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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    105
    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Tractor
    JD 870

    Default walk behind brush mowers???

    During the past few years I've been renting a Billy Goat brush mower, and tackling some of the steep terrain. Hence I've come to appreciate its mobility and am considering the purchase of one. Can anyone provide insights as to the various manufacturers such as DR Field and Brush Mowers, Billy Goat, and Swisher? On comparable machines the engines are similar, as well as the weight, yet the DR costs 50% more than the Billy Goat, and 100% more than the Swisher. The rental yards use the Billy Goat, however with only occassional use it might be somewhat of an over-kill for my application.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member DmansPadge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,678
    Location
    Orange, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B2620, Toro 2000 Series Z Master

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    I've never used one myself, but, I know that Snapper and Simplicity make them as well and might be worth a look!

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,044
    Location
    Southwest PA
    Tractor
    Deere 4710/reverser, JD 318 (still needs TLC), JD LT160

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    I've only been looking into them, no purchases yet, but the DR does allow changing out the brush deck with a finish mower or a snow blower (only single-stage though). IF that flexibility helps in your situation, it might make the DR more cost-effective.

    DR has a six-month if-you-don't-like-it-return-it for a full refund policy (including shipping both ways) and claim even with that they don't get many back. They will send a pretty nice packet of info including a video tape that helps explain their lineup.

    What did you think of the Billy Goat itself?

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    105
    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Tractor
    JD 870

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    Tim B,

    Since the Billy Goat is the only machine the local rental yards carry, I have nothing to compare it to. However, on the several occasions that I rented it I've been thoroughly impressed. It will handle any terrain, and brush that it comes across. The operator sets the limitations, in that operating this equipment can be exhausting. Which is part of the push for purchasing the machine, in that I won't feel compelled to get a full day of use and that several hours in the cool of the a.m. on a regular basis is more feasible.

    The machine is well built, and easily handles rental yard use and their mechanics have nothing but praises for these machines.. There seems to be an issue of performance on side slopes in that non-pressurized lubrication systems are limited to 15 degrees and pressurized are 20 degrees. The Swisher is not pressurized, and the DR isnít until the 13hp. The 10.5 hp BG machine, 2401, is the direction Iím leaning; yet the 13 hp, 2402, offers a Honda pressurized lube system. Iíve spoken with several rental yards all of which use Billy Goat exclusively, and was informed the parts availability on the DR is limited. As with most TBNers I agree that service is a crucial variable in the valuation equation.

    Regarding the Swisher, the few testimonials Iíve located have been mixed. Some are very pleased and others have had minor issues. I donít think it would take too many minor issues to make up for the cost differential between it and the BG. Furthermore, Swisher is unable to provide me with any distributor within 250 miles of my home; Los Angeles is 180 miles away and San Francisco 220 miles. The service centers listed on their web site do not carry their products, it seems so half-hazard.

    Well, Tim now that you listened to my diatribe it appears that galvanized my position. I did look at Snapper and Simplicity (Snapper was purchased by Simplicity), but their pricing is $500 more than a comparable BG. Itís a lot of money to spend on a piece of equipment, but I was also reluctant in purchasing my JD, which was a mistake in the long run. Hence Iíll probably purchase a brush mower within the next two weeks. Let me know what your thoughts are.

  5. #5
    Silver Member Willman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    175
    Location
    Southeast PA.
    Tractor
    Mahindra 4110

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    I have a 15 hp DR, got it about 6 years ago.
    Its a dream to use if you dont mind walking.
    I use alot around my pond where I cant get with tractor.
    Cuts darn near anything and I have never bogged down the engine.
    The pozi lock for the trans comes in handy when I get down the pond bank too far and starts to spin. Put the pozi in and she backs right out.
    I have never used a Billy Goat (seen pictures) but I dont regret buying the DR even though they are expensive.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,044
    Location
    Southwest PA
    Tractor
    Deere 4710/reverser, JD 318 (still needs TLC), JD LT160

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    Pressurized lube and the ability to handle fairly steep banks would be 50% of my reason for buying one of these. I chicken out (pucker factor) around my pond and a few other slopes probably long before my CUT is actually in danger of tipping. The pond banks and the fence / treelines are what I have in mind. I know the local rental yard has a BG, I'll have to rent one and get a feel for the job.

    The DR did impress me from the video, though, and either they're making a killing on profit margin or they're awfully confident in their machine to offer the kind of return policy they have. Don't have the material in front of me, but I think it was the 15hp version I was leaning toward.

  7. #7

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    I also have a 15HP DR. Love it. Yeah, not the lowest price, but it just keeps going and going. I have walked over BIG stuff and it doesn't even sound like it is slowing down. All I can say is that it has never dissappointed me. Very nice unit, and by the way, parts are no isue at all. Don't know where someone would have that thought.

    Jim P

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    669
    Location
    NE PA
    Tractor
    AC 5020, Gravely Com12, JD M, JD X300R, WH 16 Auto

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    Might want to consider an older Gravely with the 30" brush deck, the Gravely engined ones had pressure lube for the engine and trans, and would work on a fair slope. Just a thought.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    3,676
    Location
    Grayson County, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    Speaking of slopes, the one use I would have from one of these beasts would be places where I can't get my brush hog. That would be steep slopes leading down to the creek. These slopes currently get tall weed and brush growth that I can only get to with my Stihl FS85 with brush blade. This is ALOT of work, and I just can't do much of it.

    I wonder if one of these machines would handle such a slope. It is steep enough I would not even consider getting my tractor sideways on it. I have backed down it a ways and driven straight back out, but there aren't many spots with large enough openings in the trees to do this, plus there are numerous offsets, bumps, and holes on the way down in spots.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member BarryinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    860
    Location
    Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD, Allis-Chalmers, Zetor

    Default Re: walk behind brush mowers???

    I've had the 15hp DR for 4 years & have thoroughly abused it & still going strong: smooth vibrationless cutting. Have not needed parts, I get oil filters (Fram) at wally world. In heavy brush the motor does drink fuel. Hitting rocks the drive belt slips so have not destroyed original blade.

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