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Hi everyone. I'm toying with the idea of adding a ZTR for my mowing chores around my property. Out of my just-under 3.0 acres, I mow roughly 1 acre, most of it gets done weekly, a portion bi-weekly. My X500 w/ 48" Edge Deck is a good mower, but I'm looking for more speed as well as the maneuverability around things (mulched tree circles, mulched flower beds around house, etc.).

So in my reading, everyone states that the cut quality of a zero-turn is very, very good. My X500 does an OK job - not fantastic (mulching kit is installed). But I find I can't mow that fast, even with very sharp blades. I end up crushing and pushing over grass instead of cutting. Is this issue eliminated (mostly) with a ZTR? If I bought one, I'd go with the 7-Iron deck, which advertises higher blade speed.

I guess my question really comes down to: What makes the ZTR so much better at mowing other than you can turn on a dime? That part is obvious. What makes the cut quality that much better?

My ground is lumpy here and there...some uneven areas....I do not own a golf-course type of lawn, unfortunately.

Thanks for any information.
 

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Hi everyone. I'm toying with the idea of adding a ZTR for my mowing chores around my property. Out of my just-under 3.0 acres, I mow roughly 1 acre, most of it gets done weekly, a portion bi-weekly. My X500 w/ 48" Edge Deck is a good mower, but I'm looking for more speed as well as the maneuverability around things (mulched tree circles, mulched flower beds around house, etc.).

So in my reading, everyone states that the cut quality of a zero-turn is very, very good. My X500 does an OK job - not fantastic (mulching kit is installed). But I find I can't mow that fast, even with very sharp blades. I end up crushing and pushing over grass instead of cutting. Is this issue eliminated (mostly) with a ZTR? If I bought one, I'd go with the 7-Iron deck, which advertises higher blade speed.

I guess my question really comes down to: What makes the ZTR so much better at mowing other than you can turn on a dime? That part is obvious. What makes the cut quality that much better?

My ground is lumpy here and there...some uneven areas....I do not own a golf-course type of lawn, unfortunately.

Thanks for any information.
Zero turn mowers usually have faster blade and ground speed. However how rough the yard is will have a lot to do with how fast you can mow. Some ZT's will handle bumps better than others. Would recommend getting one to road test on your lot before taking the plunge.

Maybe try removing the mulch kit on your 500 and see if that helps. Was cutting my daughter's place with my 540 last week. It was a long day and I just wanted to be done with it. So I was pushing the 540 a lot faster than usual. To my surprise it handled the extra speed no problem. However I always run it side discharge.

You can also try moving the position of the seat springs to see if that helps. Depending on your weight moving them forward will give you a softer ride.
 

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We just bought a new zero turn. Brought it home yesterday. It's much smoother than my old 332 we had and we can cover a bunch of ground quick. One of its benefits is the deck is shaft driven and then there is one huge belt that runs the deck spindles. I'm a pretty big Deere guy but check out the kubota commercial mowers. It's hard to describe how much faster it is. If you were close you could come take it for a spin. Its one of those things you have to experience to know what we're talking about.

Brett
 

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We just bought a new zero turn. Brought it home yesterday. It's much smoother than my old 332 we had and we can cover a bunch of ground quick. One of its benefits is the deck is shaft driven and then there is one huge belt that runs the deck spindles. I'm a pretty big Deere guy but check out the kubota commercial mowers. It's hard to describe how much faster it is. If you were close you could come take it for a spin. Its one of those things you have to experience to know what we're talking about.

Brett
That looks a lot like my 10-year-old ZD321. I can attest these are great machines, never a problem with mine. Does the new model still have the front jack?

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That looks a lot like my 10-year-old ZD321. I can attest these are great machines, never a problem with mine. Does the new model still have the front jack?

