Updated 28 Oct 2016

Rover

Raider 1538

Snapshot: The Rover Raider 1538 is a tractor-type ride-on mower with a single cylinder engine and a 38/97 cutting deck. But how does it perform?

Raider 1538
Consumer score
SCORE
Avg price

$4599

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Test results

Overall score
76
Mowing
?/10
Ease of use
?/10

Good points

  • Good mowing performance.
  • Good handling and reasonable ride-comfort for a small mower.
  • Very good controls.
  • Has cruise control.
  • Has reverse override so you can mow in reverse.

But

  • Very narrow cutting height range.
  • No wash port.
  • Flimsy construction, very thin steel.
  • Wide turning circle so takes a few stabs to mow around objects.
  • Manual blade engagement rather than electric PTO switch like most modern mowers.

How we test

Overall score is made up of:

Performance (50%), including side-discharge mowing tests where we assess engine power, evenness of cut and spreading the discharged grass. For mowers where a mulching kit is standard, we also run mulching tests looking at the evenness of cut and how evenly the mulch is spread back onto the turf.

Ease of use (50%), which looks at handling, ride comfort, ease of controlling speed, starter mechanism, ease of engaging the mower blade drive, changing cutting height and checking fuel level.

We also measured the noise of each mower and the minimum mowable diameter (effective turning circle) for tractor models. To verify each mower’s safety, we assessed the instructions, warning stickers and labels, pulley and belt coverings, and automatic safety cut-outs. All mowers in our database passed the safety assessment.

Key data

Model

Avg price
$4599
Type
Tractor

Specifications

Deck width (mm/inches)
38/97
Engine power (HP) / capacity (cc)
15/597
Engine make / cylinders
Kohler/1
L x W (m)
Not stated
Noise (dBA)
95
Fuel capacity (litres)
10.4
Transmission type
Hydrostatic (automatic)

Features

Cruise control
Blade engagement
Manual
Mulching kit
Standard
Rear catcher bag
No
Mow in reverse
×
Cutting-height range (mm)
64/32
Cutting-height positions
11
Top speed (forward / reverse) (km/h)
8.4/5.0
Minimum mowable circle (mm)
1600
Electric starter
Headlights
Cupholder
Washing port
×

Reliability

Of the 289 Consumer members who owned a ride-on and participated in our reliability survey, almost two in five reported their mower had needed repair, making them by far the least reliable product we survey.

Unfortunately, only two ride-on brands had sufficient respondents to give a margin of error narrow enough that we could comment on their results. John Deere ride-ons returned better reliability than average, with only 25% needing repair, while 39% of Husqvarna owners reported an issue with their ride-on, a shade over the average of 38%. John Deere were the most satisfied ride-on owners, with 75% very satisfied with their purchase.