Winch Safety Tips—How Not to do Damage on Your Recovery Mission

Winches get us out of all sorts of binds. Whether you're stuck in the mud, between some rocks, or just in a ditch you can always count on your trusty winch to get you free in a jiffy. And that's pretty amazing. That little box on the front of your machine is tough enough to pull you and your couple thousand pound machine over just about anything. But with so much power involved, it's important to respect your winch. It's much tougher than you are and can hurt you pretty bad if you're not careful. Here are SuperATV's winch safety tips for winching safely no matter what kind of winch you have.

Winch Safety1. Inspect your Winch

It's important to make sure your winch is in good working condition from time to time. I recommend making winch inspection part of your pre-ride ritual. When you're walking around checking your bolts and tires, go ahead and let out the entirety of your winch rope. Check it for any damage and if you're using a steel cable, check for rust and kinks. You'll also want to check the drum of the winch itself. Clean off any mud or other detritus you see and make sure your rope is secured properly.

2. Never Hook the line to Itself

Winch mudYou should always carry a tree-saver or some other heavy duty winching strap to help you anchor to trees. If you don't have one it might be tempting to just wrap your winch line around the nearest tree and simply hook it back on the line. This is a bad idea. If your winch line doesn't snap outright you will certainly do some damage to it leading to failure down the road. There's also a good chance that you'll kill the tree as the line digs in and cuts through bark. Plus you're all but guaranteed to get eaten by a dinosaur if you try it, so just don't.

3. Make Sure the Hook is Facing Up

When it comes to actually hooking your winch line to another vehicle, tree saver, or other anchor, always use a hook with a latch (a latch that locks is even better) and make sure you face the opening of the hook upwards. This makes sure that the hook is forced down into the ground if it fails. A flying hook is a hazard on both steel cable and synthetic rope.

4. Use a Snatch Block for Difficult Pulls

Snatch BlockIt can be hard to tell when you're going to max out your winch on a pull but you should always bring a snatch block with you. This little guy can give you a huge mechanical advantage. If you use it every time you winch you'll increase the lifetime of your winch and you'll have a much easier time with every winch pull. And it'll get you out of those tough situations when your winch just isn't quite strong enough.

5. Add Weight to the Winch Line

When you've got everything hooked up safely you need to add weight to your winch line. This is especially true with steel cable lines. All you need to do is grab a bag full of tools or water bottles or something and drape it over the cable. This will help the cable fly down into the ground if the hook comes loose or the line breaks.

6. Stand Away From the Winch Line

This one's easy. Just make sure everybody gives the line plenty of space. If everybody stands as far away from the line as there is line being used, nobody will be in harms way.

7. Designate One Spotter

WinchHaving one spotter will save you from a lot of grief. If you have four or five folks all telling you when to turn or when to stop and go you're going to end up hearing nothing but a bunch of noise. So have just one person tell you what to do.

8. Don't Jerk

Good winching is slow and steady. A lot of people like to gun it to pull their buddy out as hard as they can but you should just let the winch do the work. Flooring it to try to yank someone out only gives everybody whiplash, broken anchor points, and a snapped rope. If it does happen to get your buddy out, winching slow and easy would have worked just fine as well. If you follow all these tips you're going to have an easy time the next time you're stuck. Winch safety is easy and doesn't take much time to implement, so keep everybody safe and do it! Head on over to to get the perfect winch for your ride! Don't forget a mounting plate!  

In a Pinch? Make your own Winch!

We've all been there: stuck out in the woods on some middle-of-nowhere trail with your back end at the bottom of a deep, snowy embankment. There's not a soul within 20 miles and you didn't want to buy a winch for your machine. You just don't get yourself into these situations normally. You have 2 options. You can either sit and freeze to death in the unheated cab of your UTV, or you can start walking and hope you still at least have your big toes left by the time you find some help. How about you take option 3. You can still get yourself out of this bind—and keep your toes too! You just need to make your own winch using some basic tools (let's hope that your winch eschewing hubris doesn't extend to your toolbox.)

