First let me go against the mainframe group here and say that I agree with you, a manual gear transmission is the simplest, most economical and cheapest to service of any tractor. HST lose about 3-5 Hp in the hydraulic motors which you can really use in that size tractor. Maintenance will be much cheaper, just ask the guys here who sent in their HST of 50 hour service and got a $1500 bill back for changing the hydraulic oil (possibly a rip off but still a reported instance) Some of the hydraulic filters for those tractor can run more than 100 bucks. I drove my BIL NH T 2030 for about 30 minutes and my leg was cramping from the constant shifting forward / reverse on the 2 pedals, something about the layout didnt agree with my leg and hip. I like the gear, and I can instantly vary my speed with that new thing called a throttle. THey worked well for nearly 100 years, so why change now. By the way the first 4 or so are too slow for just about any thing other than tiller use maybe unless you want to get off, go eat lunch and come back and only want to walk a few feet.