Stihl Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Review


Conquer Untamed Lawns and Landscapes with the Stihl RZ 760i Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Even though we’re not quite in peak mowing season here in Central Florida, seeing the Stihl RZ 760i Zero-Turn Lawn Mower roll off the trailer got us pretty excited. Seeing as how this is Stihl’s first commercial-grade zero-turn mower, I’m excited to put it to the test as we reclaim a neighbor’s overgrown property!


Pros

  • Excellent cutting power
  • Smooth ride
  • Increased service interval
  • Responsive controls
  • Comfortable
  • Made in the USA

Cons

Stihl Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Performance

Stihl Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
  • Horsepower: 28 hp.
  • Displacement: 810 cc
  • Top Speed: 10 mph (forward), 5 mph (reverse)
  • Cutting Height: 1.5-5 in.
  • Number of Blades: 3
  • Blade Type: Marbain hardened

Power House

At its heart, The Stihl RZ 760i is powered by a beefy Vanguard 28 hp, 810cc engine. It has a top speed of 10 mph in forward and 5 mph in reverse. The controls are very smooth and there’s virtually no play in the lap bars, making it easy to maneuver around obstacles and landscaping.

The Vanguard engine powers three high-mass Marbain hardened blades. Stihl designed this mower with a dual-belt drive to help increase belt life and reduce maintenance costs.

Vanguard Oil Guard System

Vanguard Oil Guard SystemVanguard Oil Guard System

Stihl offers oil guard technology on the Vanguard 810cc model. The oil is stored away from the engine sump, protecting it from thermal breakdown. The 5-quart oil reservoir is located right behind the seat, where it can air cool and more easily dissipate heat. This extends the oil change interval from the typical 100 hours to 500 hours, which is a huge benefit for busy landscaping crews.

Oil changes are easy, too. Just open the drain tube located near the bottom of the frame, remove and replace the automotive style cartridge filter, and refill with 15W-50 synthetic oil. The wide-mouth opening also supports 5-quart oil bottles, with no funnel required.

Our Cutting Experience

It’s always exciting when we get a new zero turn mower around the shop because it means I get to spend some time zipping around the property. Even though we’re not exactly in peak growing season, one of our close neighbors had fortunately (for us) been unable to mow in quite some time due to a breakdown. This gave us a great opportunity to help a friend in need and reclaim an overgrown lawn.

Stihl Zero Turn Lawn MowerStihl Zero Turn Lawn Mower

I set the deck height to 3-1/2 inches and got to work on the mixed Bahiagrass and St. Augustine…I affectionately refer to it as “St.Bahiagrass”. Ordinarily, when dealing with overgrowth, I’d cut the yard twice so the mower wouldn’t bog down, but the RZ 760i handled the tall grass like a champ. This powerful zero turn mower left a clean, even cut in its wake and left very few stickups.

The biggest surprise was the sheer power of this mower. Even at full speed, it maintained RPMs and cut quality. I did have to slow down a few times in the thickest areas, but overall, it performed well.

The Back 40

Kicking things up a notch, I set the deck height to 5 inches and got to work on the property owner’s back pasture. The grass was significantly higher, nearly a foot in some places, so I had to cut quite a bit slower during this portion. In spite of the more demanding cut, the mower handled it quite well. Admittedly, it didn’t produce the smoothest cut, but then again, this was pushing the upper limits in terms of performance.

Stihl Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Design Notes

Stihl RZ 760iStihl RZ 760i
  • Model: Stihl RZ 760i
  • Power Source: Vanguard EFI with Oil Guard
  • Deck Width: 60 in.
  • Fuel Capacity: 11 gal.
  • Transmission: Hydro-Gear ZT-4400
  • Deck Construction: Fabricated
  • Cut Height Options: 13
  • Front Tires: 13 x 6.5-6 in.
  • Rear Tires: 24 x 12-12 in.
  • Dry Weight: 1,406 lbs.

Creature Comforts

This mower comes equipped with a plush, high-back seat and two folding armrests. The seat back wrapped nicely around my torso and did a great job of “holding” me in place while I mowed. The seat is adjustable forward and backward, and thanks to the soft suspension, there’s no need for an adjustable seat tensioner.

This mower comes with two cupholders, one of which will accept a larger tumbler, and two 3.15-amp USB ports so you can charge your devices while you mow.

Suspension

Coil over shocksCoil over shocks

As I mentioned already, this mower is arguably one of the most comfortable zero-turns I’ve ever used. A big part of that is due to the premium adjustable front and rear coil-over shocks. The result of this suspension system is the cutting deck floats almost independently of the mower, leading to a more consistent cut height. This especially matters when you encounter bumps or uneven terrain.

Moreover, the shocks provide an incredibly smooth riding experience, especially when traveling at top speed. During our testing, I often mowed between 7 and 10 mph. Ordinarily, when approaching uneven ground, I’d slow down a bit to compensate for the shock, but with the RZ 760i, it wasn’t necessary.

It goes beyond just the coil-over shocks. The 760i’s front independent suspension is equipped with upper and lower control arms to increase overall deck stability and improve the ride quality.

Deck Construction

Looking down at the business end, Stihl equipped this mower with a beefy fabricated 10-gauge steel deck. Additionally, there’s a 10-gauge doubler in the spindle area and 1/2-inch reinforcement plates on the leading edge. This is right in line with what I expect from a commercial-grade mower, plus it’ll last much longer than a stamped steel deck.

Deck and suspensionDeck and suspension

When it comes time for maintenance, the flip-up floor pan provides convenient access for cleaning and servicing the belts and pulleys.

Deck Height Adjustment

As with most Pro-focused mowers, Stihl opts for a foot-operated deck lift on the RZ 760i. With deck sizes 60 inches or smaller, many Pros prefer the simplicity of manual over hydraulic systems. The adjustable pedal lets you set the cut height between 1.5 and 5 inches in 1/4-inch increments.


deck height adjustmentdeck height adjustment

To adjust the heights, press the pedal forward until it locks in place. Then, set the magnetic cotter pin to your desired cut height. Last, depress the pedal, move the safety lever to the side, and slowly lower the deck.

Additional Features

  • Flip-up seat to access serviceable components
  • 2-position ROPS
  • Seat belt
  • LED headlights

Stihl Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Price

The Stihl RZ 760i lawn mower retails for $13,999. Stihl backs it with a limited warranty—3 years or 1,500 hours, whichever comes first. Keep an eye out for this mower at your local Stihl dealer.

The Bottom Line

After spending a some time in the cockpit, I can honestly say that it’s really easy to recommend the Stihl RZ 760i zero-turn lawn mower. The smooth ride, unique suspension, and confident cutting power allowed us to tackle an extremely overgrown lawn, leaving a spectacular result in our wake. Additionally, the extended maintenance schedule is a huge benefit and contributes greatly to this mower’s overall value. With comfort and cut quality high on our priority list, we’re giving this an enthusiastic thumbs up.


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