The Redneck Winch

The term "redneck winch" covers a lot of different winching techniques. This particular version of the redneck winch is nice and simple. It only requires rope but it has some major limitations.
Step 1
The first thing you need to do is get your rope. Easy enough.
Step 2
The next thing you need to do is tie one end of the rope through whichever wheel is facing the direction you want to go. If you're nose first in the ditch you'll attach to your rear wheel; if you're butt first in the ditch then you'll attach to your front wheel. Whatever wheel you attach to must receive power. If you have two-wheel-drive only for example, you'll need to attach to one of the two wheels that receives power even if they're at the bottom of the ditch. [caption id="attachment_5843" align="aligncenter" width="761"]redneck winch That knot isn't going to hold. Luckily I don't need to use this winch to get unstuck.[/caption] You'll also want to make sure your rope has enough room to get around your brake calipers, otherwise you're going to tear something up.
Step 3
Next you need to anchor your rope. You'll need to find something that's almost perfectly in line with the wheel you've tied to. This is because the winch works by spooling the rope around your tire. You're only going to be able to get that rope to spool if it's pretty much straight on. No fairlead here!
Bonus Step
If you want to, and you have enough rope, you can repeat this process on the opposite wheel. It'll make the winch twice as likely to work and double your winching power.
Step 4
The final step is to give your machine some gas. You want to go as slow and steady as you can. If your anchor point is perfectly straight on, the rope should spool up easily and you'll begin to winch yourself out. If you're not perfectly straight on, the rope will probably slip off the tire and slacken at some point. Don't worry! You can still make it out... probably. If the rope slips check to make sure it's not wrapping around your axle or else you might end up tearing apart your boot. After it slips, line up your rope again. Try to wedge it between some big lugs if you've got them. But if the angle to your anchor point is bad enough, you'll only be able to get one or two rotations of your tire before it slips again. Hopefully that's enough to get you out. This works best when you're just barely stuck or need to move across flat ground until you find traction on a better surface.

The Flip-Flop Winch

If the redneck winch doesn't get the job done, you can try out this much more effective (and more difficult. And slower. And more dangerous.) home-grown winch. It's called the Flip-Flop winch. This one requires more than just a rope, but not too much more.
Step 1
First thing you need is a rope. Preferably a rope rated to 3500 lbs or more. You'll also need two poles. I'm guessing you didn't bring those with you so you'll have to find a couple. That means you'll probably need a hatchet or saw to get these poles up to snuff. Getting these poles is the tricky part. They need to be very, very strong. So look for living hardwood that's no less than 5 inches in diameter and at least 6 feet long. Remember when I said this was dangerous? Don't skimp on these poles. Get the right ones.
Step 2
Next you need to tie your vehicle off to an anchor point. It's not so critical to get it perfectly straight for this winch but winching in a straight line is always easiest. Make sure you've got some good knots on there that can stand up to a lot of force.
Step 3
Now comes the complicated part. Lay your two poles on the rope midway between the vehicle and the anchor point. Lay them so that they make an off-center cross and cross each other about one foot from their ends. One pole should be parallel with the rope and the other should be perpendicular with the rope. The pole that's parallel should be the stronger of the two poles and should be on top of the two poles. The parallel pole on top is your lever pole. The perpendicular pole on the bottom is your drum pole. From your anchor point, you need to run the rope over the drum pole at the short end. Then back under and over the lever pole at the short end. Then under the drum pole and on to your vehicle. Clear as mud? Here's a picture. [caption id="attachment_5838" align="aligncenter" width="748"]flip flop winch These poles are wildly inadequate. This flip-flop winch would fall apart almost immediately.[/caption]
Step 4
Winch it! To do that you just flip the lever arm to the other side of the contraption, then you flop the drum arm and repeat. You'll want to cinch up the rope a bit after your first couple flips and flops but after that your golden. It will get tougher to flip and flop as you go along and it will get more dangerous because the poles tend to want to flip back as the tension builds up. Also those poles or the rope could snap at any time and wack you. But hey, at least you don't have to spend the night in the ditch. If you're OK with a few scrapes, bruises, a black eye, maybe a broken arm, and a bunch of wasted time, then this is the winch for you!

