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Most of the comparisons I see between ZTR and tractors say that ZTR generally has a higher top speed. Ignoring the fact that ZTR's are quicker to line up for the next pass, what makes them inherently faster than a tractor? Comparing same size mower deck and same engine, is it merely how each are geared differently? Seems to me most will recommend mowing at less than 5 mph yet, I see ZTR's advertising a mowing speed of 8+ mph. What makes the cut at that speed better than a tractor cutting at the same speed?
 

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Not sure as I am brand new to ZT mowers...less than 1 hour on mine so far. Not only are the forward speeds faster, but the blade speeds seem to be higher on the ZT than on my X500 which does a fantastic cut but as you say, at a lot slower forward speed.

Also interested in what folks have to say.
 

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Speed! Sorry just had to do that!! :)

Blades spin faster on the decks creating more vacuum so ground speed can be increased and still get a great cut.
 

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Do the ZTRs not need to obey the same tip-speed limit rules as normal decks? Maybe a pulley could be changed, to speed up the blades on a tractor deck.
 

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Deck design is the biggest factor by far for. And at a certain point big HP factors in as well. And not all ztr's are created equal by any means. So just becuase a certain ztr has a top speed of say 9 mph doesn't mean it will product a quality cut at those higher speeds. Very few ztr's on the market can.
 

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ZTRs have one purpose, to mow lawns. GTs have multiple purposes, some requiring low speed and high axle torque which is not available to the higher speed and lighter ZTRs.

Both ZTRs and GTs have the same blade tip speed restrictions of about 18K feet per minute which will allow a theoretical 15+ mph travel speed, and still connect with every blade of grass. The mower deck of a ZTR replaces the front axle of a GT and allows the operator ro keep hazards in the grass within his sight line to within inches of the leading edge. The hoods of GTs hide objects for several feet in front of the deck. Out of sight, out of mind if something else gets the attention of the operator.

Lighter weight with less ground compaction, better maneuverability, faster gearing,, larger and better designed respective mower decks, and better operator vision are the main reasons that ZTRs are faster.

One trick ponies. They do their one trick very well, but . . .
 

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If you have close to flat ground and all you want to do is cut grass, zero turn all the way.
As soon as you want to do anything besides cut grass or you lot is not close to flat, lawn or garden tractor all the way.
 

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I'll add that there is a HUGE difference in mowing time with a mower that is more maneuverable. I cut an hour off mowing 3 acres when I went to a GT with power steering and a tight turning radius. So much less fatigue as well. The quick turning of ZTRs plays a role in speed as well.
 
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If you have close to flat ground and all you want to do is cut grass, zero turn all the way.
As soon as you want to do anything besides cut grass or you lot is not close to flat, lawn or garden tractor all the way.
Or if you have space, maybe a ZTR for mowing, and an older GT for heavy pulling/pushing work. If it doesn't even need a deck, the GT could probably be fairly budget-friendly.
 

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I'll add that there is a HUGE difference in mowing time with a mower that is more maneuverable. I cut an hour off mowing 3 acres when I went to a GT with power steering and a tight turning radius. So much less fatigue as well. The quick turning of ZTRs plays a role in speed as well.
When mowing with a push-mower, I always found it annoying, the time wasted turning around at the end of each pass. That seemed pretty inefficient, especially with the shape of our yard.

With my first tractor, I could at least keep mowing constantly, even as I was turning. And now I mow in a racetrack pattern, so mostly it's just constant mowing. My current one did speed things up, with the tighter turning radius, as you said, and the ability to seamlessly go between forward and reverse, rather than stopping to change gears, and I can adjust my speed as-needed.

A ZTR must be cool to try, taking those improvements even further. Plus potentially higher ground speeds. And being able to just spin around sounds kinda fun.
 

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The probably cut a bit better at faster speeds, wider decks, and the ability to manuevre around stuff really quickly. My mowing pattern is really inefficient, I think, as I probably waste a good 20 or 25 min mowing my 1 acre. Takes me a good hour and a half, I could probably get it down closer to an hour with just being smarter about how I mow and removing a few obstacles. My yard is not suited for a zero turn at all, so garden tractor for me, but in my front yard... my turning "manuever" probably takes 20 seconds longer per lap around the yard than it would if I had a zero turn. If your doing 30 or 40 passes or more... it adds up. Then factor in each lap would be quicker, due to the deck width and faster cutting speed, by who knows... another 30 to 60 seconds. You can see how it can start saving a lot time.
 

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I don't know why they're faster, but my 3.2 acres is all grass, besides house, garden, shed, driveway. 45 minutes to mow.
 

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Mine does have a seat belt. I don't use it because I don't have the roll bar up. My yard is flat. There are a couple places I have to slow down or I get popped out of my seat
 

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72" deck. I cut at full sticks. Husqvarna claims 12.5 mph but on grass I get 10-11mph.
WOW! That's a huge deck, and a very impressive ground speed. Not to mention actually mowing at that speed. Very cool. What model is it?

Mowing that much area, that fast, sure helps understand why someone would pick a ZTR!
 

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Do the ZTRs not need to obey the same tip-speed limit rules as normal decks? Maybe a pulley could be changed, to speed up the blades on a tractor deck.
Max blade tip speed by ansi standards is 19,000ft/min. ZTR's are near max where riding mowers are 12,000-13,000ft/min.
 
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