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Old 06-10-2010, 09:21 AM   post #1 of 5
pintopkp
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Question Yes, another Cyclone Rake thread.....

I know there are a million posts about this subject, but none that actually answer the questions I have (nor did a Google search turn up what I wanted to know). As I ask these things, I am NOT brand-bashing, just making some observations:

1. I have several tractors and I notice that the CR can be ordered with the mower deck adapter kit that fits to your specific deck. I can't seem to find anyone who does NOT have the MDA and just uses the "generic, one-size-fits-all" deck boot. Is the suction/performance that much different with the generic boot? It would be nice to be able to try it out with a couple of my machines before I find one that I would dedicate the CR to and have the flexibility of moving it from one tractor to another if I felt the urge.

2. Hose strength. Is it a worth-while option to buy the heavy-duty hose? As of now, it's only a $25 upgrade so I can't see how it's a "bad" idea, but if I can put that $25 to an option (like the remote vacuum hose), then I'd rather do that.

3. Blue diamond liner. Anyone have any experience with it and without it. I do have acorns and some sticks that will be mowed/vac'ed over. Again, not an expensive option, but is it worth it or is it just a marketing ploy. I don't think that DR and Trac Vac offer anything like that so I'm wondering if it really does anything.

4. The DR tow behind ("cheapest" model) is a little more than I'd like to spend (I'm capped at about $1500 with shipping) and seems like it's a pretty bulky, heavy, and harder to store (I do plan on breaking it down and storing it during the winter), so those are out. However, I can see how they would be expensive (hard container, frame looks strong, etc.). However, when looking at the "cheapest" model Trac Vac (again, NOT brand-bashing), it just looks like a big garbage can on a small trailer and starts at something like $1400 without any sort of shipping). In other words, the CR and DR Vac look like substantial machines, so I can see why they cost what they do, but the Trac Vac looks, well, sort of chintsy and doesn't have the capacity for the price. Am I missing something? I have read that the Trac Vac mower boot is the best out there though.

5. I don't know how long they've been offering the Briggs Vanguard engines and when everyone here bought their CR's, but I was wondering how the Vanguards are (the only Briggs I own are I/C's and "regular" consumer Briggs engines). I think I remember hearing that they are Briggs' "top of the line" engine, but I just wanted to make sure. I would be getting a 6.5 HP with the model I would be buying (the Commander; one step up from the base model CR).

So, these are my questions. I have looked at a neighbor's DR and tried it out. I was happy with it, but it looks like more of a pain to store (he just leaves it together and backs it into his second garage) and more money than I'd like/am allowed to spend. I also plan to take a trip out to the CR factory/showroom next week (they're an hour away from me) to see those first-hand. I obviously have not seen a Trac Vac in person and as far as I can tell the nearest distributor/dealer is about 200 miles away from me (Canns-Bilco in PA). Any guidance from owners of these machines would be appreciated as well as any "coulda, woulda, shoulda" that you thought of after you bought said machine. Thanks so much.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:17 PM   post #2 of 5
Toolin
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Default Re: Yes, another Cyclone Rake thread.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by pintopkp View Post
I know there are a million posts about this subject, but none that actually answer the questions I have [...]
I have a Cyclone Rake Classic. Bought it used a couple years ago. I was the third owner. It's a little beat up but still works good.

1. I too have the MDA so can't tell you what the suction is like with the generic boot. However you could just go with the generic boot to start and see if it's acceptable, and if not, then order the MDA separately. You'd only be out the shipping for the separate item vs getting it all together.

And you know, the Woodland Power Products company is pretty customer oriented.. They might be willing to let you buy an MDA (so you could compare both ways) and return it if it didn't make an improvement over generic boot. I'd just call them first to make sure, since you'll end up cutting the MDA and they may not accept it back after that. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did anyway.

2. I have the heavy-duty urethane 8" hose. No rips so far after 2 seasons (actually no rips through 3 separate owners I guess). I also have the estate extension hose, same heavy large material. That one I sort of wished was the lighter stuff because using it is like wrestling an anaconda. Of course this is partly because the green "wand" at the end is the older design with two handles but no support strap. I suppose with a shoulder strap like the newer ones come with, the weight of the hose wouldn't be so bad.

3. I don't have the blower housing liner, and with the thickness of the housing I can't imagine a case where I would need it. Maybe if you're routinely sucking up gravel, volcanic rock, broken glass, etc, it might be worth it. I can't see acorns or sticks justifying it though.

4. Can't really help you on this one.. haven't used the other 2 brands you refer to. Hopefully someone with one of those brands can chime in. I can say the CR is made of very heavy duty materials.