Another Option

There's one other thing you could do that's much quicker, easier, and safer. You could just buy a winch right now before you're stuck. We've got some you might like, and they happen to be on sale until Sunday (10/8/17). Here's how to use a Black Ops winch.
Step 1
Anchor rope.
Step 2
Press "in". INEnd of story.

Our Top 10 Instagram Photos from September

You sent in more pictures last month and they're still awesome! So check out the 10 best pictures of September from SuperATV's Instagram page. Tag us in your pictures and maybe you'll show up in next month's top 10. This time we've got some intense builds, awesome mud, and crazy hills. Enjoy!

Fast shipping from SuperATV - It's Not as Easy as You Think

SuperATV has long been known for fast shipping. We get stuff out the door the same day you order it and it gets to your doorstep in just a few days. How do we do it? Well, it sure doesn't happen by accident—it takes a lot of hard work and planning. But we've got it figured out as you can attest—we get just about everything out the door the same day it's ordered. It starts with the people doing the work. Shipping doesn't sound glamorous but it really is the backbone of SuperATV. That's why the guys and girls running the warehouse are the best of the best. There's no room for apathetic or dispassionate workers in there. So, step one is making sure these guys and girls are on point. They're not the only key to fast shipping though. You can have the best workers in the country, but if we gave them an inefficient warehouse and a tedious shipping process, you wouldn't be getting your parts so quickly. Luckily, we've got that all sorted out. And it's really not all that complicated. First we make sure everything in the warehouse has a sensible place to sit. All the lift kits go in one area, axles in another, and windshields in another still. With items grouped, our guys can easily keep track of where everything is. Now, these groups aren't scattered willy-nilly across the building. On the contrary, each type of product is considered individually and placed in an appropriate location. That means things like axles and windshields (which we sell a lot of) are placed very close to the loading docks. Other items that don't sell as quickly are placed farther away. And it gives us a better chance of getting those very last minute orders out at the end of the day. I'm talking about when you place your order at the very end of the day (well after our advertised shipping hours), when the UPS or Fed-Ex driver has finished their pickup and is getting back in the driver's seat, we can usually still get that axle on the truck because they're right up front already. All this allows the folks in the warehouse to divvy up orders quickly and easily so that they don't spend too much time traveling from one item to the next and to the loading dock. Their teamwork keeps everything running smoothly. [caption id="attachment_5235" align="alignright" width="502"] All our workers in shipping are networked together. They know exactly what they need to get and when to get it. We use technology to make our lightning fast shipping department even faster.[/caption] This is particularly evident when very large orders come through. At one point, our small shipping team was tasked with palletizing, loading, and scheduling the pick up of 400 tires. That's 22 pallets that have to be stacked with tires, wrapped, banded, and labeled—and they still had to get everybody else's orders out same day. This particular order came in on Wednesday and was out the door on Friday. Not too shabby. That's all there is to it really. We've got some gadgets to help eliminate human error but overall it's a good simple setup that's driven by hard workers. So next time you order from SuperATV, don't take our fast shipping for granted. Remember it's not just anyone who can get it done. Oh yeah—don't forget, at SuperATV the shipping is always free.

From Start to Finish: How We Make Something New and Get it to You

SuperATV makes a lot of new parts every year. At the moment we have something like 2500 different parts on that you can buy. That should show you that we have some experience in dreaming up new parts and bringing them to you to say the least. We have that process down to a science: every part at any point in its development has specific checks and balances to make sure it's the best part it can be. Dozens of people are involved with each new part. Every person has their own skill set and job to make sure it comes out right. Here's how we do it.

