Spartan Mowers is one of the Arkansas-based Intimidator Group’s most successful subsidiaries thanks to its enviable range of zero-turn mowers and other power equipment. However, the Spartan name has received something of a bad rap from some sections of its customer base, and we’re here to find out why.
Spartan mowers, it has been claimed, show problems with uneven cutting. These reports could point to loose or unsharpened blades, but some reports indicate lower quality deck belts or even poor deck design. Most customers don’t experience these issues and the company offers a solid warranty.
One of the major accusations leveled at Spartan is unsatisfactory cutting prowess. How true is this claim? Is there anything that can be done to correct this issue? Should such claims scare potential Spartan customers away?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Do Spartan Mowers Have A Cutting Problem?
Let’s cut (pun intended) right to the chase. What’s the problem with Spartan lawnmowers?
One problem noted by customers of Spartan mowers is inconsistent cuts. This problem reveals itself when some grass is left taller than the rest after the mower passes over it or strands are left completely untouched. This same problem can happen with many brands of mowers.
The exact cause of this problem is a topic of great debate among Spartan customers.
Varying RPMs In Spartan Mowers
Some speculate that the issue stems from a dip in engine RPMs, which also affects blade speed and causes patchy cuts. If this occurs it can create areas containing ‘strings’ or individual grass blades left higher than the rest.
It can also cause some areas of grass to bend over away from slower blades and not be cut at the same height as others. Faster RPMs cut grass before they have a chance to bend away and avoid being clipped.
This problem is also disputed by some who rightfully assert that the main cause of these issues are dull or even loose blades. Whatever the cause, this problem is not one solely found in Spartan mowers.
Loosening Or Slacking Belts On Spartan Mowers
Others figure that the uneven cutting problem is caused by the slackening of the deck belts, which also lowers the blade speed. This can happen with any mower deck belt, but Spartan mowers it is claimed have belts that are more susceptible to this than most.
This could be the problem with any mower and belt combination though and is not one that can be directly linked to Spartan mowers.
Spartan Mower Deck Issues
Another train of thought asserts that the uneven cutting problem may lie with the deck itself. Some customers query whether the design of Spartan’s decks makes it difficult to take care of grass once it reaches a certain height. Comparisons with other mower brands have yielded results that strongly suggest the affirmative.
Yet, one thing that has to be kept in mind is that these are based on anecdotal evidence. To be sure, there are mower designs that cut better than others, but in the case of Spartan mowers these comparisons have been done on a vary small amount of mowers.
There are a great many variables that have to be accounted for that would need exponentially more than a few individual comparisons.
Spartan Mower Warranty
With any of these issues, customers whose mowers are under warranty may have recourse with the manufacturer or dealer. Their warranty terms are better than many leaders in the industry and should put any potential customers at ease.
Here is a rundown of the Spartan mower warranty terms.
|Engine Warranty||3 Year|
|Full Warranty||3 Year / 500 Hour Residential – 2 Year / Unlimited Hour Commercial – 120 Day Belt Warranty|
|Deck Warranty||Lifetime on the leading edge|
|Hydraulic Drive Warranty||3 Year / 1500 Hour|
|Control Panel Warranty||3 Year|
The norm in the industry revolves around a 2 year warranty standard currently. This makes the warranty of the Spartan mower line not only not a problem, but a plus.
If your machine is no longer under warranty, you may have to carry out some aftermarket modifications to improve your machine’s cut quality. Modifications range from replacing blades and belts to modifying and repositioning the deck. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, you might be better off staying on top of your lawn before it grows too tall.
In my own professional and personal experience, a sharp blade makes up for a multitude of uneven cutting problems. Keep your blade sharp and the cut magically evens out.
However, for the most part, these problems are rare. Most Spartan customers have never faced such issues and couldn’t be happier with their machines.
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Are Spartan Mowers Good On Hills Or Are They A Problem?
All of us who have ridden on a mower while trying to cut a steep bank or hill know the precarious feeling. There is also the concern of gouging the turf with spinning wheels or even worse, turning the mower over. So, are hills a problem for Spartan mowers? Can they do a good and safe job at cutting those steeper inclines?
Spartan mowers are good and safe on hills. Most of their zero turn models come with roll bars or rollover protection systems (ROPS) installed for safety. All Spartan mowers come with GT Trac for precise balance, weight distribution, and control. On dry grass, Spartan mowers cut inclines very well.
