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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    59
    Location
    Schuylkill County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800/RTV900

    Default Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    I have been considering a zero turn mower to speed up my 4? acre lawn cut, but I have very little flat land. My 54 inch Craftsman rider handles it well, though there are a few places like going up the sand mound when I have to lean back a little to get the traction I need. Based on my reading on this site, a ZT mower can be problematic for slopes, but Cub sells these 'S' models that are claimed to be better for hilly land. There seem to be two areas of concern - losing traction when pointing down hill, and controlling steering. The Cubs have 4 wheel steering and a steering wheel to help with the second, but I am not sure that they do anything for the traction problem.

    I read where some members have put lug wheels on their ZTs to help with traction. Is this likely to be possible with a Cub and is it your considered opinion that this will help?

    I would probably go with a Z-Force model since it comes in a 54 and 60 inch deck ($4999 and $5299 on web site). The RZT tops out at 50 inches. There is a commercial model and the Tank series, but that looks like overkill for me, and they don't even post prices on the website.

    If the 'S' models really don't have any traction advantage, it seems that they may be basically gimmicks. Most claim that experience will help one learn how to steer a ZT, even on a hillside, if I am getting the right info from many posts.

    I plan to stop by a dealer when I can get there, but I like to go with as much collective wisdom as possible from you guys!

    Thanks much,

    Frank
    Kubota B7800, blade, rake, bush hog, RTV 900

  2. #2
    Gold Member brokenknee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    429
    Location
    Not far from Bemidji, MN

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    I have the cheapest cub "tank" ZT. When I first purchased it I had some pretty hilly property. Mowing it at first was a little tricky but I got use to it. If you mow side ways on the slop you just have to "feather" the lever a little to keep going straight. My neighbor next to me mowed his lawn with a craftsman rider. It would take him four hours to mow 2 and 1/2 acers, I could do mine in just under two. I have since moved and now have fourty acreas but only mow about 1 and 1/2 around the house, brush hog maybe another two in various spots. For speed a zt is the way to go, gives a nice cut also if like any mower you keep the blades sharp.

    The dealer I purchased mine from let me take it for the weekend to try it out before I bought it. See if yours will do the same. I told the dealer I would pay a rental fee if I did not like it, but they said they would not charge it

    For me I would purchase another zt if and when the one I have dies.
    "Clarity to Agreement" Dennis Prager

  3. #3
    Gold Member brokenknee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    429
    Location
    Not far from Bemidji, MN

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    I also "loaded" my tires, that helped a lot.
    "Clarity to Agreement" Dennis Prager

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    59
    Location
    Schuylkill County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800/RTV900

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    I will definitely see if the dealer will play along. He is pretty close by. So you don't see the need for the 'S' model? It seems that more aggressive tractor-type tires would be even better than loading them, but I defer to your real experience. Do you know how much weight was added? Did you use inner tubes for that, and plain water or some solution?

    Thanks much for the update!

    Frank
    Kubota B7800, blade, rake, bush hog, RTV 900

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1
    Location
    Weaverville, NC
    Tractor
    troy bilt

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    Quote Originally Posted by Franko View Post
    I will definitely see if the dealer will play along. He is pretty close by. So you don't see the need for the 'S' model? It seems that more aggressive tractor-type tires would be even better than loading them, but I defer to your real experience. Do you know how much weight was added? Did you use inner tubes for that, and plain water or some solution?

    Thanks much for the update!

    Frank
    What did you end up buying, I'm looking at a Z Force S 48, and I'm curious how the tires are loaded and with what.

    Randy

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    59
    Location
    Schuylkill County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800/RTV900

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    Hi Randy,
    Sorry to report that I still did not get out to the dealer. With the economy the way it is, and the old Craftsman holding on, I am in 'wait and see' mode. I am still wondering about:

    A. The value of the 4 wheel steering models over regular ZT models.
    B. Whether lug tires are available and are effective in improving traction.
    C. How the tires were loaded and with what.

    Maybe with Spring mowing season coming up there will be a little more activity on this thread.

    I thank those who have provided the info above. I appreciate them taking the time to respond!!

    Frank
    Kubota B7800, blade, rake, bush hog, RTV 900

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    38
    Location
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    Tractor
    CC Z Force 48

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    Franko,

    I have an older Z Force 48 that has a 26 B&G repower motor. Being 4 HP larger than the original motor I don't believe makes a lot of difference in speed, but I think it does give it more grunt in climbing situations. I mow 1.5 acres with two sloping areas.

    The minor slope is a ditch bank, where keeping one lever stationary and feathering the other forward and back, gives no problems with traction, and works very well indeed.

    The steeper sloped section is a hill with a 22.5 degree side about 35 feet tall. I can safely cut it going straight up, moving one track over, and, then backing straight down. It is TOO steep to even attempt going down the slope facing forward. You lose rear traction as the weight shifts to the front as you go over the edge of the hill, and then its hang on for dear life and pray for still being upright when you get to the bottom. MUCH TOO DANGEROUS.

