|By Gary McBain
Get A Winch That Pulls Hards, A Gorilla Winch
If you scan ATV websites, forums and Ebay for
very long you are likely to run across reference
to one or more of the ATV winches being imported
from China. One such winch that piqued my
curiosity was one called the “Gorilla “.
A couple of phone calls led me to Tom
McCullough, the company president of
Outdoor2You. Tom explained that his company
directly imports these winches from China to his
company’s specifications. Tom feels that the
winch is a high quality product which his
company backs with a 6 month limited warranty
against defective parts or assembly. He points
to the 99.8% positive feedback on over 4,000
sales on Ebay as indication that this bargain
priced winch provides very good service and
value. Tom agreed to let me evaluate a Gorilla
2500 lb. winch with the encouragement that I
really wring it out.
I received the winch a couple days later. The
package contained the winch, wiring, transfer
block, handlebar rocker switch, installation
instructions and mounting hardware.
Gorilla winch being install on a Polaris
After reading the directions I set out to
mount the winch on my new 2006 Polaris X2. To
mount a winch on the X2 the front plastic fascia
that Polaris optimistically calls a “bumper” had
to be removed as did the plastic storage
box/rack. Eight bolts and eight screws later I
was ready to mount the bracket and install the
winch. The X2 already had a mounting plate so
all I needed was the winch bracket and roller
fairlead. It should be noted that mounting
brackets and roller fairleads are available for
specific ATV models and must be purchased
separately or as a package.
My wife calls me the “Fix Two, Break One
Handyman”. She insists that for every two things
I fix around the house I break something else
while doing it. I had never installed a winch
before and it took me awhile to figure it out.
In this case however, I was able mount the winch
without damage or injury to the X2 or myself.
A check of the thumb switch on the left
handlebar, indicated the winch had power and was
ready to go. The winch powered out, powered in
and a large knob on the winch allowed it to free
spool the cable out.
Now the question was, how am I going to test
it? I am a middle aged couch potato. I see a
large mud hole and I ride around it. I see a
treacherous incline and I avoid it. I have no
desire to bury my brand new X2 in a mud bog or
dangle it over a cliff to prove the value of a
winch. With that in mind I devised a test that I
thought would be indicative of the Gorilla’s
The Up Hill Pull Test
I found a hill near my house with about a
30% grade. The test involved running the winch
cable out as far as it would go and then
attaching it to a rope/pull strap attached to a
tree on the top. Research indicated that a long
hard pull is particularly hard on a winch. Care
should be taken to let the winch cool if it gets
The first uphill pull was with the winch
cable fully extended at 30 feet. The cable hook
was attached to a pull strap wrapped around the
tree. The X2 was running and in neutral with me
aboard as I hit the handlebar mounted toggle
switch. The Gorilla pulled me and the ATV slowly
but steadily up the hill. The winch was warm but
not hot and indicated no strain.
With that pull successful I decided to raise
the odds. I lowered the X2 back down the hill
using the reverse on the switch. I then put the
ATV in park with the brakes locked. With me on
board the winch dragged me and the X2 up the
hill. The tires tore up the grass as they were
dragged up the hill but the winch had no
problem. It was warmer to the touch than before
but was not hot.
I don’t know how much static weight the winch
was pulling. The ATV and I weigh over 1,000 lbs
combined and were being pulled up a 30% grade
with the wheels locked. Add the fact that the
cable was attached low on the tree and nearly
compressed the front end of the ATV as it pulled
us up the hill and I would say the draw on the
winch was considerable.
Real World Test
Up hill pull test.
The real test of a winch is in the real
world. I had a chance to take the X2 out on the
trails recently. One of the trails was blocked
by a foot thick fallen tree. I got the front
tires up and over but then high centered the
bike on the tree. I rocked it back and forth but
was unable to free it. I then remembered the
winch and short time later freed myself with
Another trail took me down by a beaver pond.
Beavers had cut a path across the trail by
dragging logs. The cut had eroded due to the
rain and water flow and was about three feet
wide and a couple feet deep. I slowly approached
and was able to get my front tire through and up
the other side. The long wheelbase of the X2
dropped the rear wheels into the cut and high
centered me again. It was an easy pull out for
the winch but saved me considerable exertion.
A word about specifications and prices.
Gorilla Winches are available in sizes from
2,000lbs up to 5, 000lbs for ATVs and larger
size utility vehicles. At the time of this
writing, the 2,500 lb winch I tested was running
around $100 plus shipping for the winch and
machine specific mounting bracket on Ebay.
Certainly a bargain. Prices and specifications
will vary according to the size of the winch.
There is an old adage that goes, “What do you
do with an 800lb pet gorilla?” The answer of
course is “anything he wants.” My 2500lb Gorilla
Winch on the other hand, did everything I wanted
it to do. I am confident that it will pull me
and my ATV out of anything that I might run
across. It certainly makes me more confident to
have the means to free myself should I get stuck
somewhere. If you are unable or unwilling to buy
a winch because of the high cost of the name
brand, you might want to consider getting your
own pet Gorilla.