Go Back  Bike Forums > The Lounge > Foo
Reload this Page >

Need a new mower. Help please.

Foo Off-Topic chit chat with no general subject.

Need a new mower. Help please.

Old 04-07-13, 07:35 AM
  #1  
himespau 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 10,932
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1336 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 15 Posts
Need a new mower. Help please.

After living in apartments for the last 16 or so years, we finally bought our own house last December. The coming of spring means the coming of the need to take care of my lawn.

When I was growing up, we had an acre and a half, so we had a riding lawn mower for the big bits and an old push mower (and weed whacker) for the trimming around all of our obstacles. Now we only have about 1/3 acre, so we definitely don't need a riding mower. Our yard is pretty hilly, so maybe something self-propelled (never used one before, but have heard good things) would be nice.

Stopped by Home Depot yesterday (I know first mistake is stopping at a big box store), where the guy working in the lawn and garden department showed me what they had. He recommended a front wheel drive toro, and their signs all had the rear wheel drive models being for flat yards only (but better for obstacles) and the front wheel drive models before for flat or hilly yards. I almost bought the one he told me to, but then I went home and checked it out online first, and that toro had only middling at best reviews (sure it's nice that they guarantee a start on the first or second pull for 3 years, but if it's in the shop for half of those years, it's not worth it and doesn't matter how nice their service people are).

Then I looked further and see a lot of people saying that unlike in cars where you want the engine over your front wheel to provide traction while climbing, in pushmowers the weight is over the back wheel and this becomes more true going up hills or as the bag fills so you want rear wheel drive.

And my parents who are totally made in America everything and have never had a foreign car in their lives keep telling me that I should get something with a Honda motor because those are the best and start on the first time, every time (they only ever had Simplicity mowers when I was growing up and those suckers lasted forever).

Now I'm completely confused. Any suggestions as to what I want/need? I'm definitely thinking I want gas over electric, though, right?

Also, as far as weed whips, do I want something like the gas Riyobi the guy was trying to push on me that I could get lots of different attachments for and use it as an edger, rototiller, hedge trimmer, etc, or is that putting all my eggs in one basket and could lead to a lot of expensive repairs if the motor goes?
himespau is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 07:55 AM
  #2  
ModoVincere
Riding Heaven's Highways on the grand tour
 
ModoVincere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,675
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
meh..all the lawnmowers are about the same...there's only a handful of engine mfg'rs anyway. The best ones imo use Honda engines, but B&S and Tecumsah are ok as well.

As for the "weed whip"...if you plan on having a veggie garden, the gas powered ones with a tiller attachment works ok for a small plot, but if you are just trimming weeds, I'd go with a rechargeable electric one.
__________________
1 bronze, 0 silver, 1 gold
ModoVincere is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 08:01 AM
  #3  
jsharr
You Know!? For Kids!
 
jsharr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
Posts: 6,163

Bikes: '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Whatever you get, get a Honda engine. The Honda powered Toro Recyclers get good reviews, as do any of the Hondas. I went from a John Deere Briggs and Stratton to a Honda brand mower and the difference is night and day. The Honda refuses to bog down, starts on the first pull most times and is very solidily built, and very easy to service. I bought mine from a big box store but will take it to a Honda store for service if needed. I have never owned a front wheel drive mower, just rear wheel, so I have no input there, other than to say my yard is very hilly and none of them have had real issues with it. May have a tendency to get lift the front end a bit if climbing a hill with a full bag when bag, which is not often.
__________________
Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
jsharr is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 08:14 AM
  #4  
3alarmer
******
 
3alarmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Tomato
Posts: 17,277

Bikes: old ones

Mentioned: 227 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14547 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 63 Posts
I used to work on small engines and mowers for a while.

When I replaced the engine on my old Snapper deck I bought
a Honda replacement engine for it from one of the two remaining
actual mower and small engine places here in town.

Even Honda makes different grades levels of small mower engines,
with their commercial ones being the best, but their lesser grades
are still better than their competition.

