Superwinch Talon 12.5 SR Review

May. 04, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez

Why do you need a winch? Well, why don’t you? There are more reasons for needing one than not having one if you’re serious about off-roading trails and rock crawling. We teamed up with off-road trainer Tom Severin from Badlands Off Road Adventures in his recent search for a new recovery winch to outfit his Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser.

Tom is an I4WDTA ( trainer that we have tagged along on with 4x4 training and off-road adventures. He’s also very knowledgeable when it comes to winches. Tom has put together a winch DVD training video (, and frequently conducts classes on the subject for both civilians and military. He knows his stuff.

We jumped at the opportunity to see what type of winch Tom would get for his 4x4 vehicle. 

Tom Severin from Badlands Off Road Adventures in his Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser. 

Tom was eager to get a new winch to outfit his FZJ80 Land Cruiser. When we found out Superwinch had released a new model called the Talon, he was set on getting it.

It’s no surprise he went back to a Superwinch.Tom had been running one on his Jeep ZJ for many years and was very happy with it. His last Superwinch was a hydraulic-powered winch that apparently worked very well and was extra smooth. Tom tried swapping it to his Land Cruiser, but the inline-six motor would not accommodate the extra hardware needed to run the hydraulic pump to power the winch. An electric-powered model was the best solution to getting him back on the trail.

Superwinch supplied Tom with a new Talon 12,500 lbs. winch that is perfect for his 4,000 lbs. + vehicle. Although the Land Cruiser started close to 3,500 lbs., it has been gaining weight with the newly added front and rear steel bumpers, rock sliders, rock armor and suspension. Not to mention all the extra stuff Tom hauls around in his expedition-ready rig.

Superwinch Talon, claimed to be the Industries best truly sealed vehicle recovery winch assembly.  All seals, from motor, 2-stage planetary, 2-stage spur gearbox and solenoid meet IP67 standard (military spec for keeping out water, mud, snow and dust). 

The new Superwinch Talon is impressive by any standards. Here are some of the specs for you guys to geek out on:

Part# 1612201 12V DC/1612301 24V DC
Application: Vehicle Recovery/Off Road/Commercial Truck & Trailer
• Rated Line Pull: 12,500 lbs (5,670 kgs)
• Motor: Sealed 6.0 hp (4.48 kW) Series Wound
• Gearing: 2-Stage Planetary & 2-Stage Spur
• Gear Ratio: 148:1
• Vented Sealed Submersible Solenoid with 3-Year Warranty
• Free spooling Clutch: Pull and Turn
• Brake: Automatic/100% Load Holding (outside of drum)
• Synthetic Rope 3/8in x 80ft (9.5mm x 24.4m)
• Hook: Heavy Duty/Clevis Pinned/Latched
• Hawse: Blue Anodized Aluminum
• Remote: 15ft Sealed Ergonomic Hand Held w/ Coiled Cord
• Dimensions: 24.57in L x 6.2in D x 10.95in H (624.2mm L x 157.5mm D x 278.15mm H)
• Drum Diameter: 2.5in (63.5mm)
• Drum Length 8.75in (222.25mm)
• Mounting Bold Pattern: 10in x 4.5in (254mm x 114.3mm)
• Installed Weight: 68 lbs (31kgs)
• Shipped Weight: 81 lbs (37kgs)
• Limited Lifetime Warranty/ 3-Year Electrical

PERFORMANCE (First layer on drum)
Line Pull lbs (kg)  Motor Amps  Line Speed FPM (MPM)
0    75   62 (18.89)
12,500 (5,670)   530   3.25 (0.99)

We met up in Hawthorne, Calif., with Frank Gullilian at Truck & 4x4. Frank regularly works on Tom’s Cruiser and also happens to be very good at what he does. Frank has done builds for many major off-road magazines and works on all types of 4x4s, Jeeps and rock crawlers. Frank is “good people.”

Ergonomically-shaped hand-held sealed remote with bright LED light assist for night recovery. Remote meets IP67 standards, which ensured keeping out water, mud, snow and dust.  A 15-foot coil cord retracts to 4 feet and connects using military-style twist-lock plug.

We took the Superwinch Talon out of its elaborate box and fell in love. Synthetic line, sealed solenoid box, massive 12,500 lbs. power. Wow. To top it off, it came with a sexy fairlead machined out of billet, and a trick controller that is equipped with an LED light for those late night recoveries.

Ergonomically-shaped hand-held sealed remote with bright LED light assist for night recovery. Remote meets IP67 standards, which ensured keeping out water, mud, snow and dust.  A 15-foot coil cord retracts to 4 feet and connects using military-style twist-lock plug.

Frank and his crew tackled the project like pros. They had Tom’s Land Cruiser up on the lift in no time. The super-cool Slee Off-Road bumper was partially removed to slide in the Superwinch Talon, and then as it was slid back into place we ran into a problem—the solenoid box was too close to the grill.

Owner of South Bay Truck & 4x4 Frank Gullilian uses his installation skills to speed up the job. He did not completely remove the front Slee Off Road Short Bus bumper; Frank only moved it forward enough to squeeze in the Superwinch Talon.

All of us were scratching our heads trying to figure out if we got the correct model. A call to Superwinch tech support soon gave us the answer—yes, we got the right one. The SR model has the remote solenoid box, which is what we needed.

New wiring had to be installed to extend and relocate the solenoid box from the winch motor housing.

Frank Gullilian quickly used his fabrication skills to resolve the problem. He welded up a new bracket and attached it to the bumper to re-locate the solenoid controller box. This gave it plenty of space between the grill and bumper.

Frank fabbed a bracket that attaches to the bumper, providing a solid mount for the VS4 Solenoid (vented, submersible and stabilized with sealed socket).

A few nip and tucks later, the Superwich Talon was installed and ready to rock.

Tom runs an auxiliary second battery in his Land Cruiser that is primarily used for running his 4x4 equipment--like winch, CB, power inverter, air compressor, GPS, etc. He also has the ability to switch power from one or both batteries.

Tom did the honors of doing the first real-in on his new winch. He kept the blue synthetic line collecting nicely on the drum. Tom did re-iterate that when feeding the winch line back into the winch, it’s important to keep an arm’s length for safety. The last thing you want is to run it so close that your hand gets sucked into the drum. That would be really bad.

Preparing to wrap the synthetic rope on the Superwinch Talon special steel drum constructed with high-tensile strength material to resist the unique loading characteristics of synthetic rope, rated at 17,600 lbs.

The 6.0HP motor on the Superwinch Talon delivers safe and quick 62 FPM line speed at low 75 amp draw. 

The installation went smooth, thanks to the help of the tenured 4x4 builder Frank Gullilian of South Bay Truck & 4x4. In our case, it did require some modification, but this winch is a drop-in/bolt-on for most winch bumpers

The Slee Off-Road bumper is tucked very close to the vehicle to prevent hang-ups, so space for a planetary winch is also very snug. We like the overall design and function of the Slee bumper, so re-locating the solenoid box to run a bumper that is designed for rock crawling and expedition is a good tradeoff. 

We can’t wait to see what the Superwinch Talon can do off-road. It was time to get this beast out in the field. Tom will get back to us with some feedback on how his Superwinch Talon does, but if it does as good as his previous Superwinch, we’re in good shape.

Stay tuned.



South Bay Truck & 4x4
(310) 219-0727

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