Review of the 1989 Wheel Horse 211-5 tractor
I recently purchased a used 1989 Wheel Horse 211-5SB lawn tractor (SB standing for “Single Blade”) my first riding lawn mower ever. I’ve wanted a Toro or Wheel Horse specifically because of the look, manufacturing, and large Wheel Horse community. They’re notorious for being a well-built lawn tractor that will last for decades. And since I recently expanded my lawn to over 16,000 sq. ft., cutting the grass with a 22” recycler was no longer an option.
Excited to see the Wheel Horse 211-5SB online within my price range and free delivery, I bought it the very next day. It needed a little bit of work, but nothing major. I gave it an oil change, new spark plug, air filter and gas filter, and a little cleaning. I also bought a new 30” Oregon Gator (G3) blade for it online.
Wheel Horse 211-5 SB Pros
Startup: Comparing to others I’ve driven, with the new spark plug, the Wheel Horse 211-5 starts right up. It warms up quickly, so jumping right into fourth gear with the mower deck engaged is no problem.
Speed & Torque: Fifth gear is almost too fast, and I can pop a wheelie in third and fourth gear. It has no issues with my 200+ pound frame and a tow-behind core aerator with 120 pounds of cement blocks on top.
Lawn cleanup: The double-bagger does a great job at holding a lot of lawn debris. Both the original bade and new Gator provide plenty of updraft and suction into the bagger – picking up all of the leaves when in second or third gear.
Steering radius: This is by no means a zero turn mower, but it has a nice tight steering radius, especially for its size. Similar models have half of the steering capacity as this 211-5SB model.
Wheel Horse 211-5SB Cons
Deck: The floating deck is less than ideal unless you have a very flat, very smooth lawn. I have small inclines in my front yard, and several dips and bumps in my backyard, so this machine could really use a wheeled deck.
Wheels: After driving similar sized Wheel Horse tractors with bigger wheels, the ride on the WH 211-5SB could be a lot smoother. A combination of small wheels and the floating deck can make for a bumpy ride.
Mulching: Since this is a large single blade, it doesn’t chop up the leaves or mulch the grass as fine as I’d like. This makes bagging necessary.