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Bobcat Zero Turn - Any Good?

As the mowing season draws to a close, I am thinking about machinery for next season. Sadly, having dismiseda compact Tracotr with attachments, I am drawn to the Zero Turn Mowers. All of my ride on mowers have been John Deere. It helps that the dealer is only 5 miles away. I am thinking about a John Deere Z530M. However, I do wonder if there are better machines on the market. I have looked at reviews for the Bobcat Zero Turns and they look quite impressive. I am looking at the ZT3500. They are fast and have a a 6 year/1000 hour warranty. I wonder if anyone on here has experience with the Bobcat. At present, it would appear that dealers are limited, which is a downside as it would mean travelling distances should anything go wrong. 

Bobcat as a brand have an excellent reputation and if this is reflected in their mowers, they could be sturdy and reliable machines. 

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  • There is a discussion on the network from a few years back here:

    https://landscapejuicenetwork.com/forum/topics/Zero-turn-mowers-are...

    Zero Turn Mowers Are They Any Good Advice Please
    Zero Turn Mowers? Any Good? Advice Please.. Hi. This is my first posting on this forum...... I have been looking at getting a zero turn mower.. curre…
  • Don't know where you are but rickerbys agriculture sell them. They are great to deal with as a company too. They have several bases but more northern England and southern Scotland 

  • PRO

    Saltex in on in two weeks 1st/2nd November might be worth a trip fantastic range of zero turn mowers 

    we had a Ariens which was brilliant but there,ll special deals on at the show we'll worth going to 

    • I was thinking about attending Saltex. However, with the weather being so mild, providing the wind remains calm, I will continue working as before long, the weather will be against us. I have looked at the list of companies attending and sadly Bobcat is not one of them. I have looked at the Ariens and do like the look of them. However, the Bobcat on paper looks better. 

      I managed to speak to a dealer today who sells both Bobcat and John Deere. I think for the money, you get more for the Bobcat than the John Deere. The fact that Bobcat offer a 5 Year/1000 hour warranty compared to John Deere 2 year warranty, speaks volume. I am thinking about the ZT3000, which is more commercial biassed  than the 2000. if anyone has any experience with these, I would really like to hear your views. At the moment, I am completely in the dark as to how good or not so good they really are. 

      • LJN PRO

        Many good Dealers will have access to manufacture demo support machinery which can used on your site for evaluation, along with being able quizz both dealer& manufacturer at same time.

        Wherher this becomes an option will tell you a lot about the dealer.

        Lastly, generally ride-ones are a major CapEx - so would you buy a car etc without a test drive ...🤔

  • PRO

    I think this all depends how much work you have for the machine and how well you look after it. £8K plus is a major investment for a piece of machinery - how quickly will you get a return on investment?

    • Some good points raised - I actually stated to the dealer today that you wouldn't spend 8K on a car without a test drive. Gary - that's a good point about what it says about the dealer. Sadly, I don't think my local John Deere dealership will offer a Demo. I will however ask and also that of a few other dealers. Who knows, there maybe one that is a game changer.

      Adam - you are quite right about a major investment. I have two customers for which the machine will be used for. If I didn't have the machine, I wouldn't have the customers. It's a bit of a catch 22. 

      • PRO

        If you already have the customers, how are you covering the jobs machine wise now?

        I regularly do 2-3 acre lawns with a Kubota Z122R fitted with mulching kit. Not a commercial machine by rights but it cost me less than half of what you are looking at as a 'shop soiled ex demo'... I would have loved a Hustler zero turn as the engineering quality is great and they are lovely machines but the outlay against return just didnt add up.

        • I currently use a John Deere x166 with a side discharge, which has large wheels for the uneven terrain and rabbit holes - tends to glide over them. However, it is slow. For one property at the height of the growing season it can take me up to 10 hours to mow and the other property, 5 hours. As they are on fixed prices, if I can reduce the time, that can be spent earning money elsewhere. 

          The Kubota is quite interesting. How long does it take you to do 2-3 acres? I was speaking to some relatives from Texas the other day and we started talking about zero turn mowers. When I mentioned John Deere, there was a sharp intake of breath. The consensus was that they are expensive for what you get. Both have got Kubota's and think they are brilliant.

          My criteria is based on three factors - speed, quality of construction and warranty. To be honest, dependent on the price bracket, all appear to be about the same. As the X166 copes with the work, I am beginning to wonder if a smaller machine would be adequate for my needs. within the 5-6k price range, most appear to do 7mph. Much faster and the uneven terrain will cause issues. 

          I will investigate further during the winter and make my decision in preparation for the new season. I would welcome anyones views of a zero turn that is currently in use. Mulching needs to be of a good quality. Thanks.

          • PRO

            Kubota has done us since 2020. Initally it needed a tweak (as does every new machine) to get the revs up and you will find as with any mulching machine keeping a good edge on the blades is critical. We get about 5 sharpens (150 odd hours) out of a set of blades. I will say this though - if you are running a ride on machine of this type commercially you NEED to be charging out at equivalent to at least £40 p/h (or more if you can get it).... Given one job is currently taking you ten hours to mow, I mean this in the best possible way but are you doing it FAR too cheaply? Even at 5 hours (so over the half a day marker - hence booked as a full day, we would be charging £225-£250 or more...). How long it takes depends what there is to go round obstacle wise and how long the grass is, very much how longs a piece of string..

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