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Old 05-13-2011, 09:33 AM   #1
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


I currently mow my half acre lawn with a push mower. It does a nice clean job and it's good exercise. Usually takes me about 1.5 - 2 hours. I will also be taking one my fathers lawn which is 3/4 acre and takes about 2 - 2.5 hours to push mow. That along with my current lawn will be a little mroe than I want to push mow each week. I just don't have the time to spend 4-5 hours / week. So I'm thinknig about going with a rider.

I really don't have much budget. I'm thinking maybe $1500. So Z-T and high end mowers are out of the question. My main concern is that it does a good job cutting and doesn't scalp the heck out of our lawns. I'm thinking maybe a 42" - 46" hydrostatic model will be my best bet but I have reservations. I've stopped at the local mega stores and checked out their offerings. Nothing really stands out. I want to be able to haul it in the back of my truck with ramps and the inside of my fender wells are 47". So this may be a problem.

The local stores around my have:
John Deere D110 19.5HP B&S 42" Hydro $1599
Husqvarna 21HP Kohler Courage 46" Hydro $1599
Cub Cadet 20HP Kohler Courage 46" Hydro $1599
Troy-bilt Horse 22HP Kohler Courage 46" Hydro $1399
Ariens 20HP B&S 46" Hydro $1299
Ariens 22HP B&S V-TWIN 46" Hydro $1499
Craftsman 21HP B&S Tight Turn 42" Hydro $1399

Simplicity - Too expensive. Can't afford a $3000+ mower
Snapper - See Above
Gravely -- See Above

Some of these mowers are probably MTD rebadges but I'm not sure. The Troy Bilt and Ariens look like pretty budget friendly models but I'm unsure of quality. Not that it means anything but both models get pretty good reviews on their prospective websites. Iv'e scoured the local penny savers and looked for something used but nothing really out there that looks like a bargain.

Any recommendations?

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Old 05-13-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


I'm a little partial to John Deere, because it's what we ran when my boys & I had our side-line lawn mowing service.

Even the lower-end John Deeres are made by John Deere. They're not re-badged MTDs (unless they started doing that in the last year or two).

I'm currently running an L120. It's about a 22hp 48" deck mower. I don't know what the current model equivalent is, but they haven't changed them much. It has been a good mower, even though it's not heavy enough for all the commercial stuff we did with it. It also has a very nice turning radius.

I'd suggest getting a John Deere with a 42" deck (2 blades instead of 3). If you can spend a couple extra bucks, be sure to get a hydrostat (automatic). I also like the twin-cylinder engine (they run smoother), but they're a little more spendy.

A D120 might be a nice model for you.


If you get a John Deere, do not get it at Lowes or Home Depot. They are the same mowers you can buy at the local JD Dealer. However, if you need warranty work done, the dealer will put your "box store bought" mower at the back of the line. Also, the dealer will sell you the mower for the same price as the box store will.

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Last edited by DrHicks; 05-13-2011 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:00 PM   #3
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


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Originally Posted by DrHicks View Post
I'm a little partial to John Deere, because it's what we ran when my boys & I had our side-line lawn mowing service.

Even the lower-end John Deeres are made by John Deere. They're not re-badged MTDs (unless they started doing that in the last year or two).

I'm currently running an L120. It's about a 22hp 48" deck mower. I don't know what the current model equivalent is, but they haven't changed them much. It has been a good mower, even though it's not heavy enough for all the commercial stuff we did with it. It also has a very nice turning radius.

I'd suggest getting a John Deere with a 42" deck (2 blades instead of 3). If you can spend a couple extra bucks, be sure to get a hydrostat (automatic). I also like the twin-cylinder engine (they run smoother), but they're a little more spendy.

A D120 might be a nice model for you.


If you get a John Deere, do not get it at Lowes or Home Depot. They are the same mowers you can buy at the local JD Dealer. However, if you need warranty work done, the dealer will put your "box store bought" mower at the back of the line. Also, the dealer will sell you the mower for the same price as the box store will.
Thanks for the info. I've heard that you should always buy john deere from the dealer rather than a big box store. It makes sense. When I bought my Echo string trimmer I bought it from my local dealer rather than Home Depot. Price was identical. Things been rock solid for over 3 years now and hasn't needed any dealer service.

The Deere will cost me $1699 from my local dealer which is a bit more than I wanted to spend.

I was talking my my uncle earlier and asked him about the John Deere he bought 2 years ago. It's a low end 42" non-hydro model and he said he hates it. Says it doesn't cut worth a darn on even the slightest slope. He had passed down an old yardman to my cousin after upgrading to the Deere and said the Yardman had a much nicer cut than the Deere. Only problem was the Yardman was a 38 or 39" model. So who knows...... He said the Deere has the anti-scalp wheels but don't seem to help with the cut quality.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


^^ Sure could be. John Deere's are certainly not infallible - especially the lower-end models. In fact, the lower-end residential models are much more cheaply built than the others, because Deere wanted to compete in that market sector. So the old "you get what you pay for" saying is true.

