We're the same age. Of your stable, which brands and models would you say would be the easiest to handle if you were using it as a tiller and as a sickle mower?
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I like the pedal controlled hydrostatic on my large frame Bolens, and my old Fords made by Jacobsen. The lever controlled Allis Chalmers/Simplicitys, Case, Cub Cadet, Sears, and Wheelhorses are good if you are continually moving(the pedal controll is great for stop and go work). I plowed my driveway with a Case 222 today. When pushing into a pile I have to work two levers at the same time. With pedal control you can keep one hand on the wheel. I've got to resurrect my Bolens soon.
Your best plan is to get peoples' opinions and try machines for yourself. See what you are most comfortable with. That may mean waiting until next spring and going to some tractor events. I've lately been seeing better prices on GTs at the shows than on CL. Some guys may let you try out their GTs to let you get a feel. I will warn you that the sickle mower is a scarce attachment and they have gotten expensive. In 20 years collecting, I have two for ride-ons and 3 for walkbehinds. Another option that just occured to me is the "Trailblazer" sickle mower by Troy Bilt. They are a small sickle machine. But they are easy to operate. Everyone that I have seen has suffered from the handle bars being weak.
One thing not mentioned yet is that with older machines, expect to have to work on them. Many shops wont work on the older machines and those that do may charge extra. You have to evaluate your capabilities. I've worked on many machines over the years up to a large bulldozer. GTs are small and generally easy. They are my retirement hobby. Years ago I was asked why I played with GTs. My response was that I can't afford Corvettes. The truth is GTs give a faster reward too.
When you have questions, just ask. We are all in this together. Good Luck, Rick
Edited by boyscout862, December 19, 2017 - 11:23 PM.