The Performance Partner Since 1934

History and Design Features of Grasshopper Mowers

The Harnack Company is a manufacturer's distributor for Grasshopper mowing equipment. We wholesale Grasshopper outdoor power equipment to Grasshopper dealers in the state of Iowa. Grasshopper commercial mowers have been manufactured since 1969 by Moridge Manufacturing also known as the Grasshopper Company.

Moridge manufacturing started out in Moridge Kansas making farm equipment including tillage equipment and grain dryers. In 1969 they made their first zero-turning radius mower. It was made using a cone drive system but they soon abandoned that idea and used a hydostatic drive zero turning radius mower and so were one of the first if not the first to do so. Their first models used Kohler single cylinder engines.

One other unique feature is that the Grasshopper mower featured mower decks that were attached to the front of a power unit so they were called front-mount mowers -- as opposed to belly-mount or mid-mount mowers. This unique feature made the machine act like a large push mower that you could ride on. It made trimming easier and allowed the operator a great view of the area being mowed. Also allowing the operator to push the mower under low hanging branches without getting brushed in the face or catching your hair in it. You could also mow under split-rail fences and trim closer to certain objects than using a standard under-slung mower.

One of the disadvantages of a front-mount mower is that traction can be compromised in certain hilly conditions. Driving a front mount mower uphill can result in loss of traction and spinning. If you back up the hill traction is excellent. It is the reverse of a garden tractor or rear engine rider which can drive uphill easily but has trouble backing up a hill. To overcome this, Grasshopper came out with a traction kit around the mid 1980's. It was a spring system to pull weight from the mower deck and add it to the drive tires so the Grasshopper tractor could drive the front mount mower easily uphill. This resulted in greatly improved ability to mow ditches and steep slopes. In the mid to late 90's the Grasshopper Company offered bar tread tires to further enhance traction capabilities on slopes. Part of this was in response to the increasing use of collection systems or baggers as they are more popularly known. When a bagger or collection system is added to a Grasshopper mower, the traction characteristics change again so that when the bagging system is full traction is lowered because of the additional weight on the rear of the machine. The bar tire option on a Grasshopper tractor(or power unit) greatly increases the traction needed to drive uphill when the bagger is full.

One option on a Grasshopper mower that is necessary when using a collection system or bagger are the optional tail wheels offered. When a collection system is full, the additonal weight can cause the rear wheel to push into the ground in soft conditions. More flotation is needed. Grasshopper mowers can easily be converted to allow for this by adding oscillating wide stance rear wheels(2 tires), narrow fork dual rear wheels(2 tires), or oscillating wide dual-fork rear wheels(4 tires). On liquid cooled engines on Grasshopper mowers, the dual wheels are standard. It is a matter of deciding if conditions warrant wide or narrow configurations or if 4 tires are needed, then the wide-stance wheels are the only way to go.

Grasshopper front mount tractors(power units) and mowers have many attachments that are available. Since Grasshoppers are PTO driven it is easy to change implements in a matter of minutes. Grasshopper's QuikConverter quick attach system lets you change attachments in a matter of minutes with no belts to change(except for the Vac Drive on the collection systems). Some of the attachments available include the DuraMax mower decks, Snowblowers(snowthrowers) Rotary Sweepster brooms, Dozer Blades(including a V-plow snow blade) Cabs, Shielded Sprayers, Dethatchers, turf Aerators called the Aera-vator, Edgers which attach to the mower decks, Bedshapers which aid in landscaping for professional landscaping results, Remote Vacs which go hand-in-hand with the Baggers/collections systems, Turbine Blowers (which are the Incredible Hulks of backpack blowers or handheld blowers). Grasshopper mower attachments are designed and built for commercial use by professionals who want only the highest quality equipment to work with everyday. Durability is Grasshopper's strong suit.

The PowerFold Mower Deck is one of the latest developments by the Grasshopper Company to grab the attention of commercial mower users. It is the one option that seems to just sell the machine. This option allows the user to raise the frontmount mower deck to a nearly vertical position for maintenance and cleaning with the flip of a switch. Power fold makes maintenance so easy many users would never consider a midmount mower. The mower deck can be raised by the aid of an electric linear actuator in a matter of seconds. This also controls mowing height. The mower deck is easily set to the desired cutting height by using spacers (which are easily flipped in and out) which are part the actuator. The mower deck will stop in the same consistent position each time the height is changed or the mower deck raised for maintenance.

Grasshopper mowers come in different series models. 100, 200, 300, 400, 600, 700 and 900 series mowers are all different. 100 through 400 series Grasshopper mowers are all midmount mowers. The 120 and 120K Grasshoppers are smaller mowers(41 and 48 inch mowers) to get in smaller areas and to allow a lower price point machine for some consumer applications. 200 series Grasshoppers are air cooled commercial midmount units that go up to 72 inch mowing widths, 300 series Grasshopper mowers are liquid-cooled mowers that offer more options including hydraulic lift. 400 series Grasshopper mowers are the top of the line that feature liquid-cooled engines, hydraulic lift, deluxe cup holder,higher ground speed and filter minder as standard equipment. These also are offered up to 72 inch cutting widths.

600 series Grasshopper mowers are designed for the consumer that wants a commercial quality mower in an out-front design. Deck sizes from 44 to 52 inches are available. 700 series Grasshopper mowers offer both air and liquid cooled power plants(Kohler, Kawasaki, and Kubota engines) that can be fitted with mower decks from 48 to 72 inches in width. They come standard with ROPS roll-over protection. 900 series Grasshoppers are the top of the line liquid-cooled mowers that are designed for the commercial user that wants only the best. Standard features are similar to the 400 series midmount units.

See our option finder to see what attachments and options are available for the particular tractor that fits your needs.

You can also play with building your own Grasshopper mower with all the features you would like. My Grasshopper Mower takes you through all the options available for any Grasshopper power unit you choose. You can choose attachments, attachment options, power unit options, and collection systems available for any Front mount or Mid mount Grasshopper.