Cub Cadet cc 760es 33” Walk Behind Lawn Mower Review
Is it taking you way too long to mow all the lawn on your property with your small walk behind lawnmower and you plan to upgrade, but are on a budget? Or do you plan to buy a mower for a half to one acre property with narrow places to get through, or hills on it? Or do you even plan to start with your own lawn care business?
These would be typical situations to get a wide area walk behind lawnmower like the Cub Cadet cc 760es, which has a mowing deck ranking among the widest available - a giant 33". One step up from there, and you would be in the territory of sit-on-top mowers. And they come with much heftier price tags and are far less easy to store due to their dimensions, and also to transport, mainly due to their weight.
So is the Cub Cadet cc 760es any good among the wide are walk behind lawnmowers? Is it reliable? Does it mow well? What are its weaknesses, what its fortes? That`s what we intend to find out in this review.
It is self-propelled and features a powerful engine with 4 forward and a reverse gear, which is good for hills and will get you through anything.
It has a very wide double-blade mowing deck, yet is narrow enough to get through smaller gates and can be relatively easily stored.
It is overall very well built and has all the features you would expect from a top-tier walk behind mower, like e-start, various adjustabilities, and hour meter to keep track of maintenance and even a deck washing function to make the regular cleaning a breeze.
Probably you already know this, but it`s always good to start with the fundamentals, so..
Ease of use
Bang for the buck
What is a wide area walk behind lawnmower?
Walk behind means you don`t get to travel with the power of the engine, but have to tag along on your own feet. With the smallest consumer mowers you don`t even get the luxury of having the lawnmower engine propel the wheels - the larger ones are engine-driven.
Wide area means the lawnmower has a mowing deck that covers a broader travel path - more than the typical 18" to 21" of standard single blade lawnmowers. And broader travel paths translate to shorter mowing times. This is usually achieved by putting two blades side by side, which is also the case with the Cub Cadet cc 760es.
Who is Cub Cadet?
Branched off from International Harvester in 1960 and sold to MTD in 1981, Cub Cadet has a long history of producing a wide array of tractors, lawnmowers, utility vehicles and garden tools.
They pioneered many innovations in the realm of lawnmowers, including the first four-wheel steer zero-turn rider with steering wheel technology and the most advanced zero-turn riding mower with lap bar technology.
Cub Cadet lawnmowers have a decades-long reputation and are sold worldwide.
What are the features of the Cub Cadet cc 760es walk behind lawnmower?
The Made-in-USA mower is powered by a 420cc four-stroke OEM engine with rugged and simple OHV/ pushrod technology, which offers better fuel economy and less vibrations than L-Head engines.
It seems pretty unspectacular all-around, - which is a good thing, you don`t want anything weird on a lawnmower engine. Well-known technology usually means reliable technology. Cub Cadet has been using these engines for a few year now, and they run without any problems.
It is the engine with the highest cubic displacement in Cub Cadets walk behind line, replacing 344cc Briggs & Stratton engines used until about 3 years ago.
These older models were only available with pull-cord starters and weighed 250 lb. The current 760 has gained considerable weight since then, weighing 323 lb. now. But it also has serious power, making it a good choice for hilly properties.
For an in-between period, pull-cords were mounted together with electric starters, but now, all 760 models are electric-start only. They use a 12v battery and a key, and are operated just like your car (ok, like an old car - a choke needs to be engaged). These starters work like a charm, no matter how cold it is.
The throttle control has two positions - one for idle and one for anything else.
The 760s comes with a huge 2 gallon fueltank with a side window to gauge how much fuel you have left. You can work for a long time until you have to refill this tank.
The protective cage around the muffler is a nice feature too. Older models didn`t have that, and you could easily burn yourself by accidentally touching the unprotected muffler.
The engine is not CARB compliant, by the way. The downside of this is, you won`t be able to buy it in California. The upside is, it`s not totally leaned out like the CARB compliant stuff that stalls on you all the time like a Chrysler Cordoba from the late 1970s.
A four-speed gearbox with a reverse gear covers all types of driving situations. The first gear is good for mowing taller grass or climbing hills. Cub Cadet recommends climbing no more than 15° elevations, and even provides a sheet to gauge elevations in the manual! But it manages even steeper than that (it is hard work to turn on these though).
4th gear on the other hand is really fast. You`ll probably only use it for getting from the shed to the lawn and back, and not while mowing.
With the 323 lb. weight of the 760, you will be thankful for the reverse gear, just like you are on a giant Honda goldwing motorcycle. It may save you from unwanted adventures like sliding into ditches. Put in in reverse, and the engine power will pull it out again!
The mowing deck
The steel double blades of the 760 run pretty close to the blade cover, as it should be, and have a decend area of overlap - so there won`t be unmowed grass in between the two blades. Cub Cadet calls them Signature Cut. They do "stripe" (create striped patterns while mowing), if you care about this.
