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Winch Of Prey | Superwinch Talon Performance Series

Testing the new Talon Performance series winch from Superwinch

Joe Burnside
Nov 1, 2012
Photographers: Joe Burnside
Some new products are born from the numerous requests of customer suggestions and cries for help. Take, for example, the new line of Talon Performance series winches from Superwinch. Let’s face it, eight-lug vehicles are heavy and when stuck require a winch capable of safely extracting an 8,000-pound truck mired up to the doorsill in mud and muck, which can easily double or triple the effective weight of the vehicle.
Photo 2/18   |   The Superwinch Talon Series’ biggest winch is the Talon 18.0, which uses a two-stage planetary/two-stage spur gear set and a 6hp series wound motor to produce 9 tons of pull. Ergonomic remote control, foot-down or foot-forward mounting, sealed housing and waterproof solenoid, light overall weight, and a limited-lifetime mechanical warranty are just some of the Talon’s features.
Until now, owners of these heavyweight beasts were limited to winches of a 16,500-pound pulling force with steel cable. Meanwhile, our little brothers in the ½-ton and Jeep categories had the luxury of using smaller winches with lightweight synthetic rope. Enter the Winch of Prey from Superwinch, the all-new Talon winch series with pulling ratings from 9,500 to 18,000 pounds. They’re synthetic-rope friendly and are IP67 certified. This means the internal workings and circuitry are dust-resistant and can safely be immersed in up to 1 meter of water without failure.

The new Talon series offers 12 winch models in four different pulling ranges, and each pulling range is available in either steel cable or synthetic rope (denoted with SR in the name) configurations.
Photo 3/18   |   01. There’s an ergonomically shaped handheld sealed remote with bright LED light for assisting in nighttime winching operations. The remote also meets the tough IP67 standard, which ensures water, mud, snow, and dust is kept out. The ½-inchx90-foot Viking Offroad winch line is rated to a 30,600-pound minimum breaking strength.
Winch Conditions

Recovery operations have a tendency to fall into one end of the spectrum: dusty; dirty; sandy; silt-filled, asphyxiating air; or thick, gooey mud, muck, and tire-swallowing mire. The Talon features a 6hp sealed motor and the VS4 (vented, submersible, and stabilized with sealed socket) control solenoid, which will keep out water, mud, snow, and dust and has a patented venting feature that allows the contacts to resist water and release condensation that can cause damage.
This winch also uses a heavy-duty two-stage planetary and two-stage spur gearbox instead of the triple gears found in winches of a lighter design. The winch is efficient, too; it will deliver up to 62 feet per minute, consuming only 75 amps. Heat from the motor and the dual-stop 100-percent-load holding brake are routed away from the drum to protect the synthetic rope. A special steel drum was constructed with high-tensile-strength material to resist the unique loading characteristic of the synthetic ½-inchx90-foot rope, which is rated at 30,600 pounds to ensure a safe pull.
Until the release of the Talon 18 SR (18,000-pound capacity), owners of heavy ¾- or 1-ton trucks only had one option for spooling onto their winch drum: steel cable. Steel cables have been used as the de facto standard in the 4x4 world for many years. Winch owners simply accepted the fact that steel winch cables have a tendency to rust and can be easily damaged by wrapping over themselves on the drum or by kinking or bending over sharp edges—not to mention how heavy they are to pull out. Synthetic rope is just as strong as any cable but far lighter. Typical ½-inchx90-foot wire rope weighs 50 pounds, whereas ½-inchx90-foot synthetic rope is a mere 8 pounds.
Photo 4/18   |   02. When you mount a winch capable of exerting 9 tons of force, you don’t want to see the mount start bending or the bumper snapping off. The bumper should be made from heavy-duty materials, welded, and gusseted to withstand heavy loads. It’s also nice to have light mounting points, shackles, and tow hooks. Our bumper from TrailReady fits the bill perfectly.
Superwinch elected to use Viking winch lines as the synthetic rope for the Talon SR series winches. Viking winch lines are all made in the U.S. from the strongest fiber currently available: Dyneema SK-75. Synthetic winch line stores zero energy under stress and, in the event of breakage, doesn’t snap back with the deadly whiplash action of cable. However, synthetic ropes are susceptible to cuts from sharp metal, abrasion, and excessive heat and therefore must be protected. Regardless of the winch line chosen, always use something over it to help absorb the energy in the event it does break or come loose from an attaching point.
Capacity matters. At a bare minimum, a winch should have twice the capacity of a pickup’s loaded weight. A ½-ton 4×4 pickup shouldn’t have anything less than a 10,000-pound-capacity winch, while a crew cab dualie diesel 4x4 should be set up with at least a 16,000-pound model. Bigger is better for both.
Photo 8/18   |   06. The power cables have sufficient length to easily reach the battery closest to the firewall. The heavy-duty gauge power cables can easily handle the 75-amp current load during full pull applications.
Having a winch on your rig without a proper accessory kit is like having a socket set without extensions. Both can be used do the basic jobs, but they are worthless for more demanding situations. Every pickup equipped with a heavy-duty winch should also carry a winch accessory kit that includes tree-saver straps, shackles, a snatch block, winch straps, and heavy-duty leather work gloves. We picked up these basic items from Superwinch. We know from experience that we would need more accessories. We contacted our friends at Viking Offroad for more recovery equipment. They supplied us with extra rigging lines, a removable rock guard, splicing kit, recovery hitch, ¾-inch shackles, and a dry bag to hold everything. These are must-have items—especially when your rig is the only one with a winch for miles around. Sure, they take up a bit more room, but the time these winching necessities save in a pinch is well worth that little bit of lost space in the toolbox or bed of the truck.
Photo 9/18   |   07. Due to its constrictive properties under load, synthetic rope is spooled slightly differently than steel cable. The rope is passed through the drum and secured at the opposite end with duct tape. To keep the rope installed, a minimum of eight wraps of the first layer must remain on the drum.
All the equipment needs to be up to the pulling task. Winching is a potentially dangerous activity, so keep safety at the forefront. Make sure whatever accessories you carry are capable of handling twice the load for which the winch is rated. Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be prepared.”

We spoke, Superwinch listened. The ¾- and 1-ton truck market needed a heavy-duty, high-pulling-capacity, rugged, weather-durable winch with synthetic rope. The Superwinch Talon Series’ biggest winch is the Talon 18.0, which uses a two-stage planetary/two-stage spur gear set and a 6hp series wound motor to produce 9 tons of pulling power. The winch is available in either steel cable or synthetic rope configurations. It comes with an ergonomic remote control, can be mounted either foot-down or foot-forward, includes a sealed housing and waterproof solenoid, exhibits light overall weight, and even has a limited-lifetime mechanical warranty.
Talon Winch Models Available:
  • Talon 9.5: 9,500-pound capacity
  • Talon 9.5 SR: Synthetic rope version
  • Talon 9.5i: Solenoid aluminum bridge above drum
  • Talon 9.5i SR: Synthetic rope version
  • Talon 12.5: 12,500-pound capacity
  • Talon 12.5 SR: Synthetic rope version
  • Talon 12.5i: Solenoid aluminum bridge above drum
  • Talon 12.5i SR: Synthetic rope version
  • Talon 14: 14,000-pound capacity
  • Talon 14 SR: Synthetic rope version
  • Talon 18: 18,000-pound capacity
  • Talon 18 SR: Synthetic rope version

Sources

Superwinch
Putnam, CT 06260
860-928-7787
www.superwinch.com
Viking Offroad
N/A, AK
818-842-0595
www.vikingoffroad.com

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