Do I need a new Ariens Deluxe 24 or am I trying to justify a shiny new toy?
First of all, I'm not bashing anyone else's machine or questioning their brand loyalty. I'm jsut looking for opinions and advice regarding the reasoning for my decision not a Battle of the Brands.
I need a SB but do I really need a New Ariens Deluxe 24?
My heart condition is my main consideration. I need something that will get the job done without beating me to death. Making a few extra passes with a smaller SB will be less strain on my heart than using a larger machine that gets the job done quicker but is harder to handle.
I have good days and bad with my heart so I want a machine that my wife or nephew will feel comfortable using if I'm unable to do it.
I first decided on the Ariens brand because of the recommendations of several local landscapers/snow movers. I was told they're good machines with a good local dealer. I'm not saying other manufacturers don't offer machines as good as Ariens, I'm just saying I had several local pros tell me to go with Ariens.
I want a SB that'll handle 8 to 10+ inches of snow but still narrow enough to fit in my small garage.
Our current driveway is about 120' long and averages about 25' wide and all concrete or asphalt but this is a rental. I want something that'll do gravel too if we have it when we buy a house.
I like the idea of turning without using levers but I also like the idea of having control of the turn. I read about problems with Ariens' early Auto-Turn system but the relocated axle supposedly fixed the issues. Auto-turn seems like a robust design that will be easy to service when needed. (probably two days after the warranty expires)
As I understand it, the relocated axle makes the auto turn work better and provides better leverage for lifting the front of the SB but it also lets the front ride up while in use. I think I'd rather have better balance and have a machine that I can handle easier even if it means I'd have to go over some of my work more than once. Walking doesn't bother my heart as much as shorter more strenuous exertion does.
End of Driveway performance is a real concern for me, it seems like this could be one of the most challenging aspects of the job for me. I want enough power that it's not a major battle to break through without having to buy a larger machine. It sounds like the engine used on the 24 offers enough power.
This is a major investment for me and I'm not looking for the cheapest machine that'll do the work short term. I expect to use this SB 10+ years so I'm looking for long term reliability and performance at a fair price.
I decided to buy new based on the cost and condition of a used SB versus the warranty, features, and price of a new one. Solid used machines aren't cheap enough for me to sacrifice the warranty and features to save so little. The new axle location also seems to be worth the added cost to me. I looked at a lot of SBs listed on Craigslist comparing features and prices but all things considered I didn't think it would make sense for me to buy used if I was only going save a few hundred dollars.
My physical limitation is the true deciding factor, I just can't handle much physical exertion so I need a SB that'll get the work done and be easy enough for me to use.
Well, what do you think, is a new Ariens Deluxe 24 a good value for me or have I been seduced by the shiny paint and clever ad copy? What other machines should I consider under $1000?