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The Hornet is an excellent choice when it comes to the best competition electric winching for your vehicle. RED Winches has designed and developed this high performance twin motor electric winch for the 4x4 competition and motorsport events. It has been designed with the competition in mind and has many features ideally suited to high performance motorsport events.


RED winches has been supplying winches into the MOD, motorsport, 4x4 challenge events and commercial sectors for many years and has build an excellent reputation for quality and reliability through highly engineered products.

All products at RED winches have been through an extensive design and testing program before going on sale.

The Hornet can give you speeds of 40m/min (131ft/min) for the standard model, and 60m/min (197ft/min) with the Hornet ‘Overdrive’ gear set (available separately) giving you a choice so you have the power and speed when you need it. Capable of pulling a minimum of 4.5 Tonnes the winch can easily get you out of trouble quickly, quietly and with minimum effort time and time again. The winch body is CNC machined from high grade heat treated aerospace aluminium from solid billets. We only use the best machine tools and machining processes to ensure stress is kept to a minimum and strength to its maximum. With its new patented air free spool and brake system the Hornet offers something previously unavailable on a winch to the off-road and motorsport sectors.

1. Hornet Winch Anodised RED, with ‘Patented’ air brake system
2. Solenoid for free-spool and solenoid for brake operation built into the winch (no more long runs of pipe around vehicle)
3. Copper Busbar assemblies for the BOW Motor 2 connections
4. Albright Heavy Duty Solenoids x 2
5. Hard Anodised Aluminium fairlead
6. Front mounting interface blocks x 2, used to save you damaging the expensive end housings

As with all our winches, the Hornet winch does not come with a rope, this has to be purchased seperately.

You can also have the Hornet come with the Overdrive Kit which makes it 1.5 times faster...

This is free if you specify it at the time of ordering.

Spring pressure applies a steel disc to the brake material when the winch is not in use.
This applies the brake and stops the winch from spooling out.

Two air solenoids are fitted in-between the motors at the top of the winch. They are fed by a common air supply from your truck. One is for the free-spool and one for the brake system. When you winch in or out you energise your Albright solenoids this also energises the air solenoid valve for the brake on top of the winch. This then allows air to go into a specially designed chamber that releases the brake instantly. When you remove your winching finger from the controls the air solenoid dumps the air and the springs apply the brake disc onto the brake pads. We can vary the number of springs in the brake to suit the weight of the vehicle in necessary but so far this has not be needed. More springs equals larger braking force but more abrupt stopping which can cause snatching which we do not recomend.

One nice feature is when you are lowering out you can switch your isolator off to the winch (no power to the motors) and just flick the winch out button on your dash. This fires the air solenoid and releases the brake and your vehicle only pulls out rope for the amount of drop your vehicle needs or moves. This means compared to normal winching you do not get overrun or excess rope causing snatching and jerking as the vehicle takes up the slack rope that has been spooled out. This design has been submitted for full patent and is currently protected and patent pending.

This is operated again by a patented design. A piston in the end of the drive shaft moves a large clutch plate in and out on and off drive pins.
The drive is provided by a large drive shaft and splined end.

I would expect a set of brake pads to last at least a season if not 2 seasons due to the material they are made from.

Brake pad sets and all spare parts can be orderd if needed.

Purchasing Options


The electrical power of this winch is currently supplied by two BOW Motor II. These are supplied normally with a 12v supply from your vehicle onto the high efficiency RED Winch copper busbar assembly. This busbar assembly supplies an excellent quality connection to the motors. The high power Albright solenoid packs are used to switch direction of the motors and to also provide a feed to the 12v brake system. These are all proven components and widely available and have been used extensively in the competition and motorsport industry by RED Winches for many years.
The Hornet as standard if we must compare is the same as a Gigglepin +50 if not a little quicker...

Power of the winch is variable due to how your vehicle is setup and the quality of the components used. It also depends on the scale of electrical losses or inefficiencies in the wiring system. As a general rule running 12v DC BOW Motor II with the RED winch Busbar assembly with a good powerful supply you can expect the winch to pull 4.5 tonnes...possibly more under certain conditions. Tested with x2 Odyssey PC1500 batteries, 12V supply and ground connections made with 70mm2 cable.

Winch: 55kg (Without Rope)

Shipping Weight: 70kg (with no rope or accessories)

The drive is mechanically provided by a solid steel hardened clutch plate. This is a very tough hardened plate that engages and disengages by an air supply. The clutch plate is driven from the gearbox by a solid steel central shaft. The drive system has been built for strength and durability. When not engaged the ‘free-spool’ of the Hornet drum is only between two roller bearings so it extremely free moving allowing the co-driver to run freely with the rope.

The drum can hold 40m (133ft) of 12mm rope. At the end of the drum is a rope clamping system, where you can clamp the rope under a flat plate.

