text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

Field and Brush Mower Product Insight:
 Geared Transmission vs. Hydrostatic Steering

Field and Brush Mowers are heavy-duty machines. And, naturally, they are just plain heavy. The DR Field and Brush Mowers we offer weigh up to 379 pounds, depending on the model. 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.

... This kind of mowing is not for lightweight equipment.

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.

... The geared transmission on the DR Professional Series mowers allows you to travel at a fixed speed, leaving your hands free to maneuver the machine.

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.

Power Steering

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.

... Power Steering: Braking one self-propelled wheel, independently of the other, turns the mower around the braked wheel (left in this case).

Hydrostatic Drive

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.

... Hydrostatic Steering: Squeeze the hand lever for forward movement, push the thumb lever for reverse. The action is pressure sensitive, so you set the speed.

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.