The Idea

[caption id="attachment_5767" align="alignright" width="529"]Try on SuperATV Idea: how do I avoid getting stuck like this again? Bigger lift? Better tires? More power? Gear Reduction?[/caption] The original idea for new parts can come from almost anywhere. Often times our president, Harold Hunt, will think of something he wishes he had on his machine that would make his rides more fun. That's basically how SuperATV got its start, by the way. A lot of different riders here at SuperATV make suggestions from time to time that are turned into real parts. You guys frequently ask for something specific like a windshield for a certain vehicle. Once a part gets on our radar, we figure out if it makes sense for us to make that part or not and go from there. We also see what everybody else is using. When we go to parks it's hard to miss some of the cool stuff people are using. Every once in a while we say "hey, we like this thing but I think we can do it better." That's how we ended up making parts like the GDP Portal Gear Lift, which is now, undoubtedly, the best gear lift the off-road community can get their hands on. And then there are the annual vehicle refreshes. Stuff has to be tweaked and changed to fit every new year model. And when there's a major year-to-year redesign like with the Maverick X3, we have to start from scratch. With a new vehicle there are new problems that we can fix with the right parts and it still needs all the standard parts like windshields and A arms. For this example let's say we're making a new 10" lift kit for the Maverick X3. (For the record, I'm not announcing anything new. It's just a good example!) Before we commit to designing this lift we'd have to think about who would use it. The X3 is super popular so there are plenty of potential buyers. On the other hand it seems like it's more popular as a race machine than a mud machine so maybe a big lift won't be very popular on this vehicle. Let's pretend like we did enough in-depth research to decide it was worth it (like maybe it turns out the X3 is exploding down south where they love going big in the mud) and move along with designing the kit.

The Design

SuperATV Design Once we've committed to making the kit, our engineers get into the nitty-gritty of designing and building every last inch of it (including axles) in CAD. First and foremost, when making a 10" lift kit, they have to make sure it will actually fit to the X3 and give it 10" of lift. Then they have to make it incredibly strong and durable. But they're also on the hook for making it look really good. They start by scanning the relevant portions of the vehicle with our FARO arm. For our example kit, that would mean scanning the suspension all the way out to the hub and scanning all the shock and arm mounting points. Once they've got every last bit of that lift kit designed down to the last millimeter, the lead engineer checks for any problems (it always helps to have a second pair of eyes) and makes sure it looks good aesthetically. Once that's done, the 10" lift kit moves into the prototype phase.

The Prototype

Prototyping is the fun part. That's when the ideas and drawings come to life with a little help from our prototype shop. With a big 10" lift that might require a lot of help actually. The prototype guys have to fab up all the A arms, trailing arms, radius arms, axles, and brackets. We keep the basics like break lines and hardware in stock, but we have to make everything else from scratch. manufacturing For tube designs like A arms and radius arms, our guys bend and cut tubes to specifications using our tube bender. They use our CNC to make ball joint holes and the laser to make gussets and shock mounts. Adjustable pivot blocks are kept in stock for manufacturing. These pieces all come together on the fixture (also designed by the engineer) and are welded together. This process is repeated for for the trailing arms (using the laser CNC, lathe, and tube bender), axles (they cut an existing axle in half and weld in a length of steel), and radius arms. This process looks different for parts like windshields, skid plates, portals, and clutch kits but you get the gist. When it's completed after a couple days, it's precisely measured to the original CAD design and tried on the vehicle. Everything is checked when it's tried on: it has to install easily; the axle can't bind at full drop or full compression or at a full turn with steering stops; it has to fit the desired tire size without rubbing anywhere. Try on SuperATVIf it doesn't meet all those requirements the design gets tweaked and the part gets rebuilt. If it does meet those requirements then it goes out for a test drive. We have our own test track on the property, remember? We also have access to a few properties in the countryside for some more diverse riding conditions. If the prototype passes muster then it is approved. That's when we start making the parts to be sold.

The Product

This is when we start work on the final, polished product that can be boxed up and shipped to you. But first we have to make sure our final touches and our processes are holding up. So we make a complete, powder coated kit, box it up, and send it to our quality department. Warehouse They make sure every last part measures to print and is fully accounted for including each bolt and thread pitch. They make sure it's boxed properly and the paint looks good. Once everything is OK, the part gets tried on again to make sure the production process will make the perfect part. Then it's done! Production goes into full swing with standard checks being made throughout the manufacturing process. Then they're all boxed up, put in the warehouse and put up for sale on the website. And that's how a part goes from an idea to your garage here at SuperATV. You can check out everything that we've dreamed up over at

We Went to the Sand Sports Super Show and it Was... Super!

