The design process for the development of a new line of rear engine riding lawn mowers is described in this paper. In order to optimize the vibration behavior of this product, it was necessary to define a quantitative measure of the operator perception, or the “feel” of the vibrations at the operator/vehicle interfaces, i.e., the steering wheel, the footrests, and the seat. A Goodness of Vibration factor based on frequency weighting was devised for the design process. This quantitative measure in conjunction with the analytical/experimental tools of spectrum analysis, modal analysis, and finite element analysis during the design process are shown to produce a comfort optimized mower system. The Goodness of Vibration factors are shown to constitute a generic process which, in addition to quantifying the operator perception of vibrations, also help guide the product design process because of their direct relationships to the modal behavior of the system and also to the excitation spectra. This generic approach may have applications to the design process for other consumer power equipment, beyond the mower design demonstrated in this paper.

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