If you want your mower to start regularly, and to last forever, you need
to either buy one with a fuel shutoff or install one in the fuel line.

The single bigest issue with lwn mowers (and indeed most small engines)
is that people leave them sitting around all winter with gas in them, it
goes stale and gummy, and clogs up something along the way.

Drain your stuff when you store it, including your two stroke string trimmer.


If you can figure out a way to make it work for you, an electric mower will
last the longest.........I have a first generation Honda electric that I use now
as a backup that I've had twenty years, and it is going to still be working when
I am under the grass that it mows. But they don't have the power to set up as
a mulching mower, which is my preferred mode of operation, putting the clippings
back on the lawn as you mow.
3alarmer is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 09:01 AM
  #5  
MillCreek
BF Risk Manager
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Snohomish County, Washington USA
Posts: 894

Bikes: Road, mountain and folding

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had owned gas mowers for 30 plus years until last year. That is when I bought this top of the line Black and Decker cordless mower: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-S...ess+lawn+mower

I will probably never go back to gas again. This is an excellent mower, and it even works in my thick, often damp, grass in the Seattle area. I easily mow my 6000 square foot lot on one charge. It works well as both a bagger and a mulcher. It is great not having to futz about any longer with a rusting, gas-powered mower.

If I were to buy another gas-powered mower, I would buy a Honda HRX model with the plastic deck, cry over the price once ( $ 800 plus), and use it for the rest of my days. I have earlier owned a series of Craftsman, Toro and Lawn Boy mowers, and all of them were essentially disposable and not worth the cost of repair, when the engine went or the deck rusted out. I would usually get 3-5 years of service out of them.
MillCreek is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 09:25 AM
  #6  
Alfster 
long time visiter
 
Alfster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: in the Northern Tundra
Posts: 653

Bikes: 2005 Trek 6700 disc 2007 Orbea Onix 2009 Raleigh One Way

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts


Our gas mower:
Cheapy purchase from a local hardware store ... never heard of the brand name before.
22 years old (purchased in 1991)
Briggs and Stratton 3.5 HP engine .

Starts on every pull ... even the first use in the spring ... YEAH BABY!!!

Maintenance:
- Change the oil only once every 2 years
- Clean the air filter out once every spring ... or twice in the year if it's a particulary dusty summer
- replaced the spark plug only once since owning it
- I have NEVER removed the gas before storing over winter

Simple, cheap and reliable ... go for a Briggs and Stratton engine

Btw, I purposefully did not get a self-propelled mower. The main reason is that I have an office job and can use as much exercise as possible ... including when I'm mowing the lawn.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
lawnmower1.jpg (99.2 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg
lawnmower2.jpg (83.5 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by Alfster; 04-07-13 at 09:34 AM.
Alfster is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 10:00 AM
  #7  
overthehillmedi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Nanaimo.B.C. The We't coast of Canada
Posts: 1,287
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Go for a straight shaft trimmer versus a curved shaft. Just about every landscape company uses straight one, must be a reason. I'd get one you can in the future put accessory devices on if you have the need.
overthehillmedi is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 10:14 AM
  #8  
himespau 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 10,932
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1336 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 15 Posts
Keep thinking I should go to a real mower/small engine shop to talk to some guys who know what they're doing and see what they recommend (instead of just some random dude who happened to be assigned to lawn care that day at Home Depot), but thanks for all the good advice. Keep them coming. Our lawn does seem too large to get a single pass of a cordless electric mower and a corded one would be a hassle. Their lightness going up our hills is appealing, but I think I'm going to stick with gas. To the person who suggested not going self-propelled for the exercise, I get that, and I also get the idea that the simpler things are less likely to break - my folks had a very basic mower that lasted 25 or so years until the cord broke for the 3rd time and it was too low for my dad to easily replace it, so I get that. On the other hand, theirs was a two stroke motor that required a gas/oil mix and I think I'd prefer an engine that can take straight gas. Was even looking at the 4-stroke weed whips for that reason. Maybe the lack of wanting to mix up fuel isn't a good enough reason though.
himespau is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 11:29 AM
  #9  
steve0257
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Rochester MN
Posts: 922

