Ride on Mower Guide
Ride on Mowers are the equipment of choice for users with larger properties and can significantly speed up the lawn mowing process. The ride on mower is an essential piece of equipment to keep the lawn manageable and tidy all year round. They can however be slightly confusing to use and take care of so we have created a handy guide giving you all you need to know before using a ride on mower, in just six minutes reading time.
Areas not accessible to ride on mowers are usually mowed using walk behind lawnmowers and brushcutters or trimmers. Ride on mowers are used when the size of the lawn is simply too large to productively mow with alternative equipment. They are incredibly user friendly and efficient but can also end up saving you money in the long run.
There are various ride on mowers are available in the market. Here we provide information to assist in the purchase, use and maintenance your mower. Ride on mowers are used by the demanding consumer, and the characteristics of the demanding consumer are:
- They want a quality finish,
- Get satisfaction from having a well kept lawn and
- Also enjoys garden work and the outdoors.
Ride on Mowers are available in three body types:
- the conventional Tractor type,
- the rear engine Rider and
- the robust Zero Turn Ride On Mower .
Traditional Tractor Ride On Mower
The traditional tractor type Ride on Mower is very popular in Cape Town and can often be seen in use when driving along the countryside or Wine Route.
Rear Engine Rider
The Rear Engine Rider features a front mounted cutting deck, with the engine mounted at the back. With the cutting deck mounted at the front, it enables the mower to cut difficult to reach areas. It also makes it easy to clean and maintain the cutting deck.
Zero Turn Mower
The Zero turn mower is a ride on mower that can complete a 360 degree turn without travelling forward or backward. By utilizing a unique steering method, the Zero Turn Mowers are maneuverable and easy to operate. Zero Turn Mowers have rear-mounted engines which reduce the exhaust gases and noise reaching the operator.
Advantages of Zero turn Ride on Mowers
- Zero turn ride on mowers are typically faster than tractors and riders.
- High Productivity
- Ease of service
- High maneuverability
- Good quality cut
- Superior stability to ride on mowers
- Enjoyable to operate
- Zero Turn mowers use high quality components for long service life
- Very capable against inclines
Zero turn mowers are typically available in a residential and commercial category. The entry level zero turn ride on mowers and are designed for home owners with smaller properties. The commercial category feature heavier construction, increased comfort and higher performance for larger properties and estates.
The residential Zero Turn Mower features a stamped and embossed steel frame. The commercial Zero Turn Mower features a one piece welded frame constructed for added strength and durability. Decks comes as a replaceable component offered by most manufacturers.
Vertically mounted engines by manufactures such as Briggs and Stratton, Kawasaki , Kohler and the likes, allow for a very low centre of gravity. This results in better control and stability. The Vertical Shaft engine orientation allows engine exhaust and heat to be directed away from the operator.
Steering levers supplied with dampeners allow for smooth operation and reduced shock to the hydraulic system caused by rapid lever movement. Dampeners on some commercial series mowers can be adjusted:
- forward for decreased dampening
- or backwards for increased dampening
- Important features to look out for when purchasing a Ride on Mower:
- Is it equipped with a powerful high specification overhead valve engine?
- Is the engine full pressure lubricated and fitted with an oil filter?
- Does it have a hydrostatic transmission?
- Is it fitted with a well-ventilated cutting deck for a quality cutting and collection result?
- Is the cutting deck stamped or is it a welded/fabricated reinforced deck?
- Does it come with a dedicated collector or as an accessory?
- What is the difference between a manual gearbox vs hydrostatic gearbox?
A tractor with a manual gearbox needs to be stopped before changing speed or direction. With a hydrostatic transmission, changes of speed and direction are possible without stopping the unit. The hydrostatic gearbox has vastly improved the using experience of modern ride on mowers.
A wide range of ride on mowers, smart technology, robust construction and well thought out ergonomics make ride on mowers efficient both in domestic gardens and in more demanding applications. There are two different discharge types on ride on mowers:
- Side discharge and
- Center rear discharge with an integrated collector
Besides being use for the cutting of lawns, thanks to a wide range of accessories, ride on mowers can also be used all year round. In addition to cutting decks, some ride on mowers can also be fitted with a scarifier, a moss rake, a trailer, a spreader, a snow blower, a snow brush and more. With help of various accessories, most mowers can be converted and let the customer choose between three different cutting systems:
- mulching and
- Mulching means that the grass is cut into fine pieces that quickly turn into fertilizer. Collector Ride on mowers come with two cutting systems:
- collection and
In order to convert the ride on mower to mulching, the user only needs to take out the chute and insert the mulch plug. A deflective rear discharge is available as an accessory. Conventional ride on mower models come with side discharge. Two or three bin collectors and mulching kits are available as accessories.
