Gizmow

Every once in a while we have a machine offered for testing that is unlike anything we have encountered before. The Gizmow is one such machine.
The first thing we notice is the colour — an almost florescent lime green, which you will either love or hate, but which is a distinct advantage when mowing in public places. It’s also guaranteed to turn heads simply because it is so usual. But then, this is an unusual mower through and through.
The Gizmow is the world’s first zero-turning mower with a steering wheel. Other zero-turning mowers are stick-steer — irrespective of whether they are the ride-on or the stand-on type, such as the Wright Stander. Manoeuvring them is like steering a tank — fantastic when you get used to it, but hands up those who found it a bit unnerving on their first drive — which is why the Gizmow has a steering wheel.
This machine has “speed sensitive” steering, using the front wheels to begin with. Pressing the forward pedal drives the machine in a straight line and turning the steering wheel regulates the oil flow to the rear wheels, which are the drive wheels, enabling the machine to move progressively from conventional mode to ZTR as the back wheel-motors kick in and take over. There is a separate pedal for reverse.
So, what’s it like to drive? “It’s not as difficult as you expect,” admits our tester. “It’s actually quite controllable, allowing you to get in close to the trees. I could soon get used to it, even with the forward and reverse being operated by different feet. If you are used to single-pedal hydrostatic machines, it can be a bit awkward at first.”
Weighing just 680kg, the Gizmow is lightweight. It has cruise control but lacks power steering, so it feels heavier than it is on turns. However, it hardly struggles in the wet.
There’s no doubting it is a comfortable machine to drive. “I’d be happy to sit here all day,” says the tester. He notices the flat bottom to the steering wheel. “That makes a difference. It means the steering wheel isn’t in the way when you enter and exit the machine.”
There’s also plenty of attention to detail. There is easy access to the engine and components that need regular attention. The deck hangs from rods, not chains, so it is quick to adjust and level. At the back of the deck is a strong rubber flap to prevent debris escaping.
What lets the Gizmow down for the UK market is that it’s petrol — and sounds like it. The good news is that there are two tanks to increase running time between refuelling. Even better, there is a gas-conversion kit. But let’s be honest, diesel would be nice.

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