Ride-on mowers

Jacobsen Tri-King

The Jacobsen Tri-King cylinder ride-on mower from Ransomes The Jacobsen Tri-King cylinder ride-on mower from Ransomes


The Tri-King™ ride-on triplex trim mower by Jacobsen® produces an excellent quality of cut particularly on areas where there are steep slopes to manage. Power steering provides improved maneuverability and easy comfortable operation, while the standard three-wheel drive gives the operator superior traction control.

Cutting actionCylinder
Width of cut (cm)180
No of units3
No of blades / knives7
Max height of cut (mm)57
Min height of cut (mm)9.5
Max working speed (km/h)8
Engine Power (hp)19
Fuel tank capacity (litres)24
Weight (kg)660
Engine Power (kW)14.17
List price POA
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Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd
West Road, Ransomes Europark
Tel: 01473 270000
Fax: 01473 276300
Email Supplier

Test Report

Jacobsen's Tri-King is a ride-on triplex trim mower designed to work where a quality of cut is required, particularly on sloping ground.

The three-wheel drive gives traction control, while the power steering provides all the manoeuvrability needed.

However, Murray does have a warning about its negotiation of bumps and pot holes. "You're almost sitting over the back wheel so you have to be careful not to become unseated. When you engage the blades, the rear wheel comes into drive so you get full three-wheel drive when you are cutting. That slows the speed down to a mowing speed."

The Tri-King has a nice turning circle but, because it is rear-wheel steer, you can leave marks in soft conditions if you try to turn too tightly.

"That's not a criticism of the machine; it's down to the operator," Murray adds. "It's nice to have the manoeuvrability but you need to leave yourself room to turn, although the forward/reverse rocker pedal means it is quick to do a three-point turn when you haven't the room."

Murray enjoys using the Tri-King but would be happier if the lift and lower was speeded up. "The reaction of the units going up and down is a bit on the slow side and is not adjustable. That's fine for someone experienced using the Tri-King - they can allow for the lifting before they get to the edge and don't have to slow down or stop - but inexperienced users nearly always get caught out by its slowness," admits Murray.

In addition, it is necessary to keep a foot on the lower pedal while the units go down and settle. "You need to hold your foot there for about three seconds until the units are on the floor. You can work with it, but a one-touch pedal would mean you could work quicker," explains Murray.

Murray would also like to see the engine shroud modified. "It's in your vision; you don't get a good view of the units like you do with the LF-3800," he says.

But he can't find fault with the quality of cut. "The cutting units are fantastic," he enthuses. "They are robust, cut really well and don't mark the grass. And the quality of cut is easy to set up."

Height of cut, however, is not as easy to adjust - and certainly not as easy as on the LF-3800. The college has two Tri-Kings, set at different heights, for use on different areas. On the golf course, one of the Tri-Kings is used for the shorter cut needed on surrounds and approaches. The other Tri-King, set slightly higher, is used for areas such as the practice ground, cricket outfield and the lawns on the main site. "It's quite a slow process to crank the roller up and down, and big changes in cutting height take a lot of turning," explains Murray.

The roller scrapers work well and Murray also likes the way clippings can be thrown forwards or backwards according to the angle of the throw plates. Robust catcher-boxes are available and are easy to remove and replace.

Working on the machine is simple. Just undo one clip and the body opens up so you can get at the whole engine. Hydraulic pump, air filter and electrics are all accessible. Everything needed for pre-start checks is directly in front.


Hugh Murray, head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf Club, Somerset

Lee Carter, assistant head greenkeeper, Cannington Golf Club, Somerset


The weather in late January and early February has been extreme. In many parts of the country there has been heavy rain followed by hard frosts and then snow.

At Cannington in Somerset, the frosts have been particularly penetrating. Organising a mower test has been impossible so in this review we look at two machines that have been well and truly tried and tested by the staff at Cannington Golf Club and also by the greenkeeping students at Bridgwater College.

For three years, a Jacobsen Tri-King and LF-3800 4WD have been used to mow the Cannington courses. We ask the greenkeeping staff what they like, and don't like, about these popular golf-course mowers.