The Raven at Lowes Review | Has Denver Global Answered My Original 17 Concerns?

2014 Raven MPV-7100. Has Denver Global Answered My Original 17 Concerns?

Lowes Raven

Raven MPV-7100

I am very particular about the look of my lawn so I want a mower that mows very well. I want an Multi-Purpose Vehicle that will pull firewood out of the timber and have enough traction get in and out of the woods. If I am going to buy a generator I want it to be able to power my essential home appliances. Those are the main questions I have when I looked at the Raven and developed this list. 

Here are some items that bothered me last year. I needed more reassurance or proof of quality before I would buy the Raven.

I’ve had the MPV-7100 since April and I’m going to answer these questions I asked last year.

1. Original Question: You HAVE to remove the mowing deck to put it in high gear. The deck is at least 100 lbs and they require you to drag it out from under the MPV. There are no rotating casters or other convenience feature to make this easy. The new owners state the deck is easy to unhook.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: You do not have to remove the deck to use the high gear. I regularly run around the neighborhood with the deck on and the Raven in high gear. The deck is easy to remove and yes, it is heavy. If you take it off on a hard surface like your garage floor or blacktop drive though it slides out from under the MPV easily.

2. Original Question:  The mounting brackets for the deck seem flimsy and taking the deck on and off all the time – I hope you can get parts quickly.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: Parts are available and Denver Global is in the process of setting up a nationwide dealer network. The network will be in place by the time you need it. The mounting brackets are stronger than I originally thought. I have banged the deck into my wife’s wonderful rock landscaping borders many times all ready and I see no bending or sign they may break.

3. Original Question:  They do not mention anything about the deck. The U.S. manufactures have spent years perfecting a great cutting deck. Good airflow, good lift, good discharge. Was there any design work done on this deck or did they just throw 2 spindles inside a box and call it a deck?  Is it a vented deck? Does it mow well? 5 mph mowing?  I would love to see Consumer Reports rate the mowing, bagging, and mulching quality up against a 46 inch Craftsman, John Deere or Cub Cadet.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: Well it mows well. It lifts my bluegrass and cuts it cleanly. I also used it to cut a spot out alng the highway where the grass was about 18 inches tall. I didn’t expect it to cut the grass in one pass (most residential decks won’t) but it cut it cleanly. The was one patch of very weak blue grass that had flowered about 18 inches tall and it cut that all in one pass (You sometimes have to go over that type of grass 2 or 3 times with a conventional rider)

The deck is a fabricated deck and no, it does not have vented spindles. But the blades are high-lifts and plenty of air gets under the deck to help the blades lift and cut the grass. I was using it to move 6 inches of leaves this spring and it actually would suck the leaves under the deck when I went along a fence or building. It had no problems moving wet maple leaves (they get stuck in the grass) that had been on the lawn all winter.

It gets the cut grass out of the deck well. It spreads the grass as evenly as my old green Craftsman. It will bag well. Because it’s a fabricated deck it will not mulch as well as a Husqvarna combi-deck or a John Deere stamped deck with baffles.

4.  Original Question: You HAVE to use the gas engine to charge the unit. You HAVE to use the gas engine to mow.  There seems to be no charger so you can plug it in as use electricity to charge it. Yes, the gen/set should use less fuel than a conventional mower but you are still using gas to charge the unit. This is a step up in the right direction for “greener” landscaping but it is just that, one step.  

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: I completely mis-understood how the Raven was designed and engineered. The Raven runs on electricity. The transmission drive motor and the deck motors run off of batteries. These batteries will run you around the yard for at least 45 minutes. My wife and I use the Raven all the time in battery mode and in the last 2 months we have not run out of battery. When you want to mow, you just fire up the generator and the unit powers the deck, transmission motor and charges the batteries while you mow. The 5 gallon fuel tank will let you mow for 6 or 7 hours. No more running out of fuel at the back of the property. Just switch to electric mode and drive home.