SuperATV was at the Sand Sports Super Show last weekend in Costa Mesa, California. It's called "Super" for a reason. It's a huge show—one of the biggest and best shows we've ever seen. Over 300 vendors attended the show that is designed to celebrate all things sand.

More custom UTVs than you can handle

Along with the vendors came more custom RZRs, Rangers, Mavericks, and YXZs than you could count. Jordan, a dealer rep here at SuperATV was on the ground at the show: "Sand Sport Super Show was a great event, SuperATV was able to get out to the West Coast and see what it’s all about. Side by Sides were everywhere you turned, with some really incredible builds!" One of those custom builds was an RZR built by the American Sand Association. [gallery type="rectangular" size="full" ids="5746,5747,5745,5748"] This sand scorching spectacle was put together with parts from a bunch of different vendors. SuperATV donated the A arms, trailing arms, and rear radius rods. Together with the rest of the vendors who donated, we made a pretty cool vehicle that was the center of attention at the show. This dune destroyer will be raffled off at next year's show with all proceeds going to help keep the Imperial Sand Dunes open to public riding for years to come.

The ASA loves dunes

The American Sand Association ran the show, and they're all about keeping sand dunes open to the public. If you live out west or love going to the dunes, then these guys are your best friends. "The American Sand Association depends on the business community to validate and support the important issues that affect the Imperial Sand Dunes. Over the last 16 years, the ASA has grown into the largest grass-roots organization leading the fight to preserve and protect the public’s access at the Imperial Sand Dunes." SuperATV Sand Sports Super Show Glamis is a part of the Imperial Sand Dunes area and that seemed to be all anybody could talk about. Between running around like a mad man to keep everything running smoothly, Jordan got to talk to a fair few of you guys. "All you heard about was Glamis, Glamis, Glamis, so the next stop for us here at SuperATV will be Glamis.  I hope the western crowd will be just as excited as we are to venture that way." You guys sure love your dunes. And we love going to events like this where you can share your love with us at SuperATV. It's a long haul from Indiana for us to see some sand, but every time we head out west we fall in love with it all over again. You can bet we've got dunes on the brain now. SSSSSuperATVAs a closing note, You guys seemed very interested in our Hand Held ECU Tuners while we were out there. So let me just briefly remind you that they are rad. And if you install a clutch kit along with tune you'll see some pretty wild results. You can learn more about them HERE and a lot more HERE. And head over to to see everything else! We hope to see you guys at the Sand Sports Super Show next year. It's one of the best shows have the privilege of attending. If you were on the fence this year you owe yourself to go next year. It's a spectacle well worth the price of admission. See you there!    

Want to Get Into Hill Climbing? Here are a Few Tips to Get You Started

If you've never seriously tried hill climbing in your UTV, you should. The risks of climbing an insane hill are high and it's easy to rack up a huge repair bill. But the reward is even greater. Making it to the top of a nasty hill rewards you with an incredible adrenaline rush that few other experiences can match. So if you're not hill climbing yet, here's a few things you should check off before you get started.

Safety Is Paramount

Obviously, climbing up a huge hill puts you at a big risk of rolling down that hill. And the higher you go, the harder you can fall. That's why it's important stack the odds in your favor when it comes to safety. First of all, you should always wear a helmet. Makes sure it's a good one that protects your whole face too. That's an easy one to do. Secondly, get yourself a 4 or 5 point harness. Your standard 3 point harness may not be safe enough for a rough roll down a hill. Trust me, you'll want to stay firmly in your seat when you start rolling. And finally, you'll want to invest in a reinforced, aftermarket roll cage if you get into anything bigger than beginner hills. If anything is going to squash your cage, it's going to be a long, violent roll from the top of a big hill. And if you squash your cage, well, it's not looking great for you. So before you go big, upgrade that roll cage!

