It won’t reach dealers until next fall, but we’ve already got a good idea of what to expect from Cub Cadet’s upcoming entry into walk-behind commercial mowers. The PRO HW Hydro will have the performance you expect from a commercial stander or mid-deck ZTR, yet it’s designed for precise control along landscape features, letting it cut in places that would normally require a small walk-behind. Here’s what we know about this addition to Cub Cadet’s professional line based on its debut at the GIE+ Expo.
A Better Control System
That first bit of resistance when using the levers on a stander or hydrostatic walk-behind can make it hard to make fine speed adjustments. This makes tight maneuvers around buildings and sensitive landscape features risky: push a little too hard when trying to overcome lever resistance, and you end up launching the mower into the areas you want to avoid.
Cub Cadet has designed a steering control that uses ball bearings for smooth movement, even in small increments, making it easier to keep the deck trimming close to landscape features without veering into or away from them. This makes the PRO HW a practical alternative to small walk-behind mowers for close-up work while still retaining the speed and power of a wide-area mower.
Precision steering also requires accurate tracking to keep movement consistent whether moving in a straight line or making a turn. To this end, tracking on this mower is adjusted using a single knob that is accessible from the operator’s position.
These mowers will use a 10 gauge steel cutting deck with 7 gauge reinforcements on the top and bottom. The blades are treated with Fisher Barton’s Marbain process, creating an outer surface that is strong, hard wearing and resistant to abrasion from sandy soil. These blades will be mounted on maintenance-free sealed aluminum spindles. Nothing has been said about mulching, but this seems to be a given due to the blades’ high lift design.
The deck is designed to be set in 7 positions ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. Models will be offered with decks in 36, 48 and 54-inch widths. Low-mounted components and high clearance axles keep the mower maneuverable while being able to roll over almost any curb with the deck in its highest position.
All versions of the HW will be powered by 603 cc Kawasaki engines with outputs ranging from 14.5 to 18.5 hp. An electric start will be standard. The engine model hasn’t been identified, but these specifications match Kawasaki’s new FR Series engines.
This engine is paired with a set of Hydro-Gear ZT2800 hydrostatic transaxles, providing a top speed of 7 mph when moving forward and 3 mph reverse. Expect to see a sulky offered either from the factory or as an accessory so the operator keeps up. Cruise control will also be included.
Details are light at this stage, but there are a few more things we know about the HW:
— The operator will be protected from debris by a 7 gauge plate that surrounds the controls.
— The fuel tank used on all models will hold 5 gallons.
— The deck will be connected to the drive system by a Warner electric PTO.
Cub Cadet will guarantee these mowers for two years of commercial use with no hour limit. Kawasaki offers a similar warranty on their commercial engines.
The PRO HW Hydro should reach dealers this fall.
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