Pros: Hydrostatic Transmission and sharp turning radius makes it easy to mow around curves and corners.
Cons: Wet grass builds up under mower deck, needs cleaned a few times a summer.
I bought the Regent in 1997 after my first Simplicity rear engine riding mower wore out. I've only owned two riders so I can't compare it to other brands. I have been much happier with the Regent because it is a much heavier duty tractor, has the automatic tranny and turns much sharper. I used to mow a half-acre lot, and we moved last June, and I now have a one acre yard. It takes about one hour, twenty minutes to mow the larger yard, and took one hour or less for the smaller yard. That includes gas up time, and a little clean up time.
I only put the bagger on when the leaves need picked up. It works well, and only clogs up when the bags get too full. I can reach around and feel one of the bags to see how full they are, so usually this doesn't happen, unless I daydream too much. I do NOT have the motorized tube that moves the clippings up the system. I don't bag the grass clippings for several reasons. First, its a lot more work to stop and empty the bags. Second, I don't believe we should fill up our land fills with yard waste. Third, the clippings are good for my yard, adding nutrients. Fourth, if I mow when it needs it, the clippings don't clump up and look bad. It does a decent job of distributing the clippings. I get a nice even cut. My neighbor, with his John Deer, leaves some lines because his deck apparently isn't level. ( I never said anything to him about it.) The bottom of the deck occasionally needs scraped off. It takes some effort to get the deck off, but it seems well designed. It probably takes a good half hour, maybe a bit more, to take the deck off, scrape it, and get it back on.
As for reliability, its been pretty good. When I first got it, there was an electrical problem. Something shorted the starter system, and it wouldn't do anything when you turned the key. The dealer was very good about picking it up and promptly returning it. It took two or three tries, but they got it fixed.
The only other problem since then was with a large bolt and bushing system which acts as a pivot point for the rear wheel housing, where it connects to the frame. I replaced it once, and it disappeared again. I at first thought the nut came lose, and the bolt fell out in my yard, never to be seen again. The tractor still worked, but when you went in reverse you knew something was wrong. The first time, I got new bolt, and put it on. After the third time, I now believe the bolt cracked in half because it was too small. Nobody had the part, so I jury rigged a bolt and washer system to mow the yard. Finally, with my persistence, the dealer figured out that Simplicity changed it from a 3/8" bolt to a 1/2" bolt. I didn't have the tools to drill the sheet metal larger, so I had to have a dealer repair it. I asked if Simplicity could pay, since they obviously recognized the problem. "Fat chance" was the answer from the dealer.
I am a bit disappointed that Simplicity was not proactive about this issue, after all, it is a premium priced mower. Maybe it isn't the Lexus of lawn tractors, but its up there. I still recommend it, because in general, its been pretty reliable, and it gets a lot of use. My son occasionally mows some other yards with it also. The tractor was $2,295 and the bagger was $395.