Use Your Machine Properly

So now you've got all your safety requirements met, so let's figure out how to make it up a hill without floundering constantly. When you're getting ready to go up a hill and you're still on flat ground, you'll want to check to make sure your four-wheel-drive is already engaged. You don't want to flip that switch, then gun it up the hill only to find that it didn't engage and there's only one way back down. So just be sure. If you're driving a CVT driven machine (like an RZR or a Maverick), you'll want to make sure you keep the machine in low range. If you don't you'll end up wearing out your drive belt fast. Sometimes you might feel like your low range just isn't quite cutting it. Don't worry, you can boost it with a SuperATV ECU Tune. Low range on most vehicles has an artificial limiter the keeps you from going full speed. A tune from SuperATV will cure that.


When it comes to actually driving up the hill, there's not a lot of advice that will help. Of course you want to keep your machine pointed to that top of the hill to the best of your ability, and if you're about to flip over backwards you probably shouldn't hit the gas and send yourself end over end. Other than that, there's not really any advice to give. Your success on the hillside depends on your ability and your experience. No two hills are alike. Even the same hill will change drastically from your first time up to your fourth time up. The soil composition and consistency changes from state to state and season to season. With enough rides on the same hill the top soil will erode away and you'll be left with dense dirt or clay on top of rocks and roots. It's insanely variable. So try out lots of different hills, know your machine, and gain experience. Eventually every hill will start to feel familiar. Soon you'll be conquering massive hills that you didn't think you'd ever see the top of. And your favorite hobby will just get better. And head over to to get everything you need to dominate those hills!  

Race2Riches 2 Recap—Who Won and Who Rolled

Race2Riches 2 featured some of the biggest, baddest, rock bouncers and custom UTVs all competing for a piece of $150,000. The event featured 6 brutal hills—2 for bouncer class and 4 for pro UTV class—and 100 racers. [video width="1920" height="1088" mp4=""][/video] These hills were savage with plenty of wrecks and a whole lot of DNFs. But those who survived and managed to come out on top walked away with a new RZR or Maverick and a big wad of cash. Team SuperATV's very own Tyler Greves was there racing Bad Blood in the pro utv class but after a small mistake he wasn't able to land in the top 10. The event was an absolute blast. The guys with Pro UTV put on a heck of an event. The hills were rowdy and with such tough competition there was no room for error. Unfortunately I made a mistake on hill 3 and had to hit reverse costing me close to 10 secs and didn’t get to advance to hill 4. Bad blood was ripping hard with the Rev1 ECU Tune and Clutch Kit but that simple mistake really cost me, but that’s part of racing. Already looking forward to the event next year. — Tyler Greves The competition is fierce. Race2Riches is an invitation only race that brings all the top racers from across the country to one place to show what they've got. It takes a perfect balls-to-the-wall run and a little luck to land on the podium. Tim Cameron says that in order to win, you've got to have your throttle between 80 and 100% from the bottom of the hill to the crest in order to compete. That's intense. [video width="1920" height="1088" mp4=""][/video]

The Winners

By the way, Tim Cameron took first last year for the pro UTV class and took second this year. That means he's gone home with a brand new UTV 2 years in a row now. If he keeps it up, he'll have to build a new garage just for Race2Riches prizes. He could put a sign on it that says "trophy case". But anyway here are the the top 10 finishers in each class: [gallery columns="2" size="full" type="rectangular" ids="5715,5725"] Do you see the time difference between 1st and 2nd place in the rock bouncer class? That's 0.006 seconds. What an insanely close finish! A high velocity bullet from a modern rifle would travel less than 30 feet in 0.006 seconds. Sound would would travel less than 7 feet in .006 seconds! That's nuts! And there's Clayton Hollingsworth taking home 2 machines—1 from each class. He's probably pretty happy he signed up. And the Hollingsworths altogether took home half of the available prize vehicles.

Some went up, others went down

Race2Riches crowdBut if you're anything like me, you're less interested in the results of the race and more interested in watching all the guys who failed and ended up rolling back down to the bottom. And Race2Riches certainly delivered. With 100 drivers, we were all but guaranteed to see some spectacular crashes and the guys running the event at Pro Rock Racing knew it. They even had a special prize for the best rollover. So while you're waiting for next years Race2Riches—maybe with an even bigger prize pool—check out everything over at to get your rig ready for the hill. And spend the rest of your time watching this compilation by MadRam11 of how NOT to climb a hill at Race2Riches.