The Model R Story

December 16

The Model R story is one that epitomises the customer’s needs of a residential mower that have been adapted to suit the conditions of the Australian environment. A new style Walker Mower at an affordable price without compromising the high quality of the traditional Walker Mower. Delivering essential attributes like ease of use, high quality of cut (especially on complex, difficult properties), operator comfort, reliability, and easy maintenance means this machine packs a powerful punch.

So how did such a great little machine end up here in Australia?

SME Mowers (Walker Mowers distributer here in Australia) have always prided themselves in listening to the customer’s’ needs and helping them find that sweet spot of mowing – where quality and affordability cross. So when we were asked for a Residential mower that could offer commercial features, our General Manager Matthew Stead started the R&D process and built the concept. Then calling in help from the Walker family at Walker Manufacturing Fort Collins, the concept became a reality.

In January 2016 with the tough Aussie conditions in mind, Matt built the concept of a new mower that was ideal for residential users. The Mower needed to uphold the impeccable signature Walker cut, it needed to be easy to manoeuvre and stand up to the tough Australian conditions. Not all grass around the world is created equal and Australia needed an entry level machine that was up to the job, with commercial features at an affordable residential price.

SME Mowers recognised the need to introduce a product that sits at the correct price point (barrier is the $10k mark) and simplified and built to suit the Australian conditions perfect for residential properties.

By August 2016 Ryan Walker (President of Walker Manufacturing Company) and Dean Walker (President of Engineering at Walker Manufacturing Company) traveled to Australia to review the design and put the wheels in motion for this to become the new Walker Mower.

Sme And Wm With First Wm

Pictured: In This Photo We Are Standing In Front Of Our Museum Piece, It Is The First Walker Mower To Be Imported Into Australia (1984). L-R Ryan Walker, Matthew Stead, John Stead, Lincoln Stead, And Dean Walker.

Mjs Wm Mr Sketch

Pictured: This Is Matthew’s Concept Sketch He Sent To The Walker Family. His Idea Was To Simplify Some Of The Classic Walker Mower Features, Without Sacrificing The Quality. He Had A Grand Idea In Mind!

After presenting the design to the Walker family and realising there was a need for a ride on mower specifically designed to meet the high standards of Aussie residential owners – the Model R was born! Walker Manufacturing Company began creating this special model with great gusto and soon had a prototype ready. Matthew then traveled across to the USA for this special occasion. They started to collaborate and test the prototype.

Matt With Prototype

Pictured: Matthew Stead Testing A Prototype Machine At Walker Manufacturing Company, Fort Collins Colorado


Z Force Mowers Ride On

Pictured: Group Photo With A Prototype Machine. L-R Ted Walker, Matthew Stead, And Alex White


After Matthew had traveled to USA, Walker put their heads together to work on a final design that they would hopefully put into production. Once they had come up with this, they manufactured a few test machines and sent one to Australia. In 2019 Ryan Walker came out to Australia to visit SME Mowers and test the Model R in the tougher Australian conditions.

Ryan Walker And Model R

Pictured: Ryan Walker Testing The Model R With The Sme Mowers / Walker Mowers Australia Team.


So, what exactly is the Model R21?

The Model R features an integrated deck design available in a 42 and 48 inch cutting widths. The deck rests on independent articulating deck arms, allowing it to freely flex up and down, minimising scalping and uncut areas of grass.

The torsion-flex carrier frame also allows the deck to flex side-to-side, so no matter the terrain, the Model R delivers a smooth premium cut. The Model R can be fitter with an optional mulching kit. The kit is a toolless installation kit that includes a baffle and serrated mulching blades. A side mounted grass catcher is also available for the Model R. The Model R is priced for residential owners thanks to its simplified design and components. It is a premium Walker Mower designed to provide fast, easy, beautiful mower of years to come.

Standard features

  • Hydro-Gear EZT transmissions
  • Forward Speed Control
  • Tilt-up deck and tilt open seat panel
  • Precision steering systems
  • Flexible carrier frame

The Model R product range has continually grown ever since it was released with new add ons and customised accessories being introduced to the market.

Popular Add-ons

  • Comfort seat
  • Tow hitch
  • Mulching kit
  • Accelerator side mount grass catcher
  • LED headlight kit
  • Height Adjuster
  • All Terrain Tyres

So, what makes the Model R so different from the standard Walker Mower?  What was the difference between the Model R and the standard Walker Mower?

  • Removal of interchangeable decks – Generally Australian conditions don’t require snow gear, so this feature was replaced
  • Belt driven mower blades
  • Lighter Chassis
  • Optional mulching kit

The model R still includes many of the same great features that you know and love in a Walker

  • Central drive wheel
  • Front mount Deck
  • Optional mulching kit
  • Tilt open seat and tilt up deck
  • Seating position
  • The Walker smooth precision steering

Although the design process and testing phase was long and tedious, SME & Walker firmly believe it was worth it as we had the Model R ready to launch in August 2019.

The Model R fits in places most other ride on mowers can’t, quickly manoeuvring into each nook and cranny to finish the job in one pass. With forward, reverse and zero radius turns and braking are accomplished by lightly pulling the steering levers while the forward speed control adjust and holds forward speed. With most of the weight of the Model R transferred to the centre driver tyres and an overall weight that is considerably less that most ride on mowers the Walker has traction and balance leading to unmatched agility. All features encompass the Walker Advantage.

The Walker Model R machine is truly one of a kind, with its benefits not always seen at first glance, but you wont compromise on once you have put it to the test.