Consumer Reports Praise Toro's New Steerable Zero Turns

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Consumer Reports has been singing the praises of  Toro's SW and SWX steering wheels on zero-turn-radius riding mowers. 

If you really, really want a zero-turn but someone who mows the lawn can’t get the hang of lap-bars then a steering wheel zero-turn is for you.  The Toro’s steering wheel and steerable front wheels—rather than levers and casters—allow more intuitive control, especially on slopes, and automatically slow down on sharp turns. In addition to requiring fewer passes around a tree or other obstruction, the speed reduction also results in fewer patches of grass that are essentially scraped bare.

While other recommended zero-turn-radius riders did better overall, the Toro SW4200 74784 cut as well in the side-discharge mode (the most common among tractor and rider mowers), as higher-scoring riders with steering wheels. There are other pluses. In addition to the twin-cylinder engine, you get an infinitely variable drive system, which lets you vary ground speeds smoothly without shifting. You also get electric power takeoff, which engages the blades with a switch instead of a lever, and a high-back seat—with the ability to check the fuel level without leaving that comfy seat.

Another feature we liked in the Toro is how this machine automatically stops the deck and sets the parking brake when you need to jump off the seat while the engine is running. 
Everyone has been trying to tell you that a zero-turn mower is what you need to mow your lawn. Now they are telling you steering wheel ZTRs are best. They tell you that you can mow your lawn in half the time. They tell you their’s is the best. 
But even the steering wheel zero-turns are not the answer for everyone. The homeowner (residential) models do not work on slopes, ditches or hills over 15 degrees. They are designed to mow lawns and little else. They can be more expensive to repair. They are more expensive than lawn tractors to buy. A good estate (landowner) zero-turn that will cut your mowing time in half. 
Zero turns are really made for one purpose only, mowing grass. They mow quickly and will save you time trimming around obstacles. They are NOT designed to pull much. Yes, some have a hitch and you can pull a small yard cart or spreader but you will destroy the transmissions in them if you try to pull loads of dirt, firewood or a leaf vacuum.
The new Toro SW Steering wheel zero-turns give you a true zero-turn using a conventional steering wheel and foot controls. The engineering in the front steering is different from your lawn tractor and the mower will actually pivot around the rear wheel axis.  They use a front steering mechanism instead of castor wheels which increases your stability on slopes over a small residential zero-turn. They do turn differently than your lawn tractor but the steerable front wheels helps the mower stay on side slopes better than a residential lap bar ZTR.
Steering wheel zero-turns make mowing easier and more efficient than ever. Since you drive one more like your lawn tractor than a lap-bar zero-turn most of you will be able to get on and go. 
The steering wheel zero-turns will not ride as rough as a residential zero-turn but the ride is still different from your lawn tractor. Because the steering system on these mowers needs to be robust to handle zero-turning there is more weight on the front than a residential zero-turn so they don’t have the head bobbing “bounce” of a small ZTR on rough lawns. Compared to a lawn tractor you sit more in the center of the mower so you will feel all four wheels when they hit a bump.
Small steering wheel zero-turns are still limited to mowing 15 degree slopes or less. Don’t expect them to mow hillsides. A good rule of thumb is to try backing up the hill with your mower. If the rear wheels lose traction and start to spin the slope is too steep to mow up. If you have a walk out basement mow the slope diagonally – going downhill! Yes, it takes more time, but it is safer.
If you mow slopes (less than 15 degrees) these steering wheel zero-turns will not burn out the EZT-2200 transmissions. The front wheels help to hold the mower on the slope which greatly reduces the load on the transmissions. The transmission won’t over heat and burn out mowing slopes for extended periods of time.
The Toro SW and SWX Steerable zero turns are currently on sale.  We encourage you to come in and see just how easy, effective and versatile zero-turn grass cutting can be.  
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.



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