Does it have enough power? It only 420 cc’s. I was very surprised at the power to the blades and the power to the rear wheels. Because there are no belts to slip, no belt guides for the belt to rub against and no idler pulley springs to wear out all the power from the unit goes into mowing or moving around. The electric motors are operated by controllers and these controllers sense when there is an increased load. This allows the motors to run at full speed no matter how thick the grass is. It’s is very surprising at how much power is sent directly to the deck motors. The Raven mows as well as a 46 inch lawn tractor with a 24 hp motor.

You can toodle around your lawn, fire up the engine and mow your lawn and then turn the engine off to ride down to the neighbor’s to show it off.

Under electric drive only the unit will not spin the rear wheels under normal conditions but when you use the generator there is more than enough power to the rear wheels to spin them in low gear.

5.  Original Question: States it is good for 2-3 acres. If it will actually mow at 5 mph as stated, 3 acres with a 46 inch deck is 2 hours – plus trimming.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: I can say it mows large areas well at 6 mph! So mowing 3 acres is about 1 hour 15 minutes plus trimming.

6.  Original Question: It has a Floating deck and suspension on the MTV. You will have adjust the cutting height for each rider. Because the suspension will raise or lower for different weight drivers, the unit will mow at a different height for your 125 lb teenager than a 250 lb rider.  I can just see you bouncing along at 5 miles an hour mowing and your lawn ends up looking like a washboard.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: The suspension is stiffer than I originally thought and only on the front. There is no bounce when mowing and the deck cuts smoothly. The front suspension does absorb bumps in your yard and it gives you a smoother ride than a lawn tractor without creating a washboard effect when mowing.

When you go around a corner with the suspension in the front, the front of the MPV does not dip to the outside of the turn. The deck does not dig in or gouge on a turn. 

7.  Original Question: Turf  Tires. Great on your lawn, terrible out in the woods in MPV mode.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: I don’t recommend going out into the woods and running on bare dirt right after a rain with the factory installed turf tires. Under normal trail conditions though it will have enough traction to get you out to that perfect photo spot,  your deer stand or where you want to fish. There will be sport tires with a more aggressive tread design available separately. I’ve seen the tires and they are nice, aggressive design.

8.  Original Question: What is the plastic made of? Is is like Sterilite the breaks when the temperature gets below freezing or like RubberMaid that will put up with just about any abuse. Companies like MTD have developed polymers that will take more abuse than steel, but I wonder if this manufacture has? Will it stand up to bumps and bangs without cracking? If you hit it hard enough to dent it will the dent spring back.? I would like to try the Sledge Hammer test on it.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: Yes, it’s a good poly. It resists scratches very well (my apple tree has tried to break it many times already) The toughness is somewhere between a Rubbermaid trash can and the fender extension on your pickup.

9.  Original Question: Turning Radius? Lowes states 16 inches and the manual states 18 inches? There is one video on YouTube where a user tries to turn it around inside a store and the turning radius is a lot greater in that video than stated.  If the turning radius is a bad as in the video you will have to do a lot more trimming to get your lawn mowed. Once you own a Craftsman with Turn-Tight all the rest look like you are turning a semi.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: The advertising now states 14 inches. It reality it is better than that. One thing I had to get used to was the really good rack and pinion steering. It’s really quick and precise. You can turn all the way from lock-to-lock without the steering trying to bind up like it does on most lawn tractors.  And even better the steering geometry is flat and does not scuff your turf. I have turned the Raven at full-lock in sand and it barely made a mark. The steering doesn’t push (try to go straight when mowing around a tree) The steering effort is a little stiff for me and I if the steering wheel was 2 inches larger it would help – but that’s just my opinion. You will really like the steering.

10.  Original Question: No boots on electrical plugs. In the video the electrical connectors look rugged enough but I would like to see rubber boots and covers for when it is wet out and when you have the deck off.  The main 100 lb, 48 volt battery is located down behind the rear axle. I would be careful going through water.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: The boots are not needed. Even mowing wet grass you will never experience a problem.  Of course the Raven is not designed to cross creeks and rivers so don’t try it. I have seen the prove design though and the unit went through 100 feet of 18 inch deep water without an issue.

