Are stand-on mowers just a gimmick?

There are a few stand-on mowers available, with Hayter becoming the latest to join the market, but I have only tested the Wright Stander from IPU Group of Oldbury in the West Midlands. It's definitely not a gimmick.

The Wright Stander can do everything a pedestrian mower can do - and more. It is remarkably compact. It is the same length as a pedestrian machine, but without the handlebars sticking out of the back. This means it will turn completely within its own space - something a pedestrian machine can't do because of the position of the operator beyond the machine's length.

Its size and zero-turn ability make it ideal for mowing in tight spaces and for trimming close to obstacles. You have to experience the manoeuvrability of the Stander to believe it. It will spin on a sixpence yet it feels stable.

The mower is equally happy in open spaces. It works at 6km/h all day, every day. It's incredibly productive. And although it costs more than a pedestrian machine, it is less expensive than the majority of commercial ride-on units. Quality of cut is also good.

The controls are straightforward and easy to master. It's got key start, with recoil as a back-up, and a large red button engages the blades. The platform the operator stands on is the OPC (operator presence control), so step off or fall off the machine and it stops.

If there is a downside then it is that standing, as opposed to walking, can be tiring. But the job is being done at twice the speed. It can help if the operator moves around, bends their knees and transfers their weight from side to side - even crouches and then stands up again. You'll soon find your own ways of keeping your legs from stiffening up.

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