An Official MyGolfSpy.com Review
When Sun Mountain Talks…
Depending upon your age, you may remember the tag line form the old EF Hutton commercial, “When EF Hutton talks…people listen.” Based upon past performance in the pushcart market, this old quote is what came to mind when I heard Sun Mountain was releasing a revamped Speed Cart this year. When Sun Mountain talks Speed Cart, people listen.
Aesthetics (10 Points)
It is easy to see from the photos that Sun Mountain spent some time in the R & D sessions working on the appearance of the cart. This is a good-looking unit. While the cart comes in numerous colors, the metal-flaked red that I used for this review was very cool. One of the most striking visual things that just jumps out at you is the matching colored rims.
This coloring is a pure aesthetics. Sun Mountain could have saved some production money by making all of the rims on the various colored carts the same (i.e. all black or silver). Instead they chose to make the cart look better by having the matching rims. On the red and blue carts, these look very cool.
Other than the rims, the cart retains the classic styling of its Speed Cart predecessors. This is a good example of keeping with not only a tested, fine-working design, but also keeping with a design that the consumer will recognize. Sometimes companies loose sight of this importance. Although I am again dating myself with the reference, do a quick Google image search for “Mustang 2 Fastback”. Change in design does not always make for a better product. Thankfully, Sun Mountain tweaked the original design, rather than trashing what was obviously working.
While the SV-1 retains much of the visual pedigree of the Speed Cart lineage, it must also show innovation to make an impact in the marketplace. No consumer would buy a new golf product just because it has new paint, right?
Sun Mountain has introduced a number of new design elements in the SV-1:
- The console is redesigned so that it has three independent compartments that all have hinged lids featuring magnetic closures.
- The braking system has been changed from a bike-style caliper brake to a pin-lock system on the right, rear wheel.
- The cart now uses the “E-Z Latch System” for opening, closing, and console adjustment.
- The tires are solid foam, replacing the tubes found on previous models.
- The cup holder is now on the side of the console, allowing it to swing, and stay level, as the cart covers various terrains.
- Slide out tray under the console for the scorecard and pencil.
Some of these changes do not truly represent innovations in the pushcart arena as they are already present in other manufacturers push carts. That being said, it is nice to see that Sun Mountain pays attention to the competition, and makes changes when necessary (foam tires for example). I’ll discuss the impact of these innovations in the Performance section of the review.
Ease of Use
Ease of use in a pushcart comes down to two real areas: the folding/unfolding and the on-course use. Here are two videos that show the folding and unfolding.
Unfolding the Cart
Folding the Cart
I think that the E-Z Latch System performs very well, and is in fact “easy”. The handles are large and although some pressure is required, close and open easily.
As the video shows, folding and unfolding is really a two-step process. You have a handle for the front wheel and one for the back wheels and console. Once these are in position, you flip down the bag holders and you are good to go. The SV-1 uses the standard Sun Mountain bag holding system, clips that adjust to hold the golf bag at the top and base. These clips adjust easily and hold the bag securely without need for straps or elastic cords.
My only critique of the ease of use comes when loading the cart into the trunk. The SV-1 does not fold up quite as compact as some of the other carts like the Clicgear and Sun Mountain Micro Cart. If you drive a smaller car, and trunk space is at a premium, you may want to keep this in mind. Hopefully the salesperson in the shop will let you take it out and try putting it in your trunk.
I think that all of my previous pushcart reviews have mentioned that the carts can pay for themselves if you are no longer paying for a riding cart with your round. Walking rather than riding also provides the player with more exercise and thus will reduce your long-term health care costs. OK so the healthcare thing may be pure speculation, but it seems logical to me…
Value must also include a discussion of longevity and price position in the marketplace. Sun Mountain carts have a great track record for longevity. I see the older models going strong on the course all of the time. Some courses in my area use Speed Cart V1s as rental carts. I think that this tells a lot about the durability, as those rental carts will see more play than the average personally owned cart. The SV-1 is definitely well constructed. The only thing that jumped out at me as questionable was the plastic bracket holding the front wheel.
This seemed like a spot on the cart that would be better made of metal. I was surprised enough by the plastic that I went back to look at the older Speed Carts and found that they too had the same front wheel bracket. Keeping this feature in the new design implies that it has performed well in the past. While I trust that logic to some extent, I will keep an eye on it as the rounds go on.
