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Photo by Genghis

DEADLY BEAUTY: The XLCH can ruin your knee in a split second.

From the very beginning of my life with Animal Mother Iíd been extremely cautious in kickstarting the beast. Iíd always heard about the dreaded danger of Sportster Knee, and was very careful to always find the definitive compression stroke and take my time getting her started. Three weeks ago I was at a gas station in Hot Springs on the way to the shop, when I lost my patience and let my technique get sloppy. I paid. Oh how I paid. Itís been 3 weeks and only now have I just about paid it off.

Full weight & momentum on the kicker when the lever shot straight through to the bottom of the stroke with no resistance. I saw stars. Couldnít breathe. Thought Iíd destroyed not only my knee, but my ankle all in a split second. At the least, both were hyperextended--- the worst meant I would be a cripple. XLCH. Donít fuck around.

Naturally, I had an audience, so I walked manfully to the rest room where I sat on the toilet for about 15 minutes while I got my breath back. The knee started to stiffen up, and it was time for guts football. I walked out to animal Mother, sweet talked her a little, and followed my usual kicking procedure. She fired up & I made it to the shop.

A few hours later it was time for the 50 mile ride back to the mountain, and I was dreading the impending moment of truth. Managed to start her 4 different times in about 20 kicks, but couldnít fully commit to the kick, so she died. Finally got her going and we had a great ride home. About a quarter of a mile from the top of the mountain, she started farting & backfiring like the magneto condenser was failing, but we made it home. The next two days I can barely walk. I post on an Ironhead forum ďHow Does One Know When Oneís ACL Blows Out?Ē I know itís just a bad sprain, but was still curiousÖ. I got off lucky.

So last Thursday, Iím ready to ride. I wheel Animal Mother out of her corner in the front room of the trailer, roll her down the ramp, and commence my cautious kick routine. Nothing. I replace the condenser. Nada. Pull the S&S air cleaner--- the throatís dry as a bone--- no gas. Pull the float bowl, itís full of snot jelly. Clean it out, reassemble. Nothing, but gas is running out the vent tube. WD-40 the float. Gas out the tube. Soak it in Sea Foam overnite, same deal. So I dropped the carb off with Andy for a rebuild or whatever it needs to unstuck the float.

Oh well. Another few days of knee rehab wonít hurt