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October 19, 2006

Racing your riding lawn mower

racing-mowers.jpg There's more to consider than just buying a riding lawn mower. Sure, you want a trouble-free maintenance plan, extended warranty, an affordable repayments scheme but more importantly, you need performance. And not just to mow your lawn either.

It appears that lawn mowers were made for more than just mowing the lawn. Racing lawn mowers is now a growing sport.

According to the Lansing State Journal [Link now removed] it's more than a passing fad as well;

The sport debuted on April Fools' Day 1992 and has grown to include about 500 members in 22 chapters nationwide. There's an annual circuit of 110 races, an official pace mower, a Grass Cutter's Ball to kick off the season and a spokesman nicknamed Mr. Mow-It-All. The association's Web site - - lists "Great Mowments in Racing History," including last week's first land speed record for a mower - 81 mph - set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Drivers race for lawn ornaments, bragging rights and tall trophies, but never money. Locals are invited to bring their backyard mowers, blades removed, to compete in the stock class. These mowers tool around the track at 5-7 mph as crowds cheer them on.

Most competitors make their machines from mowers found on the side of the road with the only limitation being that mowers must have been commercially sold to cut grass and still be capable of mowing lawns, but blades are removed.

So, if you're about to trade your old riding mower or leave it at the disposal site, take another look and consider it's racing options.

June 17, 2006

Swisher ZT2560 Zero Turn Mower

Swisher make the claim that they were the first to introduce the zero turn mower concept and that they did it nearly 50 years ago. If this is true, and who's about to counterclaim it? then one would assume they know what they're talking about when it comes to zero turn mowers.

The ZT2560, with 60" blades, has a larger deck than it's little brother's the ZT2350 and the ZT18542 which carry 50" and 42" blades respectively. It's also powered by a 25hp Briggs & Stratton Extended Life Series engine.

If you compared the Swisher ZT2560 against is the comparable Toro 74249 (Z500 Estate Series) you would find it almost impossible to pass by the Swisher. The Toro carries the same deck but in 7 gauge steel while the Swisher has produced theirs in 11 guage. The Toro sports the same sized engine but it's a Kawasaki which really comes down to preference. I've heard good and bad for both engines.

But the big difference is the price. The Toro will cost you almost double the Swisher. Most retailers price the ZT2560 around the US$4k mark while the Toro retails for almost US$8k. Why the big difference? I'd love to know.

Continue reading "Swisher ZT2560 Zero Turn Mower" »

May 11, 2006

Tips for buying riding lawn mowers

riding lawn mowers
When you're thinking about buying a new or used riding lawn mower there are many things to consider as you weigh up the pros and cons. As there is quite a difference between new and used it would best to treat each differently when considering your purchase.

Obviously riding lawn mowers are very different to push mowers. You will need to make sure that a riding mower is required for your lawn and will easily be able to access it (these mowers are very heavy to lift). Once you've decided to purchase a riding lawn mower there are some things you will need to consider. Here they are;

New Riding Lawn Mowers

  1. Check if the mower has had any recalls Apart from reading reviews and hearing sales talk there is very little you can discern about a new riding mower without actually using it. There is no service history and no neighbour to give his opinion on his own experience of the machine.

    However, investigating the mower to see if it has had any recalls can be a clue to how the mower may perform in the future. If the mower dealership is still selling them then you have a good chance of knowing that the problem has already been rectified. If they're not available when you're ready to purchase it could be a good indication that the problem hasn't been, or won't be, fixed in the short term anyhow.

    No manufacturer of riding lawn mowers is immune either. John Deere had a spate of recalls on it's GX85 and SX85 riding mower models due to a fuel tank that was susceptible to cracking and leaking fuel.

  2. Check lawn mower forums If the riding lawn mower you're searching for has been around for a little while there is a good chance that there are people who have bought them already and are willing to provide an unbiased opinion. Always learn from others mistakes.

  3. Query the warranty Does your preferred riding mower come with a clear warranty and what does the warranty cover? Is it possible to extend the warranty and if you did extend it do the benefits of the extension outweigh the extra charges?

    Warranties are only ever worth the effort if the manufacturer or dealer handles claims efficiently and with limited inconvenience to you. While you're checking the warranty provisions see whether the dealer provides a courtesy riding mower if you need to claim on the warranty.

  4. What are the service costs? Most mower manufacturers are going the same way as car manufacturers. They've realised that they can make more revenue by increasing the amount of service time and parts required to keep your riding mower running.

Continue reading "Tips for buying riding lawn mowers" »

April 21, 2006

Husqvarna's New 155 AWD Rider Lawn Mowers

husqvarna-AWD-155-ride-on-m.jpg Sporting articulated steering and a Kohler 15hp engine the new Husqvarna consumer model, the R155, is set to be a winner. The All Wheel Drive (AWD) feature, which is still new technology for most cars, has now headed onto our lawns with the arrival of this new riding mower. Where it was once difficult to mow because of slippery lawn slopes or soggy grass patches, the 155 can now easily navigate through them. The AWD function is automatic and engages once it senses a loss of traction.

The R155 comes with a 103cm (41in) cutting width with an optional 112cm (44in) width and 3 cutting blades and with its front mounted cutting deck makes this is a great option for the home gardener. The mower is so versatile with these two options (AWD function and the front cutting deck) that most lawns would easily accommodate it, even lawns that would not usually permit many riding mowers to access.

The R155 is the base version mower, which most gardeners looking for this type of mower will purchase, but there are other versions available. The 15-V2 is a similar but more expensive version of the R155 with the major difference being the V-Twin engine. Two other versions the PR18 and PF21 are much larger mowers carrying 18hp and 21hp engines respectively and are more aimed at the commercial lawn mower.

If your lawn has multiple obstacles, including low lying shrubs and garden beds, then the R155 would more suited to you than a mid-mounted ride-on. However, if your lawn is large with few obstacles then a cheaper tractor mower may be a better option.

Husqvarna do offer a non-AWD version of the R155, the only difference being the lack of the AWD function. However, if your lawn doesn't have slopes or areas where traction is important it may be a cheaper alternative.

Price: The R155 retails in Australia for A$6,995 and approx US$4,000 in the States.

Source: The Husqvarna International Site

April 17, 2006

Cub Cadet GT Series 3000 Review

MTD's flagship Cub Cadet is offering two large ride-ons for the above average lawn. While most lawn mowing enthusiasts won't be in the market for these powerful mowers it's easy to appreciate (and possibly drool) over these two big boys.

The 3100 which is powered by a 23hp Kohler engine is ample for the large lawn while the 3200 sports a 25hp Kohler is really only required when you just have to have the biggest. Both these mowers would be wasted for areas that are smaller than 6+acres but would be great for medium sized lawn contractors.

They both feature RevTEKâ„¢ Reverse Mowing Technology which allows mowing in forward or reverse until the operator leaves the tractor seat, turns the key back to normal or turns off the engine.

The attachments available give the consumer more options such as tillers, aerators, vacuum sweepers, snow blowers and the list goes on.

Continue reading "Cub Cadet GT Series 3000 Review" »

  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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