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PRODUCT TEST: HMF U4 Winch Bumper

May 16, 2017
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Accenting your ATV or UTV usually comes after a search for style or out of necessity. With the Polaris RZRs, the front chassis area is so compact, it’s nearly impossible to install a winch or even a winch mounting plate. So when we looked into adding a winch to our project RZR XP 4 1000, we needed a dual-purpose bumper to help us out. There are a lot of bumper options out there—from ones that incorporate LED lights or light tabs to ones that help hold sway bars— but very few hold winches. Warn, the leading winch-maker, EMP and HMF are three brands that we can name offhand. For this evaluation we installed HMF’s U4 winch bumper and a Warn 4000 Vantage winch.

HMF’s bumper is a tubular style and sells for $349. Both the EMP and Warn products are flat steel construction and sell for $359 and $400, respectively. HMF builds their bumpers out of .095-inch-wall steel tubing and can be powdercoated in red, blue, orange white or black.

Installation was simple. The bumper and winch plate mount in four points, so when you are using the winch, the pulling effort is distributed pretty evenly all across the front end of the chassis. Three bolts hold a lower plate to the frame near the lower A-arms, and two bolts directly secure the winch plate to the frame just above that. Finally, the outer side bars get bolted to a clamp that attaches to the furthest, most forward tubes on the frame behind the headlights. Short of being welded on, the bumper basically becomes part of the Polaris chassis and ends up making for a very solid winch mount.

The U4 bumper sticks out just far enough in front of the radiator grill that you can install the winch after you install the bumper. There is enough room to set it on the mounting plate and get your hands underneath to tighten all four bolts.

The Warn winch was a breeze to install as well. The holes in the HMF mounting plate were lined up perfectly with the attachment points of the winch. Installing the bumper to the RZR and the winch to the bumper took about half an hour. Another half an hour was spent running wire to the transformer box and then to the RZR’s battery. There was just enough battery cable wire supplied with the winch to run power from all the way back under the rear passenger seat where the battery is located on a fourseat RZR.

Our advice would be to run brand new battery cables from the battery all the way up to the bus bar that’s mounted under the hood. That way everything can be mounted in that front, open area. We ended up having to mount the winch’s transformer box under the plastic tunnel that runs between the seats and has the cup holders molded into it.

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THOUGHTS
No matter if you install a bumper just for looks or not, the addition of a winch will end up being money and time well-spent. For most of us you never know when you’re going to need that winch, and when you have one installed, you tend to take your machine into much more fun situations knowing you won’t get trapped. The HMF U4 bumper ended up being a solid mounting point for our winch that not only looks great but provides usable value to our machine. To get your front winch bumper or rear bumper from HMF, call them at (216) 631-6980 or visit www.hmf racing.com. The U4 winch bumper is available for Polaris RZRs and the Can-Am Maverick and Commander. Non-winch bumpers are available for the Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail and the Polaris Ace.

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