View attachment 446546
Yes. It's very handy. We're excited to have it. Never thought I'd spend what I did on a mower but never used anything like this before. Probably not much changed besides the design of the deck, thickness of blades, both fuel tanks are tied together and have a 12.9 gallon capacity and an LCD screen. Put them side by side and they'd be twins

Brett
 
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ztr vz tractor

I have a 1025R with a 60" deck and a ztr915 with the 60" deck. The ztr cuts much better and much faster. I cut my mowing time in half with the ztr mower. I decided to take the deck off the 1025R and just use it for attachments.
 

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Looked at the ZD1211 my self this spring very nice and diesel. around 15,500 around here. You might want to look at the Deere 900 series, Maybe find a demo the dealer wants to get rid of this time of year. If you want to try one they will bring out their Demo for you. I had a Z970R I bought used with 220 hours with a 72" deck. It was a great machine and mowed well and fast. Problem I am a large man and when I went to his reverse my BELLY was in the way. I mowed with it one time and took it back and put the money towards a 2038R I have on order. The mower was very nice and rode great but not enough room for my belly.
 

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Speed and maneuverability are the plus things with the Z Trak, comfortable ride on rough ground, not so much.
Get some kind of suspension seat, the standard seats just don't get it.

Ground can be smoothed out with time and patience, slowly been smoothing my ground out over the last 3 years,
can run full speed probably 70% of the time now.

Has cut my mowing time more than in half, very nice cut appearance for a 72" deck.

Think blade tip speed is 300 FPS, which is the length of a football field a second, or 18,000 FPM which figures to be 204 MPH.
 

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Looked at the ZD1211 my self this spring very nice and diesel. around 15,500 around here. You might want to look at the Deere 900 series, Maybe find a demo the dealer wants to get rid of this time of year. If you want to try one they will bring out their Demo for you. I had a Z970R I bought used with 220 hours with a 72" deck. It was a great machine and mowed well and fast. Problem I am a large man and when I went to his reverse my BELLY was in the way. I mowed with it one time and took it back and put the money towards a 2038R I have on order. The mower was very nice and rode great but not enough room for my belly.
We are usually the ones to have bad luck and that was the motivation for the kubota diesel. If Deere had a diesel zero turn besides the 997 and it's price point we would still be green. When we went to the dealer we started 3 mowers....I use that term loosely. The first one wouldn't start, second would only stay running while you had the choke on and the third one was smoking like a freight train. These were 10k mowers. Some with mod and tweels. After that I decided there was no way I was getting a gas. I would be having to have work done every year for bad gas at the way my luck goes. Deere makes a great mower, just wished they had another diesel offering that was less expensive than 20k

Brett
 
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We are usually the ones to have bad luck and that was the motivation for the kubota diesel. If Deere had a diesel zero turn besides the 997 and it's price point we would still be green. When we went to the dealer we started 3 mowers....I use that term loosely. The first one wouldn't start, second would only stay running while you had the choke on and the third one was smoking like a freight train. These were 10k mowers. Some with mod and tweels. After that I decided there was no way I was getting a gas. I would be having to have work done every year for bad gas at the way my luck goes. Deere makes a great mower, just wished they had another diesel offering that was less expensive than 20k

Brett
I agree with this.

My next machine - weather it be a zero turn or not - will be a diesel. Not only for the obvious reasons - I am setup with a bulk fuel tank that I fill with diesel and always have plenty on hand.

I owned a 757 zero turn which was just great - a real mowing machine. The only thing I didn't like about it was the gas engine even though it was a Kawasaki. I know it's just a personal thing but I just couldn't get used to having to have the throttle up to at least 1/2 throttle to engage the PTO or it would stall - and having to shut it down at 1/2 throttle or more or it would backfire.

I've had nothing but Deere equipment for my little business since 1973 or so. While it's hard to think about anything other than Deere, their only diesel zero turn (997) is just way too much mower for my needs now. So the Kubota ZD(?) 60" diesel fits the bill perfectly for me.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Speed and maneuverability are the plus things with the Z Trak, comfortable ride on rough ground, not so much.
Get some kind of suspension seat, the standard seats just don't get it.

