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Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: rz
Date: April 25, 2021 08:15PM
I just moved from a 1/4 acre in the city to 1.6 acres in the 'burbs. My faithful Toro push mower isn't going to cut it (pun sorta intended). So I'm looking for a riding mower. Spoke to my BIL who has one, and he said i should look for one that has a combination cutting/mulching blade. My Toro push mower has that and I really like not having to bag anything. His Cub Cadet uses different blades for each, and he wishes he didn't have to change blades every fall. If it were me, I'd leave the mulching blade on all the time, but whatever. Let me know what you have and if you like it.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: pdq
Date: April 25, 2021 08:21PM
Yeah, I think you could prolly leave the mulching blades on all the time. I do.

I got the cheapest John Deere in existence; so far, so good.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 25, 2021 08:44PM
I love my Cub Cadet. Hydrostatic transmission. Fuel injection (because I hate carburetors).
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 25, 2021 08:57PM
if I had to get one, I would get an electric one like this

[egopowerplus.com]
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: April 25, 2021 09:31PM
agree smiley



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: wowzer
Date: April 26, 2021 12:41AM
Do a bit of reading. Find a dealer nearby in case you need servicing. These machines need oil changes, like cars. Also, do you have a lot of hills? Stability is important.

Mulching is fine, but don’t bag the cut grass as you will need to use fertilizer. Just let the dying grass compost in place.

1.6 acres is a decent lawn, but will you need to brush hog the trees and weeds on the edge? I’m looking into a subcompact tractor for my 3.5 acre lot. Are you looking at a zero point turn unit? They are supposed to be fastest, w great cuts. Are you planning on any garden work for the machine? If so, then you may want a lawn tractor instead. The uses of a ztm mower is limited, but really good at mowing lawns.

JD has good units, but there are a lot of companies which sell ztm.



All I ever really needed to know, I learned from watching Star Trek.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: Speedy
Date: April 26, 2021 04:36AM
I love my Deere Z425 zero turn mower. We’ve lived here over thirty years and watched as all the neighbors went from conventional riders to zero turn as their old mowers bit the dust.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: April 26, 2021 05:27AM
For the most part, mowers are pretty simple engine-wise. I would look for a used one in good shape and slightly larger than you need. You should be able to save quite a bit that way.

Changing blades on a ZTR is easier than a mid-deck, but either can be done without too much problem. I put Gatorblades on my Deere and they do very well.

The EGO is a nice option, but get a 10 percent off coupon and find a veteran (if you aren't one) to use their discount too - that could knock about $750 off the price.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 26, 2021 11:24AM
rz --- if you have tools and don't mind the upkeep and expense of new parts, a ~20 yr old Deere could be a good option for well under $1000 and be tough enough to anything a megabuck Deere that's new can do ... I don't see the cheap Deeres sold at Home Depot or whatever as good investments.

But it's almost a hobby; I went through 3 used models before settling on my current, a nice 265. I needed something tough enough for our rough terrain but ugly enough not to care what I ran over, and there's nothing new that I'd want to do that with.

->> Have a place to store it if you want it to last. <<-
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: rz
Date: April 26, 2021 01:13PM
Thanks for the input. No hills (Florida), but there is a septic drainfield in the front yard that has a couple of uneven parts. Zero turn would be great, but the price tag is kinda high. That Ego zero turn runs about $5K. Not sure how long those electric mowers are going to last though.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 26, 2021 02:17PM
Not sure how long those electric mowers are going to last though.

The value of your time notwithstanding, only push mowers have good value in my experience. Every riding mower is a pile of simple and moronic complexity waiting to annoy you on that one day of the week you are available to use it. Ask me how I really feel about riding mowers.

You get to practice your bike tire patch or replacement skills, only on something more difficult than a bike tire. You get to replace fuel lines, possibly with removing the entire deck from the frame. You get to chase down fuses and buried relays. Old gas from last year? Oops.

Belt driven drivetrains and blades are simple yet unreliable, requiring regular belt changes, and often with physical moves that would make a gymnast sweat. A long belt requires guides, idlers, and other tricks to keep the belt where it needs to be except when it's not wanted there. Those parts wear out, $20+ at a time and you're on your back replacing them.

