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2016 Z950M (800 hrs) vs new Z740R?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends - first post! Happy to join the group. I could really use your experience and advice.

I've been nursing a 13 year old LA145 lawn tractor with a banged-up 48" deck that conveyed with our 3 acres a few years back. In the last year I've spent more time under it than on it. The front acre is thick zoysia grass on rolling slopes (nothing big, except the roadside ditch). The back 2 acres is field grass with lots of obstacles - trees, sheds, fenced garden, chicken run, etc. Super rough back there. Lots of roots and moles... plus two big dogs that turn the mole tunnels into open trenches digging for them.

I've got a great JD dealer near me that I've been talking to about x500 lawn tractors, 1 Series subcompacts, and zero turn for almost 2 years - without buying anything except parts for the old LA145... So yeah, it's time.

Here's what I'm considering:

2016 Z950M with almost 800 hours - pneumatic tires, 60 inch deck - suspension seat w comfort glide - $7,000 - no warranty
New Z740R - pneumatic tires, 60 inch deck - suspension seat, but no comfort glide - $9,000 - 4 year warranty

Because of the better financing rate on new vs used, the difference in price after 5 years (assuming similar maintenance costs would make the Z950M just $1,300 less expensive than the new Z740R.

At 800 hours over 5 years, it seems a bit high for homeowner use, but a bit low for a full commercial mower (depending on acreage). I know it was a single owner and I know they did their own maintenance. Looks to be in good shape.

Thoughts? Pros/cons? Expected maintenance on the Z950M? How many hours is too many for the Z950M?

It really comes down to new with warranty, but a less beefy unit vs a true commercial mower that might have hidden maintenance.

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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That price on the z950m is high imo, you should be able to get one with much lower hours for that price.
 
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I was talking with another member that was in a similar boat and in the end he went Z740R. I was looking around at used Z9xx machines and the price for that Z950M is ok, a little high. I want to say there were a few Z950Rs locally here for about the same price.

As for hours. I have a Z950R, use it for my yard, it is a 2015 and I have under 300 hrs.

From talking to the other member, he was saying the Z740R has basically the same drives, the same class engine (23.5HP vs the 27 on the Z950M).

As for what to get, I wanted the extra HP over the Z915B now called the Z915E because I run the collection system in the fall. I can say we have a lot of pine trees along our property line and if I get back in the pine needles even without the collection system I can start to bog down the 27HP engine with the 60" deck. Not that much grass grows there but it happens. With more hills the extra HP might be nice but I don't know what your yard looks like.

The biggest decision is going to be if you care about a warranty. I had a PTO switch fail under warranty. They also replaced the PTO. Well they replaced the PTO first but I suspect it was just the switch which is a known issue with the plunger style that I think they still had in 2016. After replacing they PTO it still didn't work so they replaced the switch. It failed again out of warranty, the switch that is, I replaced it with the rocker style which requires a modified harness, which was about $40 in parts. The hardest part is the opening in the panel needs to be made a bit bigger but that wasn't too hard.

I can't speak for working on a Z7xx but I don't see how it is any different. The hardest part is getting it up off the ground. For changing blades I use the FEL on my X585 to pick up the front, set it on jack stands and change them. I did the major service at 250 hrs (well did it closer to 200 hrs last spring). None of it was hard. There isn't much to these machines. Even the slightly more complex R version.

I don't know how much comfort glide helps. There are some people here that have it and Tweels and swear by it. I have never run a machine with either and I can't run Tweels as they are not compatible with the collection system. I don't know why for sure but suspect it is because of the machine getting too heavy with the hopper. I saw a Deere guide that stated what the max load was for Tweels and I could see getting past that with a hopper full of wet grass or leaves.
 

