Bradley mower experience

Just started mowing with one of these, a 48" dual hydro walk behind. Have several acres to mow and the old 22" walk behind was getting to be too much for me at my age. It’s quite a difference when you move up from 22" to 48"; you mow so much more grass with each step! And the zero turn is also very cool.

OK, so why Bradley? Well, I shopped extensively, looking at all the expensive name brands costing roughly double what I ended up paying. Bradley was well spoken of on the internet so I decided to take a chance. No dealers where I live so the mower arrived by Fedex Freight on a tractor trailer. Shipping weight was circa 700 pounds with the steel crate. The mower itself weighs roughly 600 pounds, built like a tank.

Took me almost a day to uncrate the thing and boy was I tired at the end. The negative on the Bradley is lack of ease changing the cut height. That’s not an issue for me using this commercial mower in a residential setting. But I did have to change the setting one time. It took everything I had to loosen the three bolts. Thank goodness I’m equipped with a 3/4" socket set having good, long, breaker bars. Eventually got 'er done.

Anyway I like the mower a lot so far, especially considering what I paid for it. With its 25hp Briggs commercial two cylinder engine and all that weight, this baby is easily capable of pulling a stand-on sulky should I ever become unable to walk. For now, though, she’s good to go as is.

For anyone interested in more detail, here is a link to the mower. You can see there the sale price I paid:

Link to Bradley 48" mower

Shipping cost varies depending upon where you live. I am roughly 600 miles distant from IL and paid a bit less than $300 for home delivery.

Ended up putting the entire purchase on my Alliant CC with a consequent saving of $90+, and I don’t live in Illinois so Bradley did not charge sales tax. All in all a pretty rugged mowing machine at a good price.


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That’s a lot of mower for the money. Should last you a long time, congrats.

Do you prefer the walk behind for exercise reasons? That seems exhausting with multiple acres!

What would be the cost of hiring a mowing service?

Holy $%*! Are you training for triathlons? Congratulations dude, on the new kit, the time/energy to cut that much acreage walking, and what appears to be a good deal.

I cut a little over a half-acre (level) with a 22" self-prop for 4 years, and cannot image doing it for multiple acres. I wouldn’t want to do multiple acres even with a 48", unless it had a sulky. Of course, I smoked for 40 years. :frowning_face:

It looks like a pretty nice piece of equipment. My only suggestion is to strictly follow the maintenance schedule for the tranny. Also, be careful with the turns, especially on fescue. I mowed five acres for a friend using his zero turn rider. The turns tended to chew up the ground of the fixed wheel, and it ended up better to cut through the row and make a gradual turn. But could that thing cut. At first, I thought the seat-belt was a joke. Once I found the ripples in his yard, the seat-belt made a lot more sense. :slight_smile:

Again, congrats on what seems like a pretty decent deal.

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Hey, wow, thank you everyone for your very kind responses. Much appreciated!

While searching yesterday for something else I ran across the FedEx shipping document for the Bradley mower. It says shipping weight is 830 pounds, a bit more that I stated in the OP. I really dunno. If correct, a lot of that would have to be the steel crate. The mower itself AFAIK still only comes in at 600 pounds. The steel crate was a handful during the uncrating, but I would have guessed no more than 150 pounds.

As for the mower, moving it about unpowered can take a bit of tugging, even though it is on wheels. Like a total idiot, during my early mowing forays, I accidentally ran one wheel into a groundhog hole. Let me tell you I was uncertain of my ability to extricate the mower, it is so heavy. It took everything I had to roll/lift it out to where I could power it the rest of the way out. I will, of and by necessity, be MUCH, MUCH more careful about such things going forward.

Yes, I have been walking and not riding when mowing for many years because the exercise seems to make me feel better. My two best boyhood (and later life long) friends, both my age, have already passed, one in 2015 and the other in 2016. My oldest sister is 92, though, so maybe I will do better than my friends.

My Poulan Pro 22" mower, also with a Briggs and Stratton American engine, lasted me from 2006 until this year, and it still works though not to where I can rely on it any more to mow several acres as in past years. It no longer pulls hard enough on the multiple hills and I have to push quite a bit going up. But the mower owes me absolutely nothing having given me well more than my money’s worth.

Possibly worth a mention is that the Bradley mower has no transmission. Instead it has a single, belt-driven, pump and two hydro motors, one for each drive wheel. Some of the more expensive mowers I looked at (e.g., Ferris) have integrated hydro pump/motors, one for each wheel. Said another way, each hydro motor has its own (dedicated) pump. Frankly, I liked more the reduced complexity of Bradley’s approach. I mean, I can lose for example either hydro motor without having to trash (or repair) my pump at the same time. Ditto with my (single) pump. If it dies it does not take a motor with it.

