Update Feb 2013: Craftsman has replaced this mower with the Craftsman 420cc 30″ 6-Speed Rider (49 States) Mid Back. This new mower is made by MTD and uses the same dependable transmission that is in the 28881 Lawn tractor.
Jan 2012: Until I hear something different DO NOT buy a Craftsman Smart Rider, Poulan Pro PB 30 or Weedeater SmartCut unless you have a FLAT lawn and you weigh less than 150 lbs. The transmission is prone to quit working if you are too heavy or you try mow slopes. I was told Husqvarna is developing a solution but so far we have heard about an update.
It has come to my attention that the Craftsman Smart Rider, Poulan Pro PB 30 and the Weedeater SmartCut have a transmission issue that you need to be completely aware of BEFORE you purchase one of these units.
Like the original Weedeater One, this riding mower is designed for a specific use and the owners who use it for that purpose love it. The mower is designed to mow flat lawns. The transmission is also designed for an average weight rider and no attachments. If you use the mower to mow slopes you will have to have the transmission adjusted as often as every 25 hours. If you pull a yard cart or any other attachment and your weight and the weight of your attachment is over 200 lbs you will experience a sluggish moving riding mower that will eventually stop working.
This need for a regular transmission adjustment is not explained in the sales literature by the manufacture and it is not something an owner can to themselves. You will have to pay for this adjustment.
All three units, The Poulan Pro, Weedeater 2 and Craftsman Smart Rider all use the same transmission and are all affected by this need for regular adjustment.
This is not a safety issue but a performance and customer satisfaction issue. There will be no recall on these riders.
I know many of you have purchased the Craftsman Smart Rider. I still think it is a good mower for what it is designed for and for the price. This is not a safety issue and Sears will stand behind the product. I know Sears will support this riding mower for the 2 year warranty period and if you purchased the 3 or 5 year protection plan will adjust the trans as part of that program for the duration of the plan. If you purchase a Poulan Pro PB30 or Weedeater SmartCut from a different retailer or dealer be sure you have in writing that they will service it for the warranty period.