Test: ProMow Gang Mower provided by: Popular Mechanics

As reprinted in the June 2003 Popular Mechanics

If you have a lot of mowing to do—and by this we mean at least several acres- you know there's no cheap way to do it. It either costs a lot to hire it done or costs a lot to do it yourself— in time and equipment. ProMow gang mowers promise a solution. They have large capacity at a price that's much less than same-size powered equipment.

The Model 501 consists of five 2-ft.-wide reel mowers staggered three in the back and two in front to yield an 8-ft. cutting width. The mowers are mounted on a heavy-gauge square-stock steel frame that is articulated to allow the mowers to follow the contours of the ground. The two outboard mowing heads can be lifted and locked into place for compact storage. Although this equipment is well-made, it weighs just 325 pounds. We tested it with an 11-hp riding mower, a 17-hp lawn tractor and a 25-hp garden tractor. All pulled the gang on flat ground without any trouble, but on steep inclines the riding mower lost traction quickly and the lawn tractor lost traction occasionally. So if you have hilly property you'll need a garden tractor to pull this mower reliably.

Cutting height can be adjusted between 3/4 and 2 7/8 in. To change the height, each head has to be moved. It took about 20 minutes to do all five the second time we tried. At each height the mower worked well when it was cutting grass. But weeds, particularly dandelions, were a different matter. The long stems tended to be bent over by the mower instead of being cut. We had the best results when we cut the grass low and frequently.

If you have a lot of relatively flat property and it's covered primarily with grass and you like the grass mowed low, then this mower is worth considering. The company sells other models ranging in width from 44 in. to 11 ft. The 501 costs $2545 directly from ProMow, 8318 Clinton Park Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46825; www.promow.com. —S.W.

Click here to read another ProMow article in Popular Mechanics.

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