11.  Original Question: Weight: 750 lbs. ok for a mower, but is that too heavy for a MPV?

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: It’s actually closer to 800 lbs. I am just amazed at how much easier a really heavy lawn mower is to use. Yes, I have experience with the big zero-turns but this is a different experience altogether. The ride it a lot better, meaning the Raven doesn’t bounce you around like a lawn tractor.  You can mow your lawn and you don’t feel wore out from all the bouncing around. Little dips and hills in your lawn are handled with ease. No shifting your weight to get traction mowing around that big old maple in your front yard. This will be one items about the Raven that will get the most praise – the ride.

Out in the timber the majority of the weight is on the rear so the Raven will follow what the rear end is doing. It will bounce you around more than a 4 wheeler ATV, but if you are using it for a job like moving firewood you will enjoy the increased traction all that weight has to offer.

12.  Original Question: No 240v plugs. You can use it to power your drill and fridge but you will not be able to use it to power your home during a power outage. A transfer switch uses 240 volts to power your house.  Most well pumps are 240 volt.  Yes, you can power individual 110 volt items. But, you will need to run an extension cord to each item you want to use. (You will be running the MPV outside. Be sure to size your extension cords for the proper amperage and length of run so you don’t overheat the cord or burn out your appliance) The manual does not state how much current each out let will produce (15 or 20 amps)

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: I’ve realized that if you need a generator it will not be to power your oven. You need it for everyday tasks around the property and for emergency power for your essential appliances. Use the grill to cook on. Build a switch into the gas furnace power system. The Raven MPV7100 has enough power to handle those types of tasks and then some.

 13.  Original Question: I switched to all cordless tools two years ago so I have no need for a charger out in the pasture. I have a feeling most of you reading this have also switcher to cordless tools. Lowes advertises this as 7000 watts. The manual states 6500 watts continuous,  7100 peak.  This makes me wonder what other generators Lowes is mis-advertising.   

The surge wattage corresponds to the maximum amount of power the generator can output for a short time. Motorized devices typically require more than their rated wattage for startup. The surge wattage ability of a generator allows for this extra power requirement. This generator can run at its surge wattage capacity for only a short time. Connect electrical devices requiring a rated (running) wattage equal to or lesser than the rated wattage of this generator. Never connect devices requiring a rated wattage equal to the surge wattage of a generator.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: The generator has enough power to start my 1 1/2 table saw and cut 2 inch thick hard maple

14.  Original Question:  According to new owners there is no suspension in the rear. The rear axle is solid which makes for a very rough riding MPV at 17 mph. So is it just a lawn tractor that looks like ATV and has an ATV front end? Lowes does not advertise it as an ATV. The Lowes site calls it a Hybrid Riding Mower and the banner ads they are using calls it a MPV (ATV=All Terrain Vehicle, MPV=Multi Purpose Vehicle)

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: The Raven is a Multi=purpose vehicle and not an ATV. If you have it in high gear I suggest keeping it on a fairly smooth surface like your lawn, the path out to the cows or the gravel drive out to the mailbox.  The rear end is heavy and stable but there is no suspension under it so it will ride rough for some owners. Use common sense and you will do just fine!

15.  Original Question: New owners also state the unit has very little power in high gear. It works for flat ground but is all but worthless when trying to go up a hill. So with the turf tires, no suspension in the rear and no power for pulling or hills in high gear it is not a true ATV. It has a front end and steering similar to an ATV but that is about as far as it goes to being an ATV.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: No, It does not have a lot of pulling power in high gear. If you are pulling a trailer keep it in low. If the hill is steep enough for the Raven to lose power turn on the generator and there is more current available to go up the hill/

16.  Original Question: This is a very minor point and one that most people are not aware of with today’s mowers. The placement of the seat on the machine. Almost all mowers have the seat centered in the turning arc of the machine. If you place the seat behind the arc (Like the old Yazoo Mowers) the operator gets thrown around like a Tilt-A-Whirl and if you place the operator if front of the arc (some zero-turns and the Raven) they constantly have to look down and back to see where they are mowing.  This can lead to a stiff neck and operator fatigue. Again this is a minor point and you would only notice this if you were using the MPV all day long.

