So it's pretty much the end of the season, and I'm happy to report I've been completely satisfied with my purchase. My only problem is I don't have enough grass to mow now
I used to hate mowing grass and didn't realize having a better mower would make all the difference. The 46" deck is a little bit bigger than I need on the yards, but I plan on moving somewhere with more land eventually. This is the first rider I've had with two blades so it took a little getting used to, but after that it cuts real well. It will throw the grass a good ways and not clog up. I did recently purchase the mulching kit to use in the fall to mulch the leaves because I'm lazy and do not feel like raking or bagging. It works well, but I wouldn't keep it on there for my grass. Maybe other yards, but not mine.
The 22HP Kohler has been a solid performer and has never bogged down even in the thick grass I have here. There's only been two minor issues in the 10 hours on it. First one was the nipple coming out of the engine for the oil drain was a little loose from factory. Unfortunately to tighten it I had to remove two engine bolts and lift the engine. This was no real biggie to me as I have every tool to do the job, but the average homeowner might not. There also seems to be an excessive (to me) amount of oil coming out of the breather into the air filter. It might be normal, who knows I've never had a small engine with this design. Oil level has not changed, so I'll just keep an eye on it. Since this is an oil forum, my oil of choice was Rotella T5 10w30. Probably will continue to use it.
The hydrostatic transmission has been wonderful and is great for my irregular yard. It is a little noisy at full speed, but it's no BMW, it's a mower. 😁
For a consumer grade mower I've been happy. I know it's an MTD with a Cub Cadet sticker slapped on it, but it suits my need. I know Lowes carries the exact same mower in a Craftsman variant, the T240. I wouldn't hesitate to own either. My neighbor has the XT2 version and is happy with it as well.
(Yes I know the garage is a mess, I'm running out of room!)
This was before I got the mulching kit, but even then it did well on the leaves.
Sorry for the longer read, but figure I'd give you guys my end of season thoughts incase someone is looking for a similar mower.