Bikes: Raleigh Port Townsend, Raleigh Tourist

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Get a sheep. It will keep the grass short and come fall you have extra protein.
steve0257 is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 11:30 AM
  #10  
skijor
on by
 
skijor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 938

Bikes: Waterford RS-33, Salsa Vaya, Bacchetta Giro 20 ATT

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 593 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
rent-a-goat
http://www.goatfinder.com/renting_goats.htm
skijor is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 12:22 PM
  #11  
plumberroy
Senior Member
 
plumberroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 789

Bikes: Surly long haul trucker, Surly steamroller,Huffy Catalina, Univega Alpina 501. Gravity deadeye monster, Raliegh sport , Electra loft 1

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Honda has a economy line that doesn't have an oil plug. and the manual says pour the oil out the dip stick. Stay away from that honda engine. This comes on mostly discount box store mowers . I like kohler engines but stay away from kohler courage engines.
I mower with this It takes about 10 minutes to change it to the second picture

plumberroy is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 01:10 PM
  #12  
billyymc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,148
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Get a hover mower. Not because it would be the right solution for you, just because it would be so cool to tell people you have a hover mower.

They should make a riding version.
billyymc is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 01:23 PM
  #13  
himespau 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 10,932
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1336 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by plumberroy View Post
I mower with this It takes about 10 minutes to change it to the second picture

That looks hardcore.
himespau is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 01:54 PM
  #14  
plumberroy
Senior Member
 
plumberroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 789

Bikes: Surly long haul trucker, Surly steamroller,Huffy Catalina, Univega Alpina 501. Gravity deadeye monster, Raliegh sport , Electra loft 1

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
With the right attachment it will do about anything needed done in yard or homestead I have the mower tiller and a trailer it It is designed for central european style small scale farming . It is considered a walking tractor . It is a grillo model G85d made in Italy actually one of their smaller models
Roy
plumberroy is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 02:08 PM
  #15  
jsharr
You Know!? For Kids!
 
jsharr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
Posts: 6,163

Bikes: '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by plumberroy View Post
With the right attachment it will do about anything needed done in yard or homestead I have the mower tiller and a trailer it It is designed for central european style small scale farming . It is considered a walking tractor . It is a grillo model G85d made in Italy actually one of their smaller models
Roy
Italian tractor? Are you a spaghetti farmer? How many spaghetti trees do you have?
__________________
Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
jsharr is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 02:09 PM
  #16  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,266

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A self powered reel mower is a beautiful thing if you like a nice looking lawn... rotary mowers pummel your lawn.

We have a push mower here as although I have decent amount of lawn it still does not take that much longer and only burns calories.

Even better... get a roto-tiller and turn it all into garden
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 03:30 PM
  #17  
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 6,076

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 955 Post(s)
Liked 59 Times in 44 Posts
My Gf has a Toro personal pace self propelled mower. I don't remember if it's front or rear wheel drive, and her lawn is flat so I can't tell if that makes a difference. I can say that the personal pace feature sounded like a gimic until I used it a few times, and found out how good it is.
no motor? is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 05:05 PM
  #18  
plumberroy
Senior Member
 
plumberroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 789

Bikes: Surly long haul trucker, Surly steamroller,Huffy Catalina, Univega Alpina 501. Gravity deadeye monster, Raliegh sport , Electra loft 1

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
Italian tractor? Are you a spaghetti farmer? How many spaghetti trees do you have?
Spaghetti grows in sqash not trees You a cityboy or what?
plumberroy is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 05:23 PM
  #19  
jdon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,243
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have had a JD push mower for about 20 years. I bought one with the Kawasaki engine as it had an oil pump and I had a hilly lot. I have changed the oil every year and keep the blade sharp. Starts first pull even today. Nothing bad to say about it.
jdon is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 05:23 PM
  #20  
jsharr
You Know!? For Kids!
 
