Spartan Zero Turn Mowers – Good or Bad?

“When you can sell a 9 or 10 thousand dollar machine for $5399 it get’s people excited.” Robert Foster.

By Paul Sikkema. Join the conversation on Facebook!

From Ben,

I purchased a 6 acre property after mowing season was already over last year. This is my first large property and I am in the market for a ZTR. There is a dealer within three miles of me that offers some great at home maintenance services that sells both Spartan and Hustler mowers. The dealer is really pushing the Spartan brand for my application.  They seem to have a lot of heavy-duty features found in much more expensive setups. I saw in one of your past responses that you cannot recommend a mower from an “unknown” manufacturer but I was curious if you had any further thoughts on this brand of mowers. I really like the reasonably priced plug and play accessories and the idea of getting a lot mower at their price point. I understand there is a lawsuit on them already from Bad Boy due to an alleged patent infringement as the designer/owner of the Spartan brand supposedly came up with part of the design while he was an owner of Bad Boy. Apparently Spartan and Bad Boy are literally right next door to each other and had an ugly split. The model I was looking at the RT Pro 61″ with either the Kohler or the Briggs motors. Have you tested any of the Spartans yourself?

Hi Ben, This is the second season for Spartan mowers. It’s made by a company that has disrupted the ATV industry and yes there is some interesting history with Bad Boy.

Spartan is an interesting marketing application. Let’s take a conventional zero-turn and make it look beefy, manly and Transformer looking – let’s add features that no one else has like triple jointed arm rests. The owner, Robert Foster, built twelve prototypes in his garage over the summer of 2015 and then kept them secret until the big L&G dealer show (GIE-EXPO) that October. He then sprung them on the world at one-third the price of the current market.

Will his equipment be worth the cheap cost?  It’s still too early to tell. We’ve already proven that the Chinese zero-turns are not worth the hassle no matter how cheap the cost but this company and it’s owner is different. This a U.S.A. built machine with the best possible engines, transmissions and parts. Mr Foster is building a solid dealer base with the parts and service to keep your machine running. He has the vision, the resources and the business experience to make this work. This guy has the money to make this company last 5 years or more which should get it through the “new” phase of bringing a product to market.

 In my experience buying a machine like the Spartan that has not had at least 2 full years of on-the-ground prove-design is not always the best choice for you. One of the most controversial innovators in the industry, Dane Scag, was that way. Mr. Scag would design a machine on paper, build it, and then sell it at a lower price than anyone else. As problems arose with the design he would then fix it with recalls and updates. Starting out in the mowing business I owned a few of them because of the price. But, they were down for repairs about 20% of the time. I liked the mowers a lot , but was very frustrated about the down time. My dealer finally convinced me to buy an ExMark and guess what? My on-lawn mowing time increased, my labor costs dropped dramatically because my crews weren’t waiting for repairs and my repair costs dropped 50%.

Companies like Toro, ExMark and Ariens are very conservative in introducing new “radical” machines and improvements. They spend 2-3 years designing, testing and making sure the design works.  They are confident that the machine will last a long time before they even offer the first machine for sale. 

As a Homeowner should you buy one? Understand that I was using the mowers in the above example commercially 30-50 hours a week and with your 6 acres you will only use your’s an hour and half a week. Also understand, with the recent Raven MPV-7100 hybrid mower debacle I am probably overly-cautious of recommending a new product from a new manufacture.  I spent some time with the 61 inch last October at the GIE-EXPO. I looked at all the features, build quality and test drove it for few minutes.  The mower is designed well and should last years. I don’t expect any issues with the Spartan mower but if you do buy one I suggest that you stay in close contact with the dealer so that you get any updates before your warranty expires. I repeat, the mower is designed well and should last a homeowner years.

Ben, I’ve been around this business for over 30 years and I’ve seen at least 50 companies like this one try to break into the zero-turn market. Anyone remember the “Hill Billy” “Bunton” or “DewEze?” There are only 3 or 4 that gained enough market share to stay in business. I hope Mr. Foster can break through the “new product launch” and deliver the quality mower at the price he has envisioned.

Check Spartan Mowers out here: Spartan Mowers

Did you buy a Spartan last year? Please tell us how you like it!

Yes, You need a new Gas Can!

With today’s fuels you need a gas can that seals tight. It helps the fuel last longer and the escaping vapors won’t wreck the environment. But the biggest problem is find one that works. The cheap ones ($20 or more now) don’t have vents so it takes forever to fill the tank on your lawn tractor. The cheap ones are also flimsy and the spouts break after the first year.

Well, I’ve found one brand that works great! It’s vented inside the spout so it pours fuel quickly yet seals tightly when not in use.  I’ll give you links at Amazon for two sizes. I suggest buying the size so that you don’t keep more than a month of fuel around the house.

No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can. A good size for snow blowers and push mowers. 

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant) This one has a second handle in the back so it is very easy to use and hang onto when pouring into your fuel tank. A good size for lawn tractors and zero-turns.

If you have a problem holding a gas can the SureCan is a great can. It’s very comfortable to use to use and built well.

SureCan – Gas Can with Rotating Spout. 

Fuel Stabilizer: When I go to the gas station and buy fuel I always put fuel stabilizer in the storage tank. It helps keep the fuel fresh and some also clean your carb and fuel system without messing it up. There a man good brands but I’ve used

SeaFoam for years and it’s always worked well. I use 2 tablespoons per gallon of fuel.

Seafoam 

Other fuels stabilizers to check out: Fuel Stabilizers

Have I helped you? If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store but still want to support TodaysMower just click on this link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. TodaysMower.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.