But pros are running these Bradleys for hundreds and hundreds of hours with no such negative outcomes as that. I probably won’t put much more than 100 hours on the mower in a single season, it mows so fast. And the three year warranty for residential use is there if I encounter infant mortality with a component.

Bottom line I continue to like the Bradley. But do not buy one if you need to change your cut height frequently. For that you must spend more money. Myself? I set the cut height to 5" and that is where it will remain.

I really have no idea, Argyll. I did have a mowing service fellow stop by a few years ago when I was out mowing. He was younger. I guess he saw my white hair and figured I needed help of some sort . . . maybe a sanity check up. Anyway, I think he quoted me forty or fifty bucks without seeing the back yard, where there is more to mow than in the front.

I did not pay him a lot of attention. Besides, he had a sit-down riding mower on his work trailer which seemed inappropriate for a person so young. The serious pro mowers today either walk or else they mow standing up with a sulky or with a stand-on mower like this one:

Bradley 48" stand-on mower

You can see that mower is quite a lot more mower than mine, but it also costs an additional $1000. Many of the pros like stand-ons, though.

When i did lawns professionally. Read min wage job for somebody else. We would go around the outside once so then we could turn it without burning the tires into the grass.
Not sure if its an idea u might like to try. Tho i suspect u might have to around the outside edge twice sou can make gentle turns.

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Or, you could hire a herd of cows to cut the grass.


This is entirely within the realm of possibility where I live. We have a great many cows here, mostly dairy. And they do work for cheap. However:

Cleanup could be a problem.:grinning:

Perhaps I should have considered this alternative instead of going out and spending three thousand bucks. I’ve always been a huge bovine fan. It’s one reason I moved here years ago. Cows are wonderful animals!

You might want to go for sheep. They are lighter and do less damage. In some places, you can rent sheep for lawn mowing.

What cleanup? The fertilizer is free!


Or you could compost it and sell it.

Or get an anaerobic digester and make your own power1

I’ve come to the same place the OP did. I’m considering a 48" Bradley dual pump hydro with a 25 hp B&S commercial engine.

I mowed my 1/2 acre lot for about 20 years with a gas-powered 21 or 22; not SP but push mower. No problem really except that it takes me a little more than an hour with all the trimming. I then had a brilliant idea to try mowing with a corded electric, because I wanted to try to eliminate gas engines as much as possible from my life. The corded electric was actually no problem dealing with the cord, as there is a good method (going side-to-side, near to far), but dealing with the “lies” that the electric industry uses in marketing; now that was the big issue. Firstly, with respect to corded equipment, even though they’ll give you actual amperage in their labeling, it is often exaggerated. So my 13 amp mower actually drew less than 10 amps. Cordless equipment is even worse. They’ll tell you only volts, hoping you’ll believe that higher-voltage machines have equal power to gas products, but they are far inferior. They don’t list watt output, because then everyone would know how week they are by comparison.The electric industry needs to list watts or kilowatts, or at a minimum, peak torque for things like mowers. The bigger lie with electric lawn mowers is the “deck” size versus “cut” size. Gas and diesel products are listed as cut width, so when I bought a 21" deck Kobalt mower, I thought I was giving up nothing on cut width, but it turned out that the blade was only 19 3/8", meaning that was my cut size as well, and this is the largest walk behind electric one can buy. So if you’re prepared to go with less power and less cut, then electrics are great; they excel in durability; no mess; quiet operation; maintenance; etc. The last four years, after getting tired of 19" swaths and an underpowered machine, I’ve been using a 30" TimeMaster 30 made by Toro. This mower has a blade brake and an amazing SP system called Personal Pace, I love it, and would keep it, but…

I’m moving to a larger lot and began looking at lawn tractors, because I want to be able to load and haul it in my pickup and not have to get a trailer that a ZTR would require, and even though I love using a walk behind, I knew that anything above my current 30" mower is a commercial mower that is thousands of dollars more than even a 48" lawn tractor sold at the big box stores, or so I thought*. I found that the cheapest lawn tractor that doesn’t have an absolute junk transmission. It’s a Husqvarna TS series sold at Husqvarna dealerships starting at a little more than three grand, and even that $3K+ mower has only about 60% positive reviews. The Husq competitors with that same transmission are at or about $5K starting out. But then I stumbled upon Bradley mowers. I can get a 48" walk behind, dual hydro with all commercial level components and power, and a wheeled or sliding sulky to ride behind on for probably around $3700 delivered to an LTL terminal in a crate. I don’t think one can go wrong with a Bradley mower even if they are not quite up to the quality of other commercial brands. They also make stand on mowers for thousands less than the competitive brands and they too are cheap enough for residential customers to consider, though they’ll cost many hundreds more than a walk behind.

