Pros: Step through design, light steering, short turning radius, easy belt change, gut clearance.
Cons: Lowe's Warranty is a JOKE. After 30 days, $70 for Warranty service call.
I have been driving a John Deere 16 HP 216 for years. It has always been a love-hate relationship. It always runs, it always works, sort of. It takes 2 people to do anything to it. It has a large turning radius. The steering is heavy. It is a true pain in the tail to work on. I finally got mad enough and bought a Troy-Built Pronto, 18.5 HP, 42 Inch cut riding mower. Lowe's did a very poor job of getting it ready to go. I had to go back for a key to make it run just to get it off the trailer. I had to tighten a lot of bolts and fittings. I mow about 2 acres. After I got it running the first time, I combined mowed and fixed a bunch of little things that fell off.
This is a fantastic design. I absolutely LOVE the step through design. I am 60. I just do not swing that leg over the top of the seat anymore. The steering is light, the wheel base is longer than the Deere, and I do not hit myself in the gut with the wheel but the turning radius is much sharper than the Deere. I really like driving it.
The second time I tried to start it, it clicked like the battery was dead. I charged the battery. It still clicked like the battery was dead. I pulled on wires and messed with things I could see. No change. I called the toll free number to get it serviced. Luckily, I am self employed, and can change my schedule to fit theirs. For the first 30 days, the $70 call fee will be paid by the store. It is supposed to have a 1 year warranty. The first week, and I have a problem; this does not bode well for my relationship with this mower. For the next 11 months, it will cost me $70 for warranty repairs? Like hell it will. If there are problems with this mower, from now on, it is going back to the store, and I will demand my money back. I have a running Deere that does infuriate me, but it doesn't cost me big bucks to get the warranty repair. I think this is a Lowe's problem The fact that the mower quality may not be all that great is a manufacturing problem, but the retail service is definitely Lowe's problem.
Update on my mower: The problem was that the carburetor was bad; let gas leak through and filled the cylinder, so obviously it won't turn over when the cylinder is full. The service guy came, then they had to order the part, which took 2 weeks to arrive. Then it was another week before the service guy could come again. By this time, I have had this mower for a month, and used it once. I had just mowed with the old one, so it was another week before I used it again. Turned out that the new carburetor did the same thing. I knew what to do--I pulled the spark plug, and drained the gas. I started mowing, and hit a hump in my yard, which bent the mower blade. I finished the job with my old mower. I tried straightening the blade, but that didn't work. I had to buy a new blade--Darned near $30!!. I went on vacation for 10 days. When I returned, I tried to use this thing again. I had put a clamp on the gas line so it would not fill the cylinder on me. That worked. I started mowing again. I hit a clump of tougher than the average grass--Out here in the country, you get that sometimes--it bent the blades again. It also tore up the tensioner on the mower deck belt. I loaded the thing up and returned it to Lowe's.
I have been driving the Deere for years, after buying it used for $600. I had a Wheel Horse that was 30 years old I loved, but the local "authorized service dealer" wrecked the transaxel. I even had an MTD I bought new in 1979. MTD is the company who makes the TROY-BILT now. I have hit rocks, and bent the blades, but never such that a few whacks with a sledge hammer didn't make them OK again. I have sharpened them to the point where I needed to buy a new blade because I ran out of metal. I never had to pay more than about $5 per blade. In 2 months, I had it available a total of 3 times, and only once did I succeed in mowing my whole lawn.