Product Insight: Geared Transmission vs. Hydrostatic Steering
DR Field and Brush Mowers are heavy-duty machines. And, naturally, they are just plain heavy. Depending on the model, these machines weigh from 237 pounds (the PREMIER) up to 379 pounds (the XD30). When you are plowing through dense field grass and thickets of brush, or knocking over saplings up to three inches thick, you need weight and forward momentum to get the job done.
Without some mechanical assistance though, all that weight could present a handling problem. DR Field and Brush Mowers are all self-propelled so moving forward, even uphill, is no problem. But cornering or turning 180° at the end of a row demands more than self-propulsion.
The DR Professional Series Mowers feature a geared transmission that locks in the ground speed with one of three forward speeds.
First Gear is for the toughest mowing conditions—very thick field grass or tough brush that requires control over speed. First is also the gear of choice for those who want to maximize the mulching action and leave less debris behind.
Second Gear is for open mowing in areas that have already been cleared of brush and that get mowed often enough that the growth is not out of control.
Third Gear is for light mowing or for traveling without mowing.
Selected Professional Series mowers offer Power Steering. This consists of a disc brake on each handle grip. When you squeeze the brake on one side, the machine will turn in that direction, pivoting easily around the braked wheel.
The DR Commercial XD Series Brush Mowers are equipped with Hydrostatic Drive. In addition to providing these machines with fully variable speed control, hydrostatic drive allows for the ultimate in turning ease. Two independent wheel drives provide zero-degree turning capability and virtually effortless maneuverability.
Which is “Better”—Hydrostatic or Gear Drive?
Both drive mechanisms are excellent solutions to the problems inherent in maneuvering a heavy machine. With a little practice, you will get the results you want with either. But Hydrostatic Drive gives you a greater degree of control because it lets you manage steering and speed at the same time.
The Professional Series mowers used fixed forward speeds (and one reverse). Let’s say you are mowing in second gear and coming into a 180º turn. If you want to slow down for the turn, you will need to stop, change gears, then resume mowing and make the turn. If you go into the turn full speed, without slowing down, you will need to walk faster, or even break into a trot, to get around the mower as it turns, then resume mowing in the other direction.
With a Commercial XD Series machine (and its variable speed control) you can feather the speed down as you approach the turn, make the turn at a comfortable walking pace, then gradually accelerate back to your preferred mowing speed.
For the commercial user who spends many hours in the field, the hydrostatic mechanism is the clear winner. However, the homeowner or occasional user may well be content with Power Steering.
Consider ALL the Options
Making a choice is largely a matter of preference and budget. Check out the full line of walk-behind brush mowers to find what suits your situation best. We also offer tow-behind models for those who have an ATV so that may be an alternative to consider. And we will be adding new models in the near future, so check back with us soon. If you sign up for email alerts, we will deliver all the latest products and content right to your inbox!
Last updated: 9/26/2022