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CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Mowers, self propelled - rear drive or front drive?

What are the opinions of which is better?

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA

1 recommendation

Rear drive works better especially with the weight of the rear bag attached and filling up with 30+ pounds of grass.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to CylonRed
said by CylonRed:

What are the opinions of which is better?

Neither. Look at Husqvarna's AWD push mowers. Neighbor has one and it is amazing. I may get one when my push mower lets go.


DataDoc
My avatar looks like me, if I was 2D.
Premium
join:2000-05-14
Martinsburg, WV
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Suddenlink

1 recommendation

reply to wth
said by wth:

Rear drive works better especially with the weight of the rear bag attached and filling up with 30+ pounds of grass.

I've only owned front drive mowers. How is a rear drive when you need to maneuver by lifting the front wheels? With front drive you don't have to do anything, just lift and turn.
--
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive... those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C.S. Lewis

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
With rear wheel drive you still have power when you lift the front wheels unless you disengage your hand control. This allows to have power when doing that type of maneuvering if you desire and also allows lifting the front wheels when cutting first pass of really tall grass. If you have any hills to mow, then rear wheel drive is a must (other than the new AWD).


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
I have quite a few hills, as does my neighbor. I've seen a Husqvarna AWD mower in action, and it was rock solid on those hills. There are quite a few YouTube videos of them to check out as well. Like I said, I may get one next mowing season.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
My concern with it on hills is like most if not all of the other consumer walk behinds, it uses splash lubrication. On hills, you need a pump.

Hellrazor
Bah Humbug

join:2002-02-02
Abyss, PA
reply to CylonRed
Rear wheel is better IMO.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to robbin
I haven't seen lubrication be an issue over a few seasons of hilly mowing. It has really great traction; which is the obvious selling feature.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

1 edit
reply to DataDoc
said by DataDoc:

said by wth:

Rear drive works better especially with the weight of the rear bag attached and filling up with 30+ pounds of grass.

I've only owned front drive mowers. How is a rear drive when you need to maneuver by lifting the front wheels? With front drive you don't have to do anything, just lift and turn.

There has to be a mechanism to allow for the turning. Same with the AWD.

I would like to keep it under $500 and it would be nice to have the large rear wheels as well.

My ILs have a Toro that seems to mow very nicely. Even my 9 year old could start it on one pull.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
I had a Personal Pace Toro Super-Recycler until the motor became a mosquito fogger every time I used it. Replaced it with a Honda-powered Lawn-Boy with, virtually the same Sensa-Speed drive as the Toro had and I love it. Rear drive with a simple differential. My neighbor just bought a Honda mower, but his has thumb paddles to control the drive pace. He's sorry he didn't pay the extra $$$ for the Personal Pace/Sensa-Speed control. I just grab the handle and walk. I step, it goes... I stop, it stops. Works like a charm. I've had mine for about three seasons and have never had a problem with it... except when it coughed to a stop one day after I started mowing because I forgot to turn the gas shutoff to the "run" position. I was ready to return the damn thing 'til I noticed the indicator lever was in the wrong position... DUH!!!

It has started on the first pull every time since I got it... if I remembered to set the choke (automatically opens after a few seconds of running), and open the fuel valve.
--
Keep your eye on the ball, your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grindstone, and your ear to the ground. Now, try to work in that position!!!


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to CylonRed
Another vote for rear-drive. I've used both over the years. My current mower is a Toro Super Recycler and I love it. I'd buy another one tomorrow.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to robbin
Our old yard was very steep and never once did a quality mower have issues with the lubrication. I imagine they engineer them with hills in mind since flat yards are very much a rarity in many parts of the customer base.
--
Filan - Aurin Spellslinger - Pago - Team Legacy
Expand your moderator at work


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to CylonRed

Re: Mowers, self propelled - rear drive or front drive?

I prefer person propelled.
At least you get a bit of a workout.

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to Pacrat
said by Pacrat:

Replaced it with a Honda-powered Lawn-Boy

It has started on the first pull every time since I got it... if I remembered to set the choke (automatically opens after a few seconds of running), and open the fuel valve.

Bought one about 6 years ago, except mine is a push model. Easiest mower to start I've ever owned/used. No primer button to push, just flip the auto choke on and one EASY pull, starts every time. Son has a Toro personal pace mower and it's nice for hills, as I've mowed his yard a couple of times.


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to DarkLogix
Generally, I mow about every three or four days (weather permitting) so I get my workout just doing all that walking. Being retired allows me to spend that time mowing where someone who's still working might only be able to mow once a week or even less often. A good friend of mine bought a Jacobsen commercial grade, 2-cycle, push mower due to cutting on some sizable hillsides. That thing is built like a tank, and is almost as difficult to push around... it's really heavy. That being said, it is nearly indestructible as it has survived more than one or two tree stump encounters, a few half-buried rocks, and random pipe ends sticking out go the ground. It has destroyed a blade or two, but the crank shaft is dead solid and true. We checked the shaft (after one particularly violent encounter) with a dial indicator and it was true and solid. The blade was bent like a pretzel, but the mower was in great shape. But, my God it's heavy to push... even on level ground. I've used it several times to mow a baseball infield and I was bushed by the time I was done. Your arms are not s'posed to be tired when you get done cutting the grass.
--
Keep your eye on the ball, your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grindstone, and your ear to the ground. Now, try to work in that position!!!