Line pulling power with electrics is in a world of its own as you probably know…and depends heavily on the quality of your electrical setup
I would say the standard Hornet can easily pull as a minimum 4500kg directly (hanging vertically with no support from wheels) But this does mean you will need:

Twin alternators, one for the vehicle and one for the winching batteries (120A Min)
Two batteries supplying the winch motors with enough power, and one battery for the vehicle electrics
At least 70mm² high quality electrical cable
Clean electrical joints and if in areas prone to water joints should have conductive grease applied
Pulls 40m of rope in in 40 secs easily with a good electrical setup on the truck
With the overdrive kit it will pull the rope in 1.5 times quicker, but comes with a warning…..
If your truck weighs more than 1850kg with driver the overdrive gearset might not have enough power
This is only a guide as it does depend on the electrical setup and efficiencies on the vehicle......better the setup the more performance you get.
We have also been honest in our facts and have not blown the figures up high only to impress.....we work on real data as engineers....

The patented designed brakes work in a way that they only come off when a voltage is applied. When a signal is sent to the winch to operate either forward or reverse that same signal is used to energise the air solenoids that feed the brake system.
The gearbox has been specifically designed for strength, power and ease of service. All gears are manufactured from 655-M13 nickel chromium molybdenum steel and case hardened to give maximum strength (1100 N/mm²) and excellent durability. The end cover is sealed via an o-ring and groove, ensuring a watertight seal. Once the cover is removed access to all gears is possible and only takes 5mins to change all gears and re-assemble. The gearbox runs in grease not oil making it much easier to service in the field.

The Hornet has been designed with both competition use and servicing in mind. A mounting block is provided to interface between the winch and the mounting frame. This reduces the risk of stripping the threads in the winch casing. The free-spool assembly is held in place with machine screws for ease of service. The brake assembly is held on with x4 socket head bolts, allowing full access to the brake pads for service. Brake pads can be changed in 15 minutes.

We are confident to stand behind our products in competition use. All RED Winch Hornets are backed with a 2-year mechanical warranty. This covers all mechanical parts. Wearing parts, bearings, brake pads etc are excluded, as are electrical components, motors and solenoid packs

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  • Installing a Hornet - What I Need to Know

    These notes are supplied to allow you to install and operate the Hornet winch in a safe, efficient and correct way. If these notes are followed you will have problem-free winching for many years.

    Important note:
    If the instructions are not followed this may lead to poor performance, damage to the winch and possible damage to your vehicle. The electrical elements of the winch are not covered by the warranty. Likewise damage caused by poor installation is not covered.

    Electrical Setup
    The Hornet is a high performance winch that delivers both speed and pulling power, demanding high current from the batteries. Because of this, the electrical setup on your vehicle must be well maintained, efficient and of adequate capacity to cope with the demands this winch will place on it. The following are a few points you must check / follow:

    1. The main earth connection for the winch motors must go to the batteries and not to the frame of your vehicle.
    2. The earth connections for the Albright solenoids must not come from the winch motor earth connection.
    3. The positive connection for the motors must come to the winch via an isolation switch rated to at least 750A.
    4. The positive switching for the Albright solenoids must not be taken from the positive supply to the winch. It must be separate from the battery. Ideally from a battery not used for the winch.
    5. The power cables for the motors (Earth & Positive) must have a minimum cross sectional area (CSA) of 70mm². Ideally you should use high capacity / high efficiency/ low resistance cables.
    6. All cable lugs should be crimped with a proper crimping tool, to keep losses to a minimum, maximize performance and reduce voltage drop.
    7. If the winch is to be used in the wet / under water the breathers on the top of the solenoid valves
    8. (brake and Freespool) must be replaced with 6mm tube running to a high point on your vehicle

    12v or 24v System
    The Hornet winch is designed for a 12v supply voltage to the motors. The motors we use are rated at 12vDC. Some owners run 24vDC on their vehicles for their winches.
    The Hornet motors can run on 24vDC and will provide you with a really strong fast winch and we have had some great results from the 24v system. However, as mentioned before we do not warranty the electrical side of the winch for 2 years like we do with the mechanical so you have to be sure your 24v setup is correct before attempting to run the winch on it. We recommend periodically checking and cleaning of the brushes on each winch motor. If running on 24V through 12V motors, we recommend checking the brushes, and cleaning the brush end cap after each event.

    12v Heavy Duty Albright Solenoids
    The Hornet winch comes with our unique ‘Heavy Duty’ Albright solenoids. These can cope with 1000A and have a stronger spring inside to ensure better contact times and more sustained power through the internal contact tips.
    WARNING: The Albright solenoid signal wires run on 12v not 24v. Applying 24v to these units can damage them and affect the performance of your winch.

    Gear Ratios
    The winch can be supplied with standard or overdrive gear sets. The Standard set gives you a fast winch that pulls in 30m of rope in around 28secs when operating from a 12v supply. The overdrive gear set will give you another 20% increase in speed and in practice with a good installation, can bring in 30m of rope in 23secs when operating from a 12v supply.

    Servicing and Maintenance
    The end covers on each end of the winch are easily removed with a 5mm & 4mm Allen key.
    After prolonged underwater or wet muddy conditions the winch must be inspected for water ingress in both the gearbox and Freespool chambers. The grease must be replaced every 3 months if the winch is constantly being used in wet conditions.
    The grease must be replaced every year under normal conditions. Under constant severe wet and muddy conditions the seals on the bearings supporting the winch drum must be removed and the bearings re-greased after every couple of events to ensure the life of the bearings.

