Professionals tend to have their preferences when it comes to the equipment they rely on. Whether it’s trucks or 2-cycle, power tools or hand tools, a lot of guys (and gals) have their brand. When it comes to commercial mowers, there’s a new kid on the block who’s demanding some attention. The world’s fastest lawn mower may need to re-think its slogan. Let’s face it, the OPE market is full of quality zero-turn mowers, both for the residential and commercial markets. One would think this leaves little room for another to make a ripple, let alone a wave. Once you see, ride, and use an Altoz zero turn mower, however, you’ll realize they haven’t just made a wave, they’re working to create a tsunami in the market. We got to try both the Altoz XC 610 Z mower and Altoz XC 610 Zi.
Altoz Zero Turn Mowers is powered by Central Boiler. That’s right, a boiler company, as in a furnace to heat your home. On the surface, it seems a little crazy, but the more you know about their rich history, the more it makes perfect sense. In short, Dennis and Terri Brazier established Central Boiler in 1984, and business was good in the cold months (as you would expect). With a love of power sports, outdoor power equipment, and a desire to keep their people employed during the warm months, the Altoz mower was born.
Altoz XC 610 Z/Zi Mower Features
Altoz put both the XC 610 Z and Zi models in our hands for reviewing. These two machines are very similar 61” zero-turn mowers, with the Z having the Kawasaki FX 31 hp motor, and the Zi outfitted with the Kohler Command PRO EFI 33 hp motor. In the weeks of testing with PTR, we didn’t notice any significant differences between the two powerplants.
One major difference between the two mowers was the process used to raise and lower the deck. The Altoz XC 610 Zi had the foot pedal (manual) and the Altoz XC 610 Z featured a Parker Hydraulic deck lifting system.
Manual Foot Pedal: to raise the deck to maximum clearance, the operator only needs to fully depress the foot pedal on the right, and this locks the deck in place at maximum height. Once the deck is at max height, you dial the desired height in with the knob at the left hand of the operator, then to lower the deck you fully depress the right pedal again at the same time you depress the left foot pedal (this releases the catch mechanism), and you slowly release the right pedal to lower the deck to the adjusted height.
Parker Hydraulic Deck Lift: to raise the deck to maximum clearance, press the “raise” rocker switch at the operator’s right hand until the deck reaches the top. Once the deck is at the max height, dial in the desired height with the knob at the left hand of the operator, then lower the deck by simply depressing the “lower” rocker switch at the right of the operator.
While the hydraulic method has a “cool” factor and seems like fewer steps than the manual foot pedal method, the manual foot pedal was a favorite among the Pros. It was a lot easier, when coming up on an obstacle, to depress the pedal and instantly gain maximum clearance. To do this with the hydraulic deck lift you would have to slow down the mower for 10-15 seconds while the deck climbed to the top—and then slow it down again, once the obstacle was cleared and you waited for the deck to hydraulically return to the desired height. There is also no manual override for the hydraulic system. Trying to load the mower onto a trailer with the deck stuck in a lower position may prove cumbersome.
Altoz XC 610 Cutting
Cutting even at high-speed with the Altoz zero turn mower is effortless and seamless. Whether the grass was thick St. Augustine or tall and tough Bahia, it was no match for the Altoz XC 610. Bahiagrass can be abusive, but the deck and blade configuration seemed to promote great suction in order to produce an optimal cut. No matter what type of foliage we cut—at any height—we never heard a hint of hesitation or bog in the mower. The blade tip speed seems to remain consistent no matter what we were cutting, short of a small oak tree forest. One Pro mentioned “I’m impressed with the lack of effort it takes to get through whatever is in my path.”
Speed and Agility
You may not take the Altoz zero turn mower to your local dragstrip or stock car track, but you would most assuredly get a speeding ticket if you cruised through a school zone at full speed. Although the posted speeds for the Altoz XC 610 Z of 19mph may not seem speedy, trust us, these things are ridiculously fast. In addition to the variable throttle, you also have a High and Low speed transmission. It is recommended to cut in Low speed—but even in this mode, max throttle seems as fast as any of the competition. Switching the transmission lever to “High” will have you doing wheelies (not recommended, endorsed, or advocated in any way by Altoz) and being thankful for the roll-over-protection. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Altoz and Simpson Racing folks are in discussions to release a full 6-point harness and hans device for these mowers.
Running fence lines, navigating around bushes, and bordering flower beds is made easy with the precise turning input of the driver controls. Independent power delivery to the each rear wheel is exceptional, by way of the hydrostatic pumps. The Torqflex front wheel system allows for a dampening effect when encountering bumps and undulations, and it really works (along with the seat) to dramatically reduce vibrations while mowing.
Altoz Zero Turn Mower Ergonomics
The controls are very easy to get used to and are ergonomically positioned for the operator. Whether you need to adjust the deck, throttle-up, switch to hyperdrive (High speed), charge your phone, or grab your iced tea, everything on the Altoz zero turn mower is within easy reach.
Climbing on and off the mower is made easy with traction enhanced serrated metal. Even the foot rests and floorboard incorporate this same metal to ensure proper footing. There is ample room on the deck for my 6’3” frame, and even my 6’5” 16 year-old son was very comfortable at the helm.
Ride comfort on the Altoz zero turn mower is top of the class with your preferred firmness easily dialed on the seat. The seat rides on a pneumatic-shock suspension, delivering maximum forgiveness in the worst terrains. Vibrations are drastically reduced by the 4-point Engine Isolation System (EIS), designed to absorb engine vibrations, and the 6-point Vibration Isolation System isolates the seat and foot wells. Both of these are to protect the rider from ground vibration and to maximize driver comfort and endurance. The SmarTrac driver control center is not just a tachometer to read your RPMs. This will keep track of your maintenance for fluids and filters, as well as display diagnostic codes when issues arise.
We are currently in the midst of Spring, which here in Florida means Summer. We already have the 90+ days and 80 degree nights. The warm evenings, in conjunction with our regular afternoon showers, equates to a grass-loving environment. To say that lawn professionals are busy right now would be a huge understatement. After testing the Altoz 610 Z series mowers, I don’t know why—if you’re a Pro landscaper— your trailer wouldn’t be populated with at least one of these beasts. The price is competitive to the other metal boxes—but who wants a metal box? You just look at these mowers and see the quality and engineering that has sculpted these machines. The speed and performance is second to none, and the 3 year/1500 hour (no hour limit for 24 months) warranty is as good or better than the others. Check the Altoz website for your local dealer.