Among America’s favorite ways to “get away from it all” is off-roading. There are plenty of classic vehicles that have played the off-roading role for decades, and several modern additions to the list of off-road worthy vehicles will surprise you. However, one vehicle added to the list is that will make you think of Tim Allen’s ’90s sitcom or remind you of a Jeff Foxworthy joke. Surprise, surprise, surprise, the lawnmower is one of the hottest new off-roading trends.
Lawnmowers are a cheap off-road toy
Lawnmowers for off-roading are not a joke. The Drive recently featured how an avid off-roader, Ryley Kesslar, got serious about converting lawnmowers to handle rugged terrain, making them a cheap and surprisingly great off-road toy.
Kesslar is the ultimate definition of an off-roading enthusiast. He outfits jeeps, trucks, ATVs, dirtbikes, and/or any vehicle that can handle wallowing through mud, bounce over rocks, and climb. As a kid, before he could afford trucks, he dreamed of building an off-road lawnmower. When the opportunity presented itself a little over a year ago, he started outfitting his off-roading lawnmower.
Lawn tractors provide cheap off-roading fun that is surprisingly satisfying. Kesslar’s off-road lawnmowers are more than just a lawn tractor with a lift kit and bigger tires. Among his modifications to this garden implement are a custom suspension, a winch, a teeny little lightbar, a welded-up transaxle, and more. Besides being a cheaper way to engage in off-roading fun, Kesslar asserts that “tricking out” your lawnmower to go off-road requires only basic fabrication skills.
Though trucks and SUVs are the norm, off-roading doesn’t have to be limited to only a select few vehicles. In fact, if you look back in history, innovative individuals like Kessler with serious off-road fever and a vivid imagination have produced some pretty cool off-road machines like the Baja Bug made of a Volkswagen Beetle. So, why not a lawnmower?
The potential of lawnmowers beyond the obvious
If you have ever pushed one of those old-time rotary lawnmowers, struggled with the cord of an electric lawnmower, or dislocated your shoulder starting a walk-behind gas mower, then you already appreciate the value of a riding lawnmower. However, once you remove the mowing deck, what you have left is a little tractor, and tractors scream off-road. But there are some unique features of lawnmower tractors that make them ideal for off-road outfitting.
They’re cheap to buy, and it doesn’t cost a lot to outfit them. Getting your hands on the wheels and suspensions is relatively easy. Lawnmowers are relatively lightweight, so positioning them in order to do refitting work is easier. These little tractors are relatively economical to operate. As Kesslar pointed out, you don’t have to have mad fabricating skills to convert them to off-road. Most of all, you don’t have to be a grown-up to drive your creation.
Lawnmowers are narrower than trucks, SUVs, and many ATVs, allowing riders to really go off the beaten path on trails that would never be available to the majority of off-roaders. They don’t make as much noise as motorbikes and ATVs, so they represent less of a threat to most people. Because they are lighter weight, they don’t tear up the trail, and they are pretty easy to pull out, should you get stuck in some deep mud.
Leave off cutting the grass and use your lawnmower for off-roading
An off-road-ready lawnmower stirs up some of the most basic instincts of boys who have grown up to be men. The pure joy of taking something intended for a mundane task and making it into something fun without shelling out a lot of cash draws out the Tim Taylor in all of us. Since all work and no play is detrimental to your health, leave off cutting the grass, and rebuild your lawnmower for off-roading.