Well, the sulky arrived!! :thThumbsU
I first have to show you the fabulous packaging job the gentleman who I bought it from did to get it here. Props to him because it couldn't have been any better, really. He built a wood crate for all the parts to sit in, put foam protective pads around everything, and then wrapped the crate in a large cardboard box so that it could ship UPS. The shipping ended up turning out to be more than we thought, but oh well. I'm just thankful that I was able to find somebody who was willing to help with shipping and to find a decent, solid sulky.
Anyway, on to the sulky details itself. It is solid and complete aside from being covered with surface rust. One of the rims is not doing too well and has some rot, so it will need to be replaced for a proper restoration someday. It is usable for now however. A sandblasting, repaint or powdercoat will no doubt getting looking new again. The member 'bs23uo', another reel mower enthusiast who knows just about everything there is to know about Eclipse mowers in particular, informed me this specific sulky model was made between 1951-1954 which is definitely a great thing to know.
Here are the packaging pics,
It was sure fun assembling it and attaching to the Speedway for the first time. In fact, I don't believe that the old girl has ever had a sulky behind it before judging by the condition of the hitch where you would normally expect to find the obvious indicator marks. After hopping on it for the first time and getting a feel for the layout, I was immediately glad that I decided to get an original Eclipse made sulky that was built specifically for this application. For example, one from a different manufacture might be a little too tall, or the seat might be too far away from the handle etc making it uncomfortable to operate. Once I sat down on it, it just had that clear feeling that everything is just right like it was meant to be. Once the engine was running and I climbed on, my heart was beating kind of fast wondering what this was going to be like and once I engaged the clutch. Once I did, I immediately began laughing as it reminded me of being on a ride at Disneyland!
What is it like to ride behind the Speedway?
Mr. Toads wild ride anyone? Haha, maybe not that crazy but hilariously fun!
I was kind of wondering how the mower would do with the extra weight behind it and if I would need to give it more throttle than usual because of it, but it really didn't act as if I was there at all. I could still idle it all the way down to a crawl, even while going up an incline on grass and it ran the same as it always has before when I would walk behind it. Pretty amazing torque. I would say that it is maybe a little bit harder to keep straight while mowing especially while going over bumps as you don't have quite as much steering control versus when you're walking behind it. Turning it from side to side takes a little getting used to but does not require an abdominal amount of force either. It is no problem at all making extremely sharp turns to the point where you're jackknifed, but the faster it goes, the harder it is to turn which is probably a good thing. When you do want to make those really sharp turns, you have to slow down to a crawl. Take a look at my video and you will see what I mean.
I was a little concerned how it would do going down inclines, but it seems to do alright on the mellower ones. I just have to tell myself to not take it out of gear in those situations because once you do, it immediately speeds up and freewheels giving you a stomach drop feeling. Obviously, when you're mowing and you want to stop it is not a problem because of the resistance of the lawn. Basically the trick to slowing down and coming to a "near stop" on smooth incline is to throttle all the way back to the point where you can count the engine strokes, and then take it out of gear and put your feet down. Now, if only it had a parking brake.
All in all when it comes to inclines, I don't think I'd ever take this down something too crazy because you're just asking for trouble.
The next thing that I'm going to do to the mower is raise the handle up a little more. I know this kind of annoys purists but it will not be something that changes the mower in a way that it could not be put back to stock. To be honest, it is just a wee bit cramped when sitting on the sulky and sometimes my knees hit the handle. Also, simply moving the mower around by hand and walking behind it will be MUCH more comfortable by not having to keep my arms stretched all the way down to reach it.
-Video can be watched in better quality if you switch it above the 360p-
^^^, Lol at the name of the company.
These are the wheels that I'm thinking I will use as replacements for the sulky. It requires a 1" splined hub which is a little hard to find, and that's what these are. And, they are split rims so they will be like the originals which I think is pretty important.
I replaced the original u-bolt clamp for the footrest with a new one as it was bent, rusted and just needed to be retired.