Ariens 252

It has all the nippiness and a flying top speed you would expect of a zero-turn. But this mower also has intelligence. The US manufacturer calls it EYE-Q because that is exactly what it does — it keeps an eye on the job. We reckon contracts managers will love it. It could help you work out the most efficient way of mowing, as well as tracking necessary maintenance and service requirements.
EYE-Q is a tool that allows continuous monitoring and management of commercial grass-cutting operations and equipment; it lets you know when and what maintenance is needed. Everything is included — from air filters and blade sharpening to pivot-point lubrication and tyres. Items are triggered based on the time of the applicable system, not just engine or key-on time. EYE-Q also keeps an ongoing log of any maintenance operations carried out. What’s more, the system can be customised to provide maintenance schedules for particular operating environments.
But while EYE-Q can assist in maintaining machines in A1 condition and reduce downtime due to unexpected and unnecessary inspections and breakdowns, it can also help boost productivity. EYE-Q has GPS tracking. It records where the mower has been, how long a job has taken and how much time was spent mowing, as opposed to just driving, and where and when the pto-drive was engaged and for how long.
To some operators that may sound like “Big Brother” is watching them, and it may need to be explained and introduced carefully. But the big advantage is that when it comes to re-tendering for the contract, all the information you need is at your fingertips in terms of how long each area takes to mow. And this system will help determine the fastest and most efficient way of mowing an area. The EYE-Q could certainly prove useful, but what about the mower?
Having driven the Gizmow zero-turn with a steering wheel, mastering the stick-steer Ariens involves a distinctly steeper learning curve. “That takes some getting used to,” says our tester, a first-time zero-rider. “But it’s rapid; just touch the levers and you fly off — and when you hit a bump at speed you wonder which direction you will end up going.”
The 252 is a compact machine. It’s easy enough to load and move on a trailer. And it’s packed with lots of nice features. We particularly like the hydraulic deck-height control for effortless adjustment to any position between 125mm and 25mm. The seat is comfortable, with plenty of adjustment and spring, and is easily accessed via a footplate.
Controls are nicely grouped to the right of the operator. The spindle is guaranteed not to need greasing or replacing for two years. This mower also carries its own jack so the front can be lifted to check the blades. And, it goes without saying, there is a cup holder.

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