2016 Simplicity Broadmoor 22HP 44″ Deck

This is a review of the 2016 Simplicity Broadmoor with a 22HP Briggs and Stratton Professional Series Engine and 44” deck. I have had the opportunity to use the 22/44 Regent and the 23/50 Prestige, as a result, this is my 3rd Simplicity so I feel pretty comfortable with respect to stating my opinion and should be able to make pretty decent comparisons between all of them.

Deck and Quality of Cut:

It’s a Simplicity…that’s almost enough said. The quality of cut is fantastic. I’m a bit of a lawn geek, so I installed the mulch/leaf shredder kit on all 3 machines and cut every 3 days because it is what’s best for the lawn. The quality of cut between this Broadmoor and my older Prestige are very similar, really not much of a difference. The cut was totally level with no miss blades and looked as if I bagged the clippings even though I mulched. Because of Simplicity’s famous full length roller, the deck laughed at those higher contours where lesser designed decks would scalp the grass, and even though we are at the beginning of spring when the grass blades are extra juicy, the rollers have yet to produce those” grass pancakes” that can occur at this time of year. I imagine because the blades of grass are chopped so finely and deposited below the surface of the grass that they don’t have a chance to stick to the roller.

This is the total amount a clippings on top of the deck after 2 mows. Not bad.

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This is the other side of the deck, no clippings anywhere.
The only thing on the deck is some white powder from the belts breaking in.

The quality of cut between this Broadmoor and the Regent, however, is totally different. The Regent would leave a center strip (that only I noticed) of uncut blades, clippings at the end of every row, and the rollers would leave behind over a dozen “pancakes” after every spring/fall mow. I think the difference in quality between this 22/44 Broadmoor and the 22/44 Regent is the double pulley that allows for a dedicated mower belt. The Regent has one belt that is fed between the 3 deck pulleys and the PTO pulley. The Broadmoor and Prestige both have an additional belt that runs from the PTO pulley to the left double pulley to center idler pulley on the deck. In addition, there is another mower belt that connects all 3 pulleys that ultimately spin the blades. I can’t help but think that this different style is the reason for the amazing cut quality between the basic Regent, and this Broadmoor and even the more robust Prestige.

The electric height of cut has been very nice so far. I know a lot of guys complain/worry that it will eventually fail, but I have talked to many dealers and every one of them assured me that it is very dependable, and that they believe it has proven to be a good design. Being a lawn geek, I was a bit worried about how easily it would be to make small incremental changes, however, this has proven to be very easy. I especially like that the engine does not need to be started to make any adjustments. The only thing needed is for the parking brake to be engaged and the starter to be pressed and released just once. From there, I can simply rock the button up or down to make any adjustment I want very easily.

The one piece cast aluminum spindles are a nice upgrade for several reasons, but not perfect. I like that I don’t have to worry about the spindles rusting, not that I really was overly concerned about that in the first place, but because I do mulch every 3 days there is a lot of moisture trapped under my deck that only causes problems. In addition, if I were to ever take advantage of the wash out port, I would not be afraid of corrosion or rust on the spindles. Speaking of the wash out port, dealers in my area seem to be split about its practicality. Some warn never to use it and that it is just a gimmick to keep up with the Jones’s, and others say that they have never seen it cause any problems so to go for it. My one question about the spindles is how the blade is attached. The blade is simply placed onto the spindle and held in place with pressure from the washer and nut. There is nothing else locking it in tightly, not a groove or even a notch holding the washer in place. I question the longevity of this simply because it seems that over time it will wear causing the blade to come loose and not spin at a high enough RPM.

Engine:
The 22HP Briggs and Stratton Professional Series engine is fine. It took me a few times on the machine (and calls to 2 separate dealers) to figure out how to start it correctly, the manual is pretty useless with respect to starting instructions, but once I did it has started right up with no issues at all. In fact, what is most amazing is that when the deck is engaged there is no drag on the engine at all, no hesitation, and I would imagine that the RPM’s don’t change at all (or at least very slightly judging from the sound of the engine). In fact, I can pull the PTO at idle and the deck will engage easily in the same manner as if the engine was at WOT. I have never experienced anything like this before on any tractor I have had the pleasure of using. It’s very impressive.

I have read that many people observe how quiet and smooth the engine is; I agree but only to a point. If these are the only 2 observations a guy would make about an engine, then the 22HP B&S Pro Series engine reminds me very much of my older 22HP B&S ELS engine on my Regent. It’s perhaps a bit quieter, but it is much louder and no where near as smooth on the 23HP Kohler Command Pro on the Prestige.

