It looks just like a baby Pegasus mower and, having seen the Pegasus in action loads of times, I know our testers are in for a treat.
Although its appearance is so similar to its popular big brother, the Snake has been designed from the ground up and draws on Trimax’s 30 years of experience to produce a compact, 3.2m-wide trailed rotary mower for golf and sports turf applications. One feature that makes it stand out is its quietness.
This mower is so quiet that from a distance all you hear is the tractor. It is ideal where noise is an issue — around schools and hospitals — but will also appeal where a high standard of presentation is crucial and low downtime essential.
Like Progressive’s Pro-Flex, the Snake benefits from the ability to lift the decks without stopping the PTO. On the Snake it is called the Kerb Jump or Cross Jump and it enables all three decks to be raised a little to cross gravel driveways or paths. It should prevent wear on tractors and gearboxes. It certainly ensures smooth operation and can be useful when turning at headlands.
But you do not necessarily have to lift at headlands. This mower will cut continuously while turning, leaving zero uncut circles and lending manoeuvrability in tight spaces.
Cutting quality is top-class. This is partly due to the Snake’s articulation capabilities that see it following contours across golf courses. Full-width rollers minimise scalping in extreme undulating conditions and also allow safe mowing over kerbsides, bunkers and potholes.
"The units float nicely," Gardner observes. "It’s nice to watch, very refined and gives a really good finish."
Cutting quality is also influenced by Trimax’s high-grade alloy-steel LazerBladez — a blade system with a carefully engineered centre of gravity and tilt-forward blade-design. Utilising its full-length cutting edge, Snake produces a clean finish even when mowing at fast ground speeds.
Gardner is also impressed with the spread of clippings. "These are not perfect conditions but the way it is distributing the cut grass is really good," he says. "It’s also highly manoeuvrable. It’s getting to places where we struggle with the batwing."
With cutting height adjustable from 90mm down to 10mm, the Snake is truly versatile. Braund finds the height of cut easy to adjust. "It is simple to set up," he says. "The whole machine is well thought out and when it folds up everything locks into place with a fail-safe system."
It has also been designed to require little maintenance. Sealed spindles mean fewer points to grease and Braund notes that they are all easily accessible. With Trimax’s Flex Cone — a new sealed PTO system — dust and external agents are prevented from becoming trapped in the bearings. This greatly reduces the amount of greasing required and extends greasing intervals to as much as 50 hours, depending on the environment in which it operates. We also like the fact that there is one type/size of belt used, meaning there is only one to keep on the shelf.
To complete the package, the Snake comes with a three-year warranty, demonstrating Trimax’s confidence in the quality of build and engineering. A full road kit is optional and adds mudguards as well as LED tail light clusters. Also optional is a remote unlock that replaces the standard transport lock release rope with an electric actuator operated on the tractor.
Ideally, it requires a 35hp tractor. Initially we use it with the 58hp TYM 603 lent to us by Lely UK for our tractor review (HW, 11 July), but then we try the B3150 from Kubota. Technically, with its 29.2hp engine, we should be lacking a little power. But both Snake and tractor surprise us — cutting continues.
Gardner is adding up the figures. "This mower is so versatile," he considers. "To do the mowing here we have a fairway mower and a batwing. We are probably talking £90K for those. The Snake is £17K. It’s amazing." Clearly, it has given him food for thought.
Cutting width 3.23m
Height of cut 10-90mm
Transport dimensions (WxH) 2.05x1.86m
Number of blade spindles Nine
List price £17,000 + VAT
Tel Trimax — 01933 652235
With budgets remaining under pressure, no one can afford to waste time when mowing. Time pressure is also a feature on golf and sports facilities as players expect to find facilities ready for use. Mowing must be done quickly, in the most cost-efficient manner and with little or no downtime and delay. Does that mean compromising on presentation?
In this test we look at three trailed mowers. Two — the Progressive TDR-15 and Trimax’s new Snake — are three-deck roller mower configurations that should appeal to those maintaining facilities as varied as parks and pitches to golf courses and turf farms.
We also look at the latest Progressive Pro-Flex model — a contour mower now benefiting from automatic belt tensioners and fewer greasing points. It also features Pro Lift-N-Turn to get you across pathways and back to mowing as quickly as possible. But what will our testers make of this Canadian-built mower, supplied in the UK by The Grass Group?
Test day was a scorcher. High temperatures and a lack of rain over previous days meant the grass was dry. Not ideal mowing conditions, but in a working environment jobs have to be done when they need doing. Parts of the Cannington golf course, plus the driving range, were left for us to mow.
The Review Panel
Sam Braund, grounds worker, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus
Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Cannington Centre for Landbased Studies, Bridgwater College