Ride on mower/tractor ??

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Feb 2, 2004
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OK, I have to ask this as it's really been bugging me. Since when did a ride on mower become a 'tractor'?? How can something with a twin B&S or Kohler be considered a 'tractor' ? Am I being a tractor snob 'cause I have what I feel is only a small tractor yet it's a diesel, is rated at 55HP and has Cat 1&2 three point linkage and rear tyres over 5' in diameter ? Is this like people calling their utes (pick-ups) 'trucks' ?? Nomex suit done up, let the fire rain down
 
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Elk Point, Alberta
The companies are marketing them as "lawn tractors", so when you go to research them you end up seeing the term "tractor" lots. I still consider them ride on lawnmowers.
 
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The line, in my opinion, is where the engine is. If it's behind or below you, it's a rider. If it's in front of you, it's a tractor. Most riders today are the zero turn type, so it's less confusing than it was. I have only seen one old style rider in years, and it was electric. (new machine, I mean).
 
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Or "Rider" for short. I know the difference, the rider was used to mow the lawn today. The tractor was used to brushhog the field. I would never consider a rider and tractor. From where I am from there are probably more tractors then riders.
 
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JTK

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 Originally Posted By: tuckman
The companies are marketing them as "lawn tractors", so when you go to research them you end up seeing the term "tractor" lots. I still consider them ride on lawnmowers.
+1 to that. It's simply a marketing term. It's only been around about 40yrs or so. Call'em what ever you want. Just try not run me over with your 5ft diameter wheeled, 'real tractor'. Joel
 
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Kansas
Typically, the term tractor was applied to that equipment that was capable of doing such work. I'm thinking old IH Cub Cadets, JD 200 and 300 series, Wheelhorse, etc. Typically with heavy cast-iron transmissions, frames that were not made of stamped metal, and typically 5-lug rear wheels, though I seem to remember seeing 4- and 6-lug samples at one time or another. Don't overlook PTO's, hydraulic hook-ups, and category 0, 3-point hitches which were optional on some models. Yes, they had belly-mounted mower decks. Remove the deck, install a set of wheel weights or suitcase weights, and a set of tire chains, or better, lug tires, and you have a small tractor. Capable of plowing snow, pulling various implements, and other types of work. I have even seen loaders on some of these small tractors, though it was rare, and almost never seen on newer models. Oh, and don't forget -- most of these old garden tractors were equipped with single cylinder engines in the 10 to 18 horsepower range. Do not overlook the value of these little tractors. I knew of more than one farmer that would permanently remove the deck on one of these machines and use it for the small, mundane tasks around the farm. They were cheaper to operate, maintain, and repair than larger tractors. They also were able to go more places than larger machines due to their compact size. 4-wheelers have pretty much replaced the garden tractor on farms and ranches. There are a few tasks that ATVs cannot perform, as they are not particularly suited for low-speed, high-torque applications over an extended period of time. I guess this is a good time to point out the difference between lawn tractors and garden tractors. This is where the marketing comes in. The tractors I described above were garden tractors. Lawn tractors are simply known as such not just due to marketing, but also to distinguish the configuration of front-engine mowers from rear-engine mowers. They have stamped frames, smaller tires which are mounted directly to the axle, and generally have lighter, weaker, components. Today, you will be hard-pressed to find a true garden tractor at places such as Home Depot or Lowes. TSC has a few, and, believe it or not, but Sears has one or two models suitable for this purpose. The father in law just bought a Craftsman GT5000, and I have been pleasantly surprised at how relatively well-made it is, though I still prefer my Cub Cadet. Oh, and to get a good Cub Cadet anymore, I found that you have to go to TSC or an independent dealer. The ones at Home Depot are cheapened versions. Not everybody needs the bulk and expense of a $10k - $20k compact tractor, when an economical $2k - $4k garden tractor will suit their needs perfectly.
 
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"I'm thinking old IH Cub Cadets, JD 200 and 300 series, Wheelhorse, etc. Typically with heavy cast-iron transmissions, frames that were not made of stamped metal ... they had belly-mounted mower decks. Remove the deck, install a set of wheel weights or suitcase weights, and a set of tire chains, or better, lug tires, and you have a small tractor. Capable of plowing snow, pulling various implements, and other types of work. Oh, and don't forget -- most of these old garden tractors were equipped with single cylinder engines in the 10 to 18 horsepower range." Yep, my brother had one of these he borrowed from a friend about 15 years ago. I cleaned it up and it ran great ... had a plow that did a super job on light snowfalls. Single cylinder engine ... 10hp? 15hp? I'm not sure. Really neat lil' tractor. \:\!
 

tdi-rick

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Never hard the term 'Lawn Tractor' here, in either a marketing or user sense. Thought it must have been something the BITOG boys used for their rideons so they felt like the big boys
 

JTK

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 Originally Posted By: tdi-rick
Never hard the term 'Lawn Tractor' here, in either a marketing or user sense.
Just did a quick web search. It's about 50/50 unless you get special URL's for your neck of the woods . Indeed John Deere calls them "riding mowers". Cub Cadet calls them lawn or garden tractors. Kubota calls them "residential mowers". Simpliciy, "Yard and garden tractors". Ingersoll calls them "tractors". Call it what you want. You've got farm tractors, lawn tractors, kid's toy tractors.. Joel
 
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I agree 150% with everything lasmacgod said. I have a Toro Wheel Horse 312-8 tractor. I absolutely consider it to be a tractor, not a lawn mower for the reasons lasmacgod mentioned earlier. It is much more than just a grass cutting machine. It is one of my most prized possessions, and I fully intend on keeping for the next 50+ years, no exaggeration. These are random pics I found online, I don't have any pics of my own tractor.
 

tdi-rick

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 Originally Posted By: JTK
Just did a quick web search. It's about 50/50 unless you get special URL's for your neck of the woods . Joel
There is a big, wide world outside the continental US, some of those brands don't even exist here, and we have other, local makes that you don't have, so yes, we have 'special' URL's ;\) As I said before, I hadn't heard the term 'tractor' applied to a ride on mower until I read it here.
 

JTK

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 Originally Posted By: tdi-rick
As I said before, I hadn't heard the term 'tractor' applied to a ride on mower until I read it here.
You learn something new every day.
 
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I've always considered them 'tractors', even if they are small. They are desigend the same way a larger 'tractor' is - engine up front, small steering wheels in front, and larger drive tires in the back. Open seating area, minimal creature comforts, low gears for pulling/going over rough terrain, built to work...yeah, they're tractors!
 
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