GIE+EXPO 2011 recap

By Steve Noe

Following is an in-depth look at many of the major happenings at the 2011 Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO), which took place at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center Oct. 27-29.

Ariens Company’s John Horn presents Gravely’s new Pro-Turn 460 on the New Products Arena stage. (Photo by Steve Noe)Ariens delivers comfort with new Gravely mower

With an inviting, plush, leather, reclining chair on the New Products Arena stage, Ariens Company rolled out something equally comfortable — the Gravely Pro-Turn 460 commercial zero-turn mower. Part of the Gravely Pro-Turn 400 XDZ Series, the Pro-Turn 460 features the industry’s first air-suspension seat, along with a new effortless deck lift.

“Comfort has just gone commercial,” proclaimed John Horn, vice president of sales — Ariens Wholegoods.

The newest addition to Gravely’s line of Pro-Turn commercial mowers, the Pro-Turn 400 features the aforementioned air-suspension seat with added seat isolation to provide a smooth, comfortable ride for all-day operation. The air pressure can be adjusted with the touch of a button and the comfort foam feels more like an office chair than a standard mower seat. The seat rides smoothly over rough terrain, allowing faster mowing speeds and increased productivity. A rubber isolated foot platform also minimizes vibration for a more comfortable ride.

The seven-gauge fabricated and welded X-Factor Deck features an all-new deck lift system. Minimal force is required to raise and lower the deck, reducing operator fatigue, especially for operators who manually float the deck over the terrain. Combined with the dial-adjust height-of-cut system, the Pro-Turn 400 makes changing cutting height simple and easy to learn. The dial system is faster than pin height-of-cut selectors on other decks.

Fully adjustable control handles allow the operator to fine-tune the settings for an optimum ergonomic position. The arms accommodate any size operator and flip open, making entering and exiting the cockpit more accessible. The ability to customize the mower for different users provides all-around comfort.

The Pro-Turn 400 models are available with a 52-, 60-, 66- or 72-inch deck, as well as a variety of engine options (gas, diesel, EFI, propane) from 24.5 to 31 hp. Each gas and diesel mower has a 13.4-gallon fuel capacity.

In addition to the Pro-Turn 400, Ariens Company introduced the Gravely Pro-Walk 61 mower with a 23-hp. Kawasaki engine and 61-inch cutting width (see November 2011 OPE, page 22). The company announced the availability of a rear-discharge deck option on the Gravely Pro-Master 260 (see page 29 in this issue of OPE) and several upgrades to its ZT line, including an improved height-of-cut selector, deck washout port and sliding seat adjustment. Gravely’s ZT mowers are available in a 34-, 42- and 50-inch deck sizes and are ideal for residential properties. The ZT upgrades provide more efficient and productive performance, while enhancing usability and operator comfort.

Ariens also expanded its Chore Products line with two new products: the Gravely Thatch-O-Matic power rake with tine reels, as well as the Gravely Trailette tow-behind lawn sweeper with a 36-inch sweeping width, 10-cubic-foot capacity and solid-bottomed basket.

In addition, Ariens Company completely updated its 2011-2012 Sno-Thro lineup, integrating more operator-friendly features, upgrading all models to a cast-iron gear case, and backing the products with a five-year warranty.

For more information, visit

Mechanic In A Bottle Gasoline Test Kit

B3C introduces gasoline test kit

B3C Fuel Solutions presented the first complete fuel diagnostic kit that quickly identifies fuel-related problems. The new Mechanic In A Bottle Gasoline Test Kit is designed to give you and your customers a complete understanding of fuel quality and an education about the effects of ethanol.

