We had the honor of receiving the Hustler Super 104 zero turn mower recently, so we can provide an in-depth hands-on review. If you haven’t heard of the Hustler Super 104, then let the name speak for itself. This is a 104-inch cutting behemoth. The Super 104 has the power, speed, and capacity to cut a full football field in minutes, as well as cut over 80-acres in an 8-hour day. If you have a long way to mow and a short time to do it, you may want to check out the Hustler Super 104.
That reminds me of the theme song to Smokey and The Bandit, Eastbound and Down (Jerry Reed) – “we’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there…” Okay, that’s stepping way back. I’m not that old to remember the first release, or maybe I am.
Editor’s Note: This review originally published on April 9, 2018.
While the Super 104 is not a brand new model, Hustler has done quite a few upgrades and refinements since it’s debut a few years back. We took another close-up look at the 104 while at the GIE Expo 2017 last October.
Hustler Super 104 Features
With the obvious 104-inch cutting swath out of the way, we can move on to all the supporting features that make this beast cut. The frame and deck stay in line with the heartbeat of the Super Z, using fabricated and welded steel. Keeping on the deck subject, to get this massive cut, and still fit on the trailer, we have to do some folding or tucking somewhere. Hustler includes two hydraulic rams that lift and lower the bat-wings. When locked into the travel position, the Hustler Super 104 zero turn will fit in just an 80-inch gap. When in the travel position, a cut-out switch keeps the blades, belts, and pulleys from spinning. In fact, any angle more than 15-degrees will cut power to the blades.
All Hands On Deck – But not Below
Taking a look at the left and right sides when the wings are up, it’s easy to notice the different color blades. To reach a cutting width of 104-inches, it takes a few blades. Five blades, to be exact. Two blades spin in one direction, and three others spin in the opposite direction. Hustler made it easy: Red spindles receive Red blades, and Black spindles receive Black blades. The Red blades are obviously the reverse-rotation blades.
Hustler made the Super 104 baffles below the deck adjustable, hence adding better vacuum and mulching ability. Additionally, adjusting the diverter and baffles can trim the rear-discharge debris in heavy cutting. Cutting height ranges from 1-inch to 5-1/2-inches. From 2 to 4-inch cut can be done by just changing the locator pins, from the driver seat. In order to scalp at 1″ or cut at five or more inches, the axles have to be moved for the wheels on the wings.
Pro Tip: If you ever wonder when it’s too long to mulch, this should help. Never mulch more than 1/3 of the total height. So, if you’re cutting 6-inches of turf down to 3-inches, don’t think you’re going to mulch, without a debris trail.
Chains, Springs, and Pulleys
Making a good deck is more than just…making a good deck. The Hustler Super 104 includes chains, springs, and Teflon strips to increase adjustability and durability. As belts stretch and wear, you lose tension on the belt. In order to keep things spinning properly, Hustler includes chains on the end of their deck springs. The springs pull tension on the pulleys, keeping the belts tight. As time goes on, you can just pull another link tighter on the chain, and the spring keeps the same tension.
The adjustable pulleys ride on Teflon strips, allowing for easier and better field of travel. The Teflon strips on the Hustler Super 104 cut down on any metal to metal contact, increasing durability on moving parts.
Power is delivered from a Vanguard big-block, in either the EFI or carb version. The carbed version of the Vanguard puts out 36-horsepower, while the EFI version squeaks out another horsepower at 37. Twin fuel tanks saddle-bagged on either side of the driver offer 12-gallon capacity in whole. Taking out the guess-work, the Hustler Super 104 control panel includes a digital hour-meter with twin fuel gauges labeled Left and Right.
If the fuel tanks look bigger than 6-gallons each – you can thank the EPA for this. Much of the tank is just wasted airspace where fuel cannot be stored. In typical Super Z fashion, hydraulic pumps drive each wheel, providing a top cutting speed of 11mph. A little birdie told us that it’s actually capable of 12mph, but you didn’t hear that. We haven’t broken out the GPS yet, but we may, very soon.
Super 104 Features Continued
A large aluminum radiator sits atop the Vanguard motor cooling the hydraulic fluid. The design and location of this hydraulic cooler are very intentional. An electric fan pulls air up through the radiator and directs it out back, behind the operator. Furthermore, as dirt and debris may get sucked up onto the radiator from the fan when the mower is turned ‘Off’, gravity will allow this debris to fall, free from the cooler.
Three belts drive the entire hydraulics and spindle system from Hustler Super 104 powerplant. Accessibility is made easy on the Super 104 by removing thumb-screws, then lifting the cover plates for simple access the belts. – Why do we call these thumb screws?! – Large 26-inch wheels driven by hydraulic pumps provide propulsion, as well as the wide tires, decrease ground pressure for better-manicured lawns.
To ensure the operator is taken care of, a full-suspension seat is adjustable for weight, height, and arm-rest location. Not only does that seat forgive bumps vertically. In addition, the seat provides forward and back shock absorption, keeping the driver at-bay through those undulations, at 12mph. Aiding in ingress and egress, a center step is located on the front of the Hustler Super 104 zero turn.
We’ve taken a few maiden voyages with the Hustler Super 104 zero turn, and we have our first impressions, as you just read. We are located in Central Florida, so the cutting season is one of the longest in the country. However, we’ve had a dry spell in conjunction with cooler weather, hence grass is yet to grow fast. But, good news has arrived. The past two days have brought temps in the 80s with afternoon showers to boot. The grass is already standing tall.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to give the Super 104 a good workout and follow up with our findings. The short amount of time already spent on the 104, it’s pretty impressive how nimble this 104-inch zero-turn is, considering the size. Speed doesn’t seem to be an issue either. Most fields include lots of undulations, so it’s rare to be cutting at full-tilt. The 37hp Vanguard powers the five blades to life and the rear discharge doesn’t show any signs of an issue.
We’re not the only ones giving the Hustler Super 104 a workout. Some of our lawncare Pros will be joining us in giving the Super 104 a real shakedown, providing some real-world and objective feedback. Stay tuned as we update this First Look to a Review in the coming weeks. It’s easy to keep up with us on social media.
For more information click Hustler Super 104 Zero Turn or visit your local Hustler dealer.