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

1 edit
reply to DarkLogix
My kids mow (sometimes the wife mows as well) - they are very skinny and do Tae Kwon Do and swimming. One mows our lawn and the other mows the grandparents lawn - they are 11 and 9 and are barely tall enough to use the handles properly.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to CylonRed
Bought a Honda rear wheel mower a couple of months ago after much research. I had only owed front wheel drive mowers in the past. I think it's still a matter of preference. I think rear wheel works better on hills. It took a few minutes for me to get used to rear wheel drive but I now like it. My front long has a slight angle to it. I can lift the front of the mower when I'm turning and engage the drive while I turn around in order to keep it from rolling downhill. Basically, when on hills you have a tendency to lift the front end. With rear wheel drive this is not an issue. I can also do this on turns so using rear wheel is not an issue.


jed
Premium
join:2001-07-06
Alberta, Can
kudos:1
Reviews:
·TELUS
·EastLink Interne..
reply to CylonRed
I've only ever had RWD. Still have the first Kawasaki-powered JD (13SB? I think it is) from about 2x yrs ago, and a newer Kawa-power JD and a Briggs-powered JD. The higher end models are certainly where I'll be shopping (not JD as they don't market them any longer) as the drivetrains are much easier to use, and more robust, in my limited experience.


DataDoc
My avatar looks like me, if I was 2D.
Premium
join:2000-05-14
Martinsburg, WV
Reviews:
·Comcast
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reply to CylonRed
said by CylonRed:

My kids mow... they are 11 and 9 and are barely tall enough to use the handles properly.

I used to mow the lawn when I was 10 and the handles always seemed to be too high for me, mainly because the top half had an upward bend. My father unbolted the top part and flipped it over and remounted the throttle. It ended up being about a foot lower and the perfect height for me.
--
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive... those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C.S. Lewis

bkjohnson
Premium
join:2002-05-22
Birmingham, AL
reply to SwedishRider
[Neither. Look at Husqvarna's AWD push mowers. Neighbor has one and it is amazing. I may get one when my push mower lets go.]

My son has a large yard and has one of those. It is an impressive mower. It has greatly reduced his mowing time.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to DataDoc
Ours are straight and halfway up they can be completely unattached as well. The arms only have one height settings as well.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to CylonRed
As a kid and an adult, I have mowed a lot of yards other than my own. I have used both, and RWD is preferred-FWD tends to be reserved for cheaper models. I haven't used AWD.

With your recent trials and tribulations with your old mower, I was going to post to stop f**ing with that old mower and just get a new one. That isn't like me to say that, but I was messing around with a similar era Craftsman and trying to nurse it along a few more years. Then, when I got a new one and discovered how much power the old one had gradually lost, I kind of kicked myself saying why did I not get a new one sooner. I was throwing parts at something that wasn't worth it.

Like anything else these days, getting what you want or like you had is hard-you have to make compromises. If you have flat land (likely in OH), your needs will be different. But, for me I needed a single point height adjustment (love it)-and you couldn't get that in many models-even high end $$ Hondas or Toros. That is why I didn't pursue the Husky AWD model.

Self propelled or not-you are still going to have to work to mow the grass. Now I have a Fiskars push mower that I love as well-while easy to mow, you will get a good workout with that.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
Yea - I have been trying to do more repairs - stuff I never learned and usually had crappy results. The last straw was the belt for the front drive. No way to get it on the way they say to do it in videos (yes - I found one that is from virtually the exact same mower) so I have the belt on but no way in hell can I replace the spring that needs to be replaced as well. Worked on it till my shoulder was aching and arm was hard to lift. Bad timing for the mower as my wife and I just got done with a cruise and the van needs tires...

We do have ditches that the kids had trouble with - you needed to point the mower up hill a bit to get a semi-straight line.

Her parents have a Toro that I used once and liked the results and how it mowed. We generally do not bag our grass - we mulch and if long I would want to use side discharge. I have also started to mow the grass a lot higher...
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
Well, it sounds like you understand the ditch routine: you have to push upward to compensate for gravity dragging you down. You do this and kind of mow/drag sideways along in a straight line.

I know several people who have the Toro super recycler/personal pace. It is a nice mower.

I was going to warn about going 22" wide as the deck drags when cutting the curvature of a ditch. But, with your Yankee grass that you can cut tall, that wouldn't be a concern.

Even for your old mower, Sears should still have the prints online to show you belt patterns.


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
We wound up with a Toro rear drive, super recycler/personal pace.

The issue with the belt is not the patters - 2 pullies and the belt goes around them. The cover under the deck I had to cut off since the adapter would not come off (never been removed in 15 years). No way the belt was going to go on as easy as the video showed. I needed more room so I had to remove the spring that was going to be replaced. Had to use a screwdriver to get the belt on, then I would not lift up the flange nearly high enough to get the spring back in. After battling with it with the wife and I - I finally gave up. I have a feeling the other belt was fine though. It was difficult to get off.

There was zero guarantee that either of the things I did would actually fix the issues.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to CylonRed
One other item I like on a mower besides rear drive is ball bearing wheels. This option is not too easy to find but the handling of the mower is much improved. It's a small thing, but for me at least, it does make a nice difference.


Rojo_P

join:2001-10-03
Lancaster, OH
reply to CylonRed
Rear wheel for reasons mentioned. Plus front wheel drive tends to want to tear at the lawn.