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Henderson, here's how you deal with a John Dealer. If you like the 2016 Z50M tractor with the 800 hours. Which mean the previous owner(s) ran it 200 hours a year, and that is unbelievable. hours for a 4 year old mower. Write out a check for $5,200.00 and when you are making the decision on the Z950m, hand him the check and see if his/she excepts it. If so. you may have done a lucky draw of the cards.
 

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Here are a few comparison units not far from me.

2016 Z950R with 880 hrs so pretty close. I am not sure how much more a "R" would be worth over a "M". $6000

2017 Z950R 696hrs with MOD deck (I would personally avoid this deck) and collection system $7000

2016 Z950M 730hrs $6000

2016 Z930M with 3000hrs :oops: $4750 there is a photo of the hr meter at 2970 so the description has a typo. Included because wow!!! Shows what they can do if cared for.

This gives you an idea of what they are asking now for them. I guess a pro for the Z9xx is you are not going to take a huge depreciation hit on it. A Z950M was probably around $12K new so they are half price or so at around 800hrs. Warranty is already done so there isn't that hit. Key is going to be finding one well cared for. While these prices are very local to my area, you can easily do a similar search and see what they are going for. Just search for Z950M for sale and there are sites like Tractor House that will have all of them across the country. Well not every one but a lot that are at dealers to get an idea of going prices. There isn't a KBB to really look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Super helpful, friends. Thanks for the quick responses. Looks like most of you guys would go for the 900 series over the new 700 series, which is how I'm leaning, too. Looks like this one is listed a bit high based on comps. I didn't get to test drive it because the battery was dead on the lot - winter... and I showed up out of the blue. They're going to put it through the service department to see what might need to be done to it soon. I'm going back on Friday to test it out. It was traded by a relative of one of their techs, and I've been talking with the same sales person for over a year and I trust her (though I'm not afraid to walk away from a deal for sure). I'm in Virginia, so I don't need to mow for another month, at least, so it'd be easy to walk away right now. That said, I hope it works out.

Any other thoughts? Any issues with either unit that I should consider?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Henderson, here's how you deal with a John Dealer. If you like the 2016 Z50M tractor with the 800 hours. Which mean the previous owner(s) ran it 200 hours a year, and that is unbelievable. hours for a 4 year old mower. Write out a check for $5,200.00 and when you are making the decision on the Z950m, hand him the check and see if his/she excepts it. If so. you may have done a lucky draw of the cards.
I like your negotiation style!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are a few comparison units not far from me.

2016 Z950R with 880 hrs so pretty close. I am not sure how much more a "R" would be worth over a "M". $6000

2017 Z950R 696hrs with MOD deck (I would personally avoid this deck) and collection system $7000

2016 Z950M 730hrs $6000

2016 Z930M with 3000hrs :oops: $4750 there is a photo of the hr meter at 2970 so the description has a typo. Included because wow!!! Shows what they can do if cared for.

This gives you an idea of what they are asking now for them. I guess a pro for the Z9xx is you are not going to take a huge depreciation hit on it. A Z950M was probably around $12K new so they are half price or so at around 800hrs. Warranty is already done so there isn't that hit. Key is going to be finding one well cared for. While these prices are very local to my area, you can easily do a similar search and see what they are going for. Just search for Z950M for sale and there are sites like Tractor House that will have all of them across the country. Well not every one but a lot that are at dealers to get an idea of going prices. There isn't a KBB to really look at.
Wow! Thanks for the effort to pull comps. I'll use them in my negotiation, for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was talking with another member that was in a similar boat and in the end he went Z740R. I was looking around at used Z9xx machines and the price for that Z950M is ok, a little high. I want to say there were a few Z950Rs locally here for about the same price.

As for hours. I have a Z950R, use it for my yard, it is a 2015 and I have under 300 hrs.

From talking to the other member, he was saying the Z740R has basically the same drives, the same class engine (23.5HP vs the 27 on the Z950M).