The kit includes the following seven easy fuel tests that can be performed to identify ethanol fuel-related problems, quickly diagnose repairs, and end warranty disputes:

1. Gas Quality Test Swabs: quickly test fuel quality and level of decay of 2- and 4-cycle gasoline that contains ethanol and determine if the fuel is fresh, stale, or bad

2. 2-Cycle Oil Indicator Test: indicates the amount of oil present in a 2-cycle gas/oil mixture

3. Diesel Fuel Quality Test: determines the quality of diesel fuel

4. 2- and 4-Cycle Gas Test: determines the quality of non-ethanol fuel (highly sensitive test)

5. Phase Separation Test: detects phase-separated ethanol-blended gasoline and provides immediate results to show customers

6. Oil Quality Test: illustrates why customers should change their oil more frequently

7. Bound Water Test: indicates the amount of water present, prior to phase separation

This kit allows you to become the “expert” in fuel-related issues while providing a higher service level to your customers. The tests also provide third-party verification as to why a warranty should or should not be submitted to the manufacturer, helping resolve conflicts while educating customers. This is powerful when combined with B3C’s POS material such as its ethanol education and “Test Your Gas” poster you receive as a B3C Authorized Dealer.

For details on becoming a B3C Authorized Dealer, contact your local distributor, visit, or call (843) 347-0482.

Billy Goat Z Force blower

Billy Goat overseeder

Billy Goat BC2600 Series brushcutterBilly Goat unveils easy-to-use products

With ease of use in mind, Billy Goat introduced three innovative products — a Z Force blower, a self-propelled overseeder and a hydrostatic brushcutter.

“In everything that we set out to do, whether it be a brand-new product or the re-introduction of an existing product,” said Billy Goat President Will Coates, “ease of use is exceptionally important because you’ve got language barriers, you’ve got people who don’t want to read manuals, you’ve got people who are temporary or seasonal hires. So, the key is for a short-line seasonal product to be able to make sure that the users of your equipment are going to be able to easily understand how to use it and apply it with the minimal amount of training or effort.”

The Z Force blower quickly attaches to any major zero-turn mower via standard heavy-duty JRCO mounting bracket. With a 360-degree-rotational, 4-inch-diameter, rubber discharge, the Z Force blower can divert air in any direction with the tap of a foot on the magnetically mounted pedal, providing rapid fall leaf and sidewalk cleanup. The pivoting throttle control handle pivots toward the operator during operation for easy reach and comfort, and it pivots away from the operator when not in use to provide the operator with easy entry and exit of the mower. Plus, the entire unit pivots up and down on rear quick attach, so the unit floats with terrain changes. Other features include 2 pins, a kickstand and rear-mounted housing handle for quick and easy connect and disconnect; a 13-hp. Honda or Subaru engine with 16-blade composite fan technology for plenty of power and output; heavy-duty caster wheels for stability; and a wrap-around steel safety guard for added protection when working around trees and other objects.

The new self-propelled overseeder reduces fatigue associated with pushing, and it features intuitive forward and reverse operator controls. The unit is 22 inches wide with an exclusive 11-blade slicing reel that floats along the contour of the ground, increasing seed-to-soil contact and improving germination rates. The unit comes standard with a 30-pound seed box that is generously elevated above the turf to eliminate any clogging that may occur from moisture. Billy Goat’s exclusive Auto Drop system automatically starts and stops seed drop with reel engagement and disengagement, conserving seed. Infinite depth adjustment of the slicer blades promotes longer blade life, and seed settings are found on board for operator convenience.

Billy Goat also extended its Outback brushcutter line with a hydrostatic unit with no shifting required. The new BC2600 Series brushcutter comes standard with Tuff Torq hydrostatic transmissions, featuring Enhanced Traction Control (ETC) and pivoting deck with return to neutral. The hydrostatic transaxle with ETC is fully automatic, sensing when the rear wheel starts to spin, locking the wheel, giving it positive forward traction. The BC2600 Series brushcutter offers excellent traction in wet or uneven conditions. Engineered to glide over uneven terrain, the pivoting deck hugs the ground for a better cut. This minimizes scalping and improves traction by keeping the weight of the machine on its drive wheels. Ergonomically angled control handles with padded grips offer comfort and protection. Operators never need to take their hands off the machine to shift gears. They can feather forward and reverse directly from the operator controls.

For more information, visit

A close-up view of the Vanguard Power Code

Vanguard Power Code smart phone menu display

Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power introduces Vanguard Power Code

Continuing its commitment to minimizing equipment downtime, Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power recently announced the introduction of the Power Code quick response (QR) code to its Vanguard single-cylinder and V-twin engines.

The first of its kind in the industry, a Vanguard Power Code is a square barcode located on the engine that, after being scanned with a smart phone’s barcode reader, directs the user to an array of important information for that specific engine model. Most notably, the Vanguard Power Code will provide the equipment operator with troubleshooting information especially suited for in-field support.

