My aging riding mower is nearing replacement. Although it has served
its purpose I think this time I'll go for a lawn tractor that better
fits my 6'4" frame.
For my needs most of the advertised models in the $1,000 - $1,500 range
seem sufficient. Question is the relative value of the automatic
transmission over the regular.
My rider has the manual and has served well without any tranny work.
Other than laziness is there any other advantage warranting the extra
cost to go automatic?
That depends on what "automatic" actually means to the
particular manufacturer using the term. It's worth
I notice some have started calling the "Shift On
The Go: feature automatic now by removing the "notches"
on the gear shift knob. Automatic seems to range from
that, to a snowmobile-like force-shifting mechanism
based on how much power is being applied and the
resistance felt. It's still just conical pulley/s as
opposed to anything truly automatic in the low price
range most of us are can afford. If you go up in price
and quality, I understand John Deere makes a truly
automatic transmission, but I know nothing about it -
way too expensive for my use at over 8k.
Main thing to me is that the blades can be ran at full speed all the time
and you varry the speed you go over the yard to suit your need.
I had a 3 speed and to get the blades fast enough I had to travel too slow
to suit me. If I went to the next gear I could go the speed I wanted but
the blades were not going fast enough. Also if you need to backup a few
feet and then go forward again, all you do is move your foot on the one I
have ( John Deer LT 120).
a hydrostatic drive Cub cadet for close to 30 years... and when I cut
my sons lawn last summer during his vacation using his "stick shift"
Cub Cadet I was cussing up a storm... The next time I needed to cut
his lawn I hauled my own Tractor up to his place...
Good tractors last a long time (mine is like I said close to 30 years
old) ...the hydrostatic transmission is a bargin when costs are
calculated over the tractors lifetime
I do favor Manuel transmissions in cars and trucks...I own 6 vehicles
and only one is an automatic.. but for mowing the lawn ...give me an
How much area do you mow and how often? Unless it's a large area, I'd
expect the possible time differential between operating the two
virtually indeterminate. Also hydrostatic are nice for no-clutch
shifting forward/reverse cycles if you need that kind of movement, but a
ZTR will eliminate more of that than the hydrostat will in most
situations. If you have really large areas, you may find that unless
the hydrostat has a fixed velocity mechanism it gets tiring holding the
pedal all the time--I notice it quite a bit w/ the JD 955 here (of
course, it's more than a "lawn" tractor, it's a utility for the areas
outside the lawn, but I think I'd find the same issue if the mowers were
similar. It does have a hand lever-lock, but many smaller ones don't).
In the end, I'd try to look at places that will let you actually
test-drive them first, even if it is more expensive than the box
places. As someone else noted, good quality machines may last 30 years
or more...I know the JD 110 Dad bought is at least 40 now and the S92
mower that I'm using routinely must be nearly 30 if not...the smaller
GX70 I had in TN and brought out is 10 or so and might as well still be
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