For the best cutting result, don’t forget to change or sharpen the cutting blade regularly. A dull blade breaks off the grass and makes the cut jagged, which may cause dehydration and disease. Also for a healthy lawn, never cut more than half the length of the grass when mulching, preferably only one third.
When mowing in damp weather, the driving speed should be decreased to avoid the formation of clumps. Mulching means that the grass and leaves are cut into small pieces that quickly decompose and return to the lawn as fertilizer.
The advantages of mulching using a Ride On Mower are:
- That nourishment and water are returned to the grass.
- The need for fertilization is reduced by at least half.
- The cuttings does not have to be collected.
- A tidier result is achieved than rear or side discharge.
- It increases the humus layer and it causes less grass spray.
- The disadvantages of mulching using a ride on mower are:
- It cannot stop the spreading of weeds
- It can cause the grass clippings to form clods when long grasses are cut.
- It can bring too much nourishment to the lawn
- It requires mowing more often, since a maximum of one third of the blade length should be cut each time and
- The result less tidy than with collection
- Advantages of ride on mowers with front mounted cutting decks:
- The machine can easily reach under obstructions
- The operator enjoys as excellent vision service position as possible
- The grass is not pressed down by the wheels before it is cut
- The total length of the machine is increased somewhat, which can be a problem during transportation or storage.
- The cutting deck is more susceptible to collisions, etc. than when it is located elsewhere.
- Advantages of Ride On Mowers with mid mounted cutting decks:
- The machine can be made more compact, that is to say, shorter.
- The cutting deck is better protected against collisions
- Short distance for the cutting’s to move, which is an advantage when collecting.
- Good weight distribution between front and rear axles, which makes for a stable ride more
- With Mid mounted cutting deck difficult to reach into corners and under obstructions.
- The cutting results can be affected as the wheels flatten the grass before it is mowed.
- How to Start a Ride on Mower:
- Ensure the bypass valve lever is in the in position,
- sit in the seat, depress the clutch brake pedal fully, or set the parking brake.
- Place the motion control lever in the neutral position,
- make sure that the blades are disengaged
- move the throttle control all the way up to the first position.
- Pull the choke control out for a cold start attempt. For a warm start, the choke may not be needed.
- Turn the key and crank the engine until the starts.
The transmission bypass valve lever is located at the rear of the tractor, on the side discharge models and under the seat on the models with integrated collector, the valve lever has two positions, in and out. The valve lever needs to be in for the transmission to work correctly. In the out position, the tractor will be in a neutral mode and can be pushed by hand.
The clutch brake pedal is used to release the clutch and brake the ride on mower. The clutch brake pedal must be depressed before the engine will start or the parking brake engaged. The motion control lever controls the transmission and selects the speed and direction of the ride on mower.
Before starting always make sure the motion control lever is in the neutral position. This will protect against unwanted movement of the ride on mower once the clutch brake pedal is released. The blade engagement turns the cutting blades on and off.
For the engine to start the blade engagement, either manual or electric, must be in the disengaged position. For best cutting performance the mower should always be used at full throttle. For a cold start the choke control should be pulled out.
When starting the Ride on mowers with a warm start attempt, the choke is usually not needed. Turn the key and crank the engine until it starts. It’s important that the mowing is conducted as efficiently as possible so that you choose the right ride on mower for the type application.
As lawn mowing often make up the largest maintenance cost, it also offer the greatest potential for savings. In addition, the main objective of lawn care is to ensure good continual growth, coupled with the preservation of the function of the lawn cutting or mowing. Making the right choice is not easy, but it helps if you have well researched and authoritative information prior to making changes in your equipment.
As a Husqvarna Gold Dealer, B&S Commercial Power stock a full line up of Ride on Mowers, Riders as well as Zero Turn Mowers. Situated in Cape Town, be sure to contact their product specialist if you should require advice on the purchase ,use or maintenance of a ride on mower! Be sure to scour the BS Power website and product pages to see which ride on mowers we stock and the specifications of each mower.