27
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
15 Thread replies
3 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
JohnRandy LeddingtonMiguel AlvaradoMerrieDan Lebedowicz Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
John
Guest
John

I purchased a Spartan Mower (Model SRH54850KW) in April of this year. I have enjoyed the mower, but I am having issue with the console. When it had 26.4 hours on it the console would not allow me to crank the unit. I carried it back to the dealer and the console was bad. Now the new console has 35.9 hours on it and it has gone bad. What really sucks is I am 4 hours from my dealer. I had 8 hours of drive time for a 20 minute fix. My mower is kept inside so water is not… Read more »

Randy Leddington
Guest
Randy Leddington

Mr. Paul, I’d really like to hear an update from you on your opinion of Spartan mowers. It has been a while since you posted this article and I’d be curious to hear if your opinion has changed any. In the comment section of this article, you seemed to go out of your way to advise against the purchase of a Spartan. It appeared to me that you preferred the Toro. We have no Toro dealers where I live, and we just recently got a Spartan dealer. I spent about 8 hours researching the Spartan and kind of “fell in… Read more »

Miguel Alvarado
Guest
Miguel Alvarado

I’ve purchased a spartan RT54 Last year. I’ve put it through hell and the damn machine keeps going. So very happy. I’ve owned craftsman and john deere over the past 30 yrs. Never steering away from these products. But I got physically sick 2 yrs ago and the regular riding mowers were too much for me. So I checked out all the ztr’s available. The Spartan caught my eye. Looked ferocious and really cool. I looked up all the specs and prices for every ztr on the market. Hey if im going to drop down 7 grand for a mower… Read more »

Merrie
Guest
Merrie

HI Paul… You seem to be the guy with the answers to mower-buyer concerns! We are home owners with 9+ acres to keep under control in Florida. This is our first experience with a ZTR mower and we understand that this is serious money to get the best mower for our needs. But the more we search, the more questions we have! Finally made a decision and found a Toro Z-Master 3000 we were ready to purchase new at a local dealer. When we arrived to seal the deal, the Spartan SRT XD hit us between the eyes! The dealer,… Read more »

Dan Lebedowicz
Guest
Dan Lebedowicz

Hi Paul I am considering the Country Clipper with the joystick vs. two stick control what can you advise me re. reliability of the joystick. Also is the Parks driving system really much better than Hydrogear?
Lastly can you comment about engine reliability: Kawasaki vs Koohler vs. Briggs>
Thank you very much for your input.
Dan

Justin Patterson
Guest
Justin Patterson

I bought the first Spartan from my local dealer last fall, to mow my family’s three yards totaling 6.5 acres. It’s been great for that purpose. Only yesterday, did I throw the first belt by accidentally engaging while in transport. With 60+ hours, the belt may have stretched a bit too. I’ll buy a new one. Currently, I’m in the process of purchasing a mostly residential commercial lawn care operation and will be in the market for a new zero turn asap. The Scag I’m buying is a POS and worn out. Wish Spartan made a 48″ cut. What do… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

Hi Paul, do you have any experience with Big Dog mowers? I like the front lift access to the mower blades but I am concerned with overall quality. The closest dealer is also an hour away. I’ve been looking at zero turns in the 54″ deck range as I have a little over 2 acres to mow each week. I was hoping to find a combination of commercial type durability at a high end residential price ($5,000?). I currently use a JD 48″ deck lawn tractor and it’s slow and 9 point turns around trees are killing me. Any recommendations… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Bought my 61inch Spartan RT Pro last July. As of today…. There’s not one thing I can dis / gripe about. Great price, great quality, Wait 1 thing, the stickers on the sides that say “SPARTAN” look like they won’t make it long.
I’m serious, so far “great” mower.

shogan
Guest
shogan

Paul wealth of Info Thanks. 40 Acres farm/Homestead with about 5 acres yard around house, hills, obstacles, and rough ground. My machines include garden tractor, compact tractor 7′ mower, and 1994 Dixon ZTR 5601. The ZTR is a beast amazing tough but beats the tar out of me just cutting the acres we call yard. It’s to a point it needs muffler, carb, and good overhaul probably $1000 worth of stuff. The 40 minutes I spend on it wears me out (even going slow) and makes me want to get a condo. Will getting the Toro with My Ride or… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

Hi Paul, I looked at the Spartan last week, and I also am going to look at the Toro HD 54″ with MyRide and the Ferris IS 700N all three rave about their suspensions and smooth rides, which of the three do you think offers the most smooth ride? I live on 4 acres and the terrain is a little rough, I currently use my JD 2010 sub compact tractor to with a mid mower to cut my yard, but that tractor beats me to death and I am looking for a smother ride. Your opinion is greatly appreciated.

Montesa_VR
Guest
Montesa_VR

I thought the idea of styling a mower with a sports car theme seemed silly, but after watching the video it appears that Foster has done a good job of incorporating function into his form.

The funny thing is, after watching his videos, I looked at the Swisher article. My first thought was, “Wow, I wouldn’t want to be seen on that thing!” Then the whole muscle car motif made a lot more sense.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Paul, I finally decided to go with an RT-Pro 61″ with the 27 HP Briggs motor. It is being delivered today and after I get some use out of it, I will let you know what I think. Ultimately I went with the Spartan because I believe the dealer is going to offer me a much higher level of service than my other local dealer. They offer free pickup/delivery of the mower for life and actually come to your house to do routine maintenance on it. If there had not been a dealer so close to me (this one is… Read more »

Get more stuff like this from
TodaysMower.com

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

%d bloggers like this: