Grasshopper mowers are referred to as ZTR, or zero turn radius, designs. They are drivable mowers with a rear-mounted engine that sits above the drive wheels to propel the mower both forward and backward. Two large steering handles protrude directly in front of the driver. They are hooked into a hydrostatic transmission that allows both the steering function and the speed function to be controlled through the handles.
Mount the Grasshopper mower and sit down in the seat. Start the mower up. The handles will be straight up in front of you in the neutral position.
Set the throttle lever, which is on the control console at the position of the right-side arm rest. Although the throttle can be used to control the speed of the mower, it is mainly used to control the blade speed. As a general rule of thumb, push the throttle all the way forward for maximum blade speed rotation to provide a better cut.
Engage the drive wheels by slowly pushing the steering handles forward. Pushing the handles transfers power from the engine into the hydrostatic transmission. The power from the transmission is sent to the drive wheels. The farther forward that you push the handles, the more power is transferred to the drive wheels, and the faster that the mower will go.
Release the handles or pull back on them to reduce speed or stop. The handles are spring loaded and will return to neutral when released. Turn the mower by pushing only one handle forward; the farther forward it is pushed, the faster you will make a turn.
Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.