“For turf and construction professionals, equipment downtime on the jobsite causes frustration and costs money,” said Dan Roche, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power. “The Vanguard Power Code gets immediate information directly to the operator, regardless of where they are located, so they can get back to work quickly. That means fewer trips back to the shop and more projects done on-time.”

In addition to jobsite troubleshooting guidelines, other highlights of the Vanguard Power Code include:

Dealer locator — via GPS or zip-code search
FAQs — includes answers to operation and maintenance questions
Parts lists — common replacement parts for the specific engine
Recommended maintenance instructions and schedules — includes oil recommendations
Advanced troubleshooting information — for more technical engine repairs at the shop
Owner’s manuals — by request or PDF download to the user’s phone
Language preference — All Vanguard Power Codes will have information available in English or Spanish

Vanguard Power Codes will be available on engines manufactured beginning in January 2012.

For more information about Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power, visit

Core Outdoor Power launches GasLess line

Core Outdoor Power, a manufacturer of GasLess outdoor power products and equipment, introduced an innovative line of emission-free, handheld power equipment for the discerning homeowner and commercial markets at GIE+EXPO 2011. Specifically, the Ronan, Mont.-based company showcased its environmentally friendly grass trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers, lawn mowers and backpack blowers.

Core Outdoor Power’s CGT400 trimmerThese GasLess products look to disrupt the market for outdoor power equipment by creating unparalleled advantages over traditional gasoline-powered products. Reliable and lightweight, these products run just as long as a tank of gas, but eliminate the common maintenance and hassles that come with gas-powered engines. CORE-powered products also offer unique benefits in areas where noise and emission standards apply, as they generate very little noise and zero emissions. They maintain these distinctive advantages without sacrificing power and have the ability to provide as much torque as professional-grade gas engines.  

Core Outdoor Power’s product line features a new motor that utilizes patented technology known as Conductor Optimized Rotary Energy (CORE). The technology eliminates wire windings and iron laminations found in traditional electric motors and replaces them with a printed circuit board stator that cooperates with permanent magnet rotors to optimize the generated power. The use of CORE motors in these products enables them to produce a high-torque rotary motion at very high-efficiency levels, which leads to longer run times and excellent performance.

“We have dedicated the past several years to perfecting this technology and are confident that it will revolutionize the outdoor power equipment industry,” said Mark Bubert, a spokesman for Core Outdoor Power. “We believe that the market has been waiting a long time for an emission-free, quiet but powerful line of outdoor power equipment and that our products can fill that void.”

In the spring of 2012, Core will debut the CGT400 trimmer, the first component in the GasLess family of products. At the heart of the trimmer lies the wireless CORE motor, which allows for all of the unique advantages that come with CORE Technology. Additional features of the trimmer include instant trigger start, light weight, ergonomic soft-grip handles, great balance, no vibration, and run times equivalent to a tank of gas. Following the trimmer, Core Outdoor Power will launch GasLess hedge trimmers, handheld blowers and backpack blowers in mid 2012, and follow them in 2013 with the first wheeled product using CORE Technology, a self-propelled, walk-behind lawn mower.

For more information, visit

R Power Bar

Excel Industries expands BigDog Mowers product line

Excel Industries, Inc., announced the expansion of its BigDog Mowers product line by introducing four products, including the R Power Bar.

“I am very excited about the new BigDog models coming into production, especially the high-performing R Diablo and X Diablo,” said Adam Mullet, director of marketing. “We are also introducing a new innovative alternative to twin-lever steering. Power Bar Steering offers users easier, more precise control over the mower and a solid handle to hold on to. We have found the Power Bar Steering is particularly attractive to first-time buyers and to those who require one-hand operation.”

The new product offerings were as follows:

A Series: The new A Series brings a high-end residential unit to the BigDog product line. With welded steel deck sizes starting at 36 inches, the BigDog A will fit through gates and other tight spaces in even the smallest of yards. Featuring dependable Kawasaki engines, this machine is for discriminating homeowners or the commercial cutters needing to add a more versatile mower to their fleet.