On the other hand, I found out first hand that the way you set up your mower and adjust it makes all the difference in the world in the way it cuts. For instance, having identical tire pressure in your back tires (we usually ran 7 lbs) will be the difference between an even cut and waves. Having sharp blades, proper deck adjustment, etc. All of those things - though seeming to be little - will make a HUGE difference in the way the machine mows.


Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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I'm going through the same EXACT thing you are right now. I mean, pretty much to a T. I want to spend under 2 grand, I just moved into a new house that has a half acre lot with a slight hill, and I'm tired of pushing the mower back and forth. I don't have a 3/4's like you, but I think we're pretty much in the same boat (mower?). I'll try to explain what I've uncovered.

- Don't buy it at a big box store. I think we're on the same page there.
- JD has a special now for 0% for 1 year...I *think*. You can double check the web site.
- Some dealers will also throw in a trailer thing with the 100 series.
- If you have a fence, check to make sure it will fit through the gate.

I've done a lot of research and I love the idea of a JD. When I think mower, I think JD. But many people say that the lower end models with the B&S engine are junk, and I've been told to go to the X300 series. Everybody says that it's beefier, has a better transmission, and better engine. I've also been told to go look at Cub Cadet because their engines are superior to JD and their quality is better. It seems like the more looking I do, the more expensive it gets.

I haven't made a decision just yet because I keep going back and forth, but I have a feeling that I will go for a JD D130. How come? The v-twin motor, extra HP, and the bumper all for under 2 grand. Another thing is that I've heard that the bagging system isn't the greatest for it. I don't know if you plan to bag, but I've heard that it gets jammed frequently. Don't know how much better (or worse) the cub cadets are. I think it's very important to test drive the two out and see which one you like best.

So, I don't know if I have been any help or not. If you want the nitty gritty on stuff, check this place out.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/

I've found that they have been extremely helpful and you can get a TON of info there.

I'm starting to learn that with the internet, it's great because you can get so much info....but it's bad because you can also get too much. For as many people that say get JD, they say get CC. Then they say don't buy this model, buy that one. It's hard to make that final decision, but I'm sure you'll be fine.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:09 AM   #6
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


I have a John Deere 42' Automatic Hydrastatic, with Kohler engine. Bought it about 8 years ago, mow about 1/2 acre of lawn with it. Bought it via Home Depot on 12 months same as cash. Have taken it the local John Deere dealer twice for a bit of routine maintenance - they will gladly service it, to include pickup and delivery (for a fee of course).

Absolutly no problems with it. Over the years I have owned Craftsman (total junk), Bolens (good), and Snapper (very good). The John Deere is the best mower I have ever had.

42" will fit through most walk gates and fits in my truck just fine, bigger deck may not.

Last edited by vsheetz; 05-14-2011 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:57 AM   #7
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


i understand what your saying about spending the money on a simplicity,but those things are great machines that will last much longer than any jd
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:57 AM   #8
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i understand what your saying about spending the money on a simplicity,but those things are great machines that will last much longer than any jd
Can you explain? It sounds like you're not a fan of JD. How come?
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:59 AM   #9
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


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i understand what your saying about spending the money on a simplicity,but those things are great machines that will last much longer than any jd
Depends on which grade o JD mower. Simplicity will outlast the lower-end models, no question. The commercial line John Deeres? Not a chance.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


I called my local dealers today and got quotes.

John Deere D110 $1699
John Deere X300 $2999 !!
Kubota T1880 $3799 !!
Simplicity Broadmore $3800 !!

Those are basically the options I have that aren't from big box stores.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:36 PM   #11
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


The Simplicity Regent is cheaper and may be all you need.

http://www.simplicitymfg.com/product...pecs/index.cfm

I have 3 yrs on a Broadmore ( hills to pull on 1.25 acre ) with no regrets ,

mower will probably outlast me.
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:40 PM   #12
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


This is scary. I almost never completely agree with anyone, but DrHicks is absolutely correct on all points! IMO
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:10 PM   #13
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This is scary. I almost never completely agree with anyone, but DrHicks is absolutely correct on all points! IMO
Haha - I'm going to go tell my wife that somebody agrees with me on all points. Dang, this is going to be a great day!
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:30 AM   #14
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How about including in your decision factor who has the best warranty?
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:43 PM   #15
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Stepping up to a rider. Which one?


I agree the better JD mowers will outlast just about anything. Go look at a JD318 mower. It was made in 1980's and is still selling for what new ones sell for because they are great mowers.

But, the one you have mentioned is the John Deere D110. That has the Tuff-Torq T40 hydrostatic transmission. It is the same transmission in the ones from John Deere models from HD, Lowes, and is known for failures. The replacement transmission costs almost as much as a new mower (around $800-$1100).

The problem is that transmission is in most of the low end mowers from everyone.

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