Tested This Issue
Wessex ProLine RMX triple-deck roller mowers
Mowing is the most frequent turf-care operation and can have far-reaching effects. The type of mower and frequency of cut can affect grass growth and contractors' profits. Today, the roller mower is much favoured as a machine to give a high quality of cut with striping.
Now that productivity is high on every contractor's agenda, wider mowers are increasingly being used to maintain large areas of grass. But for sports complexes, golf courses and turf farms, it can still mean much time is spent simply cutting the grass. The answer might be an XL wide-area mower.
With field-scale mowing in mind, Trimax Mowing Systems and Broadwood International attended the Turfgrass Growers Association Turf Show to demonstrate their extra-wide roller mowers. Held at Fineturf's turf farm in Grantham, Lincolnshire, last month, the show provided the perfect opportunity for a close-up inspection of the five-unit Trimax X-WAM roller mower and the Wessex ProLine RMX triple-deck roller mower range.
Introduced in 2011, the Trimax X-WAM is an extension of the well-known Pegasus roller mower and has been designed specifically for turf producers. It has, however, already caught the attention of others - including Knotty Hill Golf Centre in Sedgefield, County Durham.
Broadwood International's Wessex ProLine RMX roller-mower series is a development from individual and winged Proline roller mowers. With a wider and more flexible cutting width, it is already appealing to grounds-maintenance contractors such as Land Engineering of Fenwick, Ayrshire. The widest version, the 8m model, may additionally appeal to turf growers.
We already know that Trimax's Pegasus roller mower can gallop through the work. We tested the triple-deck machine more than a decade ago and were inspired by its performance and cutting quality at speeds up to 10kmph.
Since then, Trimax's designers in New Zealand have continually improved and refined the Pegasus - now delivering the S3 models in the original 4.9m cutting width and introducing an even bigger 6.1m machine. They are both remarkably fast, but imagine how much more work you would get done if you had five units instead of three.
A development of the 6.1m Pegasus, the X-Wam has extension decks that give it a massive 10.4m cut - allowing one tractor and one driver to cover two-thirds more ground than with the Pegasus alone. With a forward speed of 10kmph, it can easily mow 20 acres an hour. It is not surprising that, in its bold but attractive bright-red livery, the X-Wam has already achieved success among North American turf growers and is expected to appeal to turf growers over here too.
Watching it at work is almost mesmerising. Three decks - the Pegasus part of the machine - lower gently to the ground, then two further decks gracefully slide outwards to provide the full cutting width. Mowing is quick - it races across the ground - but it is the turning that is so fascinating.
As the tractor turns, the outer edge of the extended wing stays still and the whole unit moves round it to line up perfectly for the next run. It really does turn on the spot, as though the edge is bolted to the ground.
Following in the same lines as the standard Pegasus, the X-Wam features belt drive off a central gearbox plus gearboxes on each deck. The four wings are identical so, as far as maintenance and setting the height are concerned, what you do to one you then do to the others. Remote greasing points are centralised, and raising the decks gives unobstructed access to the underbody. Standard warranty covers spindles/gearboxes for three years.
Cutting height is adjustable from 10-102mm. The blades are Trimax's LazerBladez fling-tips. They are fast and with the full-width rollers creating a chamber under each deck, grass is lifted ready for cutting. Combined with high rpm, the high tip speed of the blades gives more cuts per metre of travel and disperses the clippings well. The result is a quality of cut to rival even that of a cylinder mower.
Although the machine looks big, its blade design means there is little drag, and a relatively low power of around 110hp is sufficient. The X-Wam is also easy to use. It has only three hydraulic pipes so there is one set of double-acting spools required and one single. The double-acting extends or contracts the machine to and from its full working width. The single provides lift.
Suspension on the chassis aids transport. Mud guards and LED road lighting come as standard and a bulldog jack stand provides support when the mower is not in use. The mower can be bought as a complete unit, with a twoto three-month delivery time, or as an attachment for those already owning a 6.1m Pegasus.