As for what to get, I wanted the extra HP over the Z915B now called the Z915E because I run the collection system in the fall. I can say we have a lot of pine trees along our property line and if I get back in the pine needles even without the collection system I can start to bog down the 27HP engine with the 60" deck. Not that much grass grows there but it happens. With more hills the extra HP might be nice but I don't know what your yard looks like.

The biggest decision is going to be if you care about a warranty. I had a PTO switch fail under warranty. They also replaced the PTO. Well they replaced the PTO first but I suspect it was just the switch which is a known issue with the plunger style that I think they still had in 2016. After replacing they PTO it still didn't work so they replaced the switch. It failed again out of warranty, the switch that is, I replaced it with the rocker style which requires a modified harness, which was about $40 in parts. The hardest part is the opening in the panel needs to be made a bit bigger but that wasn't too hard.

I can't speak for working on a Z7xx but I don't see how it is any different. The hardest part is getting it up off the ground. For changing blades I use the FEL on my X585 to pick up the front, set it on jack stands and change them. I did the major service at 250 hrs (well did it closer to 200 hrs last spring). None of it was hard. There isn't much to these machines. Even the slightly more complex R version.

I don't know how much comfort glide helps. There are some people here that have it and Tweels and swear by it. I have never run a machine with either and I can't run Tweels as they are not compatible with the collection system. I don't know why for sure but suspect it is because of the machine getting too heavy with the hopper. I saw a Deere guide that stated what the max load was for Tweels and I could see getting past that with a hopper full of wet grass or leaves.
I looked hard at the new x585 and the x590 to replace my old LA145. They're awesome. I just wish they had a tougher deck than the standard yellow deck. That's what's trashed on the LA145. I'm keeping it for the snow blade and towing a yard cart around the yard. I've seen a couple aftermarket FELs for the X500 and X700 series, but by the time you buy both, you might as well get a 1 Series 1025R or 1023E.

I do like the Z740R and I'm sure wil be happy with it if I go that route. Thanks for the research!
 

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Wow! Thanks for the effort to pull comps. I'll use them in my negotiation, for sure.
Not a problem. Keep in mind they are all from one dealer network. I had just sent most of those over to the other member anyhow so I knew they were out there.

Here is the search on Tractor House. You can look at some more comps, maybe some closer to you.


I looked hard at the new x585 and the x590 to replace my old LA145. They're awesome. I just wish they had a tougher deck than the standard yellow deck. That's what's trashed on the LA145. I'm keeping it for the snow blade and towing a yard cart around the yard. I've seen a couple aftermarket FELs for the X500 and X700 series, but by the time you buy both, you might as well get a 1 Series 1025R or 1023E.

I do like the Z740R and I'm sure wil be happy with it if I go that route. Thanks for the research!
I don't know how much you are looking at a machine like this but keep in mind they went through some model number changes. I have a X585 from 2002. They went through a model renumbering where the 2wd X4xx machines and 4wd X5xx machines became what we now call the X7xx. Then they came out with smaller machines in the X5xx range. Really confusing for people. So while I have a X585 it is the grandfather to the X738 and really shares little with what is called a X590 today. The main difference between my old machine and the new one is mine is manual select 2wd or 4wd where the new ones are AWD. That and some plastic changes. This has burned people when they are buying used equipment for instance someone picks up a used plow and quick hitch that came off say a X585 or X595 assuming it would attach to a X590 but there is no way to make it work. It would fit a X7xx just fine though.

So when you are seeing FELs for X500 and X700 they are likely talking the old X500 and current X700. For example this is the one I have. Fits John Deere X475, X485, X495, X585, X595 and all X700 series from 2002 through 2012


That is pretty much one of the thoughts about why they don't do the JD FEL on the X7xx. As you pointed out, by the time you buy a FEL you would be at the price of a 1025R. More so if you throw other options at a X7xx like a 3pt and rear PTO which come with the 1 series. There still some benefits too the X7xx, I will always argue it is a better mower than a 1. It is just a little lighter, more maneuverable more so if you get 4ws. It is heavier on the garden with a light capability of a utility machine. The 1 is more utility so it would be worth looking at what your real needs are. For instance I really don't like that there is no independent control of the 3pt from other hydraulics like a FEL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was talking with another member that was in a similar boat and in the end he went Z740R. I was looking around at used Z9xx machines and the price for that Z950M is ok, a little high. I want to say there were a few Z950Rs locally here for about the same price.

