It is robust, strong and has a large- diameter cylinder (8' or 20cm) with thick blades on it. It should give an effective cut even in long, wet grass. Cutting widths are 50cm, 61cm and 68cm (20', 24' and 27' respectively).
Normally the bottom blade would be almost underneath the centre line of the cylinder. That's not the case with the Buffalo. With this machine it is further back and up from the centre line, so it passes below the finished height of cut in order to lift the grass - like a combine harvester - into a vertical position ready for cutting. The result is a very clean finish, in dry or wet conditions, with the minimum of adjustment. And because the grass is so erect after cutting, the rear roller gives a truly effective stripe.
We like the fact that the rear roller is rubber coated - important if the machine is going to be ramped out of a trailer and moved onto the work site. The heavy-duty rubber makes the machine easy to roll into position and reduces the risk of damage to the mower. And we definitely like the stripes this roller produces.
"This is good for quality lawns; it gives a lovely rolling effect because of the weight," says Murray.
Operation of the Buffalo is straightforward. There are three levers: the front one engages the drive to the cylinder, the others are the throttle and the parking brake. It's the same set-up on all Allett machines, so it's easy for an operator to jump from one model to the next.
This Buffalo doesn't snort and charge - it actually runs on relatively low revs. Most Allett mowers are a little overpowered. This one has a 5.5hp Honda engine and, because the mower is belt-driven, the revs of the engine are not used to engage the clutch, hence lower revs are required. It also means fuel consumption should be lower than you might expect from a machine of this build. Noise and vibrations are also low.
"You can mow at a good speed with this one. It has got the weight so it stays planted on the ground and you don't feel as though you are bobbling along. It all helps to give an accurate and consistent height of cut," says Murray.
The grassbox proves to be a good catcher and is easy to remove and empty into a trailer, but there are no grab handles on it so it is difficult to throw the clippings out in a spreading fan across rougher areas.
The review panel
Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College
Hugh Murray, head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf Club
Steve Hasell, machinery lecturer, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College
Ashley Hale, apprentice groundsman, Cannington Campus, Bridgwater College