R Power Bar: The R Power Bar bridges the gap between traditional steering-wheeled mowers and twin-lever machines. This easy-to-use steering system allows users of any skill level to feel comfortable operating a zero-turn mower.

R Diablo: The R Diablo features a commercial-grade Kawasaki engine with external air cleaner, commercial-duty ZT 3400 transmissions and 22-inch tires, making this machine one of the toughest compact mowers on the market. This mower is for the homeowner who wants to be top dog on the block or the commercial cutter wanting a tough, dependable mower.

X Diablo: The X Diablo is for the commercial cutter who wants the biggest, toughest, fastest BigDog on the market. This machine boasts a larger, heavy-duty frame and a dependable Kawasaki engine that powers the mower to 14 mph.

“BigDog Mowers now offers a complete line of zero-turn mowers from the compact C Series to the top-of-the-line, 14-mph X Diablo,” added Mullet. “All BigDog mowers offer an extreme value, making this product line very competitive in the marketplace.”

For more information on BigDog Mowers or its products, visit

Exmark 30-inch Stand-on Aerator
Exmark 24-inch Walk-Behind Aerator

Exmark 20-inch Slicer Seeder
Exmark 18-inch Turf RakeExmark adds turf management products

Exmark, the Beatrice, Neb.-based manufacturer of mowers for lawn care professionals, announced that it is expanding its equipment line to include five commercial-grade turf management products: three aerators, a slicer seeder and a turf rake. Available for sale starting in the spring of 2012, these products represent part of Exmark President Rick Olson’s larger vision for the company and its future.

“Our customers expressed their desire for Exmark to offer an even broader range of commercial products,” shared Olson. “They expect to experience the same performance, service and support as they have with our commercial-grade cutting equipment — and we are confident they will.”

With the landscape pro at the core of Exmark’s vision, Olson believes these new products represent a logical extension for the Exmark brand. In addition to their premium quality, these products contain technology that will help improve landscape customers’ productivity and bottom line.

“These new products will follow the blueprint for success just as our commercial mowers have,” said Olson. “The products also provide a spring board for future product line extensions.”

The aerators will be available in a 21-inch S-Series single hydro, a 24-inch X-Series dual hydro and a 30-inch Stand-on. Exmark’s aerators are designed to be easy to maneuver and operate. The split tines allow for easier turning and reversibility, and they are self-cleaning and easy to replace.

Another product within the turf management line is the 20-inch Slicer Seeder. The seeders have wide, stable bases that deliver hillside stability and even cutting patterns. Each product has verticutting reels to improve turf density and help control thatch, weeds and weed grasses.

Exmark’s 18-inch Turf Rake is the fifth product within the turf management line. The lightweight, intuitive turf rake includes 24 flail blades that remove heavy thatch and bring increased oxygen and sunlight to the turf.

Although the addition of turf management broadens Exmark’s business services, the company will continue to focus its efforts on advancing the core landscaping products: mowers. It backed up that commitment by unveiling three new models — the 60-inch Pioneer S-Series, 60-inch Vantage and a 50-inch Quest S-Series — all of which will be available to customers in 2012.

To follow the Exmark conversation, visit

Ferris EZ Dump XLFerris and Snapper Pro tout new grass collection system

A new grass collection system for Ferris and Snapper Pro branded mowers is now available for commercial mower users who want to quickly and easily collect and dump grass, leaves and debris.

The EZ Dump XL collection system is built around a tough, high-volume, side-panel air induction system that reduces clogging and produces 27-percent more air volume than conventional collection systems. The 14-cubic-foot hopper is specially lined to ensure that all material is dumped each time for increased productivity. To dump material, operators simply squeeze the EZ Dump XL’s handle and pull up the hopper directly from their seat. The EZ Dump XL is now available on the Ferris IS 3100Z, as well as the Snapper Pro S200xt, S200xtp and S800x.

In addition, the new Briggs & Stratton Commercial Turf Series engine will be added to the following mid-mount zero-turn mowers for model year 2012: the Ferris IS 3100Z, IS 2000Z and IS 1500Z, as well as the Snapper Pro S150xt and S200xt.