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: In regards to the placement of the seat the Raven is very similar to a zero-turn. The deck is directly below you and the rear tires are a few inches behind you. It only took me a few minutes to get used to where the rear tires were and I had no problem trimming close. The Raven is a lot taller than your old lawn tractor though and you may have to trim a few low hanging branches so that you can mow as close as you are used to.

17. Original Question: Maybe I am asking too much out of this unit.  Maybe this is the “wave of the future” for lawn & garden work.  I like the idea of using a combination generator and engine (gen/set) Diesel Locomotives have been using this concept for years and the fuel savings are real over conventional gas powered equipment.  We’ll see!

Update June 2014 The new Raven MPV-7100: Well it is the future. The hybrid concept is a new and improved way to mow your lawn. No worries about running out of battery power. No plugging it in to charge. The gas generator is very fuel efficient and much quieter than today’s lawn tractors.

Update March 2014 – 

I spent the week of March 20, 2014 in North Carolina reviewing the improvements and schedule for the Raven.  I’ll write a detailed article soon about my impressions and what’s in the future. In the meantime here is a hint:

They have made many improvements changes to it. Everything from new suspension up front, new deck, new controllers and motors.
Even though it is not an ATV we took them out in the woods and I tried to break it ….I couldn’t. Even though you are supposed to keep it out of the water one the company testers (affectionatley called  “our crash test dummy” tried to drown it and couldn’t. No you are not supposed to run them over rock piles but we did and I even rammed one into a tree hard enough that would bend the front end of a regular lawn tractor. No problems whatsoever. It is a very tough unit.
When you see your new MPV-7100 it will look the same, but it has been completely redesigned from the ground up by US engineers and constructed by Good Ole Southern Guys and Gals.
Every step in the assembly is checked off, checked by an inspector. Each section of the assembly is checked by a supervisor and rechecked by QC. Each new unit is ran, tested, ran, tested and ran again. When it is ready to ship, it is 100%.
I like all the key players. The engineers, the assembly line management and the marketing staff are all experienced lawn and garden people. Denver Global recruited people from Husqvarna, Schiller, MTD and GXi.
Paul

 

See my full review here:2014 Raven MPV-7100 Hybrid Mower Review – Are You Ready For A Change?

 

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33 Comments on "The Raven at Lowes Review | Has Denver Global Answered My Original 17 Concerns?"

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Brandi hunter
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Will this generator run a camper? Also where can I get a mower deck? I can’t get through to the company.

crawford
Guest

I surprise you got it complete in 30 minutes just taking the battery should take a couple of hours with slow charge, then add seat,wheels,steering wheel I think Lowe’s took some short cuts. Are you shore you 48 volt batterys are fully charged. If you didn ‘t get the charger you may need to start it up and let engine charge that system. I don’t think you blew the fuse more likely dead battery.

jim
Guest

Ok. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it

jim
Guest

Can you tell me where the 100 amp fuse is? Why does this seem to be some big secret?

Jim
Guest

Willl do, but I turned it on and off a couple times just to make sure. because I know it won’t go when generator is on. I’ll check again.