Ground can be smoothed out with time and patience, slowly been smoothing my ground out over the last 3 years,
can run full speed probably 70% of the time now.

Has cut my mowing time more than in half, very nice cut appearance for a 72" deck.

Think blade tip speed is 300 FPS, which is the length of a football field a second, or 18,000 FPM which figures to be 204 MPH.

So, this is getting close to answering my question - I appreciate all the other replies, but I'm looking for the answer to "Why?" Again, everyone says how wonderful they are, which I get it on ground speed and maneuvering. But how can the deck cut any better than the same size deck on a tractor? Why? How?

Is the blade speed that much higher than a garden tractor mower (like my X500 48" Edge deck)? They don't seem to publish blade speeds for the tractors, but I notice they do for ZTR's. If the blade speed isn't published for the tractor mowers, how do we know they're faster?

Sorry guys, I feel like I'm being thick-headed here...not my intention. Just trying to understand how one gives a better cut versus the other.
 
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As others mentioned a ZTR will ride a lot rougher than a tractor. I shaved a lot of time off mowing, partly because of a little bigger deck (60" vs 54"), partly because I make one trip around trees rather than two, partly because when I get to the end of a run it simply turns around quicker. Add all this up and you get time savings. One thing to keep in mind though on that turn around, you can spin it on a dime but you will shred your grass. I normally do 3 pt turns still but it is still quicker than turning the steering wheel even with a knob. I cut at a little higher ground speed. As for the blade speed, yes it is faster, this helps create more suction for pulling the blades of grass up to be clipped. It also discharges the clippings over a much larger area.

They are not perfect. The rough ride has been mentioned. They can be a handful on hilly ground. Mainly going downhill can be dangerous and you can go out of control not being able to turn or stop. Going across hills you have to crab them because the front wheels provide little to no lateral stability. Going up hills they are great but this means you have to potentially back down hills. Some models have poor rear visibility. For instance my Z950R when I have the MCS Hopper on the back, I can't see anything behind the machine.

As for gas vs diesel. Personal preference. I don't mind gas. I don't have anything diesel anymore. If I eventually move up to a new machine to replace the X585 then it will be diesel since they don't make a FEL for the X series anymore. So I will have to go with a 1 Series at a minimum. I am not afraid of diesel, I drove a Jetta TDI until the diesel gate scandal and they bought it back. It is nice to not have to worry about winter and summer diesel and additives. Gelling probably isn't much of an issue in a mower but it is in the tractor which now sees much less use being it is retired from mowing. It is nice to have a machine dedicated for FEL work though. Never really have much problem with bad gas as stuff gets used enough.

Like others said, see if your dealer will do a demo. You never know how well it works for you until you try it on your yard. I bought a demo unit at the end of the year and got a pretty good deal on it in my eyes. The nice thing about a demo is John Deere doesn't recognize "Demo" machines. So I qualified for the 0% 60mo offer at the time on new Z9xx machines. I got a discount on the sale and the warranty inception date was the day I bought it not when they started using it for demos. Sure there are some hours on it but the R models have a 3year/1500 hr warranty and there is no way I will hit 1500 hrs in 3 years cutting my yard.

If looking at them I would be cautious with the MOD deck. I read a lot of poor reviews of them. They tend to clump up a lot of grass. Tweels if you want them but if you are thinking you want a MCS, technically they are not compatible. I think it is a weight thing. There isn't an interference issue. I have seen some photos of people using them. In my mind they look cool but I wasn't going to pay $1K. If I was a commercial mower and there was lots of broken glass and nails around where I mow it is different. Even if I got a flat, it isn't a big deal to be down for a few days or week while I order a replacement tire. These are things that don't apply to me in cutting my grass. Granted if ordering new I think they are cheaper than $1K.

The Z915B/E is not a bad deal for the machine. The one thing that sucks is that you can't order it with the full suspension seat. If you want one you can order all the parts and it is about $1K. Or go to Nothern Tool. They sell what looks like an identical seat for something like $300. Maybe buy that seat and swap out the black seating surface for the yellow from the John Deere. Or look at a puffer air seat conversion kit. I think that is about $400.
 

