with a near perfect cut quality. I find the only times I can gut at that speed are when I'm cutting off an inch and a half or less of growth. If I'm trying to cut off more the cut quality diminishes as you'd expect.
  9. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    I have tried a lot of faster machines but my ferris is rocket crazy. I have road a hustler at 15 mph and my ferris is suposed to be 10 mph. Now everyone that has road my ferris has said that is the fastest machine they ever been on. Now I have 2 of these machines and my second one is no where near my first. I dont know why it is like this but it is.

    Now to the point. I can cut full speed in august but no way in any other circumstances. The only benefit to having that speed is transporting from property to property is nice.
  10. djflats

    djflats LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 460

    The ground speed spec is one of the specs I looked at 1st for a while. After cutting on my ZTR I realize it's not that important to me. The ground is pretty rough around here so there are only select areas where I can really "open" it up. I guess with something like a Hustler with suspension seat and flex forks or a Ferris would help in utilizing the speed factor.
    To me 10 mph max is all I would need. Of course I'd love to have the big Hustler running at 15 mph but that would be hard to justify getting since I'm just a homeowner w/ a little over 5 acres to cut.

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