Italian Stallion

There are some interesting mowers out in the marketplace. The Italian offering is only 2 wheel drive and has a belt based cutter deck. While it has a great deal of “street” appeal and presents very well indeed, it is still only a very conventional ride on mower with a very basic deck, cutter train, hydrostatic drive and American engine. But it does look great, however statistically according to the Climber’s Operator Manual slopes should be confined to 17 degrees – an extra set of wheels and tyres has it muted to handle up to 25 degrees – although that would impose quite a load on the transmission.

Definitely built to a price – but would struggle on steep slopes, clumping based grasses and rogue vegetation. The cost of maintenance and ownership may be higher than a conventional ride on mower.

Eastern European “AWD”

The front wheel drive assembly is cast alloy and driven by hydrostatic pumps; Kanzaki KXH 10 front drive, Rear – Hydrostatic Tuff Torq K664 with a very conventional belt driven deck and blade carrier. The power required to drive the second hydrostatic drive, as well as the belt deck system would make this relatively restricted in regards to the material that it would be capable of cutting on any significant slope. Looks really great – but is really just a conventional mower with a few twists. Cost of ownership may be significant; again using a very basic American engine.

The German Take on AWD

Another great looking unit that is basically the “Italian Stallion” with a fresh colour change and very similar front axle hydrostatic drive train to the Eastern European AWD – which also has belt driven deck. Again very good street appeal, but may suffer from the same issues as all hydrostatic based AWD systems.

It takes a great deal of power to drive 2 individual hydro diffs; belt deck delivery requires a lot of horsepower as well. The cost of manufacture is far cheaper than mechanical 4WD; the cost of hydro replacement may be significant over time.

Japanese Opposition

The Japanese domestic market has quite an array of machines which are very well built. The issue still is delivery of power to the transmission and cutter train power to the deck. In all cases that we are aware of, the Japanese manufacturers are attempting to compete with the European mowers, offering equivalent hydrostatic AWD features. The same issues prevail; huge power loss with rubber belts driving the deck, much greater power required to drive the 2 hydrostatic differentials.

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