I would like everyones input on what they prefer in a zero turn commercial ride-on mower just to do residential lawns whith an occassional commercial account. What is your opinion? Brand name? Specs, etc.?
I looked at ZTRs with an eye towards servicing bigger residential lawns with few obstructions, adding commercial accounts as soon as I could. I looked over the popular units out there and tried out a few. They all have good and bad points.
I settled on a Ferris IS3100 with a 61 inch deck and water cooled Kawasaki engine for a few reasons.
#1 was the superior ride comfort due to the independent suspension. Solid suspension ZTRs beat you up. I find you can mow faster with the Ferris because you can maintain speed more often. You don't find yourself slowing much for rough spots. Couple of my competitors have tried it and can't believe what a diference there is in the ride.
Also having a suspension imparts less stress on the rest of the machine as jolts and bumps are absorbed by the springs, not the frame and you.
#2 With that size deck I can eat up the lawns out in the open and still perform fairly well in tighter areas.
I'm also contemplating getting a smaller Ferris ZTR or walk-behind, maybe a Walker, to get into some of the yards I have turned down due to small acess gates and so forth.
#3 The water cooled engine keeps the operating temps consistent and will last longer. Easy to maintain. More than adequate power.
#4 Two year warranty on everything except brake pads and belts. Its built very rugged.
Ferris mowers are not cheap, but you get what you pay for.
They are big and heavy. Soft lawns end up with tire tracks/ruts and can be torn up easy if you are not careful while turning. Be sure you have enough trailer. I've seen published specs referring to the weight as anywhere from 1200 to 2000 lbs.
Blades are a bit of work to swap. But so are most except the Walker.
Seems to be a common complaint that the engine will stall when engaging the blades. I experience that more if the engine is not up to operating temps. Service tech tells me its because the engines are set up to meet emission requirements and run a bit lean.
Scalping can be an issue with a big deck if you are not paying attention to reading the lay of the land. Its caught me a few times.