How to Use a Motorcycle Winch

How to Use a Motorcycle Winch

I think we can do it. Oh, yes. Piece of cake. We got this. No problem. You go first! Adventure riders benefit from being prepared. Because you just never know what’s gonna happen. I carry a winch and so do all of my instructors. The best way to show you how this works is
to take you on a ride. Not happening! This whole mountain is made of clay. Traction is almost non-existent. This first hill isn’t so challenging that
we need to pull out the winch. I’ve got Paul and Cameron hooked up to the
bike. We’ve got straps attached very low down to
the crashbars. And they’re long enough that they can get
to both sides of the trail where they can get some good traction and use their body
weight to lean forward to get that bike pulled. I’m using the motor on the motorcycle and
the clutch to try to power-up as best I can. To make sure that Paul and Cameron aren’t
wearing out we’re using our body weight to help pull that bike up. All they have to do is lean forward to give the bike jut enough pull
to power it up.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. nice, Please provide some info about your soft panniers you had on your bike, Mosko? also, I use ice cleats on my boots for muddy hills just like you were struggling with, on amazon around $20, well worth it, slip em on, use it, take em off, it is sooo nice not to have to fight the slippy side of any hill you need to walk up, even if just to see the other side w/o falling and being filthy and wet.
    Thanks and look forward to the info about your Mosko bags.

  2. Well produced, filmed, edited and presented video but jeez what is it with people who think the GS is a dirtbike. There are only a small number of guys (and girls) who can ride these kind of bikes in proper enduro type going. For the rest a 200/250/450 would be way better. And as for the statement 'people need bigger bikes for world / adventure travel' I can tell you now, NO ONE on a round the world trek ever said "I wish I had a bigger/heavier bike". Cheers, TC, Australia

  3. For anyone that is interested in this for their bike or a remote trip one day. I just got an email back from Warn stating that their XT17 and XT15 wenches are discontinued and there is no plan to produce another winch like this in the future. Bummer

  4. Should see some of the hills me and a mate go up, literally straight up you simply cannot get a bike up it with out 2 people pushing.

  5. Adventure bikes are great but it gets old really fast when yu have to lug a massive heavy bike around up the bush hey.

  6. Hi I'm a new sub. I like your Channel. I ride alone most of the time. Where would I find the winch you were using? I find it very interesting and would like to have one. Thanks for the great video.

  7. For all those who say "Just use a smaller bike and you won't need a winch!" I submit the following example of a TW200 rider that probably wished he had a winch.

  8. Looks like some kind of ice spikes attached to your boots would be useful. 🙂

    I’m wondering how much electricity the GS generates at idle. I’ve read some bikes don’t generate enough until 2,000-3,000 RPM, or so. I’m thinking this might be a case where a basic throttle lock might be useful?

  9. I bet strap on cleats would have been nice to have on your boots if you're slipping that much.And would a Ratchet type winch be a good idea too?

  10. @mototrek Is there a reason you did not sit on the motorcycle? Seems like it would have been much easier to control and you would still be well below the capacity of the winch. Also what trail is this and where is it located? Looks awesome!

  11. Id have killed for a winch in Costa Rica last June, I was trapped in an area for a couple of long days with never-ending rains in the green season, My super tenere 1200 is no lightweight and i had to manhandle it way too much just to make any headway. At one point there was a hill that i spent the better part of a day waiting on some help.

  12. This winch is no longer available Warn has not made it for over a year but I would still like to have one but can not get it.

  13. How are you getting back down the trail? At some point, people need to simply turn around. You're adding to problems on that path, and just playing around. Ride with a purpose, not your days-off.