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I think that the ZT cuts better because that's all the deck and chassis are designed to do. However they have some other drawbacks as mentioned above. A tractor has many uses including cutting grass.
 

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So, this is getting close to answering my question - I appreciate all the other replies, but I'm looking for the answer to "Why?" Again, everyone says how wonderful they are, which I get it on ground speed and maneuvering. But how can the deck cut any better than the same size deck on a tractor? Why? How?

Is the blade speed that much higher than a garden tractor mower (like my X500 48" Edge deck)? They don't seem to publish blade speeds for the tractors, but I notice they do for ZTR's. If the blade speed isn't published for the tractor mowers, how do we know they're faster?

Sorry guys, I feel like I'm being thick-headed here...not my intention. Just trying to understand how one gives a better cut versus the other.
As mentioned just try one and you'll understand. They are a dedicated mowing machine. Not designed for any other use. It doesn't have to be mediocre at several things, just excel at one which is mowing. Everything about them is designed to complete that task. I mentioned kubota, mine is a shaft drive, how many lawn mowers have that? It doesn't have a belt to slip if you get into heavy stuff...there's only the spindle belt. It's designed to mow and eject clippings at 10 mph if the ground allows that speed.

As others mentioned a ZTR will ride a lot rougher than a tractor. I shaved a lot of time off mowing, partly because of a little bigger deck (60" vs 54"), partly because I make one trip around trees rather than two, partly because when I get to the end of a run it simply turns around quicker. Add all this up and you get time savings. One thing to keep in mind though on that turn around, you can spin it on a dime but you will shred your grass. I normally do 3 pt turns still but it is still quicker than turning the steering wheel even with a knob. I cut at a little higher ground speed. As for the blade speed, yes it is faster, this helps create more suction for pulling the blades of grass up to be clipped. It also discharges the clippings over a much larger area.

They are not perfect. The rough ride has been mentioned. They can be a handful on hilly ground. Mainly going downhill can be dangerous and you can go out of control not being able to turn or stop. Going across hills you have to crab them because the front wheels provide little to no lateral stability. Going up hills they are great but this means you have to potentially back down hills. Some models have poor rear visibility. For instance my Z950R when I have the MCS Hopper on the back, I can't see anything behind the machine.

As for gas vs diesel. Personal preference. I don't mind gas. I don't have anything diesel anymore. If I eventually move up to a new machine to replace the X585 then it will be diesel since they don't make a FEL for the X series anymore. So I will have to go with a 1 Series at a minimum. I am not afraid of diesel, I drove a Jetta TDI until the diesel gate scandal and they bought it back. It is nice to not have to worry about winter and summer diesel and additives. Gelling probably isn't much of an issue in a mower but it is in the tractor which now sees much less use being it is retired from mowing. It is nice to have a machine dedicated for FEL work though. Never really have much problem with bad gas as stuff gets used enough.

Like others said, see if your dealer will do a demo. You never know how well it works for you until you try it on your yard. I bought a demo unit at the end of the year and got a pretty good deal on it in my eyes. The nice thing about a demo is John Deere doesn't recognize "Demo" machines. So I qualified for the 0% 60mo offer at the time on new Z9xx machines. I got a discount on the sale and the warranty inception date was the day I bought it not when they started using it for demos. Sure there are some hours on it but the R models have a 3year/1500 hr warranty and there is no way I will hit 1500 hrs in 3 years cutting my yard.

If looking at them I would be cautious with the MOD deck. I read a lot of poor reviews of them. They tend to clump up a lot of grass. Tweels if you want them but if you are thinking you want a MCS, technically they are not compatible. I think it is a weight thing. There isn't an interference issue. I have seen some photos of people using them. In my mind they look cool but I wasn't going to pay $1K. If I was a commercial mower and there was lots of broken glass and nails around where I mow it is different. Even if I got a flat, it isn't a big deal to be down for a few days or week while I order a replacement tire. These are things that don't apply to me in cutting my grass. Granted if ordering new I think they are cheaper than $1K.