Cutting width: 10.4m
Overall width: 10.5m
Transport width: 2.8m
Overall length: 5.5m
Cutting height: 10-102mm
Tractor requirement: 90-120hp
List price: POA
Tel: Trimax Mowing Systems - 01933 652235
Wessex ProLine RMX triple-deck roller mowers
When we tested the Wessex ProLine RMX 1.8m individual deck a couple of years ago, we were awestruck by its speed, dexterity and quality of cut. We concluded that the series should interest local authorities, colleges and schools needing to cut playing fields and sports pitches, and that it should also appeal at golf courses.
What could be better? How about three RMX decks in one unit? For those needing truly wide-area performance, Broadwood International is now offering RMX triple-deck roller mowers. They give the same remarkable finish to fine, outfield and amenity turf, but also provide even higher output and more generous cost savings.
There are three models in the triple-deck series. All have the same 2.4m centre deck at the rear - giving the perfect width for road travel. With 1.8m wings (the RMX-560), a 5.6m cut is achieved. With 2.4m wings (RMX-680), the result is a 6.8m cut. Both models are ideally suited to local authorities, contractors, sports complexes and large amenity areas. The latest arrival is model RMX-800. It has 3m wings to give an immense 8m cut that should appeal to turf growers and the polo market.
All the benefits of the individual-deck range have been incorporated into the triple-deck machines. Notable is the fast tip speed - a staggeringly quick 98.6m per second. Combined with the full-width rollers, this creates a draught that lifts the grass under the deck in preparation for cutting. The result is an ultra-fine finish that, combined with lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs, should see these mowers eat further into the cylinder gang-mower market.
The RMX triple decks are belt-driven. You might think that is a downside, but being twin means the belt provides twice the torque - just what is needed for those council applications where the grass has been left between cuts or where mowing has to be done in wet conditions. The belts are easily accessible.
The patent-pending belt-drive transmission system on these units means that the independently controlled wings can be engaged and disengaged while in work. But unlike similar mowers, the RMXs have no electric clutch. As the wing lifts, a pulley comes away from the belt drive and takes the drive away automatically when the wing reaches 30 degs. Practically, it means no stopping, no putting the machine out of gear, and gradients of between +/-30 degs can be mown with the middle deck remaining on the flat.
In transport mode the decks are leaning in-board - ideal for travelling down tree-lined roads or narrow lanes. Also with travel in mind, both wheels feature independent suspension and the wheel gearing is designed for a road speed of 40kmph. Turf tyres limit surface marking and compaction when mowing.
The rear deck has a linkage system to allow it to twist side to side and follow the direction of travel. It is not much movement but is sufficient to stop side scuffing, even when turning within the tractor's turning radius. Furthermore, while most roller mowers simply have a roller bearing at the end of the roller, the Wessex machines have double-taper roller bearings designed to aid cornering.
The roller also puts maintenance to the fore. It consists of a heavy-duty, cast, bolt-on end cap with the taper roller bearings pressed into it and then a spigot through the middle to hold it together. Compared with the more usual one-piece design with a spigot welded in the end and a lemon bearing on the outside, the Wessex ProLine roller has the advantage of part-by-part replacement - just replace the bearing, spigot or tube, whichever component is damaged.
Height of cut adjustment requires a 30mm socket at each corner, the height being shown by a gauge and being infinitely variable from a very short 10mm up to 100mm.
The RMX triple decks also come with a full road-going lighting board - an LED strobe on the back, brake lights, indicators and side lights. There are also mud guards. Further options on these models include hydraulic brakes and a spare wheel. It seems that Wessex ProLine has thought of everything.
Model RMX-560 RMX-680 RMX-800
Cutting width 5.6m 6.8m 8m
Overall width 5.74m 6.94m 8.14m
Transport width 2.54m 2.54m 2.54m
Overall length 5.19m 5.19m 5.19m
Weight 2,900kg 3,100kg 3,300kg
Cutting height 10-100mm 10-100mm 10-100mm
Cutting spindles 10 12 14
List price (+ VAT) £28,175 £29,250 £31,995
Tel Broadwood International - 01420 478111