As for hours. I have a Z950R, use it for my yard, it is a 2015 and I have under 300 hrs.

From talking to the other member, he was saying the Z740R has basically the same drives, the same class engine (23.5HP vs the 27 on the Z950M).

As for what to get, I wanted the extra HP over the Z915B now called the Z915E because I run the collection system in the fall. I can say we have a lot of pine trees along our property line and if I get back in the pine needles even without the collection system I can start to bog down the 27HP engine with the 60" deck. Not that much grass grows there but it happens. With more hills the extra HP might be nice but I don't know what your yard looks like.

The biggest decision is going to be if you care about a warranty. I had a PTO switch fail under warranty. They also replaced the PTO. Well they replaced the PTO first but I suspect it was just the switch which is a known issue with the plunger style that I think they still had in 2016. After replacing they PTO it still didn't work so they replaced the switch. It failed again out of warranty, the switch that is, I replaced it with the rocker style which requires a modified harness, which was about $40 in parts. The hardest part is the opening in the panel needs to be made a bit bigger but that wasn't too hard.

I can't speak for working on a Z7xx but I don't see how it is any different. The hardest part is getting it up off the ground. For changing blades I use the FEL on my X585 to pick up the front, set it on jack stands and change them. I did the major service at 250 hrs (well did it closer to 200 hrs last spring). None of it was hard. There isn't much to these machines. Even the slightly more complex R version.

I don't know how much comfort glide helps. There are some people here that have it and Tweels and swear by it. I have never run a machine with either and I can't run Tweels as they are not compatible with the collection system. I don't know why for sure but suspect it is because of the machine getting too heavy with the hopper. I saw a Deere guide that stated what the max load was for Tweels and I could see getting past that with a hopper full of wet grass or leaves.
Thanks so much for the detailed reply. I test drove the Z740R with Tweels and liked them. They would help with the ride, from what I understand too. Just hard to justify the extra $1000 not being a commercial cutter.
 

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Thanks so much for the detailed reply. I test drove the Z740R with Tweels and liked them. They would help with the ride, from what I understand too. Just hard to justify the extra $1000 not being a commercial cutter.
They were just coming out when I got my machine and I looked into Tweels. Everyone has their own thoughts on things.

Here are my $0.02....

For me they were not an option because of the collection system as I mentioned because of the weight is my guess.

That said I did like the idea of them. Was it enough to maybe skip the collection system? For me it was a no and here is why. I totally understand a use case for them. The commercial mower operator... They are cutting yards that they may not know if they were re roofed since the last time they were there and now there are nails or other debris in the yard. Time is money, if they are down for a flat tire, that is costing them money putting them behind. If those machines are not moving all the time they are costing money. That is why many of these operators buy new machines, run them a few years and trade them in on new ones. Depreciation is a business expense.

I am cutting my yard and none of these are true. Time is still time but if I had a flat tire, it isn't that big of a deal to repair it and mow the next day. I know what is in my yard for the most part. Still have surprises from the kids here and there. I am not trading in the machine every couple years and here comes the issue... Eventually you will likely need to change tires. If you have a problem with a tweel, you have to replace them in pairs. I don't think you can even order one. Granted not something that would need to be done very often but they were a $1000 option and about that every time they need to be replaced. A new tire is cheap in comparison. If you are new to ZTR machines you will find out that traction is very important. Now I didn't know this at the time but there have been people posting here where they have broken spokes on the tweels and had to fight Deere to warranty replace them. They were not running collection systems. The Z9xx machines are heavy.

