Ransomes Jacobsen Commander 3520

Demanding schedules need tough, hard-working machines. For productivity and cutting efficiency in open spaces, we reckon it's going to be difficult to better this multi-reel mower.

It’s got strength, it’s got power and it’s got a massive 3.5m cutting width — this is one high-output machine. Cutting performance is calculated at 3.2ha/h at a speed of 12.5km/h.
Just to confuse us, the Commander turns up in Jacobsen orange rather than Ransomes’ green but this five-unit mower is designed to be equally at home on parkland or golf course fairways. And it’s versatile. Choose from Magna six-bladed cylinders or eight- or 11-bladed floating heads. Versatility is further increased by the ability of the wing units to articulate downwards for mowing 25° slopes.
One of our testers is so impressed by the Commander that he carries on cutting through lunchtime. He finishes off the rugby pitch at and mows most of the fairways on a nine-hole golf course.
“It’s a very nice piece of kit,” he tells us. “It’s got a big engine and there’s plenty of power. It runs really well and is very comfortable and easy to use.” He’s not going to get off it, is he? “Can I just finish that bit round the trees?” he asks.
What makes the Commander so power-packed is the 51hp Kubota V2203B, four-cylinder, water-cooled diesel engine. Featuring hydrostatic transmission with selectable two- or four-wheel drive, plus boasting variable reel speed and weight transfer controls, the unit is adaptable to varying conditions. What’s more, it’s easy to drive.
The driver reports that all the controls are recognisable and easy to use. A single pedal gives infinitely variable forward and reverse speeds. The hydraulic cutting unit and lift/lower levers provide the option to control the wing units individually so the width of cut can be varied.
Despite the hydrostatic power steering and individually controlled wing units, the driver finds the Commander bulky to manoeuvre around trees. The driving position is high and gives an excellent view of those annoying cans and bottles in the grass. But you also need to watch the wing mirrors and headlights.
“The mirrors and headlights tend to get in the way when mowing around trees and this meant I’ve had to leave a bit of grass for trimming up later,” says our tester. “You need mirrors on the highway and they fold out of the way when you are mowing – but will you remember to adjust them before hitting the road?”
If you need to use the mower for long hours we reckon you will find it sufficiently comfortable. The high-back suspension seat is adjustable and has armrests. The steering wheel has tilt adjustment. A nice touch is the non-slip platform floor to make sure the operator is safe mounting and dismounting from the mower. From the mechanic’s point of view, all major components are easily accessible.

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