Should you buy a mower with suspension?

It seems like a no brainer. Riding any machine is better with suspension than without it. But there are downsides to buying a lawn mower with a suspension system. Some factors that are involved are added costs, added weight, and a riding style you need to get used to. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on the buying a lawn mower with a suspension system and if it is a good choice.

One lawn care business owner asked “I was thinking about upgrading my current ztr mower with a new lawn mower that has suspension. I was curious though as to the advantage or disadvantage of them. For those that have used them, do you recommend a suspension system on a mower or prefer a rigid setup?”

A second lawn care business owner said “you will also have a cut issue with any mower that has a shock or spring system on it when they start to wear. So expect maintenance cost with the suspension system. As for ride, there are advantages of the suspension smoothing it out for you. Any new mower that has a suspension system they will most likely cut about the same as a rigid unit if setup correctly.

Lawn mower with suspension.

Lawn mower with suspension.

I am not singling out any one manufacturer when I say you have to watch your cut over time. Any suspension system will slowly start to fail and as they do, it will affect the cut. Knowing this, you have to price what it costs to replace the system and figure out if it is worth it for you. In a lot of cases it will take a few years to wear the shocks out so this may not be a big factor if you get rid of your mowers within that time frame.

When the shocks go on a mower it will start to cut in a wave pattern, rising and lowering as you drive. You get a similar feel in an older car when the shocks go. Over time, the suspension system stops absorbing the bumps and instead utilizes the spring only. This gives you a wavy feel in your driving. Bouncing up and down as if your entire car was sitting on a mattress box spring.”

A third lawn care business owner said “I got a demo lawn mower with a suspension system on it last year and decided it wasn’t for me. I liked the smooth ride. If all of your yards are bumpy I think it’s the best mower available. Where my problem came in was when I started mowing on hills.

Here is an example of what I mean. I found myself very uncomfortable as I was mowing down a hill that you go down and slightly to the left. As I started down the hill, the weight of the mower seemed to shift to the front, and as I turned, it seemed that the weight shifted again and took weight off of my back tires where the springs were extended. I didn’t have as much weight on the back tires as normal and trying to pull back, the tires spun easily and left a mark. This is the same hill I mowed countless times with my rigid frame mower every week and had no problems. Also it seems that the back tires have a little wider stance and they sit evenly with the deck which for me makes it a little harder to ride along a wall or house without getting in the way.

These are just a few issues that I noticed, but if I had yards that were bumpy and rough, without any hills, these suspension mowers problems could be overlooked. So I feel it all comes down to the terrain you mow.

After experimenting with that demo unit, I decided to get a walk behind instead as my yards aren’t too big and I enjoy having better control over my mower.”

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