How Much Does Quality Cost? Looking at the BCS System

   #1  

otsegony

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Jul 27, 2006
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Although I have a lot of work to do outside, I’m stuck inside and I’ve been thinking about two things that I read pretty regularly on this forum and others about outdoor equipment. One is that machinery built 30-40 years ago was much better and that manufacturers should return to that quality level rather than the disposable consumer equipment. The other relates to BCS equipment in particular, that is the comment is often made that the equipment is first rate, but too expensive to be seriously considered.

I live on 8 acres of land and a few years ago I started to implement my plan of becoming more self sustaining through increasing my gardens by bringing back some parts of the property that had become overgrown. For a number of reasons I wasn’t interested in compact utility tractors or the like. Initially I was going to buy a DR mower and a Troy-Belt tiller, both of which I had positive experiences with years ago but discovered that each of those companies had changed ownership and changes had been made to the quality of those products that were undesirable to me.

After much research I discovered BCS tractors and ended up purchasing a BCS 852 tractor with a tiller, rotary plow, snowblower and brush mower. The quality is first rate and it reminded me of the Gravely two wheeled tractors that were once so common here in rural New York. This made me think that the two systems were comparable, how much would a contemporary Gravely cost if they were still made. Also, what would a new vintage Troy-Belt tiller cost compared to a present day BCS. I found some historic price information on-line and discovered the following:

2021 BCS 852 Compared to 1972 Gravely Commercial 12

BCS 852 Tractor (pricing from earthtools.com website)

Tractor $4436
32” Brush Mower $1235
Rotary Plow $1330
30” Tiller $765
28” Snow Thrower $1044
Total = $8810


Gravely Commercial 12 (pricing from January, 1972 price list rounded to nearest dollar)

Tractor $932
30” Rotary Mower $194
Rotary Plow $140
Rotary Cultivator $106
26” Snowblower $316
Total= $1688

Inflation adjustment from BLS.Gov $11,158

That gives the BCS system a price advantage of 26% or $2348 over the hypothetical Gravely system.


This also holds true looking at a 1981 Troy-Bilt Horse Tiller compared to a basic BCS machine today:

BCS 710 Tractor with 20” tiller: $2280

Troy-Bilt Horse with 7hp Kohler engine and 18” (I believe) Tiller

1981 price: $1039 (from a Mother Jones article of the time)
Adjusted for Inflation: $3245

The contemporary BCS system comes out 42% cheaper with a savings of $965.

This is just a quick look based only one type of cost comparison based on information that I could find on my computer this afternoon. I have only a passing familiarity with the Gravely system, so if someone who knows more about those classic tractors sees a mistake, please let me know. Also the prices quoted are for the basic tractors and implements, there are most likely other costs like shipping, fittings and others that are not included.
 
   #2  

plumberroy

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May 16, 2012
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105
Location
Cincinnati oh
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grillo 85D w/tiller and zanon mower deck. Gravely Professional 12
At one time I found a factory price list for the Gravely Professional series I think my Professional 12 was around $5000 without tires and wheels I think with 40 inch mower bush hog and blade was around $8000 in 1989
 
   #3  

plumberroy

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May 16, 2012
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Cincinnati oh
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grillo 85D w/tiller and zanon mower deck. Gravely Professional 12
Okay I got busy I also have a Grillo G85D I upgraded to the bigger wheels and the 10hp Kohler engine I have a tiller and a Zanon mower deck and quick connects bought in 2012 was in the neighborhood of 4k.
I can tell you this I
have run the big 8 hp Troybuilt tillers and the Honda 8hp rear tine tillers after running my Grillo tiller I have no interest in the Troybuilt or Honda tillers The Grillo turns the tines at twice the rpm's of the others (BCS tiller is a Grillo design)
 
   #4  

jbradley

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Apr 2, 2008
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53
Location
Clarinda, Iowa
Tractor
JD 4020, JD 430 garden tractor, BCS 948, BCS 732
... I have no interest in the Troybuilt ...

I heartily agree with plumberroy in regards to the Troy-Bilt. I had a 1974 or 75 model Horse with Tecumseh engine with electric start that I inherited from my dad. The tine speed was barely faster than the wheel speed. It always started, but to get things tilled took at least a half dozen passes. They did increase the tine speed a couple of model years later, so it probably improved some, but I'd take a BCS any day over a Troy-Bilt. One good thing about the Troy-Bilt back in the mid to late 70s, the mailings from the company with gardening suggestions by Dean Leith were great.
 
  
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otsegony

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I agree that the BCS tiller is much better than one of the old Troy-Bilts, the faster tine speed does a much more efficient job of tilling. Plus I have the rotary plow, so that makes both breaking new ground and building raised beds more quickly. Now if I could only afford a power harrow!
 

plumberroy

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May 16, 2012
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105
Location
Cincinnati oh
Tractor
grillo 85D w/tiller and zanon mower deck. Gravely Professional 12
I finally found a Gravely new style quick hitch rotary plow this summer
 

RalphVa

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Dec 19, 2003
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7,019
Location
Charlottesville, VA, USA
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JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R
One nice thing available on the 5665 Gravely (12 hp) was the steering brakes. Could steer it with just that one black handle between the handle bars. I was lucky in finding the brakes at an ex Gravely dealer in town. Otherwise, I just could not handle the thing on the hill around and behind the house.

The BCS has steering brakes but via brake handles on each handle bar. Would require some getting used to vs. the single handle for the Gravely, more akin to learning to "drive" a ZT.

I managed to find a Gravely back in 2001 here with that big snow plow, trailer, trolly, bush hog and square chute snow blower. Later bought a rotary plow that I used ONCE since I do no till. Got those dual R1 tired wheels just before buying the JD 4010. Didn't get to use much with the dual wheels. Usually used single turfs with chains for pushing that big plow.

Do not recall what I paid for the Gravely, et.al. back then; sorry. Far lower price than the JD.
 

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TimberXX

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Bergen County, NJ
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BCS 770 Italian 2 Wheel Tractor, Grillo 107d, BCS 853, Deere x350
That's an interesting analysis, and makes me feel better spending all the money on my BCS stuff! The BCS transmission warranty is a huge plus for me.
 
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