For me this was enough to skip the bling of tweels. Though there are people here that swear by them which is fine. I have never ridden on a machine with them which is why I never mentioned anything about comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not a problem. Keep in mind they are all from one dealer network. I had just sent most of those over to the other member anyhow so I knew they were out there.

Here is the search on Tractor House. You can look at some more comps, maybe some closer to you.




I don't know how much you are looking at a machine like this but keep in mind they went through some model number changes. I have a X585 from 2002. They went through a model renumbering where the 2wd X4xx machines and 4wd X5xx machines became what we now call the X7xx. Then they came out with smaller machines in the X5xx range. Really confusing for people. So while I have a X585 it is the grandfather to the X738 and really shares little with what is called a X590 today. The main difference between my old machine and the new one is mine is manual select 2wd or 4wd where the new ones are AWD. That and some plastic changes. This has burned people when they are buying used equipment for instance someone picks up a used plow and quick hitch that came off say a X585 or X595 assuming it would attach to a X590 but there is no way to make it work. It would fit a X7xx just fine though.

So when you are seeing FELs for X500 and X700 they are likely talking the old X500 and current X700. For example this is the one I have. Fits John Deere X475, X485, X495, X585, X595 and all X700 series from 2002 through 2012


That is pretty much one of the thoughts about why they don't do the JD FEL on the X7xx. As you pointed out, by the time you buy a FEL you would be at the price of a 1025R. More so if you throw other options at a X7xx like a 3pt and rear PTO which come with the 1 series. There still some benefits too the X7xx, I will always argue it is a better mower than a 1. It is just a little lighter, more maneuverable more so if you get 4ws. It is heavier on the garden with a light capability of a utility machine. The 1 is more utility so it would be worth looking at what your real needs are. For instance I really don't like that there is no independent control of the 3pt from other hydraulics like a FEL.
You really know your machines! I've been (over)analyzing my needs for the last 3 years since we moved. That's why I've gone through so many options without buying anything. I had a typo earlier when I typed x585. I looked at an x584 and the x590. You're so right - the older x585 is simply a different class of machine vs the newer x584. The 4 wheel steer looks like a nightmare to service myself, but it is maneuverable. The x590 has tons of utility, but no FEL - and you're right again - no 3pt which really pushes new buyers to the 1 Series.

In the end, what I really have is 3 acres of grass - thick southern Zoysia in the front and super rough old pasture in the back - and lots of obstacles to navigate. I'd love a SCUT - even had a great deal all but inked on a super low hour 2305 last year - but I just can't justify the extra cost and weight when 90% of the time, I'll just use it to mow.

Going the zero-turn route, I can rent a FEL for mulch - or buy a pallet of bags, which are easier to distribute and spread anyway. I can rent a trencher to dig a better line for electricity and water out to the chicken coop. I could even buy a decent rear tine tiller for the garden. All for less combined than the cost of the 1025R.

I've tried to convince myself that I NEED the 1025R. I come from a dairy farming family. Grandpa was a Deere man. Even in retirement, he still mowed the church with a 2 Series (very hilly so a ztr would have been a bad choice anyway) and plowed the parking lot in cold Upstate New York winters. Even his recent passing and thinking of him on that tractor hasn't been enough to distract me from the truth of what I need for what I have to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They were just coming out when I got my machine and I looked into Tweels. Everyone has their own thoughts on things.

Here are my $0.02....

For me they were not an option because of the collection system as I mentioned because of the weight is my guess.

That said I did like the idea of them. Was it enough to maybe skip the collection system? For me it was a no and here is why. I totally understand a use case for them. The commercial mower operator... They are cutting yards that they may not know if they were re roofed since the last time they were there and now there are nails or other debris in the yard. Time is money, if they are down for a flat tire, that is costing them money putting them behind. If those machines are not moving all the time they are costing money. That is why many of these operators buy new machines, run them a few years and trade them in on new ones. Depreciation is a business expense.