  • There are a trio of mowers built by MTD for residential use that has a 33" cut width, but probably not worth more than a TimeMaster 30 but a little higher price (Troybilt, Cub Cadet, and Craftsman).

Interesting write up.

I have much more experience with my Bradley 48" walk behind now than I did when I wrote the OP. They are selling at this time for $3,099.99 plus shipping. Price your sulky at WalMart, then take that price to Bradley and ask them to match it and include in same shipment as mower. Advantage of Bradley purchase, depending on where you live, is no sales tax. Possible disadvantage, again depending on where you live, is cost of shipment. But $3700 seems high. Course I did not buy a sulky . . yet. All the walking has been absolutely great exercise.

Electric mowers? Simply not serious unless you have only a tiny patch to mow. My mowing area is measured in acres, not in square feet.

I have been able to obtain a good cut with my Bradley mower only recently. This is on me mostly, and on them a little. Much better instructions regarding how to set up the mower would have been appreciated from the get go. Instead I had to experiment, both with blade height settings and front castor settings. There is interplay between those two. But with my last settings try I was able to laser cut my front acreage for the first time, and in very short order. It came out beautiful.

Here where I live rain has been problematic for lawn mowing, both last year and this year. The Bradley deck loads up quickly when the grass is water soaked. Not talking about mowing right after the rain, when the grass is wet to the touch. Instead, with so much rain, the grass is just loaded with moisture internally. Were the Bradley deck better designed (different shape) I think it could handle such grass with less difficulty. This is no issue whatsoever when the grass is dry or shorter. But with all the rain here the grass grows out a good bit between dry days. And it has been rare to get two dry days in a row to where the grass has serious opportunity to dry out.

My rear acreage, behind the house and away from the road, with all this rain simply got away from me. I could not keep up and the grass just took off back there. I was looking at having to mow stuff which really needed to be brush hogged!

I had made some attempts back there with the Bradley weeks ago, but it was straining, and cutting such tall grass is not good for the spindles, either, even though they are VERY strong. Decided to place back into service a 30-year-old 38" cut Cub Cadet 1320 lawn tractor I own. It had not been used for years, put into storage back then when I decided it was smarter to walk than to ride. But with the grass between one and three feet high I had to do something. It took me a week to get that old Cub up and running. Finally yesterday got out there and attacked that high stuff. The old Cub cut through that jungle like a knife through butter. And the deck did NOT load up like the Bradley would have. It was a welcome outcome, but I did not like going back to a riding mower at all. Hated that part. Walking is so much better. But the old Cub is a rider so you take the good with the bad. With the tall stuff now brought under control I will be able to mow back there with the Bradley in future . . . unless this infernal rain never stops. And, yes, it is raining again today. :frowning_face:


I want to revise and extend my remarks, above, concerning WalMart and the sulky:

I meant, not WalMart brick and mortar. sells Bradley sulkies and I once found the WalMart price was lower than the price when you purchase directly from Bradley.

The only kind of sulky to buy has two swivel wheels. This if you ever want to go backwards. Here is a link:

Sulky link

Uh, oh! I’m seeing there is out of stock. Well, that is no big surprise. They are also OOS on more than half the other items I want and need.

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My price estimate is $3,100 for the mower; $300 for shipping; $250 for a sulky; and $50 for anything I’m not counting; aka conservative budget planning. If I buy a 1.3 acre lot, I’ll be getting a 48" cut mower. If I stay at my half acre lot, I’ll probably still get a belt drive 36. The hydro 36" is only $100 less than the 48" and a grand more than the belt drive. A half acre doesn’t justify three grand.

That’s surprising that the 25 hp commercial Bradley under performs compared to a CC rider, but in all my research, I had read a couple of negative comments of folks stating it doesn’t have a front baffle under the deck whatsoever, and often mowers without baffles have issues with clumping up under the deck which has nothing to do with engine power. I’d also read a couple of negatives regarding the fixed deck. Not just Bradley but all commercial WBs with fixed decks and many suggest one of Bradey’s standers instead which get fantastic reviews but up to a grand more and not as good on hills or loading in a pickup and the 48" is 1,100 pounds. My 30" TimeMaster also has some clogging issues and the only way it works as a powerful mower is with the mulch plate strapped up with no chute installed. If I decide on a wheeled sulky, I’ll definitely order it with the mower and go with a Bradley. They are well reviewed; as high as the Velke brand nearly and much cheaper. However, my viewings of sulky sliders like Go Slide and Pro Slide seems to be my preference, and those who have tried them say “why ride when one can slide”. Just so much less wiggling around and puts one at ground level. The two drawbacks are a wearable plate and moving via pavement or concrete from one lawn to the next, it must be lifted or chained up and walk. And also, Proslide is over priced at nearly $400, but Go Slide is only $170.

