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$28,000 Hillside Zero Turn Mower | Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 SDL

Tags :  cub-cadet-landing  | 

Neil: Neil from Messick's, here to talk to you today about the Cub Cadet 972 SDL, a very unique, kind of insane $28,000 zero-turn mower. Today, we're going to take some time, walk around this machine, and show you some of the things on this Cub Cadet that are pretty innovative.
[music]
Speaker 1: Messicks's, a helping hand with your land.
Neil: Before we get out of the gate on the specifics of what makes this mower so unique, we probably first ought to talk about Cub Cadet. We tend to associate Cub Cadet mostly with box store mowers. That's where my mind goes at first, is that residential mowing equipment, but the company has long had a line of more commercial-oriented products and increasingly lately some that we're finding surprisingly innovative. We sell a lot of brands of zero-turn mowers, and if we're honest, there's more similarities between all of these companies than there are differences.
At the end of the day, most all these companies are sourcing transmission components, wheel motors, engines from similar companies, and all they're really fabricating is a chassis and motor deck that all these supplier-provided parts sit on. What Cub Cadet has done though has been interesting and a standout to me as far as what's available in the rest of the industry. You're going to see here, we're sitting on a fairly extreme hillside. We're not in the flattest part of the country. Most of us has some swales and slopes around our properties and any anymore if you're building anything commercial, large retention basins like this are a necessity, and many of them having some very steep sides to them.
One of the things that we have always liked out of Cub Cadet's product line that we don't find anywhere else is that it's a zero-turn mower with a steering wheel. Now, it doesn't zero-turn in quite the same way that a traditional mower does, where you could take one tire back, the other tire front and do it with two sticks. You're going to steer here with a steering wheel just like you would on your car or your truck or whatever, but your front wheels are going to actually steer. As you turn this wheel left and right, it steers the front tires while manipulating what will be the two sticks on your zero-turn mower.
A circular zero turn is possible on this machine, but you've got to go through all the rotations of the steering wheel in order to get there. The big plus for the steering wheel on this hillside that I'm sitting on is that because these wheels are not casters, because they're controlled by this steering wheel, the fact that this machine is sitting here on this hard hillside, the front end doesn't want to run downhill on you constantly. On a traditional zero-turn mower, you're going to run that bottom tire faster than your front tire to give the machine a little bit of twist to hold the front end up while you cut across the slope here, but on this cub cadet, because these front wheels actually steer, that is not necessary.
Now, the SDL in this model number tells us that this is a special slope mower variant of this machine, and that steering wheel setup can be found on a lot of the other Cub Cadet models. What is unique to this machine is the dual back tires and a special setup here on the seat. Now, starting with the dual back tires, by bringing the tire out further, you're obviously going to have better stability on a hillside. If you rock this machine over, even on this hard hill, it's going to hold that hillside much better because the pivot point to roll the machine over is brought out that much further by bringing that tire out.
It's also going to be a little bit more chunky tire. It's going to give you more attractive surfaces, more places to bite across these tires, again, in order to hold onto the hillside. Now, anytime that you add dual tires onto a machine like this, setups like this are possible using some aftermarket components or we'll frequently see it over in big farm tractors. Anytime you do this, you put a lot more strain on the bearings back on the inside axle housing. Now, in order to accommodate these tires, Cub Cadet didn't just bolt an extra tire on the outside. They also use an upgraded hydraulic motor on the inside that has a more stout wheel bearing in order to actually support the added force from this setup.
Now, the hillside innovations don't stop at the steering wheel and the dual tires. There's also a really unique feature here on this seat. Now, as I'm cutting across this hillside, leaning to the right continuously to level myself out so it doesn't feel like I'm going to fall off this seat doesn't feel real good, and especially here when you've got huge retention swivels like this and a lot of hillside mowing to do, it's not fun. Reaching down here below the seat, you can actually release this pin and this seat can twist. I can sit here perfectly level on the seat while the rest of the machine pivots around me.
The degree of stability that I have driving back and forth here is remarkable. As I'm coming towards you here and I want to head back the other direction, I simply need to turn my wheels the whole way around and I can make a zero turn on a steep hillside. This is an amount of stability that you just would never have from a normal zero-turn mower where those front wheels would've just run down the hill and go. The traction of the dual wheels in the back is really remarkable. It's hard to gauge slopes on camera. This is steep. I can drive this zero-turn mower confidently all over this hill and do it in comfort too.
You stop thinking about the fact that my seat's swinging back and forth as I do this, but I'm sitting here level, not leaning back and forth or trying to keep myself uphill the entire time. It is pretty awesome. Just to give you a second look here at this swivel seat because this is such a unique feature, this locking pin right here in the front is what releases this and allows us to swivel back and forth. I did find that I don't like this being unlocked on flat ground. On flat ground, you move back and forth at times you don't want to. Being able to easily reach down here and engage and disengage that swivel seat is a really nice feature.
You'll notice here above the seat that this is also an air ride seat. You've got an air suspension in here, so it gives you the best cushion that's available in a seat like this by having that air bladder in there to give you that air suspension, that nice cushion. Getting on and off the machine is nice and easy and comfortable as well. You have a gas strut here that will walk the steering wheel in place and you can pull it back into a comfortable position for yourself. You may guess by looking at this machine, the target customer is not your average residential homeowner.
This is going to be sold more than likely to municipal customers who have a lot of mowing to do, particularly with tricky hillsides, and can be a very profitable machine. The commercial landscapers who are maintaining large warehouse properties and commercial properties-- There's a very profitable business to be had in the maintenance of commercial facilities, many of which have large rain gardens and swales the way that we do here too. For that reason, you're going to see a lighting package added to this mower. You have front headlights for, say, mowing if it's getting a little dark outside, some side safety lights that light up the mower deck itself.
As you step on and off the machine, you can see where your foot is going to rest. Sidelights over here to illuminate the side while you're mowing and a safety beacon up here on the top of the roll bars so everyone knows where you're at. There are two places on this machine that electric motors are used in order to make it a little bit nicer to operate. On zero-turn mowers like this, you're usually going to have a foot-operated pedal in order to raise and lower your mower deck. Now, that foot-operated pedal can take quite a bit of force. It's usually a pretty long reach and on a 72-inch deck.
You can have some spring assist, but it's usually pretty heavy to lift up and down. This though is going to use an electric screw in order to move the mower deck up and down. It's very easy to do here from the control panel. In addition to that, this steering wheel has an electronic assist on as well. Most of these Cub Cadet machines have a purely mechanical steering, machines with these front steerable tires. This one though has an electric motor in here that helps you to steer those wheels left to right. When it's shut off, I can still mechanically turn them left and right, but when you put power to it, you could feel your steering force drop dramatically and it helps make those front wheels very easy to turn.
That's a little bit of the Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 SDL, perhaps the longest model number of anything I've got out here, pretty cool unique machine. There's a lot of innovative features on this and things that I think are really unexpected from Cub Cadet. We think zero-turn mowers and we think Cub Cadet, oftentimes our mind goes to those box store models that throw away equipment that they do also make, but they've also got some pretty innovative, interesting commercial equipment out there that might be worth a look.
If you're shopping for a piece of equipment that we can help, or if you've got parts of service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 802-223-373 or online at messicks.com.

 

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