The Z915B/E is not a bad deal for the machine. The one thing that sucks is that you can't order it with the full suspension seat. If you want one you can order all the parts and it is about $1K. Or go to Nothern Tool. They sell what looks like an identical seat for something like $300. Maybe buy that seat and swap out the black seating surface for the yellow from the John Deere. Or look at a puffer air seat conversion kit. I think that is about $400.
Ours has an actual foot brake and is a hydrostatic drive like a tractor. Weight is 1800 with diesel. On the steep part around our pool, it holds the slope much better than I could've hoped. I'll have to take a pic and measure the slope but is guesstimate it's 20-30%, very very steep

Brett
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks very much for the additional input. I should have mentioned I have spent some time on a Scag zero-turn for a youth camp I help out at on occasion. So, I understand how efficient they are at the whole dedication to one task. I would mow down the horse pasture for them on occasion when the horses weren't staying there. Incredible machine and fast, no doubt.

I just kept seeing a mower deck is a mower deck is a mower deck. Blades spinning a shaft, blowing out grass.

High blade speed does make sense for a better cut quality. It seems that if I want to be serious about a zero-turn, I need a shaft-drive deck. And, the big payoff will be the time I save over using my x500.

I bet if would take the mulch kit off my x500, it would probably do better. i hate losing my mulcher though....it does work quite well, I never have clippings...and having a dog, its nice not having clippings getting pulled into the house.

So....a test drive/ demo is maybe in order before I finalize my plan. Right now, its either a zero-turn plus older tractor w/ FEL or its just get a 1025R w/ FEL and MMM and sell the X500.

Thanks again, everyone.
 

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Ours has an actual foot brake and is a hydrostatic drive like a tractor. Weight is 1800 with diesel. On the steep part around our pool, it holds the slope much better than I could've hoped. I'll have to take a pic and measure the slope but is guesstimate it's 20-30%, very very steep

Brett
The Z950R is 1292-1340 lbs. I would imagine the heavier one is when equipped with the 72" deck. So lets call mine 1300 lbs. I used to weigh 250 but am down to 240 now. When running the MCS I have 6x42lbs suitcase weights (252lbs) plus the PowerFlow head (50-60 lbs). Remove the weight bar/bumper (80lbs) but add mounting brackets and hopper (lets say 140 lbs). That brings it to around 1900lbs ball park if I round things off. The R version of the Z9xx has a foot brake. It is powered by two separate hydro-static drive units. One for each wheel. There is a drive belt running the hydro-static drive rather than a shaft but other than that like a tractor. Well I guess a tractor just has one drive.

