Many landscapers won’t be familiar with a standon mower because there rarely seen and not widely used in Australia, but they are hugely popular in the US and do have some advantages over conventional zero-turns.
The Toro GrandStand® 520-Inch (74505) Stand- On Zero Turn is fitted with their proven TURBO FORCE® 52-inch deck, which is known for its toughness and cutting performance.
Power to the Toro GrandStand® 52-Inch (74505) comes from the ever-reliable Kawasaki® FX691V – a 726cc engine producing 22hp and providing the power to Twin Tuff Torq unitized transaxles, which push the machine along at a very respectable 16km/h.
Riding this type of stand-on mower was a bit of a novelty and fun, but it was also very manoeuvrable and without a rear overhang from the operator’s position it is easy to swing in and around obstacles. Although this mower looks different to conventional zero-turns the performance is equivalent to other similar sized Toro commercial machines, but with a smaller footprint. This frees up valuable storage space when transporting because it takes up less room than a conventional 52-inch zero-turn and even opens up the possibility to transport a couple of large cut machines where previously it may not have been possible. Tie down points are located on both the front and rear of the machine.
Maintenance access around the engine is excellent with the exception of one of the spark plugs. The oil filter, dipstick and oil drain hose are exposed right at the front, which is much easier to access than on sit down zero-turns. A large hinged cover over the top of the deck hinges forward to expose the belts and pulleys for maintenance with great access. I dare say it would be a great spot when operating to store other tools like a blower or a bin and litter plier.
Open-ended plastic spindle covers help expel built-up debris from around the pulleys and they remove in an instant without tools for further maintenance or inspection. The height adjustment is via a large hand lever with a simple lock-in pin system for height selection. It is slightly heavy to lift up to the desired position without a foot-activated lift pedal like on most zero-turns, but is still a one-handed operation.
Flat-free castor wheels are a nice touch reducing downtime and a large clear fuel tank of just over 40 litres allows the operator to check fuel levels at a glance while on the go.
Standing on the operating platform is a comfortable experience. The platform is rubber coated and has four large rubber dampening bushes on the chassis to absorb impacts making the platform springy. A padded cushion is fitted to the rear of the machine for the operator to lean on whilst in motion – it feels hard and looks thin but is quite comfortable. The platform also folds up effortlessly and automatically locks into the upright position.
It also releases just as easily to fold down. With the operator’s platform in the upright position the machine can be operated as a walk-behind mower, which will come in handy on tricky or steeper terrain as well as reducing the footprint further for storage or transportation.
The Toro GrandStand® 52-Inch (74505) Stand-On is a well-built zero-turn that performed very well, which is what we expect from Toro. The advantages of standing on a machine have to be experienced before being evaluated by each individual because it is a unique experience and I found it to be a good one.