Lawn Mower Sulky Options

Mower Sulky Types

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of different types of lawn mower sulkies because we all know walking behind a walk behind mower is not really an option!

Am I right or am I right? 

To preface this article, I personally did walk behind my belt drive 36” Cub Cadet for 6 months on a daily basis before upgrading to a 52” hydro Exmark Turf Tracer. So, it certainly can be done, but it is not the most efficient way to mow grass professionally and is really not practical on larger properties.

I have experience using all 3 types of lawn mower sulkies. I categorize them into 3 general types based on their design.

Lawn Mower Sulky Types

  1. Single Wheel Sulky (Shop)
  2. Dual Wheel Sulky (Shop)
  3. Platform-Style Sulky (Shop)

Let’s look at each of these sulky types individually, and then we will compare them to each other. There are certainly pros and cons to each, and they are not all created equal!

1 Wheel Lawn Mower Sulky

1-Wheel Sulky 

Single or 1-wheel sulkies are a very common choice among lawn mowing companies. Like all sulkies, they are relatively simple when it comes to design and highly functional. 

All single wheel lawn mower sulkies share some common traits. These similarities include a mount to your mower, an arm that extends out to the platform the mower operator stands on, and a centrally located single wheel which is located under the platform the operator stands on.

Single Wheel Sulky Pros 

The good news is there is not a whole lot that can go wrong with a single wheel sulky, but that is true with all sulkies. Besides neglect or a terrible accident, issues you can possibly face include flat tires and worn bearings. Other possible issues are few, but they can be very frustrating and aren’t exactly a quick fix.

Single Wheel Sulky Cons

The bad news when it comes to 1-wheel sulkies is the dark stripe you get in your stripes as a result of that single wheel! To me, this is a deal breaker as that line absolutely drives me nuts. Not to mention it is exuding very high PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) on the soil it comes in contact with and definitely contributes to soil compaction when the soil is soft after a recent rain.

The more pressing issue with 1-wheel sulkies is the lawn mower operator’s safety and potential injury. 

What do I mean? The safety risk with single wheel sulkies is when operating a walk behind mower with a single wheel sulky on a hillside that is too steep to ride the sulky on. Anyone who has cut a decent amount of grass and is comfortable on their mower knows you will more than likely keep riding on the sulky until you simply cannot because the grade has gotten too steep.

At that point you will hop off and begin to walk behind your mower. But now you have this sulky awkwardly dangling between your feet! Attempting to raise the sulky up into its transport position and chain it into position can be seriously dangerous as your mower may not want to stay in place on the slope to allow you to do this.

Possible Injury From Single Wheel Sulky Use

There are short-term and long-term injuries a user should be aware of when operating a mower with a single wheel sulky.

Sulky Jackknifing

The short-term injury is probably obvious to some. It is jackknifing that can very literally shatter your ankle in the blink of an eye. There are a handful of sulkies that have solved this issue, but many do not have this feature and if you get the cheapest one you can find, it certainly will not. Even experienced mower operators will tell you if they are being honest that this is a very real possibility.

The long-term effect I feel many people are unaware of is permanent damage to your knees. I started my career in the lawn care industry working for a family owned local business that had been in business for 20 years before I was added to the team. They are the ones who informed me of this as they had numerous friends also in the industry who had one or both knees replaced after years of single wheel sulky mower operation. At least now you know and you do not have to let this happen to you! Platform style sulkies eliminate the constant back and forth shaking you experience with single and dual wheel sulkies.

2 Wheel Lawn Mower Sulky

 2-Wheel Sulky

Dual or 2-wheel sulkies are also a very common choice among professional lawn mowing companies. They're also very simple in design and they are almost identical to single wheel sulkies with the exception that instead of having a single wheel in between the mower operator’s feet on the platform he or she stands on, dual wheeled sulkies have a wheel on either side. 

Dual wheel sulkies solve a couple problems you face with single wheel sulkies and share a couple as well.

Dual Wheel Sulky Pros 

The benefits over single wheel sulkies is the fact that the 2 wheels cut the PSI the 1-wheel sulkies wheel exude on the soil in half. Twice as many wheels, half the PSI, that is pretty easy to understand. This also eliminates the dark line from the single wheel down the middle of your stripe, but depending on your mower's wheel base in comparison to your sulkies wheel base, it could put 2!  

Dual Wheel Sulky Cons

The 2-wheels do come with some disadvantages though too. You have twice as many wheels that can go flat and twice as many bearings that can wear out. This increases cost of ownership. 

You still have the same worries about jackknifing and still experiencing the same shaking back and forth which can and does lead to the need for knee replacement surgery.

Platform Style Velke

Platform-Style Sulky

The red-headed stepchild of lawn mower sulkies is the platform style sulkies. To my knowledge, there are only 2 options for these which is a major difference from wheeled sulkies where options are plentiful. The 2 types of platform style sulkies are the Proslide XT and GoSlide. Both are manufactured by Novae Corp.

Platform style sulkies are much less commonly seen being used by lawn care companies, but why is this?

