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Thread: Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

  1. #1

    Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

    Finally decided to get a self propelled mower for the trim work around the yard, and to handle some tall brushy stuff which is constantly trying to invade the perimeter. I didnt want a regular 21", that would not handle the invasion without stalling. Started looking at walk behind brush cutters, which would not handle the finishing part. Than I started looking at the bigger Ariens & Toro Timesaver, impressive but pricy. So-it was off to CL. Looked at a bunch that were overpriced for the beatings they had taken over the years, and the rusted out hunks whose pics on CL must have been taken years prior to the posting.
    My patience paid off, kept checking the listings and found this Johnson Big Wheel 26" commercial mower. I had never heard of them, and was expecting the usual junk when I went to look at it. What a surprise! Its got a 12HP Industrial Briggs, and started on the second pull. The only things that needed immediate attention are a flat tire and dry rotted gas line. I got it home, could not wait to try it so I headed out into the back and aimed it at 12" high wet grass. Blew through it with no problem, flat tire and all! The previous owner also included a box of new spare parts, including blades that have a D shaped hole in the middle. It truly is a Rube Goldberg looking thing, with a tubular frame surrounding the mower and supporting the engine. The deck looks to be 12 gauge, and has no holes.
    The owners manual indicates it was purchased new in 2004, the company is now defunct.
    Is anyone on the forum familiar with these, or presently owning one? Heres some pics.
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  2. #2
    Definitely looks different I haven't seen a walk behind where the engine is not over the deck.

  3. #3

    Re: Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

    That is one cool-looking mower!! Looks like you got a real gem!

  4. #4

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    Nov 2011

    Re: Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

    Looks very similar to the old Yazoo mowers of that style.
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  5. #5

    Re: Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

    Quote Originally Posted by midnite rider View Post
    Looks very similar to the old Yazoo mowers of that style.
    Yeah, very. I found an old youtube video put out by Yazoo. Also, when paging thru a Northern Tool catalog I see that the almost exact thing is made by a company named Sarlo now.

  6. #6

    Re: Johnson Big Wheel mower ?

    Yep, I bought one of their 24-inchers new in 2003. It uses a B&S 6.5hp Intek Edge engine. I use my Big Wheel to cut my 0.7-acre home lawn. Mine is non-self-propelled and weighs 135 pounds. But thanks to the big wheels, it doesn't feel heavy; fortunately, my lawn is flat.

    I needed something with big pneumatic wheels because my backyard's terrain was so uneven it was kicking the crap out of small-wheeled mowers.

    And ever since I first saw a Yazoo as a 13-year-old, I wanted a mower with a belt-driven blade so that the shaft wouldn't bend if I hit a rock. (I'm extremely risk-averse.)

    I've always wondered how the Johnson Big Wheel compares with the Sarlo, the Billy Goat, and the Red-something. I passed on the Sarlo because the Johnson was a bit narrower for the same cutting width.

    You can find a 2003 thread of mine on another forum by searching for "MacKissic replies about the Johnson Big Wheel".

    My Johnson Big Wheel hasn't given me a single problem. It starts easily and feels unbelievably solid. Not only is it my favorite lawnmower I've ever owned; it's one of my favorite things I've ever owned! This may sound crazy, but every moment I'm using it, I feel relaxed and happy. And it looks awesome!

    Unfortunately, I've found it impossible to buy spare blades. Nothing else seems to fit. My lower lawnmower repair shop looked through the Oregon blade catalog and agreed that Oregon doesn't make a blade designed for my mower's flat-sided round shaft. A few months after buying the mower, I ordered two spares from MacKissic; the company had no more and had to set up its machine to make more! If anyone knows of a 24-inch blade that will work, please let me know!

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