Cyclone Rake Classic Model
Jun 25, 2012
Review by srr2
Pros:Made in USA, GREAT Customer service
Cons:Heavy, especially when full, may damage flimsy thin sheet metal hitch plates on tractor.
The Bottom Line: Recommended, with reservations. You need to know what you're getting into, because the promotional videos are "optimistic". Excellent product and company otherwise.
I've owned my CR for three years. Overall, this thing works great and is made of top quality materials. But you have to know what you're getting into and the CR folks kind of skate around some important issues.
Recommend this product?
First, don't completely believe the videos. Sure, it vacuums the ground, but with that kind of air flow, it blows stuff ALL OVER. You and your equipment will be covered with dirt by the time you're done. OTOH, I don't see any way to avoid this -- it sort of comes with the territory. Since this sucks up all kinds of debris, you really should buy the upgraded urethane connector hose. It's a lot tougher than the PVC hose and will stand up to stones etc a lot longer.
You will probably want their optional deck boot. Attaching the connector hose to your tractor boot probably won't work very well. Fitting the CR boot to your deck may require some creative modification and assembly. It's not an easy bolt-on and not a job for a noob.
The pieces are heavy. That motor/blower assembly can weigh a LOT on the larger units, and it's rather clumsy to install/uninstall on the frame, even with the helpful handles they've added to it. At the end of your cleanup, you will be very tired and disassembling will be a real chore.
Depending on what you're picking up, the screen can clog almost immediately. You'll need to stop frequently to clean it, or simply keep going and suffer the reduced air flow. That, BTW, is what those peculiar-looking trapezoidal vents on the sides of the blower outlet chute are for -- they're a separator that functions when the collector vent clogs -- at reduced airflow rates.
The blower: That's all it is. It does NOT chop any material, it simply boosts it into the collector. Your mower will be doing all the chopping. Normally, I dump all the collected material in a pile near its final destination, and then suck it up again, using the optional pickup hose, and route the blower output into the hopper of my chipper shredder. That works great and produces chipped material less than 1/4" diameter. It decomposes in months when it's chopped that small.
The Easy-Empty. Well, it doesn't work like the videos suggest. You open up the back (a very dirty operation) and you will find that the stuff is basically wedged in there, held by the exterior frame. You have to dig it out. Once loosened, it does fall out like they show, but at times, you really have to work at it to loosen it.
And while we're talking about the collector -- the Velcro. There is a LOT of Velcro. Velcro that gets clogged with fine debris and stops working until you clean it with a brush, blower, or vacuum or something. I'd like a Velco-free collector. It's a pain in the butt.
The noise. THE NOISE!! There's a good reason why there's no live mic on the videos. Yikes. You MUST have good muffs or earplugs. Plus, the engine exhaust is located right behind your tractor seat, so not only do you get the noise, but you get ample doses of exhaust fumes. Enough so that I find it necessary to take breaks to keep from getting sick.
It's heavy. I have the smallest model, and when it's full, it can weigh a ton. Consequently, the two-point hitch can exert very large torque loads on the tractor's hitch plate. (BTW, this makes it completely unsuitable for use with a ZTR IMO, especially on sloped properties.) WP should include a backing plate for their add-on hitch plate, not because there's anything wrong with the CR, but smaller tractors you buy these days are made of the flimsiest sheet steel imaginable. It wouldn't be difficult at all to rip the CR hitch plate off the tractor, unfortunately. I recommend as a minimum that you use some large thick washers on the inside of the tractor frame with the CR hitch plate bolts. That has worked okay for me. Also, I recommend the dualie wheel upgrade for all models, due to the weight of a full collector.
That's the extent of the cautionary practical considerations. None of them are show-stoppers, and none rise to the level of provoking a non-recommendation.
On the plus side, I do find that this can clean up a leafy mess without any fuss. It used to be a nightmare with a blade-driven passive collector on the mower, causing many passes and always stuff left over. The CR gets everything on the first pass. The videos are correct in that respect.
The add-on vac hose attachment can be a real plus, too. The way I use this mostly for my two-pass disposal technique (second pass through a separate shredder). You will probably find this useful too. Do NOT spend the extra money for the urethane hose!! When it's cold, the urethane hose gets board-stiff, and using it is similar to wrestling with a P-O'd 400lb python. Worse, they don't provide a "rotary joint" which would allow easier positioning in use. Basically you have to fight it constantly, which can be exhausting. The standard PVC hose is perfectly adequate for this job, and it's a lot more flexible and lighter. The other problem with this is that it works "too well". Sure, you can suck up the leaves from your ornamental beds, but you're going to suck up all the mulch too. Oops. You'll be back to using a blower right away. In places where there's nothing that you don't want to suck up, it'll work fine.
This is a great company to work with. I have had a number of occasions to interact with Customer Service, and have found them to be positively Outstanding in each case. I can't think of another company that I'd rank with the CR folks. They are amazing. Parts orders have been shipped same-day in every case. They will do just about anything to make sure that you're a satisfied customer.
So on balance, I can highly recommend this product and the company, as long as a potential customer understands the caveats I discussed above. Because of the CR, my property has never looked as good as it does, and it has saved me a whole lot of miserable dirty work in the process.
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