Jim
Guest
Thanks for quick reply. Already checked the generator switch. I made sure it was in neutral when I turned it on and when I put it in gear, no “click”. I have that problem a lot as I am not used to making sure I have it in neutral before turning on the key. So I checked that several times. The manual I have says that it will do this if the 100 amp fuse is blown. does anyone know where the 100 amp fuse is? Seems like they don’t want anyone but an authorized dealer messing with that fuse… Read more »
Jim
Guest
This information is very helpful. I posted my initial problem on here and got some very helpful information. I have more than one Raven. I bought them from Lowe’s on September 2, 2016 and the mower deck had already been replaced before I bought them (They were returned when the mower deck broke). I bought them and needed new 48 volt battery packs. I contacted DGP and they promptly mailed me the battery packs I needed, as well as a hitch that was missing from one of them, all under warranty. no question asked, once I registered my Ravens. The… Read more »
Barry Beaver
Guest

I for one was part of the rework on the mower and I can say DGP leaves no stone unturned! They go above and beyond to make sure this mower will do the job! This mower is great and the future mowers will have even more enhancements. The deck has been reenforced as well as Generator Panels, Drive Motor Controllers, as well as tons of other improvements. Im sure this unit will gain some good reviews!

crawford overton
Guest
Dandridge TN I call they say that my pre order should be out in middle if February I asked were I would pick it up they said it will be back at Jefferson City Lowe’s with my name on it. I just hope they are right this time as far as when release date. I believe that the Raven will be up to par this time. Can’t wait got a special shop built just for it and my other toys like my new DR trimmer Pro power wheel,electric start, My old 60 inch Zorro Swisher now if spring would show… Read more »
crawford overton
Guest
DGP call asked if I wanted to pre order the newer model. They tell me it had about 150 improvements. The short time I had it really like it I even had taken the deckoff, better then the belt ones. I use never took more then a couple of minutes getting it off and 5 minutes getting it back on and never really go dirty doing it. 5 gal gas tank never needed a refill for my 4 1/2 acres pretty much had a half tank before they took it back yep I siphon it out gave them back just… Read more »
trackback
[…] The Raven at Lowes Review | Hybrid Riding Lawn Mower / Generator / MPV – The Wave Of The Future? The Lowes Raven brought home one basic truth in the marketing world that P.T. Barnum stated many years ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” This time though it wasn’t the new owners who got punked, it was Lowes. Lowes in their rush to be “the first kid on the block with a new toy” decided that they didn’t need to perform a “prove design” of their own and trusted a foreign manufacture to deliver a quality product at a… Read more »
Simplicity mower parts
Guest

Hi I have just visited the page and read all of posts that’s really great. A great discussion here I have found it’s really very much helpful and informative.

crawford overton
Guest

You only need decks tilted because of belt alinement if it doesn’t have belts like the raven it isn’t necessary. I have been in contact with DGP for a good long time don’t be surprise if it doesn’t show up pretty soon. I for one waiting for mine to come home again with out the bugs.

Edward
Guest
Got this mower from Lowes. Started mowing when I got it. I shut the MPV off and went inside then tried to start it again and it started but didnt go either way any way I tried it. The blade got loose so I called the service to fix it. They took it for 2 weeks. Didnt fix anything. Brought it back. He brought a dirty scratched up one that didnt even look like mine. I checked te serial number to see if it matched the invoice, it didnt. So now I probably have to wait another 2 weeks. I… Read more »
crawford overton
Guest

as far as decks with belts yes back is a little higher then the front but that is because of belts won’t stay on pulleys very well , remember motor pulley and deck pulley are horizontal if deck is the same when deck is lowered no way will belts alineand will cut the life of belt and will come off. If you have no belts then you can run level

