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Hi All,

I just joined and made some comments in the introduction about my current quandary. I am trying to decide between a 72" rear finish mower (RFM) and a similar size flail mower.

Let's assume that a good, 72" flail mower (e.g, Caroni) and a good finish mower (e.g., Land Pride) cost exactly the same. They do in my town. They both mow grass and are relatively safe compared to a single-blade rotary rough-cut mower. Here is a comparison I made after talking with several dealers, two implement rental places, and reviewing forums:

1) Maintenance: Flail is more, but perhaps not a whole lot more. The RFM has fewer parts and fewer parts to fail. Sharpening is just 3 blades, not 60+, but that is not done very often for either. The flail mower has a rear roller that has come up a few times on forums as something that gets bent. The finish mower does not. The flail mower tends to burn belts (based on forum comments). I have not seen the same frequency of belt failures on finish mowers mentioned.

2) Quality of cut: On relatively short grass, the finish mower is probably best. On taller stuff and weeds, the flail chops finer. After a second cutting, is that an advantage? The flail can handle bigger weeds. But, once the big weeds are cut down to size, is that an advantage anymore?

3) Safety: No difference.

4) Uneven terrain: The finish mower is built to have a floating deck. The flail is firmly attached to the 3PH. However, accessory wheels are available for the flail to help with uneven terrain. Can the flail be modified and connected with the same type of floating attachment as the finish mower?

5) Speed of mowing: I have no quantitative information about that and assume they are about the same, dependent on whether the tractor has adequate HP.

6) Maneuverability: The flail is shorter and may be a little more maneuverable.

7) Parts: With Caroni, are you dependent on Agrisupply? With a finish mower from a local dealer and a national brand (e.g., LandPride), you have more options. Of course, if you go to a national brand of flail, then there is a significant price difference.

Conclusion: I am still undecided. Have I left out any important considerations? Is it just a Jaguar vs. Cadillac comparison? I would really appreciate input from long-term users. Most important, are there one or two considerations that clearly favor one mower over the other. For example, is ability to handle rougher terrain (mentioned in #4) a clear distinction? What about ease of handling on a hill?

Thanks, John
 

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I'd buy a five foot RFM, more maneuverable, tougher and save bucks too. I have a 6' rfm, but if I'm lazy like most times and the 5' bush hog is on the tractor I mow the lawn with it.... never noticed a difference time wise ..
 

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W5CPT
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The one thing you left out of your evaluation is the fact that some flail mowers can be offset mounted to cut beyond the side of the tractor. The Vrisimo is one which can be. I have been trying to look at one as I need to mow along the edge of a pond. (the local dealer is a part-time dealer/full time equipment mover so is on the road a lot)
 

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Hi; I have a 4 foot land pride rotary and a 5 foot caroni The caroni is by far better than the rotary for my 15 acres as it knocks down the mole mounds and the manure piles and the roller helps flatten them out . I have used it in 3 foot grass and it does a nice job and an even cut.Have used it about a year and the flails are in good shape. I don't think it would do very good with heavy brush that is where the rotary does better. Good Luck, B.S.
 
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