Thanks for the tips. It’s a shame about all the adjustments needed for a good cut and wet grass cutting issues. I’ve dealt with the latter with TimeMaster until I quit trying to mulch or use the side chute.

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Just to clarify a few things in my earlier post:

The Cub Cadet produced clumps during that high grass mow. But it cleared its own clumps so they never became an issue or an impediment to getting the job done.

The Bradley produces clumps when mowing damp grass much lower in height than the grass I was mowing with the Cub. That would be OK and understandable except that:

The Bradley is unable to clear, to eject, its own clumps. Instead they build up under the deck in a very annoying way. At some point the blade tips encounter the uncleared clumps at high speed producing serious vibration of the entire mower. The only way to stop this happening is to disengage the blades. Once rotation has ceased sufficient of the trapped clumping falls to the ground and the vibration goes away . . . only to return after another row or two has been mowed. Rinse and repeat.

The Bradley has sufficient power easily to mow virtually anything, wet or dry, grass which is tall or of more moderate height. But its deck design really does not allow all that power to produce a useful outcome when conditions are at all extreme.

That said, how many mowers have the ability to mow wet grass? I think not many. The clippings stick together and you get clumps one way or another. The answer is to wait for dry conditions. And the Bradley is capable of doing a good job mowing dry grass, when its deck design limitations do not matter to the outcome.

The Cub’s superior ability to clear its own clumps was only important in a mowing situation I should not have been in in the first place. I would not have been in that situation except for all the rain here where I live.

Going forward I will be using the Bradley to mow my front acreage. It leaves a very attractive appearance and it mows faster than I can walk and darn near as fast as I can run. I will also use the Bradley to mow my rear acreage provided things have opportunity back there to dry out more than has been possible so far this spring. I will only use the Cub in emergency situations.

So have no regrets about owning the Bradley. It’s a great mower when used within its limitations. Certainly in other regions of this country, where rain is less prevalent, it would be the only way to go given the price.

On the sulky:

I messed up and I’m annoyed with myself. I held off buying that sulky because I did not want in my life the temptation of actually using it. It was bad enough sitting on my posterior mowing with that Cub. You get no exercise whatsoever. It’s a joke compared with the Bradley, which leaves me perspiring heavily every time I mow with it.

I always say I never work on my lawn, that instead the lawn works on me. Well that is true with the Bradley but not with any rider . . . . . or with a sulky.

So I waited to buy. And now it appears the low cost option is gone. Hope I’m wrong. But I priced that sulky at Amazon and their price is far higher. Looks as if I waited too long to buy.

Course I can still walk and long as I’m able I do not need, or want, a sulky. But if the day comes when I no longer have the walking option, it seems like that sulky is gonna cost me more than once would have been the case.

That’s what happens with TimeMaster, but with it, the grass doesn’t have to be that extreme; just normal southeast U.S. after June 15, which hasn’t happened yet this year. What I mean by normal is that the grass gets thick and holds moisture even if it hasn’t rained in days and this goes throughout September unless there is a draught. TimeMaster cuts clippings so fine and lifts so well with super fast twin blade rotation that it draws all the moisture out of the grass creating a clumped mess and then that mess tends to stay under the deck because the deck is very short front to back (not much longer than a 22); the problem is exacerbated if one tries to mulch or use the side chute; that latter causes the grass to clump and clog at the side opening by the limitation of only downward movement. TimeMaster is a residential mower but probably has an 80% commercial buyer take rate, and it still gets probably 65% positive reviews as a commercial mower which it is not; biggest complaint is not enough power, but it is the short/wide deck design (the same features that make it a great wide- cut mower) that causes it’s mucky mess issue in wet grass and people trying to mulch when they shouldn’t or use the chute when they shouldn’t; not lack of power. Still I like it, and the Bradley is sure to do better under that same thick, moist grass scenario which is not happenimg so far this year. The Bradley will offer a foot and a half wider swath and 2 to 2 1/2 more mph above an already fast, 4.5 mph TimeMaster, and that’ll let me continue to walk and a sulky for extra insurance. I guess my biggest worry is deck height and blade adjustments. The Husq garden tractor TS348 and the TimeMaster beat the Bradley to pieces for ability to adjust height, which I normally do only twice per season. Thanks again.

If you currently don’t want or need a silky, wait and see what happens for a deal in late summer or off season? But if the price doesn’t come back around, Bradley/Havener still has all the competition beat. The Chinese tarriff issue could be having a price pressure issue on them right now; not sure, but it could, and if so, it’ll only get worse until the trade war is over, and that will be bad for me, but I’ll still have to get a mower made of steel no matter the price if I move.