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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this to the sticky 1 series mower deck adjustment and setup thread (great thread). This post with improvements is a response to a request to place the content in a new thread.

I took delivery of my 1026R Tractor Loader Backhoe a couple days ago. I've had a chance to mow with it and spend 4 hrs working with the FEL and Backhoe. This brief description is in comparison to mowing with an X724, which I will probably sell.

Comparing and contrasting the X724 and 1026R is like comparing a small nimble SUV or Jeep to a large SUV. I can't help but draw this conclusion when contrasting them.

A Toyota analogy: After I had my 4Runner for a few years, we decided that we might want to upgrade to a Sequoia. The 4Runner is very nimble, quick-handing, but somewhat small. We test drove the Sequoia and WOW what a difference! The larger SUV was like a lumbering behemoth in comparison. Turns were slower and took more effort. Stopping wasn't nearly as quick. Body roll was pronounced and the front dipped a lot during heavy braking. It took a good bit longer to stop. The ride was a lot rougher and it felt less stable. However, it felt much more solid. We didn't really like the Sequoia at all. It lost many of the qualities we liked about the 4Runner.

Now that I've had a few hours on the 1026R, I can draw a similar comparison to the X724 for grass cutting. Let me just start out by saying that if you just want to cut grass, BY ALL MEANS get the X700 series with AWS - preferably diesel for long life and the deluxe seat which is just awesome. Forget the 1-series - especially if you have many obstacles or slopes. The X700 series with AWS are a grass cutter's dream. They are quick, incredibly nimble, stable, with a low center of gravity, and zip right through the thickest zoyzia grass, bagging or not. Cutting my small lawn on my X724 is actually a lot of fun because it is fairly small with lots of obstacles. When I'm done, I feel like I just ran a road course - and the yard looks great.

Compared to the 1026R - what a difference! Not that the 1-series is bad, it's obviously a tractor first which can "also cut grass because it has a MMM attached." I'd never call it a "lawn mower" or "garden tractor." It's significantly heavier. Although the 1-series can turn really sharply, they're harder to turn because steering effort is greater and more wheel turns are required. You must take care not to turn to quickly or you'll scuff the grass (yes, with turf tires). The lack of AWS makes a big difference when cutting in and around obstacles. The firm ride quality isn't nearly as good, but the deluxe seat certainly is nice. I believe the "cushion travel" on my seat is compromised by the backhoe seat rotation kit, but it's still really nice.

I'm sure part of it is a learning process for me because I'm used to the AWS, but I have to think a bit more when going around obstacles on the 1026R. When/if I sell the X724, it will take me a good bit longer to cut with the 1026R than the X724 because of the extra weight and lack of AWS. Quick sudden turns at decent speed are no problem for the X724, but not recommended on the 1026R. Driving the X724 around the lawn is kinda like a sports car vs a truck-like drive with the 1026R. Mowing takes more operator effort with the 1-series and you have to take more time to avoid scuffing the lawn.

This next thing may be a setup issue with mine: when I cut grass in high range, if I quickly release the forward pedal (even at slow speed), it acts like I hit reverse, so the reverse detector kicks in and shuts off the PTO and engine, then scrolls a message across the dash to the effect of "engage LO" or something (I'll clarify next time I see it). Going to get that checked. In low range, this doesn't happen. Low isn't quite fast enough for efficient grass cutting.

On the other hand, if you have lots of open areas to cut with little or no obstacles, the 1-series might be your ticket. If you need the attachment capability, it certainly is better. I'm not dissing on the 1-series. Sitting side-by-side, they look fairly similar in size. The 1 sits a bit taller - especially the seat. But it's kinda hard to find an X700 series tractor loader backhoe, so I'll keep the 1026R.

footnote: Upgrading from the LX280 (nice machine) to the X724 was amazing. The LX280 was nice, but it would beat you up pretty badly on a rough lawn. The X724 rides like a caddy in comparison. Moving up to the 1-series is like moving from a nimble sedan to a heavy truck.

I have a 3-pt hitch on the X724 and have spent a few hours working my driveway with a box scraper. The 1026R with FEL is much nicer to work with for general dirt moving - my neck appreciates not looking backwards half the time. Back-dragging works great. When I get the 3-pt hitch parts (dealer is looking for them), I'll be able to appreciate a real 3-pt hitch position control.

Photos, as promised...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It must be the AWS being the difference.
I'll bet that's the case. Also, I can't mow in a straight line for more than 5 seconds in my lawn, so that's probably a huge contributing factor in my comparison. On a large lawn with long straight passes, you might notice the 700 series has a better ride quality - it's cushy in comparison. The 1-series seems to have better power compared to the gas engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank for taking the ime for writing this. Welcome!!!

How does the 7 iron deck compare?

That lawn looks immaculate and soooo smooth!
I didn't get the 7-iron deck. Maybe someone else can chime in?

Both are 54" sized to fit between some tight spots. I haven't cut enough with them to tell much of a difference. The 1-series seems to feel more "industrial" while cutting - maybe due to the newness and the diesel power?

Thanks for the compliment on the lawn. El toro zoysia will look like that this time of year after cutting :) It's getting a bit bumpy lately, so I will be figuring out how to fix that soon. If you wait too long between cuttings, your mower will have some challenges grinding through it - and you better have a bagger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I put HDAP tires on my 1026R. The ride is now better than anything I have mowed with, including a 425 AWS, 455 & X475 with a deluxe seat.
I ordered my 1026R with turf tires. It rides well at standard pressure.

After a second mowing comparison (the zoysia grows fast), I'm getting more accustomed to the 1-series. Even so, I still stand by my original comparison. I didn't experience the RIO cutting in when releasing the forward pedal again while in hi. Might have been new machine demons. Tilting the wheel back reduced the steering effort noticeably and I was able to navigate the lawn with more confidence. The AWS 700 series is certainly zippier and more comfy cutting my "road course" lawn.

I need to find out what's rattling when the deck is engaged.

After 4 hours with the backhoe, 3 hour with the FEL, and 30 mins mowing, I really, really, REALLY like this machine.

If I didn't have the AWS tractor, I'd still be quite happy.
 
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