Dennis PRO 34R Review – Turf Care Blog by Alex Fitzgerald
In a new addition to The Turf Care Blog, we begin a review series whereby we hope to provide a detailed and helpful review of various turf machinery. The idea behind it is that we’re able to provide some new content to our readers and followers, but more importantly provide a unique and independent look at machinery, allowing groundsman to make informed decisions on their next potential purchase.
The industry is full of really good and consistent variations of cylinder mowers. From Allett’s pedestrian Buffalo range to ride on alternatives from Toro and Ransomes. The quality of cut from a cylinder mower has long been preferred by fine turf and sports turf professionals looking for finesse to their surfaces, something that a rotary mower can’t provide. Until now!
The Dennis Pro 34R was designed to give the industry professionals the cutting edge and the trademark “Dennis Stripes”, whilst providing a quality of cut never seen before in a rotary pedestrian mower. The mower can come equipped with various add-ons and extras but as standard the Pro 34R has:
- 2 section aluminium rear roller
- 5 forward gears, neutral and reverse
- Fully adjustable angle of cutting deck
- 90 litre capacity grass box
- An easy height of cut adjustment system
- Adjustable handle bars for comfort
- Optional front wheels or front roller
- Front brush attachment
- Roller buffered handle bar suspension to allow easy lift
Adjust with ease
Above anything else, the Pro 34R has been designed to be almost limitless with the adjustments a groundsman may need to make. This is all well and good to have lots of adjustable parts to the mower but how easy are these things to change? I hear you ask. Well lets start with the height of cut system, on the right hand side and on top of the cutting deck Dennis have installed the 34R’s very own setting gauge.
The setting gauge is taken from its housing and slotted into a purpose-built hole at the front of the cutting deck. This will then show the user the current height of cut the mower is set to by the millimetre markings on the gauge. There’s not getting onto your hands and knees here and tilting the mower back, this is effectively accurate and ridiculously easy and quick to alter.
The angle adjustment feature for the cutting deck provides the continuous flexibility that groundsmen at all levels of their sport may require. Designed to allow the 34R to be used across all weather conditions, the angle adjustment was a feature I personally found unique to the pedestrian mower world. I found it exceptionally easy and simplistic to use and it wasn’t down to trial and error as is the case with different mower adjustment features.
Apart from the sheer quality of cut, this feature alone allows the 34R to stand out from the crowd. Being able to cut the grass sward at an angle that suits the conditions and particular development of the profile is something I can see becoming more common in the mower manufacturing game, it’s importance can’t be understated. The adjustment is completed in seconds using an adjustment knob, situated on the right of the cutting deck. This twists in a clockwise – anti-clockwise direction to allow a tilt forward or back on the deck.
The final couple of main areas that fall into the adjustment category that I found beneficial are; the adjustable handle bar and the gearing system. To fall inline with the need to think of the operator’s welfare and comfort when using the Pro 34R, Dennis have provided a feature which allows its user to fully adjust the height of the handle bar. This allows the user to raise or lower the height of the bar the operator holds when the machine is engaged, preventing stress injuries and bad backs from a handle bar that maybe to low or far away from its user.
Simple, but this is becoming more and more necessary within our industry, another key selling point. Finally, we have the gearing system. Forward gears 1-5 allow for a varying speed to cut an area, all are useable with the operator walking behind. I found myself comfortable using gear 3 the majority of the time, however I did branch out to gears 4 and 5 and although obviously quicker, they didn’t exactly drag me around my pitch!
Stand out quality of cut
It really does stand out, after two cuts in a day at the football pitch I manage, it would have appeared to most that it had been cut with our resident rotary mower, but it hadn’t. In fact, this innovative rotary mower allows its operator to go to the same levels as you’d expect from the best cylinder mowers on the market.
It’s effortless, it’s comfortable, it’s precise and the cut is even and to a point of perfection. Because it is a rotary mower, you get the usual benefits like a clean crisp cut that’s even from the top, it doesn’t disturb new seedlings as expected and still allows for the unique “Dennis Stripe” on the finish.