jsharr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
Posts: 6,163

Bikes: '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by plumberroy View Post
Spaghetti grows in sqash not trees You a cityboy or what?
Whatever.
__________________
Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
jsharr is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 05:30 PM
  #21  
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1573 Post(s)
Liked 65 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
If you can figure out a way to make it work for you, an electric mower will
last the longest.........I have a first generation Honda electric that I use now
as a backup that I've had twenty years, and it is going to still be working when
I am under the grass that it mows. But they don't have the power to set up as
a mulching mower, which is my preferred mode of operation, putting the clippings
back on the lawn as you mow.
+1 on electric mowers.
I've used only electrics for the last 10+ years.
The only maintenance is sharping the blade.
Shimagnolo is online now  
Old 04-07-13, 07:36 PM
  #22  
tizeye 
Senior Member
 
tizeye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 103

Bikes: 1985 Falcon, 2008 Jamis Dakota Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
An electric will work for a 6000 sq ft lot...but that is about it's max on a charge. 1/3 acre is too large for electric. It seems that the new oil drain for basic consumer models is omit it. Both my Honda and past 2 B&S engines were turn upside down (or on thir side) to drain the oil. Biggest problem I have found with mowers for the past 15 years is not the engine. Rather, the chassis just falls apart, plus with each, the self-propelled was a joke. Both front and rear self propelled models, after a couple mowings, I could walk faster. Weak points on the chassis are the whell/hubs. Invariably they bend out and have to replace the wheels/bolts. Have a Hunsevega now, front drive with the big rear wheels and last year replaced one of the height adjuster plates. Currently, after 4 years, the wheels are about to wear out, and cheaper to replace the mower than 4 wheels and other misc parts.

WARNING: While normal gas is OK for your 4cyl engine mower, unless it is totally ethanol/MTBE free, DO NOT mix with oil and use in a 2 cyl trimmer/edger/blower. It will totally destroy those 2 cyl engines up. I have rebuily the carbs and never could get them back to running. Latest Toro trimme, only use the expensive $5/qt premix they sell at HD, Lowes, Sears and never had any problem with bothe the trimmer/edger engine or the blower engine. Be sure to get the correct pre-mix as they come in 40:1 and 50:1 and/or make sure all engines use the same ratio when you buy them.
__________________
1985 Falcon
2008 Jamis Dakota Sport
tizeye is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 07:45 PM
  #23  
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1573 Post(s)
Liked 65 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by tizeye View Post
An electric will work for a 6000 sq ft lot...but that is about it's max on a charge. 1/3 acre is too large for electric.
6400sf lot here, and I've never run out of charge.
Of course since mine is *corded*, that is not an issue.
The corded costs less, and weighs a *lot* less.
Shimagnolo is online now  
Old 04-07-13, 07:49 PM
  #24  
plumberroy
Senior Member
 
plumberroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 789

Bikes: Surly long haul trucker, Surly steamroller,Huffy Catalina, Univega Alpina 501. Gravity deadeye monster, Raliegh sport , Electra loft 1

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post

Even better... get a roto-tiller and turn it all into garden
I have slowly been working towards this... I till up an extra little ground every year. The "garden area " when we bought the place was 27x30 this year the width is out to 35 ft and it will end up at least 60 ft long with a couple of small places in other spots around the yard
Roy
plumberroy is offline  
Old 04-07-13, 09:21 PM
  #25  
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Posts: 12,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
As for the "weed whip"...if you plan on having a veggie garden, the gas powered ones with a tiller attachment works ok for a small plot, but if you are just trimming weeds, I'd go with a rechargeable electric one.
In my last house, the yard was fairly small, and the front yard had a lot of trees and the dogs had torn up the back yard so much that mowing was more like an obstacle course. I had a gasoline mower which gave up the ghost because they started putting MBTE in the gas and the carb priming pump melted, and then the replacement melted the first time it got used. After that, I mowed the yard with an electric weed whacker with a nice bright orange electrical cord. To me, the weight is important and unless you are professional and can build up muscles, I'd avoid a gas powered one on weight alone. And the noise of a gas powered weed whacker. The time involved was about the same.
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
Artkansas is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.