Carrie
Guest
We purchased a Raven lawn mower in March (the end of). We had it 2 weeks and the first time my husband tried to mow, it slung the blade out through the guard and 20 feet into the highway. Thank god it didn’t hit one of our children, dogs, or a passing car. That could have easily killed someone. After that, we called for the warranty and they made us wait 3 weeks before schedule pick up. Then they never showed for the pick up. We took the deck off in the meantime and this past weekend it stopped working… Read more »
Scot Boehm
Guest
I purchased the Raven after I saw the generator/riding mower combination because I was in the market for both. I liked it the first two times I started it up. But it was down hill from there. The thrid time I tried starting it up it would not start. I checked the safety switch under the seat and held it down by hand to make sure. Still wouldn’t start. I was a victim of the cheap, dead 12volt battery that many have had issues with. I never even mowed with mine. I started looking into it and found Lowes had… Read more »
Richard
Guest
I had my Raven for 3 days. Wouldn’t start, had to jumpstart. Deck ran for 30 ft and rt side mower moter quit then whole deck quit. When starting I followed manual instructions. Brake on, swith to drive, removed brake , mower took of on its own. Great idea, love the atv type chasis unbelievable potential. Poor execution. Lowe’s recalled 2 days later and the rest are “NO SALE”. I want one when they get it right. My JD l120 has gone through 3 hydrostatic trans in 500 hrs. Put RJR Tractor K66 kit on it and it is a… Read more »
David
Guest
I’ve got a Raven that the starter battery will not hold a charge. You have to jump the mower to start it. Only one blade is is turning. Luckily, I bought the protection plan so I’m not wasting any of my money on it…just my time! Pushmowing 1 1/4 acres is not fun. The engine and wiring is a bit more complicated than your usual OPE. I’m assuming there is a wiring problem or a bad alternator. The Raven hasn’t made me completely happy yet, but let’s see what the small engine repair guys can do to get it working… Read more »
Carroll Brotzge
Guest
I don’t have one of these mowers so I can’t comment about them directly. However I have seen on these postings and some others where people seem to think the mower deck should be level from front to back. I worked in a mower repair shop for a few years and also went to some factory training classes. The front of a mower deck is always supposed to be lower than the back. The reason for this is because you want the leading edge of the blades to do the cutting. You don’t want the blades trying to cut the… Read more »
Jeff Memphis
Guest
I had this mower delivered today and went to mow my 3 acre yard. It was very jerky with & without the blades on. 3 times during mowing the front yard 3/4 acre, the blade motor overheated and shut off. The under deck is a bad design, grass doesn’t flow well through it. Then came the heartbreak, the jerkiness turned into slow/non moving engine overheats in under 1hr run time (not mowing time) I’m returning this mower immediately, it’s brand new fresh out the box and has way too many issues for $3k Anyone have a suggestion on a replacement… Read more »
Marc
Guest

You brought up the exact same questions I had when I saw this at Lowes the other day. In concept it is a great idea. But does it actually work that well? Being the first to market, I can guarantee there will be advances made, and other manufacturers bringing out similar products. So for me the answer is … wait.

trackback
[…] Well we knew it wouldn’t be too long before people started customizing their Lowes Ravens. One of our readers Scott did some great mods to his Raven and sent in some pictures to share.  He did a great job and added some great craftsmanship to his Raven. Obviously any modifications you make to your Raven will likely void the warranty.  First he added a more aggressive  2″ bigger tire to the rear.   He noted that there was some adjustment that had to be made to the front deck leveling arms and that the clearance between the deck and… Read more »
joejoe
Guest
I received the following questions “How does it mow? Does it do a good job? Does it cut evenly and level or is there a ridge between the mowed swaths? (Is the deck level) Does it disperse the clippings well? Do the motors have enough power to cut taller grass?” I think it mows very well and the blade motors are plenty powerful. It seems to disperse well too me but this is my first ride on and i don’t have something to compare it too. It mows pretty even as far as i can tell, better after i leveled… Read more »
joejoe
Guest
Raven MPV-710 Well I’ve been watching this thing for several weeks since I saw it at my local Lowes in Wake Forest NC. It went on stop-sale before I could buy one. I heard two stories of issues causing the stop sale and was told yesterday that the stop sale was lifted. I purchased a new one out of the box. Lowes had it ready for me in about 30 min. At the store I was able to ride it in electric mode out of the store and onto my trailer. At home I cranked it three times and the… Read more »
Dan Tools In Action
Guest

Thanks for the plug Paul. You have great questions, I never thought about the deck airflow.

Dan

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