“When you can sell a 9 or 10 thousand dollar machine for $5399 it get’s people excited.” Robert Foster.
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.
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.
Other fuels stabilizers to check out: Fuel Stabilizers
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