For additional information, visit and

Generac LP3250 portable propane generatorGenerac unveils LP-fueled portable generator

Generac Power Systems continued its innovation in environmentally conscious power solutions with the introduction of the LP3250 portable propane generator.

“Propane is an eco-friendly alternative to standard gasoline,” said Lauren Pettit, product manager, Generac. “The Generac LP3250 portable generator is the first generator on the market to combine the benefits of environmentally-friendly propane with an easy-to-transport design.”

With other propane-fueled portable generators on the market, the tank has to be carried and placed to the side of the generator when in use. The Generac LP3250 solves this problem by storing the tank within its dolly-style frame, eliminating the need to carry the tank separately and manage the awkward fuel line, making the unit one of the most maneuverable portable generators on the market. The LP3250 is ideal for outdoor events, tailgating, camping or jobsite use, and can even be used around the home for projects or for emergency backup power.

According to Pettit, liquid propane fuel is readily available — even during widespread power outages when gasoline stations might be inoperative — and can be stored indefinitely without deterioration. Additionally, as opposed to gasoline, liquid propane is biodegradable, and dissipates into the atmosphere instead of spilling. Consistent with Generac’s commitment to green innovation, the LP3250 portable generator emits fewer carbon dioxide emissions and toxic pollutants than comparable gasoline-powered portables.

Additional features of the LP3250 portable generator include integrated fuel tank holder that secures a 20-pound liquid propane fuel tank (not included) to the unit, 9.5-hour run time with a 20-pound tank, dolly-style handles and a low grab bar to increase maneuverability, hardened-steel tube cradle, low-oil pressure protection, covered outlets, and GFCI outlet and circuit breaker

To learn more about the Generac LP3250, visit

General Transmissions introduces Element V Automatic transmission lineup with V-Motion Technology

General Transmissions announced the introduction of a line of Element V Automatic CVT transmissions featuring the new, technology-rich V-Motion Speed Variation System.

RS 800PFour new Element V models, designed for riding mowers and outdoor power equipment, fill a price and performance gap between fixed-gear and hydrostatic transmissions. With Element V, OEMs can offer automatic-transmission appeal and convenience at competitive pricing — with the added benefits of high fuel efficiency, exceptional torque, smooth function, long life, no maintenance and user-friendly operation.

The new Element V models are the RT 300, RT 400, RS 800P and RS 800F. This comprehensive line provides a range of options to meet the different transmission demands of customers around the globe.

“We have been offering CVT solutions for mowers, snow throwers and ride-ons for several years,” said GT General Manager Wouter Barendrecht. “This experience has allowed us to develop Element V and offer a range of tractor transmission options that allows the customer to select exactly the right transmission for his application.”

Element V transmissions offer many advantages. Glass-fiber composite housings resist impact and temperature extremes and, unlike conventional metal housings, will never rust or corrode. With fewer parts and a more efficient design than hydrostatic transmissions, Element V products are simpler, cooler running, and more durable. It offers smooth shift-free function throughout the power range. Perhaps most important, Element V’s competitive price and user-friendly operation bring compelling selling points to a new price range.

CVT technology is well proven and highly successful in powersports and automotive applications, as well as manufacturing, military, construction and farm implement use. The new Element V transmission, with its advanced V-Motion Speed Variation System, makes the CVT ideal for lawn care, landscaping and grounds maintenance equipment, where reliability, productivity and long service life are key.

Plus, Element V transmissions come from General Transmissions, a company well known for innovative, real-world solutions to customer needs and market demands. “Our company is deeply rooted in quality and service, and we’ve been able to maintain that by having great relationships with customers,” said Robert Blanchard, founder and CEO of General Transmissions. “Our customers continue to bring new needs and challenges to the table, and we’ve built our business, and our name, by working together to create unique and custom solutions to meet those ever-changing requests.”

For more information, visit

Grasshopper fields team of turf experts

Sporting a football theme for its indoor and outdoor booths of “More yards. Less downs.” the Grasshopper Company hosted four turf enthusiasts and Grasshopper users led by legendary NFL coach Sam Wyche, who was available for photos, autographs and questions. He was joined by Hollis Malone of Gaylord Oryland Hotel & Convention Center, as well as Mike Stewart Sr. and Mike Stewart Jr. of Stewcare.

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