Without my old ECHO Bear Cat I wouldn't be anywhere near as far along in our weed-whacking (we live in a high fire danger zone). Both the wheels on my new DR have failed and the mow ball (plastic) didn't last more than 20 hours before being worn out. Your new thick steel mow ball is the only thing that makes sense if you have land with a lot of rocks - it will outlast me probably. The 3-speed trans have never skipped a beat while my DR only has one speed. The ECHO Bear Cat wheels are still working fine. The ECHO Bear Cat wheels are larger which makes it easier to go over bumps, ect. As of now, it looks like buying the DR was a mistake.
Grass Valley, CA