I think I’ve mentioned the abuse that I put my three-year old Ariens riding lawn mower through while clearing my back yard just after I first purchased my current domicile. Well, on the last mow of 2016, I managed to bend something in the steering mechanism, causing the front wheels to point in different directions and rendering it unusable without a repair. I’m sure I could figure out what happened and bend it back, if I just took the time. Thing is, I have other things that I would prefer to do. And there are lots of other work that the machine needs. Which means more work.
So, yesterday I stopped by Tractor Supply to eyeball a cheap replacement. My thought process was to buy another cheap one to use, and repair the old one at my leisure to use in rough areas, and to have as a backup. I started at the $900 Husky, which is comparable to the Ariens but minus the wheels on the mow deck. But for another $100, I could get one with wheels. And for $150 more I could have a 46″ deck instead of a 42″.
To make a long story short, I walked down the line to the best traditional model that they had, a Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series ST with a 54″ deck and a twenty-four horse Kohler engine. That cost almost exactly twice what I paid for my old mower. And I bought the fucking thing.
I was on my way to work and didn’t have my trailer with me, so I went back this morning to pick it up. And of course I had to try it out.
Sixty-five minutes later, I had mowed both the front and back. That would’ve taken a minimum of six hours with the Ariens, quite possibly as many as eight hours. I was able to go faster and overlap less, while still being effective. Add that to the extra foot of deck width, and you have the time difference. It’s a hell of a lot more comfortable, too. On top of that, it’s built like a fucking tank. You hear it when you hit something, but you won’t feel it unless it is something very substantial.
If it is half as reliable as I expect it to be, this will be one of the best three thousand dollar purchases I have ever made.