By: Tim Donaldson
Product Review –
Superwinch "ATV3000" Winch
Helping a stuck ATV over a rock ledge is
only one way this winch will help you
“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful
than a locomotive and able to scale large
buildings in a single wrap of the cable drum?"
No, we’re not talking about Superman here.
We’re talking about Superwinch’s new ATV Series
drum-centric “ATV3000” winch.
The ATV3000, larger sibling of the ATV2500 in
the Superwinch ATV Series family, offers a host
of product features. To name a few, the ATV3000
- 3000 pound single-line pull capacity
with 50 feet of galvanized wire rope with
- Handlebar control
- 4-bolt pattern for easy installation
- Fail-safe electrical components
(premium, sealed solenoid)
- Reduced amp draw to minimize electrical
- Circuit breaker protection
- Sealed 1.5 hp motor
- 3-stage planetary gears to deliver fast,
yet safe pull
- Dynamic and mechanical braking to
produce sure stops and reliable holding
- Cam-action freewheel operation that is
easy to engage and disengage
According to Mark Hart, Superwinch’s
Marketing Manager, “Superwinch, Inc. created the
first winch for ATV's, the X-1 many years ago.
But it is fair to say that we have refocused on
what made the company, providing compact, high
performing winches that are also a great value.”
what product features separate Superwinch from
other winch manufacturers, Mark responded, “The
difference is value. These winches perform as
well or better than any brand on the market. We
just do it at a lower cost and back it by the
best warranty in the industry. We stand behind
100% of our products, 100% of the time.”
Now, with an
awesome warranty and great product features,
let’s talk real-world winch installation and
performance. Upon hearing the news that I
would get the chance to product test the
ATV3000, I was very excited. Our riding group
was preparing for a trip to Black Mountain OHV
Park near Harlan, Kentucky. With mountainous,
rocky terrain resembling kryptonite, the Black
Mountain beckoned a challenge from Superwinch,
with trails named the “Widow-Maker” and “Mason
Jar” as worthy foes. Yet, with one week to
prepare before our departure, I needed to
quickly install the winch.
Mechanical Hardware Installation
Removal of front bumper
installation of the major hardware components
was easy and straight-forward, taking a very
conservative elapsed time of approximately 1
hour. Hardware components included the mounting
plate, winch, and roller fairlead.
to the winch itself, Superwinch provided a
customized mounting plate for my Kawasaki
Prairie 360 4x4. When ordering your
Superwinch, be sure to include the mounting
plate, specifically designed for your make and
model. Although not required, the customized
plate is certain to save you time and
aggravation. Otherwise, you will be left
crafting your own mount for the winch.
In order to
properly mount the plate, the front bumper
needed to be removed. Once detached, the
plate was fastened onto the bumper with the
provided u-bolts. Remember; do not
reattach the bumper until the winch has been
mounted to the plate. It can be rather
disheartening to stand to admire your progress,
only to realize you won’t be able to fit the
winch behind the attached bumper!
your specific ATV model, the winch can be
mounted with a different “attitude” than that
illustrated in the instruction manual. No,
this is not describing the general well-being of
the winch or yours, but rather the position or
orientation of the winch. Keep in mind,
whatever the orientation, the winch is designed
to operate in an underwound configuration.
As in my case, the winch was fastened beneath
the mounting plate, making a single-person job a
little challenging. An extra hand from my
wife to hold the winch while attaching the bolts
made the task much easier.
completion, the roller fairlead was mounted.
Removing the top roller of the fairlead allowed
the latched hook to pass through the assembly,
finishing the mechanical hardware installation.
Solenoid placement was located next to
electrical installation consisted primarily of
the solenoid, toggle-switch, circuit breaker,
and wires. Although, optional remote sockets are
available for remote-control winch operation, it
was not part of this application.
the mechanical installation was quite clear-cut,
the electrical was not as easy–taking about 3 to
4 hours to complete. Since every ATV make and
model is very different, one size does not fit
all! In other words, actual installation
of electrical hardware and wire routing is very
model specific. Superwinch’s installation
instructions could not, other than in a general
manner, describe the exact mounting or routing
locations for the electrical components that
were machine particular. However, an
illustration of the wiring terminations,
coinciding with the appropriate electrical
components, was provided in the installation
step in the electrical installation was the
mounting of the solenoid. Some creativity
was required, and depending on the ATV, space
availability will likely vary model to model.