The SV-1 retails for $229. That’s $10 cheaper than the Speed Cart V2 and $30 more than the Speed Cart V1 (and the Clicgear 3.0). While this price puts the SV-1 in a nice price position relative to the other Sun Mountain carts, the $30 premium over the Clicgear 3.0 (who I view as the SV-1’s real competition) does weaken its value position in the market.
As always, the majority of the points for the review must come from how the cart performs on the course. Overall, I was impressed with the SV-1 on the course. It was very easy to roll, regardless of terrain and topography. The net below the console is a great place to store headcovers, rangefinders, and other gear. It is almost large enough to climb into and take a nap in when the course gets backed up. Outside of that, here are some of the specifics that I came across through testing.
Pushing the Cart
The handle is very comfortable and easily adjusts to proper height. Having spent one round pushing a previously reviewed cart with a case of the lefts, I now make sure that I adjust the front wheel prior to taking a push cart to the course. The adjustment of the SV-1 was easily accomplished and after doing that once, it rolled straight there after.
As stated in previous cart reviews, my favorite thing about a three-wheel pushcart is being able to give it a big push and watch it roll away on its own. The SV-1 passed this “test” with no problems. I did notice though that when I had the console and net loaded with gear that it seemed a little top heavy. It never fell backward, but the front wheel definitely did not need much help to lift. Strapping an ice chest with adult sodas under the cart made this a bit more of an issue. If you often pack in your own beverages, I would suggest picking up the Sun Mountain cold pack as it mounts lower on the cart and should keep the center of gravity lower.
New Console Design
I do like the new three-section console. It doesn’t feel very golf specific, as there are no slots for tees or balls in the compartments. That being said, because it is sectioned you can keep your tees, keys, balls, phone, and etc in different sections. The magnets do a great job of keeping the doors closed, even when you pack up the cart and put it in the car. For some reason I found myself flipping the outer compartments open and closed with my thumbs as I pushed the cart. Not sure why, but opening and closing those doors is fun for me. Go figure.
I did actually laugh out loud when I first pulled out the stealth scorecard holder. Sure, I am easily amused, but this is a cool feature. Slides right under the push bar. Takes the scorecard and pencil with it. Awesome. This prevents the scorecard from being secured to the top of the console, potentially blowing away in the wind.
OK so lets talk cup holder. It’s metal and looks cool, but it has issues. In theory, the cup holder being positioned on the edge of the console allows it to swing as you push the cart, thus keeping your beverage from spilling. In practice, this is the one thing that I truly do not like about this cart. While this cup holder may hold some larger things like water or sports drink bottles, it is not so good at holding your basic twelve-ounce can. First beer in the cup holder made it about 5 feet before falling sideways. Guys I was playing with started laughing and asked if that was going to be in the review. Second beer, this time in a bottle, met a similar fate. The issue is that there is just too much open space where cans and bottles can slip through. I used a few large rubber bands around the holder to fix the issue, but it is still an issue. Plus the silly cup holder falls off each time I out it into the trunk. This needs to go back to the drawing board a bit.
Under normal conditions, the braking system works very well. The handle is easy to reach under the right side of the console. The handle is also not that easy to engage accidentally, which is not something that all carts can claim.
On flat surfaces, the brake works fine, but then on flat surfaces you often do not need a brake. On a moderate slope, the cart also stays in place, but on a steep slope, I found that the cart would occasionally pivot around the right wheel when the brake was engaged. Once I learned to expect this, it was not a big deal as I just parked the cart knowing how it would turn. It was a bit annoying though.
One other thing about the brake is that because it is on the rear right wheel, you will likely need to disengage the brake if you need to move the cart. Sometimes I park too close to the ball and need to adjust the cart. If the brake is on the front wheel, I just tip up the front wheel with the brake still engaged and move the cart. The SV-1 really doesn’t work that way, requiring you to take off the brake before moving it.
Ultimately, both of these braking issues could be resolved if the brake is moved to the front wheel in the next generation cart.
Although I am being critical of the cup holder and the braking system, do not for a minute think that the cart was not a top performer on the course. The cart securely holds your golf bag, pushes with ease, goes straight after adjustment, and powers through wet, dry, and muddy conditions. All of the playability features that made the Sun Mountain Speed Carts leaders in the market are present in the SV-1.
The SV-1 definitely delivers “A” level performance on the course, but the cup holder and brake issue keeps it from earning a perfect score.
Total Score: 91/100
The Sun Mountain SV-1 carries on the tradition of excellence found in its Speed Cart forefathers. It should definitely be part of the conversation when one is looking for a premium pushcart. The SV-1 has more to offer the golfer than just its shiny paintjob.