    We recommend Castrol Spherol L-EP 2 or BP Energrease LS-EP 2 grease.
    Waterproof grease can also be used but is expensive.
    As long as the grease is a medium viscosity and has high load characteristics you will be OK.
    On a cleaned and totally dry gearbox spraying a coating of motorcycle chain lube over the gears helps as it stays on the gears during their first use reducing initial dry rubbing.

    Winch Tray
    Your winch tray must be of sound condition and securely attached to your truck. These winches can pull over 5000kg so you need to ensure it isn’t going to leave the front of your truck when under load.
    The thickness of the winch tray is also important. We have shown in operation that the plates in the tray supporting the winch must have a minimum thickness of 8mm, ideally 10mm and be flat within 0.25mm.

    If you are mounting the Hornet on the bottom and front in the winch tray one very important factor is to ensure that these surfaces are exactly 90 degrees / square to each other. If not when you bolt the winch in you can affect the winch performance and Freespool. You can under certain conditions damage the winch if used under load when the mounting surface are not flat or square to each other.

    If in doubt please consult your local RED Winch partner or buy from a reputable winch tray / bumper supplier that has winch trays specifically for the Hornet or Trydent.

    Equipment Damage
    Report any damage immediately it is noticed, especially damage to the rope, which should replaced at once. In the interim do not use the winch. We cannot be responsible for damage if the winch was continued to be used.


    1. Always leave the drum and rope neatly spooled after use
    2. After a prolonged dirty wet winch session clean and wash the rope and also check gearbox and Freespool chambers for water ingress.
    3. Never attempt to disengage the Freespool whilst the winch is under load.
    4. Do not operate the winch for more than 2 minutes with the engine off and under load as it will flatten your batteries.
    5. Store the winch in gear (Freespool locked) when not in use.
    6. If the winch overloads, i.e. it stops under load, release the control button immediately and assess the situation otherwise you will damage the motors.


  • Fault Finding - Hornet

    Before contacting Red Winches for technical support, use the table below for initial fault-finding.

    Problem: Winch runs slowly/ performance not as expected

    • Check supply and ground cables are clean and tight at winch, isolator, and battery.
    • Check Winch supply voltage is correct (12V / 24V) between supply terminal and ground.
    • Check that the solenoid has 12V present between terminal and ground.
    • Check that you have adequate air supply to the brake solenoid to lift the brakes.
    • If you have checked all of the above and still have issue, it may be that you have a fault with either an individual motor or an Albright solenoid

    Winch drum stiff, when in Freespool

    • Check alignment of winch tray.
    • Any mis-alignment here will distort alignment of drum resulting in poor performance of the Freespool.

    Freespool won’t engage/disengage or is sluggish to operate

    • Check that an adequate air supply is available to the solenoid.
    • Check that the Freespool solenoid has a true 11.5 - 12V when operated and has an audible 'click' when operated.
    • Check air pipe to the Freespool swivel push fitting on the end of the shaft is not blocked or dirt has been allowed to get in.
    • If after checking the above Freespool operation is still inadequate, the Freespool end plate will need to be removed and the mechanical operation checked for possible water or dirt ingress.

    Brake housing getting hot with little use of winch ::

    • Check that an adequate air supply is available to the solenoid.
    • Check that the brake solenoid has a true 11.5 - 12V when operated and has an audible 'click' when operated.
    • Check air pipe to brake is not blocked or full of dirt

    Winch runs the wrong way 

    • Swap the two control wires to the Albrights.
    • Do not disturb the factory wiring between the two Albrights.


  • Will the Hornet fit a Warn mounting

    Yes, but we have more mounting bolts on our winch.
    The two inner bolt mounts will fit onto the standard mounting holes of a GP or Warn 8274
    The actual winch is physically smaller than a GP or Warn 8274 with a twin top housing fitted

  • Can a RED Winch Hornet be fitted with BOW 3 motors

    Currently the RED Winch Hornet cannot accommodate the BOW 3 motor due to its larger diameter. There are no immediate plans to update the design as the BOW 2 motors work extremely well. We also have two gear sets to choose from…

    Standard and Overdrive, giving you a choice to go faster if needed…

  • Are RED Winches customer focused...


    Our whole business has been built on supplying what the customer needs at a price that is fair to the performance you receive.

    This involves a few basics

    • Listening to the needs and wishes of our customers to deliver customer focused solutions and products
    • Ensuring the products we deliver are to the higest possible standards we can achieve
    • Reacting in good time when a customer requests help or advice
  • Do we charge VAT or Tax

    Yes & No......

    How we tax you in the UK, EU and the rest of the world is:

    • In the UK all products sold will have VAT added at the rate ruling at the time of purchase, currently 20%
    • All countries in the European Union (EU) will be charged VAT / TAX at the UK rate of 20% unless you provide a VAT number from your country
    • If you are within the European Union (EU) and can provide a valid VAT / TAX number we will not apply any tax to your purchase
    • Any countries outside of the UK and EU will not be charged any tax on their purchases  

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