Honda Hydrostatic Drive vs Belt Drive: Advantages?

Snowblowers.
Hydrostatic *sounds* sexy - but so did gear drive on my BCS & implements, but it sucks pretty bad in practice: expensive, noisy, heavy...
So what about hydrostatic vs belt drive?
Belts, I can replace... but hydrostatic sounds way beyond my pay grade.
What does hydrostatic provide to earn it's $1000+ premium?
Honda's 28" (http://tinyurl.com/y7kxxm8a ) claims a few more inches depth capacity over the Ariens analog (http://tinyurl.com/y77ls44s ), but $1,400?
Anybody own either one?
One Deal Breaker feature for me is handlebar height: 38" minimum, 40" preferred... and Honda seems to offer that... not sure about other brands.
An important capability noted by many reviews is the ability to bust through that 2-3 feet of ice/frozen slush/snow that the city plow leaves at the end of one's driveway.
Three-stage blowers were sounding attractive until somebody opined that 3 stages was mainly a way to get the same performance from a smaller engine.
--
Pete Cresswell

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I can tell you my experience with a Honda mower. It had a 3 speed manual transmission. It was the best mower I ever owned, used a twin blade design, that gave the best mulching cut, grass looked very even, the mower was quiet. But..... Maybe I got 10 years out of it, if that and then then tranny failed. I took it apart, to get to the tranny, what a cluster f***. All kinds of little parts, bushings, screws, I used two egg carton containers to try to keep it all in order to be able to put back together. Then I found that a new tranns was $140. At that point I considered the other options and found a brand new Craftsman that someone locally was selling on Ebay for $160. I bought it. It's more powerful, but also at lot more noise and it doesn't cut as nice. After about 6 years or so, one day it too wouldn't move. I took a plastic cover off over the belt area, it was just two sheet metal screws to remove. Whereupon I saw that the spring that tensions the belt, the end had broken off. I used a piece of bent coat hanger to re-attach it and was mowing again. That was 6 years ago, it's still going strong. The belt drive also gave speed variability across all speeds, the more you pressed the handle, the faster it goes.
So, would I go for the more complex, hydrostatic transmission that costs $1000 more in a snowblower? No. IDK what drive exactly mine is, it's a Sears, but I guess it's belt drive also. It has a handle that lets me select from about 8 forwards speeds, two in reverse. That works for me.
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On 5/24/18 1:17 PM, BurfordTJustice wrote:

Trying to change the subject makes you a luzer.
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wrote:

Quit messing around ... it's only money.
https://powerequipment.honda.ca/snowblowers/36-inch-hybrid-i-control-es
ps: I didn't even know there was a hydro-drive snowblower ..
John T.
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On 5/24/2018 3:17 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Snowblowers? I know nothing.
Hydro vs belt drive? 35 years of mowing for a living. I believe my first hydro <also a commercial> mower was a Scag. I've never had one fail, and never even considered buying a belt drive since. In the mowing world there is no comparison.
That first Scag, bought about 20 years ago... I bought it slightly used, mowed with it about 10 years. It was sold to my good friend and next door neighbor to mow his 2+ acres. It's still going strong, and seeing it almost daily, I know very well, he too has never had an issue at all with the hydraulics.
my dos pennies...
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My hydro experience is most current with snow blowers. There is still a belt coupling the engine to the hydro - but instead of a friction disk type variable speed drive you have the Hydro. The frictiondisk slips when it gets wet, the rubber hardens making it slip - if it gets oily it slips - nothing but a total pain in the keester.
The hydro gets away from all that drama at a sizeable weight penalty. I'd never go back to a friction drive. Fully variable speed, on the go, forward and reverse with no slippage on track drive is all I could ask for. The newer ones with "power steering" or "fingertip steering" would be even nicer - but NOT if it meant going back to friction drive.
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On 5/28/2018 11:22 AM, Clare Snyder wrote:

Slippage is a critical factor with my mowers. These steep hills of East TN can be very scary and dangerous. Belt mowers tend to slip, just as you described.

All true, and no brakes to worry over too!
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