As with any incline cutting situation using any brand of mower, Spartan mowers should be used with caution. Here are some safety tips that should be followed…
- Always read the user manual on powerful machinery like Spartan mowers.
- Know your landscape and choose the right tool for the job. Some inclines are mowable and some are not.
- Always reduce speed on inclines. Though Spartans are safe on inclines slower speeds are a must.
- Detach all unnecessary attachments to your mower (sprayers, baggers, etc.)
- Always have ROPS components fully deployed and secured.
- Wear the included seatbelt at all times.
- Do not mow inclines in wet conditions. This is for safety and to avoid uneven cuts, gouging, and skidding.
Many of the problems people have when cutting inclines with Spartan machines or others is because they don’t follow these simple guidelines. Too steep of an incline for mowing, wet conditions, and excessive speed can regularly cause uneven cuts on inclines as well as level turf.
How Fast Do Spartan Mowers Go?
One issue that can be a problem is the combination of varying or slower blade speeds and a faster moving mower. The slower the blade speed, the slower the mower should be moving in order to get a clean cut. Understanding that speeds can always be adjusted by operators, what are the top speeds of Spartan mowers?
Top speeds for Spartan mowers range from 9 miles per hour to 13 miles per hour depending on the model and are considered average to fast when compared to other brands. This is nearly double the speed of a traditional lawn tractor that has a speed range of 4 to 5 mph.
The trick to allowing these zero turn mowers to move so fast comes down to two things: blade speed and blade sharpness. This is why some are having issue with the cuts they receive from their Spartan.
The blade sharpness is something that owners can control, but the blade speed typically is not. If you are receiving a bad cut on your lawn at faster speeds and it improves at slower velocity, the above problems may be causing your blade speeds to dip.
Spartan mowers are fast machines, and this requires both sharp blades and fast blade speeds. Consult your warranty information if you believe blade speed may be a problem with yours.
Are Spartan Mowers Worth The Money?
Now, let’s take a look at whether you should give Spartan a chance.
As part of the Intimidator Group, Spartan lawnmowers and power tools are manufactured in Batesville, Arkansas. The parent company strives to provide homegrown products that reflect “All-American, hardworking values” that founders Robert and Becky Foster hold dear.
Spartan’s goal is to offer high-quality and affordable lawnmowers for both private and commercial lawn care…and to do so in style. So, are Spartan mowers worth the buy?
Spartan mowers are definitely worth the money for anyone looking for an American made product at a price that is highly competitive with all others on the market. Their build quality, comfort, style, customization options, and power all deliver high value for the price.
Zero-turns are the Spartan’s bread and butter, although the company also makes an electric push mower and other miscellaneous tools.
The Z-turn range is made up of four series: KG, SRT, RT, and RZ. Each series has two or more model lines, and models can be available in different specs and equipped with various optional extras. Customers also have the option of building their mower on the Spartan website.
Let’s take a look at a few standout Spartans.
Are Spartan Mowers Good For Residential Use?
Kicking off with the RZ-C, Spartan’s entry-level zero-turn.
This residential z-turn has most of the RZ series’ best features in a smaller and more affordable package. With a base price of just over $4,000, the RZ-C is certainly a breath of fresh air in this market segment. But what is it packing?
Spartan mowers are excellent for residential use and have prices that match most any other in the industry. For those with larger lawns or fields to mow that require a solid zero turn mower, Spartan brand machines can be a reliable and fast way to mow up to an acre or more.
How’s a fusion-welded tube frame for starters? Or a 4-inch deep 7-gauge steel deck (42 or 54 inches) with an 18,500 feet per minute blade speed?
If that’s not impressive enough, you can also take a gander at the 25-horsepower Briggs or 23 and 21-horse Kawasaki engines you can choose from. The Briggs motor is available on both 42 and 54-inch specs. The 21 horsepower Kawasaki is fitted to a 42-inch spec and the 23-horsepower engine is on a 54-incher. Regardless of the spec you choose, you are guaranteed a super powerful machine.
In fact (like all mowers in the RZ series), the RZ-C is so powerful that Spartan opted to equip it with commercial grade belts, idlers, pulleys, and bearings. The quality of these components is proven by the lack of excessive vibrations that often plague mowers in this class.