Zero turns thankfully eliminate the belt drivetrain, substituting two hydrostatic transmissions. A hydro trans is a really great convenience, wouldn't own any kind of riding mower without one, but they are expensive to replace and zero turns have TWO. (Well, maybe not that electric one.)

Non-zero turn steering: An old car style worm and sector gearbox is considered sophisticated, and will be very easy to steer. It'll feel like power steering: magic. Cheap models have only two direct gears never lubed that will produce Popeye forearms. Seriously ... with two competing models just sitting there see which one you can turn pretty easily with one hand.

ProTips:
1) Pay attention to deck thickness. Thin steel bends easily causing belt pulley alignment issues and early rust. This is reason enough to stay away from the cheaper models.

2) Get something long enough to reach and poke underneath the deck, to knock away or hose away grass and mud. This is why decks rust (I have a local welder I pay), because if I COULD find a replacement deck for my 265 it would cost $1000 all by itself.

3) Try to get one with grease (zerk) fittings for the pulley bearings. Riding mower deck spindles are another expensive replacement item no push mower owner ever hears about. Some deck pulley spindles cost $30, some $130. Some are easy to replace, some are miserable to replace. They usually come with sealed bearings, which translates into X number of years before they seize. But if you have the kind with zerk fittings you splooge grease in there each year and they'll never go bad.

4) Related to #2, some deck designs collect grass clippings on top of them and the grass pools around the pulleys. Now you have rust. Still using the safety covers for the pulleys/belts? Now you have concealed rust. Be vigilant and get rid of that grass. No matter the temp, it's always carrying moisture.

1.6 acres is looking like a nice Honda with hydrostatic direct drive. Take care of it and it might outlast your house. Or maybe just hire a neighborhood kid?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2021 02:21PM by deckeda.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: AllGold
Date: April 26, 2021 08:13PM
Zero turn mowers are more expensive, but not only are they easier to maneuver, they have higher blade speeds and can cut faster.



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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: rz
Date: April 27, 2021 08:24AM
Ugh, now you're making me rethink this. I can hire someone to cut the lawn, but that's expensive too. Don't know any of the neighbors yet except the little old lady across the street, and the woman with a teenage daughter next to them. I talked to their lawn guy, who said our lawn was too big for his little crew. Even if I find someone, it'll probably be a few hundred a month to just cut and trim.

I'm not a car/engine kind of guy. Talk of transmissions, fuses and relays go right over my head. And I have no desire to learn. My Toro push mower has been great. Got the first one in 2004. Only had to take it in for service once. I got rid of it after 12 years because the deck was rusting. Bought the latest Toro they had 5 years ago and haven't had to take it in for any service, other than bringing the blade in to be sharpened.
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: AllGold
Date: April 27, 2021 02:31PM
You probably want to find a local (non-chain) mower/outdoor place and talk to them.

You can also check Craigslist. There you might find a mower store or a guy who fixes and resells, but for individual listings of used mowers, it's probably the wrong time of year for that (end of the mowing season is when most of the deals appear).



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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: freeradical
Date: April 27, 2021 03:31PM
John Deere rocks!

[youtu.be]
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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: AllGold
Date: April 27, 2021 08:45PM
Quote
freeradical
John Deere rocks!

[youtu.be]

LOL!



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Re: Recommend a riding mower
Posted by: AllGold
Date: April 29, 2021 11:15PM
No matter how you slice it [rimshot], getting 1.6 acres mowed is going to cost you.

Personally, I think I would rather invest in some good equipment rather than pay a service in perpetuity to do it. Plus, as you have discovered, it might be difficult to find someone to do that much.

I really like the idea of electric but for a yard that large, I'm not sure electric is ready yet. In addition to the $5K Ego that s-t linked, I just saw a $4K Cub Cadet LT42E in Home Despot. It has a (what appears to be built-in) big Li-Ion battery that lets it "cut up to 2 acres on a full charge." A similar gas Cub Cadet costs significantly less, but the electric does have the advantage of no oil or gas and no belts. Apparently, the blades are direct drive.



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