Stand-on mowers have been huge in America for many years, and there has been an enormous surge in popularity in Australia over the last couple of years, especially smaller sized machines. Ferris timed their release of the SRS™ Z1 Stand-On Mower perfectly and of course, being Ferris, they have added their suspension technology to the operator’s platform.
The Kawasaki FX600V needs no introduction – everyone knows it is a quality, reliable engine suited to the task. It powers the ZT-3400 hydros to drive the huge 23-inch tyres, which provide great traction and manoeuvrability. The front castor tyres are flat-free, which reduces maintenance and downtime.
Driving the Ferris SRS™ Z1 is simple with dual stabiliser bars in front and behind the control levers, enabling the operator to secure themselves whilst turning and driving in any direction. Adding to this ease of operation is a three position speed setting, which moves the front stabiliser bar allowing the operator to push against it with the drive levers once in the selected speed position. I was able to manoeuvre in and around obstacles ata decent pace, which I could not achieve with a larger footprint conventional zero-turn, therefore making the Ferris SRS™ Z1 a more productive machine.
Another massive advantage is the ability to easily dismount in order to remove obstacles, rather than opening the control arms and climbing out of the seat. Adding to this ease is the automatic blade disengagement: as you step off the machine the blades instantly disengage with the engine still running so when you jump back on you only need to re-engage the blades and you’re mowing again, which is another timesaver further increasing the machine productivity.
The fabricated and reinforced deck is rear discharge, but different to most. It has a factory fitted half baffle and mulching blades so it predominantly mulches, unless the grass is long and it will discharge any clipping build-up. A full baffle can be fitted to make it mulch-only, but if lawns are cut regularly it would not be necessary.
Access to the top of the deck is limited for maintenance like most stand-ons, but maintenance access around the engine is excellent. As mentioned, the operator’s platform has the Ferris touch with suspension fitted that is adjustable to the operator’s weight. Adding to the comfortable ride is a cushioning thigh pad for the operator to lean in to, which hinges up to reveal a 23-litre fuel tank. Whilst standing in the operating position the hand lift deck lever is easily within reach and takes medium effort to raise the deck. Adjusting to desired height is a simple drop-in pin system.
Thankfully, I think the stigma of “why stand when I can sit” is on its way out, with many operators seeing the advantages and capabilities of stand-on mowers. With a total machine width of 92cm, the Ferris SRS™ Z1 can fit through narrow access into backyards and other places where previously less productive walk behinds would be the only option. The 36-inch cutting width is a great size for medium to large residential lawns, small acreage and anywhere with obstacles. The small footprint of these machines is a huge advantage for storage and transport – this unit is capable of fitting on the back of a dual cab ute or even in a van.