Very disappointed with my Raptor SD 54"
I bought this unit in June 2019 after owning a few Walkers and a Hustler Fastrack SD 60" over the last 30 years for cutting various of my own residential properties, and the occasional free community mowing job for the local school. I previously owned a garden equipment dealership for 25 years and so I am familiar with how machines work, having started the business by servicing clients machines myself..
Well, I sold my last Walker and bought the Raptor SD 54", and never have I been so disappointed with what I was expecting to be a sensible de...cision to go with what I thought was a 'quality' brand! From day one I noticed the trouble that it had discharging cuttings if the grass was more than 100mm long, or even very slightly moist. I tried various blades with higher lift to no avail. The cuttings clog up under the deck until it sounds like a helicopter and it needs the blades disengaged and stopped to dump it out, leaving a huge mess on the lawn or driveway. There is a fundamental design flaw with the deck that Hustler need to address. Either it needs holes in the top of the deck for more airflow, or a very high lift blade, or a closer clearance of the blade to the top of the deck, so cuttings don't build up. They obviously tried a cheap 'fix' by cutting back around the discharge opening of the deck to try and help the cuttings clear out, but have exposed the blade, which is downright dangerous and a liability, not to mention a good 'ringbarking' tool for trees and fenceposts!!! They should call in some airflow engineers, to sort their issues with this area, before it bites them. I am sure that this problem contributes to the high fuel usage and low power complaints on a lot of reviews, as the cuttings are circulating around under the deck, or rubbing on the blades, and then they come out as mini hay bales and leave an unsightly mess! Not a pretty sight for someone who likes a tidy lawn. The other major design fault is the 'balance' of the unit. The drive wheels cannot get enough traction to turn the mower efficiently, even when I let the tyre pressure down very low. When doing a right angle or 180 degree turn the drive wheels turn in opposite directions to each other and the mower continues in a straight line! Either the castor angle needs to be greater to allow them to swivel easier, or the drive wheels need to be further forward to put more weight on them. There are other little things missing that you would expect on a 'quality' mower, like a simple cable on the deck height pin to save losing it, and height adjustment bolts in the armrests (there is a hole there already).
Purchased in June 2019 for A$8,000.00.
Needs more power
I bought the Hustler SD Raptor with the upgraded 54" deck, choosing to change brands from our prior John Deere 48" in June 2019 and has approx 30 hours on it. My first impression was and still is of a fantastically built commercial grade zero turn that drives very well. The problem that irks me is the seemingly under powered engine, although the engine is, on paper, second to none. We have around 5 acres of easy flat mowing with a mixture of winter green couch, blue green couch and buffulo grass. I regularly mow the lawn fortnightly taking unde...r 2 hours. Frequently the mower gets bogged down in the thick buffulo grass (around 10cm high) to a point close to stalling. Even backing right off the forward drive and edging through aiming to maintain high revs, drops the revs substantially. I bought this mower under the impression that it should just power through moderate level grass but am very disappointed. I returned to the source of purchase and questioned them regarding the lack of power of my mower or of any previous owner concerns regarding similar. I was only greeted with raised eyebrows. In hindsight it would have been best to have a trial run on our property prior to purchase to have had a greater insight into this problem.
Purchased in June 2019 for A$7,500.00.
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