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Green Industry Expo: Cub Cadet snapshot

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Your UTV goes places your truck can’t — or shouldn’t. But if you’re heading out hunting or hitting the wooded area off the back 40, you’re usually going to haul your off-road machine to the entry trail before climbing in.

Cub Cadet showcased its Challenger 400 series utility vehicle at the Green Industry & Equipment Expo last month in Louisville. A major perk of this machine is that it is designed to fit on the bed of a standard pickup truck.

“Put a set of ramps on, and you can get this thing anywhere you want to go, even on shorter-bed full-sized trucks,” the representative at the Cub Cadet booth said.

Because of its width, it even fits between the posts on an ATV trail, which are 50 inches in many places. Currently, it’s only available in a 4×2 version, but the 4×4 will be coming out in the spring.

The company had several other UTVs on display, including versions that come fully compliant with local ordinances, such as appropriate lighting — features that are great when you’re in crummy weather or letting your 16-year-old take it for a spin for the first time. Many of the vehicles are built to be amenable to various upgrades, such as plow packages.

“The nice thing about these is the ability to add accessories,” the rep said. “We integrated the roof so that you can run all the wiring for lights through it. On the back, you can include expansion rods, a gun boot, a chainsaw boot, a spare-tire holder, you name it, anything to carry tools around and still have the bed completely free.”

Zero-turn mowers

The first thing that’ll jump out at you in the zero-turn mower lineup that Cub Cadet offers is the presence of a steering wheel, whereas most companies use adjustable lap bars to drive the machines. Yes, Cub Cadet has lap-bar models, but the steering wheels are part of their premium series, which are being gobbled up by what the company calls LAPOs, or large-area property owners.

“We’re selling a lot of Pro Z 100s and 500s to these kinds of folks,” he said.

The steering wheel, they said, will help you maintain a straight line and stability, particularly on hilly terrain, compared with using lap bars.

The landscape/large-property market has long been tough to break into, so Cub Cadet spent years perfecting the technology and design of the products, as well as putting the machines in the hands of landscapers to let them put them to the test. 

The feedback was great, and it helped reinforce the need for rugged 7-gauge decks and easy access to filters and and other key engine components, among other things. And, of course, lots of steel.

“It’s not going to break. Period,” the rep said.

Cub Cadet’s zero-turns use a wide tire rather than a more aggressive one (which may not be great for zero-turn mowers anyway) to help maintain traction. And, perhaps best of all, the seat on one of these is probably even be more comfortable that what you have right now in your truck.

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