5. My classic came with the Tecumseh engine so can't give you any feedback on the Vanguard, sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pintopkp View Post
So, these are my questions. I have looked at a neighbor's DR and tried it out. I was happy with it, but it looks like more of a pain to store (he just leaves it together and backs it into his second garage) [...] Any guidance from owners of these machines would be appreciated as well as any "coulda, woulda, shoulda" that you thought of after you bought said machine. Thanks so much.
The CR is easy to store.. it does really take up only a 2' x 4' spot on the floor when disassembled and folded up.

One complaint about my CR is it's dusty as all getout to operate. When I'm done I look like Pigpen.. it's literally like I took a cinnamon shaker to all my exposed skin. I have to blow the dust off myself with a compressed air hose before going in the house. And if any cars were in the driveway they'll look like they just drove through the desert. Ok, so I'm exaggerating a little, but it does leave a fine layer of dust on everything nearby. Of course my soil is very sandy so that's a big part of it. A "regular" yard would probably not produce as much dust.

That's all that comes to mind at the moment, but I've commented on this unit in a little more detail in a couple other postings if you didn't run across them already:
Cyclone Rake, and
Using a Cyclone Rake for Mulch Transport.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:09 AM   post #3 of 5
pintopkp
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Default Re: Yes, another Cyclone Rake thread.....

Thanks, Toolin. It was actually your thread that really made me consider even purchasing a lawn vac; very nice write-up/review by the way.

I was thinking along the same lines as trying the generic mower boot and then upgrading to the MDA if I wasn't satisfied or just wanted to dedicate it to one of my tractors. I guess it would be nice to have both boots anyway.

As far as the blue-diamond liner goes, I'm actually considering it more and more as my front yard is on a cul-de-sac and I usually wind up having little pieces of asphalt in my front lawn where it meets the pavement (especially in the spring after the plows have boogered up the edge). I guess for the small extra cost it can't hurt and would be good for the peace of mind factor. It looks like I'll be forgoing the remote vac hose for now anyway as the Commander with shipping is already close to my spending limit; I think I'll go for the upgraded hose too for $25 more. Do you have the double wheels? I forgot if you did and if you commented about them or not.

If anyone else has anythig to add about the DR and/or Trac Vac, I'd appreciate it. Looks like I'll be making the trip over the CR HQ on Wednesday to see one in person.
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:58 PM   post #4 of 5
leaf_sucker
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Default Re: Yes, another Cyclone Rake thread.....

Pintopkp, there are very few of us who have had the opportunity to try a Cyclone Rake option vs. not having the option. But I do think Woodland Products is honest and their options are truly useful, not just marketing ploys. We tow a Cyclone Rake Z-10 using a John Deere LT160 tractor (see pic).

We opted for the Deere MDA. It fits well and no holes had to be drilled in the deck nor did we have to cut the MDA. I expect that if you are handy you could get the generic MDA to fit your mower deck, but you might need to be clever.

We opted for the blue-diamond liner, since we have huge oak trees with thousands of acorns, and we have a circular driveway and parking area made of gravel.

We got the dual wheels, which really help when the bag is full and heavy. The single wheel would work best with a light load in our opinion.

We bought the heavy duty hose. We have used lighter duty hose on a Craftsman self-propelled walk behind lawn vacuum, and have had problems with the hose breaking at the bend junction.

We also purchased the master power lift. It works well but is slow, since it takes about 45 seconds to lift the bag. Plus it does not lift the bag all the way to the top, you manually have to lift up the bag through the last few degrees. We did not buy the $80 fold away trailer jack. Instead we spent $15 at Big Lots and got a Big Red 1.5 ton scissors jack.

We have the Deere mower deck set at 4.5 inches cutting height (highest setting) and it picks up all the leaves. We vacuum the lawn and the gravel driveway. We have yet to find a single piece of gravel in with the shredded leaves.

Toolin is correct about the dust problem. I liked his cinnamon shaker comment. We use a dust mask we found at Lowes for about $5. It has a filtered breathing hole. The Cyclone bag looks like an old wood-fired locomotive with grit belching out its top rather than soot.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:15 PM   post #5 of 5
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Default Re: Yes, another Cyclone Rake thread.....

First and most important if didn't have a Vanguard, I wouldn't have bought mine. I have a Agri-Fab with a 5hp Briggs Intec After 5 years it`s got no power hard starting, That uses only a 6" hose off the deck and it use to plug up. but it did a good job very heavy all metal and longer then the CR.

I got the Cyclone Rake Commander. If you got lot of room the get big bag. I have a lot of small lawns so the 285 Gallon bag just just fine I mulch my leave first. I bought my CR to replace Agri-Fab vacuum, I use the MDA from Wood Lawn Power, no problems picking up leaves, great suction. Wood Lawn has different style Deck adapter for all the different decks. I have both the 6" pick up and the 7" unloader hose both are the green hoses a shape stick put a small hole in one of those hoses, no more problems. Their customer service is great The biggest problem I has was a seam started to let go I called them the told me just take few pictures and email them to us and they sent me a brand new bags in 2 days time.
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