  14. Love your inventiveness…i carry 2 winches (in case one breaks) a chainsaw and a hydraulic ram (to remove all the fallen trees out of the way)…seriously Bret…
    I am sure you know how to choose your tools for your bike, sometimes its about choosing the bike for the intended purpose. I seen your answer to Pavlin below and…honestly, while i can understand you defending the video i cannot possibly think you truly believe it yourself. I did Tamanrasset with (given quite modified) an XS1100, just to prove it could be done (i was in my twenties then). I had the strenght, the skills, the tools…it all went well BUT with 10x the effort it was with the old trusted XT. I owned an R1100GS, an R1200GS and an HP2 enduro, while i think they are awsome, they do have their limits and when i have to think about packing a winch i know i'm taking the wrong bike. Right now I'm between bases so i'm living on my bike for probably another good year and i can tell you that i am packing smaller then what you were carrying up that hill. If anything you could be on an HP2 enduro and that would impress me, slightly heavier then your avg adv but with your skills the perfect tool even up that hill…personally i went back to the good old trusted Ténéré for the tropics as it is, and remains to date, the best do it all adv bike out there. But hey, who am i to talk, just an old fart that started opting for less effort and more enjoyment out of my trips…lol
    Keep up the good work. Cheers, Alex.

  15. All of that could have been shown an explained in a bout 2 minutes but at least I got what I needed from it. It's an expensive winch, would be good to find some cheaper options but I found myself in a situation riding solo yesterday where this would have saved me a lot of time, effort so I'll definately be going out and putting together a similar setup. And for all those guys going on about how you don't need this stuff, well you're right, you don't need it until you do! Enough said.

  16. For those looking for a similar winch, this could work:

  17. You have 100% confirmed to me that i would never want one of these 220kg bikes for adventure. They are not adventure bikes that enable actual adventure offroad riding competently (unless you are chris birch or such – plus have super knobby enduro tires ) – this video shows that normal guys try these offroad in the wet and spend ages strugglig dragging them up with help up multiple people , winches etc, its crazy – they are road touring bikes and im sure very comfortable at that. If you want to actually adventure ride, get a 130kg to 170kg 250 to 700c bike, there are several options around there. A nice 350, tuned up enduro bike with remade comfy seat and panniers does everything, has lots of power if its remapped and tunned right and is far more suitable for on / off road long adventure trips more than these silly 1000cc plus GS's / tigers etc.

    It is horrendous watching u winch the bike up and its so slow aswell

  18. I'm remembering the McGregor/Doorman "Long Way Down-Around" series. I'll bet they would have killed for a winch.

  19. absolutely ridiculous….so the solution to weight is bringing more weight? an old Sahara saying goes "he told him it's short what do i do? the other replied fold it". Solutions that do the opposite and don't look into the real problem.' How do you use that thing if there are no trees?
    like they say for real estate location location location. For moto adventure it's weight weight weight. This is truly a less-is-more situation. I still don't understand why folks wanna take that kind of bike off roading. Your tool determines the kind of work you do. No one uses a knife to cut wood (unless you have to). If you want to do serious off roading, a light bike should be an obvious choice.
    but I may be wrong because different people are resolving different problems. The guys who sell this kind of stuff are resolving income/earnings problems and at that I think they are doing great!

  20. even though synthetic rope stores less energy than steel cable, never ever ever put your hands on a towline under load. you should never be between the winch point and the vehicle being winched when under tension. Even if it doesn't wip with enough force to hurt you, the line may break at the pulley you can still find yourself in a world of hurt. if the line snaps at the snatch boke or were its running over an obstacle, it may run through your hand, causing burns,. It
    could also start to snake as the vehicle rolls back and entangle you and drag you down with the vehicle. If the anchor lets go you could very well get a piece of metal (snatch block, carabiner)/wood (tree, branch stump) coming back at you with the force of the vehicle pulling it at mache chicken, then once again find yourself entangled as the vehicle rolls back. Once you have seen incident, and how fast it goes south.; you will never take for granted line safety when winching. A 600 LB bike doesn't seem like much compaired to a 3000lb jeep; but when its bouncing down a steep slick/muddy hill dragging you by the leg, arm… neck… its going to kill you.

  21. バイク好き、かつ、ガジェット好きとして心惹かれはするが、アドベンチャーバイク乗りはここまでするかと、ある意味では軽蔑に似た感心が沸き起こる。やっぱりトライアル最高!

  22. I was amazed to see you putting a Baja GS Moto Rentals sticker on your toolbox! Marco does a great job as a tour operator, I'm riding with him next week.

