The “F” in F Series stands for “out-front”, and this is the third generation of out-front mowers brought to the UK by Kubota. There are two models in the range: a 36hp three-cylinder and a 28hp four-cylinder. Both are rear-engined, diesel machines. We test the smaller and find it gives a powerful, precise performance, ideal for tough commercial contracts.
There is a choice of decks: 60in and 72in; rear or side discharge. You would want to run the 72in deck on the 36hp machine. A mulching kit is optional, and, should your contracts call for “cut and collect”, you’ll be interested to know that both machines can be supplied with a 600-litre capacity collector.
The radiator is now fully enclosed and sealed underneath. Air intake is via a screen at the top of the bonnet, so much less dirt gets in, reducing the risk of overheating and fires. It is also easy to brush leaves off the screen. Coolant level, oil and air cleaner are all easier to check. The air filter is a dual-element type, so only the outer filter needs replacing; the inner filter can be cleaned with a blower.
Kubota has focused on operator comfort. This model features hydrostatic power steering to reduce operator fatigue and make it easy to mow around trees. It also has a tilt-type steering wheel and there’s a pleasing logic to the seat — as you adjust it backwards, it rises to accommodate longer legs.
Another new feature is the Auto-Assist four-wheel drive. This works in both forward and reverse and automatically controls the drive loads during turns. It means you can turn with ease and with less risk of tearing the turf. Full-time four-wheel drive can also be engaged.
And there’s more. The F Series now comes with a fold-down roll bar as standard — non-essential but now viewed as a necessity by most councils and contractors. There is an electric fuel gauge and an on-board toolbox, well- grouped, colour-coded operator levers and an enlarged 61-litre fuel tank. Lifting capacity has been increased by 40 per cent, allowing the drive unit to power a variety of front implements. And there’s something to excite the mechanically minded: a 90? tilt deck, allowing it to be positioned in the vertical plane for easy maintenance.
The high torque rise of the powerful Kubota engine gives fast and smooth recovery when you suddenly hit that patch of long, dense, wet grass. But it’s not that noisy. Our tester flies down the pathway at top speed, before mowing at the wetter, lower end of the glade.
“It’s fast,” he confirms. “It makes you realise how much hydraulics sap the power.” The wheels spin in the wettest parts of the glade, however, this is the only niggle.
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