Hustler FasTrak, 52" deck, 2003 Mower Review

by Mike
(Stafford, VA)

Mixed results. After good bit of research and some test rides, decided on the Hustler FasTrak with 20 hp Honda engine & 52" deck, for use at home (approx. two hilly acres of mixed grass and trees) and another for our Congregation (about 4-1/2 hilly acres I had been mowing with a tractor I couldn't use after my surgery).

Liked the FasTrak 'cause it could go up and down the steepest hills we had, then turn & go back down at controllable speed; and it was built so wide & low that I could also go across the slopes -- almost like flying a plane in its ability to side-slip. It also handled the weeds, vines, bamboo & even small trees that tried to grow into the grassy areas while I wasn't looking.

However, it is a rough-rider -- your tail is the only suspension system. Also used it to pull a small trailer, 400# roller, aerator and leaf-sweeper on the flatter parts of the lawn.

Based on the one at home, that pretty-much only I operated, can't recommend them enough: GREAT MACHINE!

The one at the Congregation, however, was operated by up to 15 different people, from my 65+ down to 15 year olds with their ear buds. At various times, the wheels on the leading edge of the cutting deck got bent (& re-straightened), discharge chute got so bent it needed heat and and an anvil to fix), platform the seat rests on broke (Hustler provided a strengthened replacement), and even the back plate, where "FasTrak" is cut into the metal, got bent somehow. Biggest problem: Thing "ate" batteries, had to be jump started, and needed dealer repairs & adjustment to control arms & steering, two or three times each year.

Conclusion: TOO MANY OPERATORS for that machine unless you have a chance to train them on how to operate it & monitor them.

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May 10, 2015
Additional Comments NEW
by: Mike from Stafford, VA

It's been a while, and feel like I should update my original comments:

The Hustler I use on our two acres (FASTRAK, 20 hp Honda engine, with 52" cutting deck) is still going strong, with only routine maintenance, after 12 years; Unfortunately, the similar Hustler our Congregation has used for about 4-1/2 acres, over the same length of time, with multiple operators, has not had such a happy experience: two years ago we had to replace the starter ($1200), the zero-steer mechanism has needed major adjustment each year during the past three (costing several hundred each time), new drive tires ($180), and the seat cushioning is coming undone from the plastic seat shell (and will likely be replaced with a floating seat, for about $300, if we don't, in fact, simply replace the whole unit).

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