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I'm not really sure why I feel compelled to post this, and my daughter might kill me, but she finally got on the horse.
It is a rule in the family that you cannot get your learner's permit for driving until you get significant seat time mowing.
My 3 older boys had no hesitation, my younger 14 year old twin daughters have been getting some time, but 16 year
old daughter has been reluctant to say the least. This has not been one of the forced chores, but a lesson in "If I
want to do X, I'll need to suffer with Y". Well, the other day I asked if she wanted to mow, same question as all
summer, and I expected the same answer, "No thanks, dad, I'm good." But, finally, she agreed.
Took instruction with great care, listened intently, and did a great job. The 416-8 is not the easiest thing to master,
but she had no problems with the clutch, or keeping the tractor on a good mowing path. Got confident going
around trees. It was awesome.
To anyone who thinks Toro ruined Wheel Horse: you have not tried an XI.
Yesterday I mowed my grass for the first time with my XI with a fairly junky deck that has re-welds and braces that cause clogs. That is an awesome machine to mow with. The weight of it really gives you a smooth ride and it also allowed me to sidecut my hill (though I will be putting wheel weights on next time, just a BIT tippy). 25HP really allowed that 48" deck to chew through the tall wet grass and other than the clogging (caused by a poorly positioned brace welded in) it just took it all no problem. The electric clutch holds steady and doesn't allow slipping.
I was so impressed. The power steering, while not precise, is effortless and you get used to it pretty fast. While it is almost a foot longer than my 520 was, it can turn in a much smaller radius. It was just a delight to drive. The pedals are positioned well and have good feedback. The extra bit of adjustments they added to the deck work nicely and the front anti-scalp wheels are so much better! Getting on and off with no tunnel is pretty awesome too. And on top of all of that, it still feels like a Wheel Horse. Anyone that has driven lots of brands of tractors will tell you you can feel the brand of tractor that you are driving, and this feels like a horse.
Will I be selling off my classics? No. They all have their strong points but I feel that the XI is highly underrated by many. I have had this unit for less than a year and I don't feel like that attachments are too hard to come by. I own a NOS tiller for it now, a mower deck, plow, and snowblower. All pretty reasonably priced.
Is it a perfect machine? NO. It is still a garden tractor and it is not a SCUT or zero turn. There are of course some things that some companies had that would have made it even better (and aesthetics, c'mon now!), but I can tell you that Toro took the heart of a wheel horse and in almost every way made it better. If the heavy duty, high quality garden tractor were still a feasible market today, I am certain that Wheel Horse would be a top competitor.
So thank you Toro for keeping WH alive for all those years and thank you for the XI. That is an awesome machine.
Ok. End of ramble... Now... Does anyone have a really good condition 44 or 48" deck for an XI they want to sell?
Still amazing to think this tractor had been sitting as long as it had before I got it. Been mowing ever since, of course had to put work into it but nothing major. The grass it's able to cut enables me to mow on my schedule with one pass. Saving me so much time. It came with a plow and tiller but don't think I want to be using those. For a couple of reasons... One don't have that much of a need right now, and two don't want to put to much wear on a thirty-something year old trans. Mows like a champ want to keep it that way. Am I wrong?