You also get a Tuff Torq 300 transmission across all RZ-C specs. This helps the RZ-C reach forward speeds of up to 7.5 miles per hour (all engines). You can also reach 5 mph when reversing.
Operator comfort is also a major concern at Spartan. In addition to the comfy (and customizable) seat, you get adjustable steering levers, a keyless ignition, and a large cupholder for your beverages. There’s also a 12V outlet you can use to charge your phone or any other devices while you mow.
The LCD control panel interface displays all sorts of information: from your tachometer and engine hour meter to your mower deck hour meter and fault codes. The interface also counts down to the next due oil change.
The RZ-C’s mower deck height can be adjusted from 1-4.25 inches, and it has 12 height increments. You also get a foot-operated deck lift. The spindles are made from cast aluminum and have sealed bearings that minimize the need for maintenance.
The Spartan RZ-C is available from Spartan or its affiliated dealers with a full 3-year/300-hour warranty and a 120-day belt warranty. Kawasaki and Briggs also offer 3-year engine warranties. The hydraulic drive system has a 3-year/200-hour warranty.
Are Spartan Mowers Good For Commercial Use?
Next up we have the crème de la crème in Spartan’s stable, the KGZ-XD.
Spartan mowers are designed to be sturdy and quality machines usable by any commercial crew. The plethora of options available, the sturdy build quality, solid warranty, and speed to rival any on the market make any of their commercial lines an excellent choice.
As the undisputed king of the commercial KG series, the KGZ-XD offers a royal smorgasbord of tasty features. It’s not bad on the eye either.
The powerful z-turn is powered by a 40 horsepower Vanguard Big Block engine that boasts electronic fuel injection (EFI) and a nifty oil guard to ensure top-notch performance in all conditions. You also get a 16-gallon gas tank to help quench the monstrous motor’s thirst.
The transmission is made up of 16cc Parker HTG integrated hydros. The drive system has a continuous torque value of 498 ft-lb and a maximum torque value of 587 ft-lb.
The KGZ-XD’s power hits the turf via massive radial Michelin Tweels in the rear. The 24-inch tires make use of poly-resin spokes instead of air, meaning you won’t be facing any puncture-related downtime. Tweels also offer better grip and handling than traditional pneumatic tires. The tires also have Michelin’s advanced tread system and stability control which makes them great on uneven terrain.
You also get 13-inch Tweel casters that make this 1300-lb mower as nimble as a kitten.
The KGZ-XD’s 61-inch deck is made of 7-gauge steel and it sits 6 inches deep. You can adjust the cutting height from 1 to 5 inches using Spartan’s Precision Height pin system. The Aluminum spindles are maintenance-free of course. The mower deck is engaged via an electric PTO.
The KGZ-XD has many of the same comfort and convenience features as the RZ-C. At the center of it all is the Blackout super seat, which is highly adjustable and provides a commanding view of your handiwork.
Right next to the 12V outlet is a storage pocket that can more conveniently fit most mobile phones. Additionally, there is Spartan’s foldable Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS) frame that can prevent major disaster if the machine tips over.
You can get your hands on a KGZ-XD for around $15,400. Expect that figure to be higher if you want certain options. Financing deals are also available.
The mower comes with a 3-year/ 500-hour full warranty for residential use and a 2-year commercial warranty. You also get 120 days of belt cover and a 3-year engine warranty. The hydraulic drive system also has a 3-year/ 1500-hour warranty.
Other notable Spartan Z-turns include the SRT-XD, the RT-Pro, and RZ-HD.
So, to answer the million (or few thousand) dollar question, Spartan lawnmowers are worth the money.
However, we must admit that the reports of cutting problems are not a good sign, especially for such a young brand. With vicious competition for market share, this is not a reputation Spartan cannot afford.
That said, the build quality, power, style, comfort, and affordability of these mowers make them a serious contender.
The Final Touches On Spartan Mower Problems…
Spartan mowers are quality American made machines that are above average when compared to many others in the industry. Like with all brands, they will have strengths and weaknesses. No brand is without some in both columns.
Spartans have claims from customers of uneven cutting that could have a plethora of sources. For one, these claims are in the minority and more than likely can be fixed by sharpening blades, tightening or replacing belts, or more frequent cutting.
To be fair, there can be issues with any particular Spartan machine, just like any brand. In the event there is a problem, there is a very solid warranty that can take care of any factory defects or initial problems.
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