Wright is a well-respected American brand distributed here in Australia by our own well-known COX Mowers (COX Commercial). Now that standers are becoming increasingly popular here in Australia, especially the smaller ones, it was great to test the new flagship from Wright – a 72-inch dual rear-wheel beast!
This commercial machine is built to tackle steep slopes whereconventional zero-turns could not safely access nor perform. Fortunately, I had access to a very steep site, which due to the recent wet weather in Sydney was overgrown and ideal to thoroughly see what the Wright ZK was capable of.
Before I get into the performance and specifications of the ZK, I’d like to discuss “why stand when you can sit” because I hear this question a lot, although a bit less now than years ago when many of the big names in zero-turns unsuccessfully tried to introduce standers to Australia. Americans have been huge fans of standers for decades and rightly so, there are many advantages over conventional zero-turns. One of the biggest advantages is their compact size – a large cut machine can be almost half the size of traditional machines, which makes transport much easier and frees up valuable space on trailers or vehicles.
Back injuries are common in our industry and although this is my personal experience after having major back surgery many years ago, I can say that using a stander is much more forgiving on my back than sitting when operating these machines for prolonged periods. Standers also enable the operator to get into tighter spots, therefore reducing time spent trimming and increasing productivity. It is also much quicker to dismount the machine in order to move obstacles or litter and a lot safer for the operator if they have to exit the machine in a hurry. I also find you get a better view of the mowingarea and can avoid any obstacles easy and even duck or lean out of the way of overhanging obstacles rather than driving around – all this makes the stander a much more efficient machine and is why they are now becoming extremely popular here in Australia. Unfortunately, it seems to take us a while to catch up to the Yanks in some instances!
At first glance the Wright ZK is an impressive looking machine. It is solidly built to handle the punishment of commercial applications, well powered with a 37hp fuel injected Vanguard commercial engine that combines with the separate pump and wheel motors (16cc pumps and 15 cu/in wheel motors) to give ample power, drive and manoeuvrability. Dual rear wheels, a very low centre of gravity and the fuel injected engine ensure the ZK is perfectly suited for cutting steep slopes and uneven ground.
The 72-inch fabricated Aero-Core™ deck is constructed from hefty 7-gauge steel and has great access to the top for maintenance. Access for maintenance on the engine is excellent and the operators leaning thigh pad hinges up to reveal access to the hydraulic pumps, lines and reservoirs as well as the under-dash electronics and control linkages. Flat free front castor wheels reduce maintenance and any downtime.
|Cutting width||72 inch|
|Cutting height||1.5-5.5 inches (1/4 inch increments)|
|Fuel capacity||55 litres|
|Ground speed||23 km/h|
Comfort is paramount for operators because these machines are used for extended periods and often on challenging terrain. The ZK’s spring operator’s platform has good grip and rubber dampeners underneath to absorb the shock on uneven ground ensuring comfort to the operator. Adding to this comfort is a well-padded thigh rest for the operator to snugly nestle into and brace themselves against.
One of the great advantages of standers in general, but particularly the ZK because it is designed for steep slopes, is that if you are in a dangerous situation you can just step off the machine and walk away in a second rather than opening the control levers, removing a seatbelt and attempting to jump out of a seat like you would have to do on a conventional zero-turn machine. With the engine and hydro pumps on the same platform of the deck to lower the centre of gravity, my concern was that lifting the deck would be a difficult task. To my surprise, changing heights and lifting the deck required only minimal effort even though you are lifting the engine and pumps as well as the deck. With this featureit increases the longevity out of the cutter belts compared to any other machine.
A game changing feature is that cutter belt stays level no matter at what height you are mowing at. This is through the deck and engine mounted to the same platform and moving in tandem together, with this it allows the cutter belt to not come under additional strain and increases the longevity of the belt.
Height selection is a simple slide-in pin system located to the lower left of the operator’s platform. Cutting heights range from 1.5-5.5 inches in ¼ inch increments.
I don’t think I could have found more challenging ground or conditions to test the Wright ZK 72 stander with steep, wet and overgrown Kikuyu. I was extremely pleased with the way the ZK performed. It stuck to the slope incredibly well enabling me to confidently cut areas I would have thought I could not access. The long grass was cut well, mostly with just one pass even in its overgrown state with me cutting quite low and the cut grass was expelled at fast pace. The Wright Stander ZK Zero Turn Mower is an impressive, capable and efficient machine and anyone tackling steep terrain should consider the stander with the dual wheel option when looking for a new machine.
Interested in a Wright mower? Contact your local Cox Industries dealer to find out more information.