I am cutting my yard and none of these are true. Time is still time but if I had a flat tire, it isn't that big of a deal to repair it and mow the next day. I know what is in my yard for the most part. Still have surprises from the kids here and there. I am not trading in the machine every couple years and here comes the issue... Eventually you will likely need to change tires. If you have a problem with a tweel, you have to replace them in pairs. I don't think you can even order one. Granted not something that would need to be done very often but they were a $1000 option and about that every time they need to be replaced. A new tire is cheap in comparison. If you are new to ZTR machines you will find out that traction is very important. Now I didn't know this at the time but there have been people posting here where they have broken spokes on the tweels and had to fight Deere to warranty replace them. They were not running collection systems. The Z9xx machines are heavy.

For me this was enough to skip the bling of tweels. Though there are people here that swear by them which is fine. I have never ridden on a machine with them which is why I never mentioned anything about comfort.
Makes perfect sense. Exactly - for a commercial mower, they're cost effective.
 

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When I went to the dealer and ended up buying my Z950R I went there thinking I was going to sell or trade in my X585 and get a 1025R. This was back in late 2015. My X585 was getting up there in hours and was looking for options.

At the time I wanted a collection system for leaves. My lot is 2.5 acres and I compost my leaves for dirt. Well the only collection system at the time was the 3 bag collection for the 1 series at the time. I didn't want to get off the machine all the time to just dump them on the ground. It made no sense for me being I was coming from my cart on the X585 with probably double the capacity. So I looked at keeping the X585 for FEL work and getting a X739 which is AWD and AWS. That speeds up my mowing in going around all the trees. The maintenance isn't bad on it as it is just linkages. Much of my attachments would go back and forth and having more than one machine isn't an issue for storage. I have plenty of buildings. The more I thought of that option, I wasn't gaining all that much for the cost. So I looked at Z9xx. At the time the only ZTR with a collection system was the Z9xx. Then I kept the X585. It made the most sense at the time. Also being I have a dedicated mower I can take a machine down when out of season for major maintenance. The mower sits all winter and is perfect for major service when I am using the tractor for snow removal.

Today if I was doing the same possible replacement for the X585. Would I have gone Z9xx? I don't know. Now there are other options such as the 2025R with the hopper collection system. I really like that one that is powered by the rear PTO so no belts to blow. However having a Z I like the time I save in mowing which is my one biggest task with a machine. I got the Z950R knowing that once it was paid off I can still replace the X585 with something more utility which is how I really use it. Maybe a 2025R but no mower. Or a 3025E is an option. The Z950R is now paid off and I was thinking around now to pull the trigger on something but with all that is going on with Covid and reduced work hours, we are holding off for now.

For you, every yard is different. A suspension seat is nice but if you are saying your yard is really rough. I hope you have a good dental plan because they will knock every filling in your head loose. A tractor might have a solid rear axle but the front pivots which probably helps smooth things out more than you think. You might want to see if there is a demo at home option to see how a ZTR will even work for you. Tweels, comfort glide or suspension seats can only do so much and I will tell you it will be a rougher ride. My yard is pretty smooth so I can go fast. Where it isn't, I have a FEL and dirt from the compost pile to address those areas. If you are sold on a ZTR and have a rough yard, as much as my blood runs green, look at a Ferris. It is hard to say without knowing your yard but if it really is rough, a tractor might be a better option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When I went to the dealer and ended up buying my Z950R I went there thinking I was going to sell or trade in my X585 and get a 1025R. This was back in late 2015. My X585 was getting up there in hours and was looking for options.

