ZTR...Mid Deck or Out Front Deck?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Andrew & Ben's Lawn Care, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Andrew & Ben's Lawn Care

    Andrew & Ben's Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Getting a new mower this month but I don't know the advantages or disadvantages of the deck placement. Would like some input on this before I buy.
  2. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    A very low percentage of ZTR's sold are front mount. The mid mount is the overwhelming choice for most people.

    Some of the advantages of a front mount are ability to trim under tree's and fences. Lots of attachments. Decks can be powered and lifted for easy access to blades and deck cleaning. You could go to the grasshopper site which will list some of the pro's and con's.

    If you have to ask you probably want to stick with the mid mounts.
  3. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,468

    Plus, a front mount mows the grass before any wheels have had a chance to pack it down. Still, most guys go with a mid mount these days. One reason is they are shorter and fit more easily on a trailer with more than one mower. Another, is that you need to get used to a much longer tail swing on a front mount.
  4. Andrew & Ben's Lawn Care

    Andrew & Ben's Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Thanks guys, that does it for me. Because most of my a accounts are residentials, I don't need the long tail swing. The mid mount decks don't seem to slow anyone down do, that's what I'll go with.
  5. SouthSide Cutter

    SouthSide Cutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,331

    Had Grasshopper out front for years then went to midmount. I think they are faster over all. Don't think midmounts make the yard look as good. If I wasn't doing this as a business I would go back to the Grasshopper out front. Just my 2 cents and I have had both.
  6. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    don't know if you have decided yet but I have both. Advantages of a front deck: They float better, easier to change blades, shaft drive and less belt wear, you can put the deck to places to tight for the whole mower, you have better control over the mower because your drive wheels are in the middle of the mower, they do loads better on hills, you can get on shrubs, trees, and an added bonus you can you the front deck as a trailer to hold branches and what not if you are doing yard work.

    The down side, they are 3 foot longer, I don't notice it. I do 1/8 acre lots with my 61inch 8.5 foot long mower with no problems.

    The pro of a mid mount, they are shorter, the con is that they scalp like crazy.
  7. SouthSide Cutter

    SouthSide Cutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,331

    They wont scalp if you put the scalp rollers down. I got mine about as low as they go. Have to raise deck when turning on 23/4 and lower or it will tear out turf. But they dont scalp anymore. But you need new scalp rolles every year.
  8. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I think you just added to the cons :laugh: Not all decks have adjustable scalp wheels either. Lastec and encore make the only mid mounts with a full flotation deck like a front deck
  9. McVey Landscape

    McVey Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Walk behinds. Love my Exmark Turf Tracers. Own two of them and a ZTR. The walk behinds will out mow the ZTR in most yards where there is not much open area.
  10. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,429

    Hey, I had a 722D Hopper front deck, a turf tiger, and a bad boy lightning on my mowing rig in 06. The hopper was nice to lift the deck up at the end of the day to sharpen blades, and clean out deck, good for hills, nice to see everything your deck is hitting, singing over pools and into bushes, never tore turf when turning (even when doing it fast). The negatives.....wouldn't cut wet grass, didn't "sling" grass like the other mowers kinda set it down beside the deck waiting for the hay bailer to come by and pick up...lol, seems like everytime my wife would mow on it she would knock a tombstone over with the rear swing, had to always get oversized trailers for it, had no guts whatsoever (lost alot of power from the deck to the motor, so it would die alot on me, if there was moisture in the grass at all forget it. I had to do alot of forward and backward mowing if you know what I mean). I have done alot of research, and walker is ten times the cutter the Hopper is, but so expensive, and Zipper makes one of the best and lowest priced front decks right now. They have a front deck 25hp Kawasaki with 1 gear box (no power loss) for $7499 and $7999, and their top of the line 64" with powerfold deck 28hp Kawasaki is just a hair over $10000. They discharge grass better and the diamond plate chrome is nice, and the simplier electronics seems to be easier to work as opposed to the Hopper.I leave the front decks to the old timers that worry about not getting off the ground, and putt around, and I am all the way mid deck due to the sheer production level of a mid-deck. I promise you when we bought the TT mid after just having a front, our profit margins sky rocketed, the time we spent on yards went down, and our finished cut quality went up tremendously. On our high end yards I would take a Stihl BR600 and blow the clumps of grass on every pass I made with the hopper (I thought all mowers did that). When I went to a mid deck I could mow in the pouring down rain and it would still blow grass out 6 feet.....

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