The one and only reason I know is that the manufacturer doesn’t market them much, if at all, and that is the sole reason. Everyone I know who owns a Proslide XT or GoSlide absolutely loves them. Since we are an authorized dealer of both, I know personally 400+ happy platform style sulky users and would estimate 90% of them made the switch from a wheeled sulky at some point and have no intention of ever looking back.

The Best Lawn Mower Sulky

Is the Proslide XT the best lawn mower sulky option available? I would have to personally say yes as I have extensive experience using all 3 types. The company I worked for before starting my business had walk behind mowers with each type. I learned how to mow on wheeled sulkies. I became very used to them over the years.

When I started my lawn care company and bought that 1st hydro 52” Exmark Turf Tracer, I put a Proslide XT on it. That was my 1st experience with it. In fact, when the dealer asked me if I was and I quote, “Throwing a Proslide on it.” I didn’t even know what he was talking about! Dead serious. He gave me a crash course in the adjacent lot to his dealership and I was sold instantly.

In my 12 years of mowing grass daily during the growing season, I would have to say the Proslide XT is the best lawn mower sulky option there is today.

What’s The Difference Between The Proslide XT and GoSlide Sulky

The difference between the 2 platform style sulkies is actually pretty vast. The Proslide XT is more expensive than a GoSlide, although right in line with the quality of any wheeled sulky. And a lot cheaper than Kage Wheels (which I also have experience using).

In my opinion, the Proslide XT is the best option for a professional mowing company that is purchasing the best equipment to allow them to get the jobs done in the shortest period of time and get the best results. The reason for this is because the Proslide XT retracts up under the mower operator controls when the user steps off. The GoSlide needs to be chained up like the wheeled sulkies.

Exmark Turf Tracer with Proslide XT Sulky

iGoPro Tip: If you have a sulky of any type that chains up, try to fabricate something to streamline this process. Seconds wasted on a job turn into minutes and over the course of the season, turn into hours. Shaving minutes off jobs turns into profit left in your bank account at the end of the season!

Platform-Style Sulky Pros

The pros of using a platform style sulky include:

  1. No wheels that can go flat
  2. No bearing that can wear out
  3. No worries about your knees as it doesn’t shake
  4. No worries about jackknifing
  5. No worries about PSI
  6. No worries about unwanted lines

The platform you ride on actually acts as a striping kit. If you didn’t know, all a striping kit does is help lay the grass down in the direction the mower is traveling. Since the platform often covers the entire distance between your mower wheel base, it effectively does what a dedicated striping kit would do.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Proslide XT retracts when the user steps off. This fact alone makes it the best option as a dangling sulky between your feet is very dangerous on hillsides. 

Cons of Platform-Style Sulkies

This is honestly not a biased review of sulky options. There are a couple cons of platform style sulkies. The main one to me is the fact that the bottom of both the Proslide XT and GoSlide is made of plastic. It is not meant for use on pavement. At the end of the day, how big of a deal is this? Not that big of a deal. But that is the number one complaint you will hear. By the way, the people making this argument more than likely have never even tried it out!

Since there are no wheels, they can’t go flat! And they don’t have bearings, so they can’t wear out either. The trade off is gas springs and torsion springs on the Proslide. The GoSlide does not have either of these, making it the lowest cost of ownership of any sulky. Not to mention the fact that it is also one of the least expensive options out there of any sulky type. The truth is the plastic wear plate on the bottom will last for years upon years if you keep it on turf only.

Watch The Proslide XT Being Used On This Walk Behind Mower

Replacement Part Costs For Sulkies

Gas springs simply lose compression over time. There is nothing that can be done about that. If used properly, the gas springs last well over a season’s worth of mowing. And the same goes for the torsion springs. These two parts allow the Proslide XT to retract when the user steps off, so they are pretty important. What causes premature failure of these parts is solely improper operator use. Mainly ‘jumping’ off the Proslide XT and allowing it to slap back up against your mower. Simply treat it with respect and it will serve you well with minimal issues. 

Both replacement parts are relatively cheap when compared to wheels and bearings. They also are able to be installed in a fraction of the time. I personally would have a replacement gas spring and torsion spring set in each mowing truck. I had 3 mowing trucks out daily right before I sold my lawn care business in April 2018. Each truck had a 48” Snapper Pro SW25 with a Proslide XT on it and a replacement gas spring and torsion spring set in the truck. The crews could fix any issue within 5 minutes with a wrench, small flat head screwdriver, and pliers.

Sulky Options Conclusion

At the end of the day, it is really up to you. My advice would be to try to hop on a buddy's Proslide XT if possible and/or see if a dealer has a demo unit you could try it out on. Just remember, has the lowest price on Proslide XTs, GoSlides, and all their parts! Don’t pay more than you have to!

Which sulky fits your needs and budget?

#keepmakingmoney #lawnmowersulkies #sulkyoptions 

Ryan Sciamanna

Ryan is the owner and founder of Lawn Crack, LLC the parent company of iGoPro Lawn Supply. He has worked in almost every capacity within the lawn and landscape industry for small local companies, nationwide companies, and of course, owning his own lawn & landscape business which he sold in 2018 before starting selling lawn and garden products online. Learn more about Ryan by subscribing to the LawnCrack YouTube Channel.