At the time I wanted a collection system for leaves. My lot is 2.5 acres and I compost my leaves for dirt. Well the only collection system at the time was the 3 bag collection for the 1 series at the time. I didn't want to get off the machine all the time to just dump them on the ground. It made no sense for me being I was coming from my cart on the X585 with probably double the capacity. So I looked at keeping the X585 for FEL work and getting a X739 which is AWD and AWS. That speeds up my mowing in going around all the trees. The maintenance isn't bad on it as it is just linkages. Much of my attachments would go back and forth and having more than one machine isn't an issue for storage. I have plenty of buildings. The more I thought of that option, I wasn't gaining all that much for the cost. So I looked at Z9xx. At the time the only ZTR with a collection system was the Z9xx. Then I kept the X585. It made the most sense at the time. Also being I have a dedicated mower I can take a machine down when out of season for major maintenance. The mower sits all winter and is perfect for major service when I am using the tractor for snow removal.

Today if I was doing the same possible replacement for the X585. Would I have gone Z9xx? I don't know. Now there are other options such as the 2025R with the hopper collection system. I really like that one that is powered by the rear PTO so no belts to blow. However having a Z I like the time I save in mowing which is my one biggest task with a machine. I got the Z950R knowing that once it was paid off I can still replace the X585 with something more utility which is how I really use it. Maybe a 2025R but no mower. Or a 3025E is an option. The Z950R is now paid off and I was thinking around now to pull the trigger on something but with all that is going on with Covid and reduced work hours, we are holding off for now.

For you, every yard is different. A suspension seat is nice but if you are saying your yard is really rough. I hope you have a good dental plan because they will knock every filling in your head loose. A tractor might have a solid rear axle but the front pivots which probably helps smooth things out more than you think. You might want to see if there is a demo at home option to see how a ZTR will even work for you. Tweels, comfort glide or suspension seats can only do so much and I will tell you it will be a rougher ride. My yard is pretty smooth so I can go fast. Where it isn't, I have a FEL and dirt from the compost pile to address those areas. If you are sold on a ZTR and have a rough yard, as much as my blood runs green, look at a Ferris. It is hard to say without knowing your yard but if it really is rough, a tractor might be a better option.
Great points. If money weren't an obstacle, I'd have a 1025R for the back and utility tasks with the FEL and then a more basic ztr for the manicured zoysia in the front.

I'm keeping the LA145 to pull two dump trailers, plow the snow (46" JD blade with chains and ballast), pull the dethatcher in the spring, and even pull the wood chipper around the property. Like you, it's hard for me to justify a second lawn tractor just for mowing. One of the biggest things I want from the next mower is durability. The yellow decks on all of the JD lawn tractors - all the way up through the x700s are the thinner yellow decks. I wish they put better decks on the x500 and x700 series lawn tractors. I guess that's how they get you into 1 Series with the 7 Iron...

I've heard good things about the Ferris ztrs, with their suspension frames. Exmark/Toro, Scag, Gravely, Kubota, and Deere are the most common in these parts. I've actually really given thought to the Toro Titan HDs with the My Ride, where the entire driver platform is isolated. I need to drive one. I have a good Toro dealer close by, which is where I got my commercial Echo trimmer and attachments too. They also sell Scag.

Lots to consider.
 

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Maybe once the snow is gone, if not already, and the ground gets a little more firm you can see if they will let you do a demo at home on that Z950M. Even if it is a simulated run around your yard in the rough spots to see what it is going to be like.

I don't disagree that the big green decks are nice but if you are beating up your yellow deck that much I can't imagine what it would be like on a ZTR. The deck might take it but will you be able to? I had what about 13-14 years running a yellow deck on my X585 before retiring it and the deck is fine. It was just getting up there in hours.

I agree that dealer network is an important consideration. So that will likely limit options or maybe make some other possible. I don't know much about the other brands. Ferris is one that I have read a lot of positive things about though.

All this said, there was a time when you could get a 7iron deck for a X7xx. I don't follow them that close so I don't know when they did and when they were dropped. If you are considering used you might be able to find a X7xx with one.

 
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