Viper ATV Winches
If you've been looking around for a reasonably priced winch for the ATV you just bought you've surely come across the Viper Winch. Manufactured by MotoAlliance in Minnesota they have been around for about five years now and they appear to be growing in popularity. MotoAlliance limits its distribution network to keep costs down and passes the savings along to you. You can buy Viper Winches direct from the MotoAlliance Website or through Amazon or Ebay. If you search the Internet forums you'll find a lot of praise for these lower cost alternatives to Warn and Ramsey Winches. But let the buyer beware here because Vipers, like almost all lower priced winches, use permanent magnet motors as opposed to the series wound motors found in Winches from Warn and most Ramsey models. While it is true that permanent magnet motors draw less amps at startup they also are prone to overheating with prolonged use and heavy pulls. Dig deep into those forum threads and you are sure to find users of winches with permanent magnet motors who have experienced burned out motors. If you need a winch for everyday use, not just the occasional "stuck in the mud" scenario, a winch with a series wound motor might be a better option. At the very least, be aware that most low and mid priced winches will need to be given a rest during long pulls.
Viper Winches: The Classic Series
Viper Winches come in three different Series: The Classic, The Max, and The Elite. The low end Classic Series offers three models -- the VX 2500, the VX 3000, and the VX4000. These come with basic mounts and all hardward needed to install them. To fit your vehicle you may need to add a special mounting kit. While the Classics come with 50 feet of steel cable you can upgrade to Viper's Amsteel-Blue synthetic rope. The Elite Series includes Amsteel-Blue which is the only synthetic rope on the market today with its own warranty. The Classics are a little light on their warranty -- 6 months for internal parts -- and they do not include some nice "bells and whistles" like snatch blocks, winch covers, and rubber line stoppers that are standard in the Max and Elite Series, but they are very attractively priced. The VX2500 will set you back a measly 85 bucks!
Viper Winches: The Max Series
The Max Series offers a few more options in line pull capacity -- adding a 3500lb, a 4500lb, and a 5000lb model. Cabled remotes, winch covers, snatch blocks, and rubber line stoppers and terminal boots are all included and the warranty is a bit more substantial at 1 year. As is the case with the Classic Series, the included mounts only work on flat surfaces so you may need to add a custom mount to fit your ATV.
Viper Winches: The Elite Series
One of the big advantages in this Series is the included Amsteel-Blue synthetic rope, available in your choice of colors: red, blue, or green. They come with wireless remotes and a healthier 2 year warranty. MotoAlliance has added what they call a "Whisper" greasing system to this Series that makes Elites extremely quiet. They have six different models here with two offering a special wide spool feature. If you're in the market for a low priced winch, Vipers are definitely worth a look!