It’s truly a machine I would suggest to groundsmen at every level of sport or fine turf. If you want a mower that collects, gives a crisp and clean cut, rolls the sward nicely and stands the sward up with the brush at the front, then look no further.
There aren’t many, really, there aren’t, even the weight of the machine feels non-existent due to the buffers installed at the base of the handle bars. It’s easy to move around, it doesn’t struggle in longer grass. But, during it’s time with me I did go looking for something to moan about.
The grass box, it used to be made of mesh in the 34R’s early days believe it or not, but Dennis quickly changed that after feedback. It now features your standard material grass box found on most rotary mowers. Could it be bigger? I think it could personally. The machine is actually big enough to hold a bigger grass box and its subsequent weight when full.
Like I said I went looking for downsides to this machine and after scarifying my pitch, found that the grass box was full after two length runs. The thatch that came up wasn’t a significant amount, done mid summer with football returning in 3 weeks. I feel this could be something Dennis could look at creating and putting out as an optional extra. The box is currently 90L which is a lot, but it can go bigger I feel and if there’s a market for it, then why not?
I did also find that it wasn’t the easiest to clean and a perfect feature that could have been installed here would have been a hose connection that allows water to come through onto the blades and the cutting deck underside. This would prevent any tilting or moving of the mower, something that most would be uneasy about with it being a big machine.
This isn’t a downside as such, but the 34R is a large machine and longer than you’d expect for any pedestrian mower. Make sure there is room in the shed!
Dennis advertise the Pro 34R as suitable for football, rugby, cricket and hockey pitches as well as lawns and contracting work. All of which I agree with 100%, the angle adjustment feature would be ideal on a longer rugby pitch surface, allowing the mower to glide over the top of the thick sward, an area other pedestrian rotary’s may struggle.
It may take a while to do a cricket outfield with and I wouldn’t want to be the one doing it, although the quality would still be unquestionable. However it is still likely to be one of the best options out on the market at the moment for a cricket square.
It’s ability to be adjusted means the 34R is perfect for any grass sward upwards of 15mm and the 34’ cutting deck means it can be used in pretty much any decent sized space.
A potential sticking point for amateur sports clubs, the price of the Dennis Pro 34R currently retails at roughly around £7,000 for a new machine or if a second hand one comes on the market it will cost around £5,500-£6,500. Without a football foundation grant, this is pretty much out of amateur clubs’ budgets, however, keep an eye for these coming onto the market second hand. The more that becomes available the more the price will level out to something more affordable.
For the professionals at semi-professional/professional sports clubs, the Dennis Pro 34R is without doubt the machine for you. The price is affordable and realistically you won’t find a more flexible alternative on the market.
Ratings – Mower
Quality of cut: 10/10 – Amazing presentation of the sward after use.
Practicality: 9/10 – The perfect pedestrian mower for most levels of sport.
Size: 8/10 – It is long, but to most this won’t be an issue.
Mobility: 9/10 – Even with the weight and length, this mower glides around surfaces at ease.
Reliability: 9/10 – The fact that not many of these are available for second hand purchase really does speak for itself.
Functionality: 9/10 – No regular issues have been reported with the machine by other operators.
OVERALL RATING: 9.4/10
The price is the only real sticking point for me as a groundsman at an amateur club. It doesn’t exactly suit all budgets, but this is one machine you’d break the bank for. You can be guaranteed of its reliability and it almost certainly won’t be causing you to pay out big mechanic costs. It’s adaptable to your turf conditions, be it wet, slightly muddy, thick sward or thin sward, The Pro 34R is absolutely a machine at the top of its game.
To match the quality of cut of any cylinder mower is some achievement for a rotary mower, let me tell you it really does compete and out does some cylinder pedestrian mowers. I feel like we’d be hard pushed to find a better pedestrian mower to review, it’s that good.
I hope you enjoyed my Dennis PRO 34R Review and l hope to do more in the future.
If you haven’t checked out our learning resources hub, why not take a look https://turfcareblog.com/learning-resources-blog-archives/