Chris Comly is well known for successfully riding his FrankenSporster in the IBR, against all odds. He is back for 2023 and his prep for this rally was reportedly similar to his prior adventures. The bike was apart, scattered all over the garage, just before the start of the rally. Of course, Chris got it all back together and ready to ride on time.
However, he sent the pictures you see here to let me know about the condition of his beloved Sportster at Checkpoint 1. The teeth in one area on the clutch basket ring gear are worn away to nubs. The starter Bendix can no longer engage to start the engine when the gear is in that position. Which means that the starter will only crank the engine if the clutch happens to stop rotating where there are still teeth for the starter Bendix to engage. If not, Chris would need to put the bike in gear and roll it forward to get past the worn out teeth on the gear. Or just push start the loaded bike every time he turns it off. Or, he could just never shut off the engine and leave the air-cooled V-twin running for the entire leg of the rally.
Chris has a new clutch basket and gear being shipped to Checkpoint 2 in Denver. We are sure he is calmly anticipating another parking lot repair session to get the Sportster back on the road and haul him to another finish.
Update: Unfortunately, rally staff received word from Chris about another failure on the FrankenSportster, on I-15 north of exit 239, about 90 minutes from Vegas. The primary chain let go and exited the aluminum case. The chain is not in the photos because it is resting about a 1/2 mile back on I-15. Chris is OK and waiting for Harley’s roadside assistance to arrive and get the wounded Sporty transported. He is obviously disappointed to be out of the running, but plans to be at the finish to see his family, friends and supporters.