  23. I dont have a garage in my house…and i need save a two step stair to go out of the house…that is a very intrested option

  24. Screw Gate Carabiners aka D Shackles are Stronger and More Secure than the Snap Link Carabiners you appear to be presently using.

  25. I really like the idea of carrying a wench and that setup looks good. But did i miss a link to that equipment? If not can you please advise where to get it?

  26. IF you're going to take a winch and all the ropes/karabines with you, you may consider taking lighter stuff.
    Look at the mountainering world, we take all the stuff we need to climb a mountain, the food, the clothing etc in one backpack that we'll carry all the way.
    Our ropes (prussik, bandslinges) and karabines a less than half the weight off these shown and we trust this with our lives, it will even take the weight off this motorcycle even if it was falling of a cliff.

    It may not be much, but looking to other proffecionals in other proffecions can help you reduce the weight and size off your luggage while not giving in any safety/comfort.

    My reason for riding an ADV bike is to take my mountain and camping gear all over the continent(s) over all the roads. And your small 125/250/300 cc bike will simply not be able to carry the weight (allthough they do amaze, i must confess).

  27. Excellent video! Since I ride off-road by myself, I have carried a winch for the past nine years or so. First it was a hand winch (a very compact unit, that unfortunately, is no longer made,) and for the past several years, a Warn unit. It just makes total sense to me and I can't believe that winches, especially the Warn, just haven't caught on. Sadly, I have read that Warn no longer produces their XT17 winch. I'm glad that I have one.

  28. This is funny, way back i suggested that adv bikes come with some useful things now they cost 16k. A small winch was one of the things I said could be built into a bike and not add much weight. Everyone just laughed and suggested I get a Toyota. I have been using a far better method. (I should do a vid) I always carry a 9mm x 30m climbing rope. With this I can improvise a winch. I take one end of the rope and pass it through two karabiners, one on the front crash bar the next under the footrest. Then the rope is fed under the swingarm to the disc carrier, now pop that end through the spokes. turn the wheel (with or without the engine) slowly feeding the rope through until it wraps around its self. Now attach the other end to a ground anchor or a tree and get the rope as tight as possible and tie off. Now get hold of the bike on the left side, start it, engage gear and gently ease out the clutch. Off you go. you will probably have to stop after a couple of meters and start the whole process again but you will get to the top. I have used this method for years and it always works. The added advantage is the rope can be use for lots of other things as well. A stretcher, cloths line, extra security for your tent in a storm, lowering a bike down a drop, making a raft, etc etc.

  29. Great solution, Bret. Love your channel. Curious, how did you get your bike safely back down that slippery slope?

  30. I love watching this guy! Not sure where it is but I'd like to ride there! MOTOTREK has SO many great ideas and his teaching ideology is Spot on. One thing that is very Obvious is that MOTOTREK is IN SHAPE! That alone gives him a leg up on many riders and Most instructors. I also love his enthusiasm and common sense approach. If you're an Advanced rider it's easy to tell this man knows what he's doing and most of all has fun at it!! I love it!

  31. This is great but I found this to late. Looks like that winch is discontinued. What would you recommend that is currently available?

  32. Some crampons would be a great addition to your kit. I might add some to mine after watching this video. Love the channel!

  33. For me that's not motorcycle "riding" anymore. If I want to hike, I walk. But hey, whatever flies your kite or rather drags your Bike unnecessarily up the hill😬

  34. So… after I buy my Big GSA… drive 2,400 miles from middle Tennessee… take one of your courses…will bike still be in shape to 2,400miles back home?.. lol just all your videos, keep them coming.

  35. @mototrek could you do a video on starter riding with top heavy bikes? I just got my first "adventure" bike (a Honda Transalp) and the higher center of gravity with the bigger weight has ruined my confidence going off road.

  36. This is do bizarre. Why on earth would someone want to ride a heavy motorcycle on the dirt when you could do the same thing but easier on a dual sport. No wench required.

  37. Why go from that super slick slope ? Οκ, I get the whole adventure idea, but why risk your safety and equipment ?? Anyway, great video !!

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