Blowing money on a commerical 21" - Honda vs Kawi

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66
Location
Iowa
So I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a 'commerical' Toro 21" mower next Spring. The two options I like are as follows. I think the Exmark clones are a little cheaper but I don't think they would mulch quite as well so I would like to stick with one of these. Kawasaki - http://www.toro.com/en-us/Professional-C...ges/Model.aspx? pid=22290 Honda - http://www.toro.com/en-us/Professional-C....aspx?pid=22295 The Toro Kawasaki has the FJ180V, vs the Honda GX160V in the second option. Both are top notch and obsolutely ridiculously way more than I need for a residential user. I'm the weirdo buying high outdoor power equipment while the next guy is buying a motorcycle. Put it that way. The Toro Kawasaki is around $1,000 vs $1,400 for the Honda 160GXV. Anyone have longevity with the FJ180V? I have no worries about the Honda GX160V. The deck is the same on each and the transmission is a bit different, but not a show stopper for one or the other. What would you guys choose/why? This will likely be the last 'gas' mower I'll ever buy. Thanks!
 

Ope_Freak

Thread starter
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66
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted By: Corvette Owner
Very expensive for private ownership/use!
Depends on the person. Assuming you have a Corvette, which arguably is also very expensive and not really necessary for getting from point A to B...
 
Messages
552
Location
Tennessee
My answer: None of the above. But if you twisted my arm, I would take the Kawasaki version. What I would do, is look around for one the the big three, high end mowers (in good condition), that the government won't let you buy anymore these are: 1) Lawn Boy 22261. The commercial 21" version with a full, 1 gallon orange gas tank, orange wheels, and a full 6 1/2 hp (the most powerful 21" mower ever made). Also has a 3 speed transmission. 2) Toro 21" mower with Suzuki 2 cycle engine. Legendary engine. 'enuf " said. 3) Snapper 21" mower with 2 cycle Robin engine. Less common than the first two mowers. However, if you have leaves to bag, this one will pick up sticks, and almost suck the ground up with it. You can almost call it an outdoor vacuum cleaner. Full disclosure, I own the first two mowers in great condition. Even modified the Lawn Boy to accept new rear tire tread (without replacing the wheels). I did own the mower #3but sold it, (with less than 50 hours on it), but it was just too much overkill, and I did not have enough leaves to justify keeping it. Check craigslist and ebay for these mowers. All these are landscaper mowers that are highly sought after. They are still around. Better still, since you are in Iowa, take the drive to Omaha, to Ted's Mowers (Toro dealer). Every winter, he restores some 2 cycle Toros with Suzuki engines to like new condition. (They are not cheap, however, for what you are willing to pay, you are in the right ball park).
 
Messages
6,336
Location
KY
I have one commercial ZTR, one "hybrid" ZTR(commercial frame/deck, B&S Intek twin engine), as well as commercial grade chain saws(2), backpack blower, and hedge trimmer. It's like buying tools- pay for good quality once, care for it properly, and you should never have to buy the same thing again.
 
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14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
I like the idea of a used commercial quality mower, but you really have to be a 2-cycle guy to want a 2-cycle engine. I'm not a 2-cycle guy; I have two Lawn-Boys with Fs, and I use them every now and then, but I prefer the 4-cycle engines. I own a Honda GXV140, and it's a good little mill. I've never owned a Kawasaki, and I'd like to have one, so I'd choose that just based on not having owned one yet. I think it also has a pressurized lubrication system where the Honda's is splash. Does it matter in the real world? Not really. But hey, this is BITOG, right?
 
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3,378
Location
Wildwood, FL
I can vouch for the Toro commercial mowers with the Suzuki engine. I have a push model bought new in <span style="font-weight: bold">1988</span>, and it's still going strong.
 

Ope_Freak

Thread starter
Messages
66
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Why do you want a zone start mower? What's the point of having a commercial mower if you have to restart it every time you empty the bag? The most popular Toro commercial mower in central California is this model: http://www.toro.com/en-us/Professional-C....aspx?pid=22198
This isnt going to be used commercially, so restarts are a non-issue. I don't need BBC. I think these two models seem to be built with mulching in mind, which I normally do. The reason is they have the 'kickers' as seen in the Super Recycler.
 

