After spending considerable time searching for the right riding mower, my physical condition having put an end to regular push mowing our half acre or so lawn, we finally seem to have settled on a capable machine.
The ARIENS M46 has excellent reviews on line and in CR, so it seems as good as any. It is apparently made by Husquavarna and is a solidly designed and built lawn tractor.
The 46 is powered by a 22hp. Briggs V-twin with a Tufftorque K46BA hydro transaxle.
That's a sturdy STEEL hood by the way - not plastic or fiberglass!
I call it the "Oriole" as it looks a lot like a giant orange bird with a black beak.
I think that Ariens would be well within their rights to start calling this model the "Oriole' too!
The 46 has a unique fender mounted joy stick transmission control, and a setting on the ignition key to enable reverse mowing. Once the key is turned to the R-mow position I can mow forward or backwards without the engine shutting down or having to hold a little button in.
(Here our Son in Law takes it for a test spin):
Using the backup feature around the flower garden:
Have mowed our lawn once with it and it's nearly grown enough to mow again. It's the best cut our lawn has ever had!
It looks like a fairway on a golf course, despite not having leveled or fine tuned the deck. I did bring the bogey wheels down a couple of holes to avoid scalping on our many side contours.
One thing I did notice was that with the deck height lever in the "3" position it cut the grass about 1.5" high - a little short and it was going brown on us after about 3 days of hot dry weather.
Will have to compensate for that discrepancy and run it up around 4 next time.
Considering getting a mulch kit for this machine so as to not have to rake up after it. The time I can spend on my feet is limited these days.
The Oriole handles well, has a decent turning radius and seems to have all the power we'll ever need around here (some hilly terrain and obstacles). I'm actually looking forward to mowing the lawn now! :cool