Best for hills?

bkeller500

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Consider a used tractor with limited slip or tractor control features that engage both rear drive wheels for added traction and tractor stability. JD 500 series, Simplicity Conquest. A ZT on slopes can be dangerous and frankly much more difficult for the operator. Have a dealer bring one out to your property for a test.
 

GearHead36

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Consider a used tractor with limited slip or tractor control features that engage both rear drive wheels for added traction and tractor stability. JD 500 series, Simplicity Conquest. A ZT on slopes can be dangerous and frankly much more difficult for the operator. Have a dealer bring one out to your property for a test.
A ZTR with a steering wheel is safer than a tractor. Lower CoG, and rear wheels are allowed to turn independently of each other, unlike on a tractor with a diff lock.
 

bkeller500

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A ZTR with a steering wheel is safer than a tractor. Lower CoG, and rear wheels are allowed to turn independently of each other, unlike on a tractor with a diff lock.
The idea of differential lock is for the added traction when you need it. ZT's tend to tear up the turf when turning. Unfortunately the only steering wheel ZT that I am aware of is made by Cub, and they have a horrible build quality. I'd stick with a tractor .
 

ILENGINE

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The idea of differential lock is for the added traction when you need it. ZT's tend to tear up the turf when turning. Unfortunately the only steering wheel ZT that I am aware of is made by Cub, and they have a horrible build quality. I'd stick with a tractor .
Also sold under the Troy-Bilt name
 

GearHead36

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The idea of differential lock is for the added traction when you need it. ZT's tend to tear up the turf when turning. Unfortunately the only steering wheel ZT that I am aware of is made by Cub, and they have a horrible build quality. I'd stick with a tractor .
If you have the diff lock engaged on a tractor, it will tear up the turf more than a ZTR. I DO agree that's it's unfortunate that steering wheel ZTRs are only available from Cub. I got lucky, and came across a good deal on a Pro Z 100 S, which is a commercial unit. The residential Cubs, as well as Troy Bilts, Craftsmans, etc CAN be reliable mowers, but they can't be neglected or abused. They will not tolerate anything but good care. They don't have to be babied, but you won't get away with using them like a bush hog, never changing the oil, never servicing or cleaning the deck, and leaving it outside. If I had slopes like the OP has (and I think I do), and I had to choose between a durable lawn tractor, a durable lap-bar ZTR, and a steering wheel Cub ZTR, I'd go with the Cub ZTR. It's really a game changer on slopes. My Pro Z S replaced a lap-bar ZTR, and it feels WAY safer and more sure-footed on slopes. If the engine dies on my Pro Z, I won't be replacing the mower, I'll be replacing the engine.

Edit:
Cubs can be had with fabricated decks. Costs a bit more, but I'd opt for one of those over their stamped decks.
 
Last edited:

bkeller500

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I’m glad you have a great experience with your Cub unit. Might be a better choice than I thought on your model. My experience is quite different.
 

bertsmobile1

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There are 2 things to consider with slopes
1) stability & side slip where ZTRs perform very poorly\
2) oil circulation where vertical shaft engines perform very poorly because the oil sump is wide & shallow and running along a slope can & does end up with the oil pump out of the oil = seized top bush
So start with horizontal shaft engines .
These will all be commercial machines so relatively expensive however if maintained properly will last 100 years
If you can not run to that sort of money look at used out front fairway mowers
Most will have a 2 or 3 cylinder diesel engine that will run for 200 years but they do have big problems at the bottom of a steep hill
 

Tiger Small Engine

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I'm going to buy a new mower. I am trying to decide between a zero turn and a lawn tractor. I have a few pretty steep slopes, I will add pictures because I don't know what the angle is. I am trying to decide between z330m and x350. I will probably be mowing these slopes side to side, as opposed to up and down, or would maybe cutting up at an angle would be better. I've always cut it with a push mower and string trimmer. I'm getting to old for that now. I know I'll still have some weed eating to do. I want the mower that will get the most of this done and being safe. Any advice would help.
Zero turn any day of the week on hills versus riding mower, period. Ten years of mowing professionally with zero turns. I would not touch some of the slopes and hills I have mowed with any riding mower.
 

montesa_vr

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I have a lawn tractor and a lot of hills. Mine will climb really steep hills if I go straight up. If I try to go across the slope, the slightest bit of uneven ground will cause the uphill wheel to lose traction and I am stuck. With either kind of machine you need high quality hydro units for hills or your transmission(s) won't last the first summer.
 

poncho144

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I'm going to buy a new mower. I am trying to decide between a zero turn and a lawn tractor. I have a few pretty steep slopes, I will add pictures because I don't know what the angle is. I am trying to decide between z330m and x350. I will probably be mowing these slopes side to side, as opposed to up and down, or would maybe cutting up at a angle would be better. I've always cut it with a push mower and string trimmer. I'm getting to old for that now. I know I'll still have some weed eating to do. I want the mower that will get the most of this done and being safe. Any advice would help.
Had the same concerns and tried mowing slopes with a Simplicity Z 45" 27 hp B&S, it will work but very squirrely on wet grass. My Husq TS354D 54" 25 hp Kohler lock'n diff works real good up an down or sideways.
BUT...it ain't for da feint hearted...jus say'n. I be a Biker who is used to life onna edge.
 
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