Tag Archives: VTR

Mean Mower? More Like Masochistic Mower: Honda U.K. Builds 130-mph Ride-On Mower

By Alexander Stoklosa

Mean Mower

The concept of a super-high-output ride-on lawn tractor isn’t new, but a factory-backed effort from a major automaker sure is. The guilty party is an outfit that, unlike pretty much every other large OEM, builds everything from cars to weed-wackers, outboard motors, scooters, and, yes, lawn mowers. We’re talking, of course, about Honda, whose U.K. subsidiary decided mixing its lawn-care expertise with its racing know-how would make for one hell of an example of the company’s penchant for innovative engineering. Honda enlisted its touring car partner, Team Dynamics, to help out, and the result is the nearly stock-looking Honda HF2620 lawn tractor you see here, dubbed the Mean Mower.

Putting aside the cutesy name for a moment—it sounds like a riff off of the Snapper Tom Hanks rode in Forrest Gump—nearly everything about the HF2620 except the bodywork is either custom-fabricated or borrowed from other vehicles. Take, for example, the engine: it’s a 1.0-liter V-twin pulled from Honda’s VTR 1000F Firestorm motorcycle. It pumps out 109 horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque, and backs up to a custom six-speed, paddle-shifted sequential gearbox powering the rear wheels. The steroidal powertrain is mounted in a custom tube-frame chassis, which also serves as the home for the suspension setup from an ATV. Out back, the grass bag actually is home to a fuel tank, a high-capacity oil cooler, and a secondary radiator.

The steering rack, curiously, is from a Morris Minor, but it probably helps the driver stay in control at the absolutely insane speeds Honda claims the Mean Mower is capable of. Top speed is an estimated 133 mph, and the trip from zero to 60 mph takes less than four seconds. These staggering performance figures have the lawn tractor’s power-to-weight ratio to thank; by Honda’s figures it works out to a Veyron-shaming 2.82 pounds per horsepower. Of course, the creation weighs just 309 pounds minus a driver, so that ratio likely changes quite a bit depending on how much the pilot weighs.

A custom Cobra racing seat helps keep that driver in place while mowing about, although it appears to lack a seatbelt. That’s probably for the best, because if this thing were to go blades-up at high speed, we think we’d rather not be strapped to it. Wearing a helmet is a good idea, and ear protection couldn’t hurt, either, since according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, “prolonged exposure to noise above 85–90 decibels can lead to hearing loss.” Riders may find this tidbit useful, since the combination of the motorcycle engine and a Scorpion exhaust make the tractor a 130-decibel sound bazooka at only three-quarter throttle. For reference, that’s nearly as loud as being within 350 feet of a commercial jet taking off.

If you’re thinking that this is only a really convincing-looking, tube-frame lawn-mower look-alike, well, simmer down. The Mean …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Danger Zone 3/18/2013: Ventas Inc. (VTR)

By David Trainer

Over 50% of Ventas? business is providing senior housing communities, so it has benefited from a rapidly growing demand for elder care. For several years now, the supply of senior living facilities has grown to keep up with current and expected demand. Nevertheless, some supply/demand imbalance has persisted, enabling VTR to enjoy unusually high margins. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Markets

Noteworthy ETF Inflows: IWS, MPC, ETN, VTR

By ETFChannel.com

Looking today at week-over-week shares outstanding changes among the universe of ETFs covered at ETF Channel, one standout is the iShares Russell Midcap Value Index Fund (AMEX: IWS) where we have detected an approximate $62.1 million dollar inflow — that’s a 1.4% increase week over week in outstanding units (from 78,350,000 to 79,450,000). Among the largest underlying components of IWS, in trading today Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) is down about 1.4%, Eaton Corp plc (NYSE: ETN) is down about 0.7%, and Ventas, Inc. (NYSE: VTR) is lower by about 0.1%. For a complete list of holdings, visit the IWS Holdings page » …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Markets