Yesterday I got to use my 2013 Cub 1050 Kohler for the first time. Bought it at Home Depot against my better judgment but there were no dealers in the area. I got one that had been put together the night before and had never been outside in the rain. I choose it over the John Deere 140 which was the same price simply because it was more mower for the money and quite a bit more comfortable on my titanium back.
Sadly the first few minuets started with a problem. The starter was having trouble connecting and turning the engine over. All the symptoms of a dead battery plus a high frequency whining noise. It started fine the first cold start up but a while later after turning it off the problem started. I finally had to put the battery charger on it to get it to start. The battery didn't seem low however. After that I didn't have much trouble but it did seem very weak a few times after that. I have 30 days to return it if the problem persist. Maybe the brand new engine is pretty tight and will loosen up some as it breaks in.
Was pretty rough riding and was getting stuck a lot. My yard is pretty rugged and a lot of slopes in it. I checked the tire pressure and they were 10 pounds over inflated. The book says they are over inflated for shipping for whatever reason. Home Depot puts their certification on them when assembled so shame on them for not finishing the job. Proper inflation made the ride MUCH better. It wasn't getting stuck as bad but still getting stuck. Sharp turns seemed to be a headache because of the poor traction. This mower really needs the larger garden tractor 22' wheels instead of the same size wheels that's on a much smaller mower. This is a big 24 horse mower with a 50 inch deck and undersized rear wheels tires. They do sell a model with the larger rear wheels but the markup for it is ridiculous. I could find a set of 22s and buy tires a lot cheaper than the extra 600 bucks for a mower already with them. But that's my only complaint. A tractor of this size and weight needs the larger back wheels to help it keep traction in turns and hillsides.
Mowing performance. This machine was a fearless mower. The 24hp Kohler twin cylinder engine was a monster. The 50 inch deck was quiet and mowed wonderfully. I went into the field I normally mow with my farm tractor and it easily dwarfed anything I could throw at it. Not a complaint but a observation.....the offset blades that are supposed to mulch and finely cut grass into small clippings wasn't really that great. It throws a lot of clippings out and blows them out a long way. This was a little aggravating because the wind can blow them back on you. Stupidly I mowed along my wooden fence with the blower torwards the fence and it threw grass all over me lol. But all in all it was a excellent mower and made a really pretty and even cut. My yard looks fantastic.
Comfort. What can I say, it was a Cadillac. I'm 6'2 and have had 3 operations in my lower back. I was very comfortable on this mower. The seat is large and plush and a nice big platform for my big feel. The steering wheel has a nice rubber grip on it with a nice form for your fingers to grip. The steering and handling is like driving a sports car. Very tight and responsive. As I said before my only complaint is the poor traction due to undersized wheels and tires. Proper tire inflation does help so be sure to check when you get home with one.
Controls. Nicely laid out. The PTO switch is convenient and works great. Throttle is smooth and seems less fragile than the plastic one on the John Deere. The hydrostatic foot pedal for forward and refers works very nicely. Very smooth and responsive. My favorite feature is the reverse safety switch. Your supposed to turn the key into the safety position and press a button which turns on a red light. This allows you to keep the blades on while in reverse. I've cheated a little bit in realizing I can turn the key into safety mode and press the button and leave it there. Your supposed to return it to normal mode after your finished backing up. But, if you leave it there with the red light on you can mow all day in reverse without having to fool with it every time you back up. It doesn't automatically turn off so basically you can leave the overide on as long as you want or until you turn it off manually. One thing I don't like is having the choke on the throttle at wide open. I don't like starting a cold engine at full throttle. I have to quickly lower the throttle after it starts. I believe proper warmup sessions before full power is just common sense. Nobody floorboards their car as soon as it starts so why would you do it to your mower engine??? My dad never had anything that didn't last 20 years and he always taught me to warm things up and cool them down. He must have knew what he was talking about because we had one mower for 20 years and the neighbors went through several. Now we have had the second one for 14 years and going strong.
So that's it pretty much. Besides the poor traction and undersized tires it is a excellent tractor and mower. It is built very well and has a heavier better build front end that the others I looked at. Will it last 15-20 years? I have no idea but time will tell. I'm pretty optimistic about it after using it despite the terrible reviews out there about 2011 models. Of course I would rather had a heavier built dealer model or a John Deere dealer tractor, but money did not permit a premium mower. So for 2 grand this is a lot of mower for the buck.