Here is the thing. Most of what I tried to cover are characteristics of pretty much every brand. Sure there is Ferris with the patented suspension system, John Deere with the 7 Iron Pro Deck and Kubota with their front wheels that pivot to jack up the font end to change blades. But as far as other things they are pretty much roughly the same. If you come to the end of a run and pivot on the inside wheel as you turn around, you will shred the grass. If you are going across a hill you have to crab the machine. This is because they are like a shopping cart where the front wheels are casters. They do nothing but hold up the front end. They spin so there is no lateral support to hold the front end in line. All drive and steering action comes from the rear wheels. This is why going up hills the weight shifts to the back where the traction needs to be. The center of gravity is generally really low on a ZTR so this makes them pretty stable. It is possible to do a wheelie going up hill and flip them but it would have to be really steep in most machines. Going across hills you are going to crab as I mentioned. This is because the lack of lateral support in the front wheels. The steeper a hill gets, the more you crab until it gets too steep and you are shredding grass and can't hold it up there. Where the problem is with going down hills is the weight transfer is to the front wheels. These have no directional control. I haven't seen a ZTR with front wheel brakes or steering. So on those downhill runs the as you shift weight forward less is over the wheels and providing traction. If you start slipping toward a tree, you can pull back on the control sticks but that won't help because you are already slipping. You can step on the foot brake but that won't help because the foot brake is for the rear wheels as well which have lost traction. This is the scenario where you can loose control pretty quick. It happens when traveling on grass that may be damp or too wet. Going down hills and it doesn't really take a lot of slope. I have one spot in my yard which is hairy. It is along side of the house. I have a retaining wall which is about 3' high I would say. A the bottom is the driveway. At the top is a grassy section along the side of the house. Right next to the house is a sidewalk and steps going down where the retaining wall is. It isn't very steep at all. I don't like cutting going up the hill because I am discharging toward the sidewalk and steps that I have to go back and clean up if not collecting or with the MCS the PowerFlow head is in the way so I can't get close to the sidewalk which in sections is higher than the grass. So I tend to cut this going down hill against recommendations. There have been a couple times where I am going what feels like slow but I loose traction and start going straight for the 3' retaining wall which is a drop off. I take this very slow. I keep talking about building up the retaining wall to make it 4 or 5' tall. Then bringing in more dirt to level this off more. I just haven't had time to mess with it. Mainly because I won't likely just add a couple rows to it but tear it all down and rebuild it as it is getting old and there are parts where the block have broken by the steps. For the most part other hills that I go down really haven't been much of a problem. While those other parts are a lot steeper, there is room to run out to the bottom of the hill without hitting anything. So I can just zip down them.

Really being really careful going down hills isn't a John Deere thing but something that would apply to all brands unless they are doing something really different. But then it is likely not really a zero turn. Not if it has front wheels that have brakes as I don't know how you would do that on casters. If they are not casters then you can't really do a zero turn.

I would say it is going to take a good 20-30 hrs of running a machine before you get the hang of it. It takes time to build the muscle memory on doing the turn around without shredding the grass. Well unless you don't care if you tear it up. You have to use the machine to get a feel for the problem areas you may have. That spot along the house was never a concern with the tractor. If cutting close around trees without a mulch bed, you will likely shred the grass. There are certain things that are just harder on the grass with a zero turn.

They do say that they speed up cutting grass but a lot of it is a little time savings here and there that add up. It is true that they are designed to do one thing and one thing only. If you have something that does everything, it probably doesn't do anything really well. But you can have something that was designed to do one thing and one thing only and that means the engineer had to make less compromises and probably does it pretty darn well.
 

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Thanks very much for the additional input. I should have mentioned I have spent some time on a Scag zero-turn for a youth camp I help out at on occasion. So, I understand how efficient they are at the whole dedication to one task. I would mow down the horse pasture for them on occasion when the horses weren't staying there. Incredible machine and fast, no doubt.

I just kept seeing a mower deck is a mower deck is a mower deck. Blades spinning a shaft, blowing out grass.

High blade speed does make sense for a better cut quality. It seems that if I want to be serious about a zero-turn, I need a shaft-drive deck. And, the big payoff will be the time I save over using my x500.

I bet if would take the mulch kit off my x500, it would probably do better. i hate losing my mulcher though....it does work quite well, I never have clippings...and having a dog, its nice not having clippings getting pulled into the house.

So....a test drive/ demo is maybe in order before I finalize my plan. Right now, its either a zero-turn plus older tractor w/ FEL or its just get a 1025R w/ FEL and MMM and sell the X500.

Thanks again, everyone.
That's why I recommended taking the mulching kit off and try cutting side discharge. As long as I don't wait longer than a week to cut my lots the clippings basically disappear. However my side job lot is usually around 10 days between cutting. So that one has a carpet of dead grass when I'm done with it. He's to cheep to have me come more often so that's what he gets. Plus all this rain isn't helping.

When I had my old house it was a 1/3 acre lot. Always mulched with my L108 & JS61 mowers. Never had a problem. When I started doing property management with the same equipment mulching didn't cut it. So I have been doing the side discharge method ever since.
 

