After two years of tweaking and perfecting, Cub Cadet proudly showcased its PRO X Series, which is the company’s first lineup of stand-on mowers, at this year’s GIE+EXPO.
“The PRO X Series finishes out the core of our extensive line of commercial equipment, giving operators the flexibility to mow a wider range of properties while providing superior productivity over a sit-down zero-turn mower,” says Josh Sooy, director of commercial products, Cub Cadet. “The small footprint of the PRO X series also frees up trailer space to further improve efficiency.”
About two years ago, Aaron Griffith, product manager with Cub Cadet, says Cub Cadet hadn’t even built the unit but they visited landscapers all over the country and got feedback from them on the stand-ons they currently used, what they liked and what they didn’t like about these machines. Then, the company built a single unit, took it back to that same group of landscapers and took feedback on how close they got to reaching customer expectations.
The PRO X 600 stand-on mower was first shown as a prototype at last year’s GIE to gain even more feedback from landscapers, according to Griffith. Cub Cadet then built multiple of these units and sent them out to landscapers last year for more testing.
This past spring and summer, Griffith says Cub Cadet sent out one more round to make sure the company was still meeting expectations, and the final product was revealed at this year’s GIE.
“That’s how we started this project,” says Griffith. “Some of the things we did on this really focused on creature comforts. We didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel; we just needed to tweak the wheel a bit.”
From the original prototype to the production unit, Griffith says the two biggest aspects that were tweaked based on feedback were the suspension system and the weight balance.
“The beauty of a stand-on is that if you get all the weight right, it’s super maneuverable and great on hills because all the weight is on the drive axle,” says Griffith. “But the problem we have with that is, we like to build the biggest, beefiest front end on the market. Because of that, we had to work on getting the weight back. From the original prototype to this one, we probably changed the weight balance a good 5 to 6 percent and got more weight on the back end.”
The company says the large, fully adjustable suspension platform allows the operator to adjust tension in a matter of seconds without a tool, and a fully adjustable hip pad with ample side supports offers comfort and stability when mowing slopes. Griffith adds that the “on-the-fly suspension” allows users to change spring tension for the operator, which goes up to 150 pounds, 150-250 and 250+.
“Operators are not the same size, so this pad is adjustable up to about 2 inches,” says Griffith. “Not only does this big, wide, bolstered pad go up and down, but it also has a sleeve for your phone, and you can put in a 12-volt outlet to charge your phone.”
With a fully fabricated 10-gauge deck shell with 7-gauge top and bottom reinforcements, the company says the PRO X Series has a strong backbone, and a standard 24-inch tire gives the PRO X Series more ground clearance than other units in the category.
“When landscapers are sitting on zero-turns, they always keep their foot on the deck lift pedal, so they can float the deck up and down,” says Griffith. “On a stand-on, that’s harder to do because you have to use your hand to do it. So, we worked with the springs and the geometry to make this as easy as possible. With one finger, you can raise and lower this 300-pound deck.”
Cub Cadet says the PRO X Series is built to perform with professional high-lift Marbain blades, which offer a blade tip speed of up to 18,500 fpm and 1.5-inch blade overlap and a premium Kawasaki engine with up to 25.5 hp. An easy step-on/step-off design allows for quick debris pick-up, while a deck size equal to or greater than the tire width maxes out traction and reduces turfing.
“This is a fully maintenance-free machine from a bearings standpoint,” says Griffith. “There’s no grease fittings on it at all. And we have a three-year, no-hour-limit warranty and a five-year limited warranty on the deck.”
Cub Cadet says the units will be available for purchase in December 2019.
“We’re really excited about this unit,” says Griffith. “For us as Cub Cadet, this was kind of the last piece of the puzzle for us to have a full line of commercial mowing equipment. We didn’t just do it to say we did it. We actually were listening to (landscapers) and were (making those changes).”
Along with the upgrades to the PRO X Series came the introduction of the PRO Z 972 SDL, a commercial zero-turn that can handle up to a 25-degree slope and features a self-leveling air-ride seat.
Cub Cadet says the seat, which automatically levels 15 degrees in each direction side to side, offers a full 30 degrees of self-leveling that improves operator comfort when mowing steep hillsides.
“The (972 SDL) exceeded our expectations,” says Griffith. “When you’re mowing on a slope all day, like at 25 degrees, your back and hips don’t really care much for that. So, we developed a self-leveling seat. The platform will swivel 15 degrees, so if you are on a 15-degree slope, you will be level. If you’re on a 25-degree slope, it will feel like you’re on a 10-degree slope, which will help with operator fatigue.”
“Our machines are built to respond to the challenges that commercial lawn equipment operators face on the job every day,” says Sooy. “With the ability to hold steep hills combined with the increased comfort and stability of a self-leveling seat, the PRO Z 972 SDL is the only zero-turn on the market uniquely qualified to handle these tough mowing conditions.”
Outfitted with a 35 hp Kawasaki engine and a triple-plated steel cutting deck, Cub Cadet says this machine comes equipped with dual rear wheels, which allow operators to mow tough terrain with a higher level of stability and precision.
With its four-wheel steering system, Cub Cadet adds that this mower also offers total control and a comfortable straight-line mow, even on hillsides.
Griffith notes that Cub Cadet also added on a fully integrated lighting system that includes strobes, LED lights on the side for the deck and upfront lighting at the front of the deck.
The company says the PRO Z 972 SDL is backed by a three-year, no-hour-limit warranty and a five-year, 1,750-hour limited deck warranty, and it will be available for purchase in February 2020.