For the Prairie 360, the solenoid was placed
under the seat, next to the battery.
Fortunately, the battery was able to be
repositioned to allow the appropriate amount of
room for installation. Otherwise, some cutting
of the plastic may have been necessary.
The toggle switch was simply mounted onto the
left handlebar. Then, it was just a matter of
running all of the wires to the solenoid,
toggle-switch, winch, battery, ATV main switch,
fuses, and circuit breaker. Sounds easy and fun,
right? This was where most of the time was used
during the installation. Rather than laying out
the specific details, I’ll leave it to the
manual which does a decent job with the graphic
illustration and instructions.
considerations to keep in mind with the
electrical installation are to use the rubber,
wire-end termination covers. The instructions
were not clear about the actual usage.
Also, more than likely, the plastic molding of
the ATV will have to be removed to properly
route the wires. Be wary of running the
wires near hot exhaust pipes or engine
components. Depending on electrical device
location and actual routing, there may be an
excess of wire cable which should be securely
contained--away from anything hot or abrasive
which would compromise the wire integrity.
we successfully installed the winch before our
big trip departure, giving us the opportunity to
test the winch in the heart of the Appalachian
Mountains. A special thanks to my buddy, M, who
helped make this short-term project completion a
On the Trail
Having the winch allowed us to explore trails
or areas where we may, otherwise, have been
reluctant to venture. Climbing steep, rocky
trails was made safer by utilizing the winch.
With a 3000-pound rated capacity, the winch had
enough strength to easily pull the weight of the
bike and rider over any obstacle. The biggest
challenge was keeping the bike, which had the
winch mounted to it, stationary when pulling
large objects or other ATV’s.
A rider stuck
in the mud could use the winch, if not too badly
buried in the muck, to pull oneself out without
the assistance of another rider or machine. Of
course, a little help from the friends is still
considered an appreciated courtesy!
fairlead guided the cable around the drum,
assuring there was no chance of cable spin-off.
During winch operation, constant tension was
maintained to prevent cable kinking. Also,
an effort was made to assure the cable spooled
properly during retraction by applying foot
pressure to the cable.
The only minor objection with the winch was
that when fully retracted, the latched hook was
free to move around. The constant banging,
rattling sound heard while riding the rough,
bumpy trails was ever present. In an
effort to alleviate the chatter, the winch was
extended and tautly fastened to the front rack.
However, this presented a problem with roughing
up the rack and front plastic.
Winch supporting entire weight of this
500 pound ATV.
By and large,
the Superwinch ATV3000 is quite impressive.
It has a clean, polished look that reflects the
quality from which it is made.
Installation took about 4 to 5 hours to
complete. However, being a first-time
effort, the time would be reduced by half with a
little more experience.
ergonomically-located thumb-operated activation
switch initiated reliable, steady, pulling power
from the winch. With big jobs, it will be
necessary to secure the quad to another fixed
object to prevent movement of the ATV,
indicating the raw power of the winch.
Worthy of the
“S” on its “shirt,” Superwinch offers a host of
additional options that will further make the
winching experience a truly exceptional one!
Backed by an industry standard-setting warranty,
we will continue to put the Superwinch through
its paces and expect it to continue to perform
In regards to
proper winch performance and usage, Superwinch
has embarked on an educational effort to inform
winch users of safe and proper usage. Included
in this outreach is “The Pulling Power Zone™”
which illustrates the appropriate number of
cable wraps around the drum for maximum pulling
efficiency. Superwinch invites users to get
further education from their website under
“Choosing the Right Winch.”
specific information about Superwinch’s ATV3000,
related products, and educational assistance,