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Thanks very much for the additional input. I should have mentioned I have spent some time on a Scag zero-turn for a youth camp I help out at on occasion. So, I understand how efficient they are at the whole dedication to one task. I would mow down the horse pasture for them on occasion when the horses weren't staying there. Incredible machine and fast, no doubt.

I just kept seeing a mower deck is a mower deck is a mower deck. Blades spinning a shaft, blowing out grass.

High blade speed does make sense for a better cut quality. It seems that if I want to be serious about a zero-turn, I need a shaft-drive deck. And, the big payoff will be the time I save over using my x500.

I bet if would take the mulch kit off my x500, it would probably do better. i hate losing my mulcher though....it does work quite well, I never have clippings...and having a dog, its nice not having clippings getting pulled into the house.

So....a test drive/ demo is maybe in order before I finalize my plan. Right now, its either a zero-turn plus older tractor w/ FEL or its just get a 1025R w/ FEL and MMM and sell the X500.

Thanks again, everyone.
A shaft drive deck doesn't mean much. My Z950R has a drive belt that sends power from the 27HP Kawasaki. Then a belt drive for the mower deck. My X585 has a shaft drive deck. It doesn't cut as well as the Z950R. Growing up my dad had 317, 318, 322 John Deeres and they use belt drive decks and they were more of a pain to hook up compared to clipping on the shaft to the trans-axle on my X585. With a ZTR it isn't like you are ever going to take the deck off so it doesn't matter.

My shopping looked like this. My X585 had some issues where I needed to tear it apart for a few weeks. I needed it for mowing in the spring summer fall so I didn't want to do it then. I didn't want to do it in the winter because I never knew when it would snow. So I took it into a local dealer who screwed up more things on it and fixed nothing. I went to a different dealer to look at options. Do I sell the X585? Well I use the FEL so the only way I can retain that is get a 1 series. Then by the time I got everything else I needed it was going to be over $20K. As for cutting grass it would be no better or faster than my X585. The only thing I would gain is more capacity in FEL work. Which I really don't have to have. I thought what if I kept the X585 and bought a new X739. That gives me 4WS and 4WD. Which would help around the trees. I could also leave the FEL on the X585 all the time. The thing with a FEL is it raises the center of gravity making the machine more tipy. The other issue is you have a bucket sticking out in front of you making it harder getting around the trees when cutting grass. So I would always take off the FEL. Well then I needed to move something. I would look at it, and debate is it worth 10 min putting it on and another 5-10 taking it off. It will add 15-20 min to my task to move this thing. Often I would just move it by hand. So there is a benefit to having a dedicated FEL machine. But again I am gaining a little speed around the trees but not much else. Then I found the Z950R with MCS. I love the dump from seat MCS which wasn't an option with the 1 series at the time. There is one now that you can get. So I ended up going that route. It saves me more time in the long run.
 

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I just kept seeing a mower deck is a mower deck is a mower deck. Blades spinning a shaft, blowing out grass.
I would also suggest in this regard that most often on tractor style applications that deck mounting points are more narrow and a little less robust. This can result a little more unevenness of cut and more frequent adjustment to maintain level and angle of attack position.
Most Z turns I have seen have real nice, beefy deck adjustment mechanisms that are hung more towards the outside of the deck and they seem to hold their setting a long time.

Also I hear that turn on a dime thing takes practice because the tires can still scour the ground if that matters to you on your lawn.
 

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I would also suggest in this regard that most often on tractor style applications that deck mounting points are more narrow and a little less robust. This can result a little more unevenness of cut and more frequent adjustment to maintain level and angle of attack position.
Most Z turns I have seen have real nice, beefy deck adjustment mechanisms that are hung more towards the outside of the deck and they seem to hold their setting a long time.

Also I hear that turn on a dime thing takes practice because the tires can still scour the ground if that matters to you on your lawn.
While you certainly can "turn on a dime" in real use it isn't practical - you will leave a big divot in your lawn each time. You have to make a sort of "k" turn which takes practice. As said above - it takes time to get proficient with a zero turn.
 
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