Wright Velke

There are mowers that the operator walks behind. There are mowers where the operator sits in a seat. And then there's the Velke, which is certainly innovative. But, while its popularity is reportedly growing fast in the US, is it too bizarre for here?

With its yellow-and-black livery and chunky dimensions, the Velke looks every bit a serious rough-cut mower. And it is. There is a choice of commercial engines, single and twin cylinder, from 15hp. Deck options include 81cm, 91cm, 122cm and 132cm. We have a model fitted with an 81cm mulching kit.
Not suspecting that the Velke has a trick up its sleeve, our testers put the machine through its paces in pedestrian mode. Starting the machine is easy; make sure the hand brake is on, hold the operator presence control (OPC) and turn the key. The big red switch engages and disengages the blade.
The handlebar takes a bit of getting used to. In the US it is called a “self-neutralising, quad lever control system”. We call it “unusual”. We like the way the OPC is incorporated as black metal strips into the handle mainframe. It’s simple and easy to hold.
The levers tell us immediately that this is a zero-turn machine. Lifting the lower levers towards the mainframe produces a good walking speed. The left lever brings about left turns and the right lever turns the machine right.
All our testers find that it takes a little time to master the controls.
This mower seems a little noisy but we put that down to the mulch deck. And there’s no doubting that the result is spectacular for a mulch mower taking a single cut through long grass.
But why walk when you can ride? Our testers look round for a sulky seat — but there is none. IPU’s rep folds down a small platform at the rear of the machine. Is it a skateboard?
The Velke is balanced and the handlebars positioned so that it can be used as a walk behind or “stand-on” machine.
The link between the board and the mower is designed to prevent jack-knifing on tight turns. It takes practice and some confidence to use the sulky platform, but one tester is impressed. “It’s a weird sensation, but a good idea for use on flat ground,” he says as he flies past. “This makes the job fun and I’m all in favour of that.”
The extra speed, combined with enthusiasm, must help productivity.

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