Ope_Freak

Thread starter
Messages
66
Location
Iowa
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
I like the idea of a used commercial quality mower, but you really have to be a 2-cycle guy to want a 2-cycle engine. I'm not a 2-cycle guy; I have two Lawn-Boys with Fs, and I use them every now and then, but I prefer the 4-cycle engines. I own a Honda GXV140, and it's a good little mill. I've never owned a Kawasaki, and I'd like to have one, so I'd choose that just based on not having owned one yet. I think it also has a pressurized lubrication system where the Honda's is splash. Does it matter in the real world? Not really. But hey, this is BITOG, right?
I agree with Hokiefyd. I'm not a 2-stroke guy. I agree the Suzuki 2-stroke was the boss, but I also prefer 4-cycle engines.
 
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3,048
I'm a fan of 2cycle for sure. BUT here is what I did. Through college I worked landscape and we had a segment of guys who did lawn. I was more into planting and design but had a few days mowing with various pieces. Appreciating a comm machine well taken care of, I went with a JD Kawi engine for my personal choice and a JD snow blower entry comm 828D. Both served very well for 10yr plus. This year I replaced the mower. I went with $400 Honda. I'm guessing, but I bet that Honda will get me 8 years. Maybe more, maybe less. But for say 50hrs a season, I'm gonna say 8 is my guess. Do the math, and the comm grade isnt worth it until, IMHO 13-15yr mark. And the parts for are them are insane. I don't agree with it, but manufacturers have turned us into a disposable society. Aftermarker parts scream get new and save.
 
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17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
<span style="font-family: 'Verdana'">I don't know if I'd like that flip-up bail lever on the Toro commercial mowers; you have to slide it to the right before raising it up to the handle every time you engage the power drive. I guess it must be a non-issue though because the model is still very popular with professional gardeners.</span>
 
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2,547
Location
IL
Originally Posted By: BISCUT
Do the math, and the comm grade isnt worth it until, IMHO 13-15yr mark. And the parts for are them are insane. I don't agree with it, but manufacturers have turned us into a disposable society. Aftermarker parts scream get new and save.
I looked at all the commercial mowers and I wasn't too impressed. High price tags, but not a whole lot there. Most commercial mowers are running about 18,000 to 18,500 fpm blade tip speed. So you basically buy commercial for the faster blades.... It's a mower, not a tractor, I would NEVER buy a "commercial mower", never, the only lawn tractors I like are John Deere's. I would buy a commercial lawn tractor, however.(accessories)
 
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JTK

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13,443
Location
Buffalo, NY
Pretty sure any 21" mower in the insane $1000-1400 price range is going to be a darn FINE mower! You can't go wrong with the Kawi FJ engine or a Honda GX. Given the choice, I'd go with the Kawi, just because you see it on super high-end stuff. I thought I was nutz paying ~$600 for my Snapper Commercial 3-4yrs ago. It's a tank, but has a lowly Briggs engine and steel deck. Mulches like a dream. I have zero use for bagging.
 
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Messages
17,501
Location
Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: JTK
I have zero use for bagging.
That's a shame because the Snapper Hi-Vac deck is the best in the industry at bagging. That's like buying a Ferrari and then never driving it over 20 miles per hour.
 

JTK

Messages
13,443
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: JTK
I have zero use for bagging.
That's a shame because the Snapper Hi-Vac deck is the best in the industry at bagging. That's like buying a Ferrari and then never driving it over 20 miles per hour.
True. I resurrected and old steel deck, snapper push mower that was setup for rear bagging. They vacuum like a huge shop vac. I gave that mower away. Setup like mine, with one of their ninja mulching blades and a mulch plug, they mulch at least as well as a Toro super recycler. Another factor not talked about is the drive system. Snapper's disk drive system, with rear differential is the best in the industry as well IMO.
 
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Messages
10,699
Location
Jupiter, Florida
I have an old Snapper mulcher with Kawasaki engine. The engine has bent the crank at least twice. Hitting stuff in my rural yard. I bent the crank back with a brass sledge and it's working just fine.... Well, it's not perfect, as it knocks a bit.... But still runs great. But the mower has been incredibly robust, considering what I do to it. I'd purchase another exactly like it, if I needed to. Otherwise I'll repower if the Kawasaki finally gives up.
 
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5,277
Location
Ohio
Myself,I cannot justify spending that much for a residential use mower. With reasonable care, I have always gotten 12-15 years out of a mower. Atleast you would impress your neighbors.
 
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