Starting and shutting down are pretty simple. The 22HP Pro Series has a single lever for both choke and throttle. The “snowflake” icon indicates full choke and should be used on cold starts. Once the ignition button is pressed, the engine starts, and the lever can then be moved down to ½ throttle for 10-15 seconds, then up to full throttle which is indicated by the typical “rabbit” icon and a slot where the lever can rest. The lever can be difficult to move up and down. I believe this is a slight design flaw, but over time I have adjusted to it and it seems easier to move now compared to when I initially got the tractor. At shutdown the engine requires that it idle for about 15 seconds. This allows the muffler to cool and prevents gas from being pumped through the engine and into the hot muffler, causing that fuel to ignite. It’s really not a backfire, but an afterfire. Not a big deal according to my dealer and the Briggs and Stratton website, but annoying none-the-less even though it’s preventable.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this particular engine having EFM; it does not. The B&S Pro. Series engines rated at 26HP and up come with this feature. The fuel efficiency of the 22HP Pro. Series engine seems to be pretty typical of engines these days. I filled the tank to the very top, about an inch from overflowing. I’m going to estimate that I got about 3 hours of use before it was just about empty and I refueled. I like the fuel gauge much better than the older digital style on my Prestige. The only negative is that it is located behind the seat, which obviously makes it impossible to see as I mow. The under the seat “sight gauge” on the Regent was simple and easy to see….it was a window! How easy was that?

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This is the fuel gauge after one mow,
about 45 minutes.

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This is the gauge again, after a second mow.
The tank was emptied after 3 hours of use.

Transmission:
The Tuff Torq K57 transmission has a great reputation. From just about everything I have read all over the Internet and all of the dealers I have spoken to over the last 2 months, all of the Tuff Torq trannys are bullet proof; they almost never fail. With this said, I am a bit disappointed that Simplicity didn’t spec this tranny out to be serviced easily. The oil fill cap is located on top of the transmission under the fan. The only way to remove the oil is to pump it out. I realize this is a lawn tractor at heart, and it really should never be used to blow/plow snow or for any type of ground engaging work, however, just to have the option of maintaining it properly to insure a long productive life would put my mind at ease.

I have cut the grass several times, striping the entire .67 acres. The speed of the Broadmoor is very comparable to the Regent, it should be since both share of what is essentially the same transmission. I do hear the tranny whining just a bit, especially when going in reverse, but I have yet to have a tractor not whine, so this is pretty typical. In addition, I used the Broadmoor to haul several loads of mulch around the yard each weighing between 250-300 pounds. Again, the tranny whined a bit louder than when I cut the grass, but it never hesitated and could have hauled heavier loads if I asked it to.

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This load probably weight about 300lbs. – 320 lbs.

Automatic Traction Control:

Simplicity’s ATC gets a bad rap. A lot of guys complaining that it does nothing at all for them and is simply a marketing tool to sell more tractors. I disagree. It certainly will not take the place of 4WD or a locking differential, however, to have this feature available on a lawn tractor is outstanding. There are several locations around my relatively flat yard that my old Regent would spin one of the back tires. I have yet to experience that with my new Broadmoor. The only difference between the 2 tractors is the Automatic Traction Control, so I believe that is the reason why my tires have yet to spin.

Steering:
The steering has been great so far. I did have to pull the steering wheel and adjust it the day I bought the tractor, but that is the fault of the dealer who put it on incorrectly in the first place, not a fault of Simplicity. Overall the steering is tight and true. It’s certainly not the power steering that was available on my older Prestige (a feature that I miss), however, it is competent and solid. I can easily trace my path back and forth as I create long light and dark stripes without really having to adjust the wheel much at all. I have experienced failure of the steering gear and even the steering shaft in past tractors, like my Regent, and this Broadmoor is engineered with those same components, so I’m not willing to say that it will hold up over the long haul without issues , however, I am optimism that the heavier spindles and the addition of a bearing at the bottom of the shaft where it meets the steering gear will prolong their lives and prevent the teeth on both gears from wearing as soon.

Ergonomics:
I’ll start with the seat. A lot of good things have been said about it, and I agree totally. It may look a bit unusual at first, but it’s comfort cannot be beat. In addition, it’s easily adjustable to accommodate people that are height challenged or too tall for their own good. I think that it might be a bit cold in the winter, however, like I said before, this Broadmoor is a lawn tractor at heart, so that really shouldn’t be taken into account when judging its overall performance.

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The foot controls are pretty typical of any Simplicity. Personally, I find that the reverse and forward pedals are a bit too close, maybe by ½”. In addition, I find the reverse pedal to be a bit hard to press down on. Other models on the market have pedals are much easier to use.

The layout of the dashboard is nice, not too cluttered and up-to-date. I find everything is easy to reach and feels solid to the touch. The only negative I have is about how difficult it is to throttle up and down, but I have already covered that previously. The digital display shows the time of day, which is nice for me, and the hours the engine has been running. It’s certainly not the upgraded display offered on GT’s, but at this price point I’m happy.

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The appearance of the 22/44 Broadmoor is gorgeous. I tend to bleed orange, so you can take that opinion for what it’s worth. I really like the soft edges and the hood’s basic shape, it looks almost aerodynamic. The height of the tires provides a nice ride, but are a bit narrow in my opinion and look a little goofy from behind. I like the raised letters on the hood that spell out Simplicity. This is a nice modern touch that was added a few years ago and should stick around for a while.

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