    Using my method still allows for quick cutting of the hill, but in mowing as I back down the hill the cut sections occasionally overlap the uphill cut section. In my case the hill is only 40 feet or so wide, so no big deal. Its still faster than cutting it with a push mower while wearing golf cleats. Cutting going up and coming back down in reverse has never cost a loss of traction since my added weight is over the rear wheels. I also cut this steep slope at a much slower speed than normal, in order to keep the drive wheels on the ground and not airborne over any bumps.

    I agree with the others here. Get a dealership to drop off a unit and let you live with it for a week, before you buy. I did, and it was the best decision I ever made. Maybe you should purchase a used unit to start with, or get the dealer to drop off a used unit to try first. Good Luck!

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Cornwall, VT
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 HST

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    I have two full seasons on a Z-Force S 48. My dealer (Broughtons, Bridport, VT) told me to "wait until you use it three times before coming back here and cutting my balls off". He was right; it does take some getting used to.

    I replaced a 20-year old Toro Commercial 52" walk-behind that served me well, but I'm getting too old for the walking part. Since we go away in the summer and my daughter mows for us, I opted for the steering wheel rather than than twin sticks.

    Mowing-wise, the machine is a beast. Plenty of power from the 22-hp Kawasaki. The blades and welded deck create plenty of lift (hearing protection is a good idea); quality of cut is good with both regular and Gator blades. I had the rear roller from the twin-stick model installed for striping (it's optional on the S model).

    Sidehill traction is an issue. It will climb a wall going straight up and reasonable sidehills aren't a problem. Turning on a slope is next to impossible; it loses traction turning uphill and 'snowplows' downhill. Since the front wheels turn more than 90 degrees, they tend to pop off their bead in snowplow mode if not at full pressure. I had tubes put in them for that reason and that has helped.

    I took it out for the first time this season yesterday and noticed it seemed to have less traction (particularly in reverse) than normal. I'll have to look into that.

    I believe newer models have larger front wheels, which should help. I may look into knobby tires for the rear to help with traction.

    All in all, I like the machine. Not perfect, but the traction issues can be worked around.

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    59
    Location
    Schuylkill County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800/RTV900

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    Hello all,
    Thanks for all the input. I was waffling back and forth for the last year or two and then saw this video which laid my traction fears to rest:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub5zhteH73Y

    Wow, I was sold. I went down over the weekend to our local dealer to take a look at both the ZForce SZ and the SZ Commercial in the flesh. I really liked those bigger front and rear tires on the Commercial model, but I could just not decide if it was worth the extra cost. Well, after a day or two of careful consideration, the wife couldn't take the indecision anymore and told the dealer to send the Commercial model over. It came today and I had a chance to put it through the torture test on the steepest parts of our acreage, and this right after a rain that came as the new mower was being delivered. I was a little nervous about the front coming up on the steep slopes, but I went slow and it was totally stable with no wheel lift. In fact, I did some sideways turning on the slopes since it was easier to get around the trees that way, and there was no wheel slip or drift or any trouble at all. Those darn wheels, rear AND front, felt like they were glued to the ground. So it is only the first day, and I only have 3 hours of use so far, but this guy does not miss a beat where my Craftsman 54 inch tractor would almost always spin a wheel and make me lean waaaay back and waaay over to one side to get the wheels going. I even went down to the edge of the lawn where that tractor has become stuck on the slope several times (I had to tow it out of the poison ivy down there) and it was fine. I know I am cheating and missing out on the dual control lever experience, but I have to say that I just love that steering wheel.
    I was not sure how fast I could mow with the grass so long and the bumpy ground I have, but I was able to go at least twice as fast as with my lawn tractor. And where the old guy would leave some uncut areas and left some tough weeds standing unless I went real slow, I got a completely clean cut even going as fast as I could take it. The seat is a lot more comfortable with the Cub, too. It sucks up many of the bumps and feels almost decadent - it is so soft, and has arm rests, even. I usually wear over the ear protectors and I would not be without them on this guy. The Craftsman was noisy but this puts up an even louder din. The grass really shoots out and so far there is much less grass buildup than I expected. That's it for now.

    Frank
    Kubota B7800, blade, rake, bush hog, RTV 900

  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Cornwall, VT
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 HST

    Default Re: Anyone have a Cub Cadet RZT-S or Zforce-S model?

    Franko - You made the correct choice. I just upgraded from a 2010 Z-Force S 48 to a 2014 Commercial Z-Force SZ 48, primarily due to the undersized transmission in the original Z-Force S 48. Both sides of the tranny had to be replaced last year and it was showing signs of weakening again.

    The larger tires, beefier transmission, larger engine of the new model are worth the money, as is the better seat. I don't love the deck lift/HOC lever as opposed to the foot pedal on the earlier model, but once I got it figured out it's OK.

    Wear your hearing protection, as this mower is LOUD.

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