The blades are synchronized with a timing belt that assures that the blades are always perpendicular to each other. This has to be adjusted once a season.
Cub Cadet claims that the blades "mulch" (hack the grass clippings real small and blow them back into the lawn, fertilizing it), but this does not work very well, even when you mow very slowly. A recommended upgrade are Gator blades from Oregon. They are relatively cheap and improve the performance of the 760 considerably, especially the mulching performance. Mulching mode is turned on by simply installing a mulching baffle (included) over the discharge opening.
A bag can be bought separately, if you want to collect your clippings while mowing and don`t care to mulch.
The 760es has separate drive and blade controls, so you can disengange the blades while driving, which is really helpful for maneuvering. The cutting height can be adjusted in 8 positions, from 1.25" to 3,5" - that is less height than other comparable mowers offer (like the Toro Timemaster for example).
Another nice feature is the high-pressure deck washing system, called SmartJet by Cub Cadet. You can connect a water hose to the deck with an adapter that comes with the mower. When the mower is turned on then, it washes the deck via the rotation of the blades, which saves you a lot of hassle. It is recommended to then run the deck dry after shutting off the water.
The dimensions of the Cub Cadet 760es are 75 x 45 x 38 inches - certainly not small, but small enough for the performance it delivers! And the 8" solid plastic rotating caster front wheels make it quite maneuverable for its size - while the 16" pneumatic back wheels provide nice traction for all the power of the 420cc engine (which we couldn`t find horsepower ratings for anywhere).
A digital hour meter provides information about service intervals (oil change every 50 hours!), which is really nice, because not servicing your mower regularly can shorten its life considerably. The hour meter starts counting when the key is rotated out of the stop position, so don`t leave it on "on" without running the mower (which you shouldn`t do anyway). It also displays the battery voltage for a few seconds after starting the mower, giving you an early warning about a weakening battery.
The handle height can be adjusted in 3 positions and the handlebar can be folded for easier transport and storage.
Is it easy to set up?
Yes. It ships well-crated and you don`t have to do much work until you can run it. You have to remove a shipping brace. Then just connect the battery, install the handlebar and the gear lever, pour some gas in, and you`re good to go.
Don`t forget to check the tire pressure oil (even though it should be filled with oil).
How does it perform?
The Cub cadet 760es delivers a great performance overall. It starts and runs flawlessly, is reliable, delivers plenty of power, is decently maneuverable and mows well. Especially in hilly areas it is a beast. It is well rust-protected, too, so it won`t age badly, and generally feels like an indestructible hunk of metal that will get your lawn nice and short (or streams of income into your pockets) for years to come.
It is positioned in a niche where it is used by private homeowners with large properties and lawn care professionals alike. Lots of professionals have been using it for years now, and most of them praise the Cub Cadet 760es.
If you have been using regular-sized walk behind mowers and upgrade to the Cub Cadet 33 inch mower, you will be able to roughly slash your mowing time in half, without having to spend the money for tractors or large zero-turns (which need a lot more space and are a lot heavier, too). It has a very powrful engine for its class and pricetag.
And it offers lots of nice features like the key-start, the zero-turn front wheels, the deck washing mechanism and the hour-meter, which you would have to buy extra in other mowers (or that are simply unavailable) - and all of them come in an affordable package.
On the other hand, it doesn`t drive you around like a tractor and isn`t as maneuverable as a zero-turn. Getting it around 180 degrees requires some manhandling, ball-bearing caster frontwheels or not. Some of the heavy walk behind mowers offer sulky-like contraptions that you can stand on (turning them from walk behinds into something like a Roman chariot) - there is nothing like that available for the 760.
Don`t try to run it over extremely long grass with the height of the deck adjusted too low. The narrow gaps between the blades and the deck cover will clog up and leave unmowed strands of grass behind.
A source of some complaints are the power cables. They can get caught in branches and can wear and break over time (not letting go of the controls too quickly helps, though).
Some people also complain that the position of the gear lever is a little too low. But you won`t need it that much anyway, and Cub Cadet has probably positioned it so that it won`t get in your way too much.
What is the warranty situation?
Cub Cadet offers a 3-year warranty for this mower that is limited to 120 hours of use and excludes commercial use. If you buy it at Home Depot, it is returnable for 90 days, which shows they trust this mower to convince you with its performance.
What are the cross-shops?
The Troy-Bilt TB WC33 XP is pretty much the same model, but sold under the Troy-Bilt label. The Toro Timemaster is a worthy competitor.
The Cub cadet cc 760es is a rock-solid self-propelled walk behind wide area mower that has proven its reliability over the years. If you want a lawnmower that increases your mowing speed, but lawn tractors or zero-turns are too large and/ or too expensive, the 760 is the right choice.
It has some points that can be improved (like the blades), but has no real weaknesses and offers a great package overall!