Bagger Insanity: Barnett Clutches

Barnett’s 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide transformed into a race machine

VItals:

2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide

Rider: #48 Josh Chissum

Finished: 8th

Words by Mitch Boehm, as told by Barnett’s Chance Darling
Photos by Brian J. Nelson

Thunder Press: Your initial thoughts on KOTB, and why did you participate?

Chance Darling: When Rob Buydos first mentioned it during a Parts Unlimited ride in Utah, I thought it would be a pretty cool thing to do and a great way to promote all the brands involved and generate excitement – and sell more products – for baggers.

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TP: Which Harley or Indian model did you start with? And why? 

CD: We used a 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide. We already owned the bike, which had a 131 cubic inch Jims engine in it. We used it as an R&D mule when developing and testing new products for our lineup.

Maybe the most stock-looking machine in the KOTB event, Barnett Clutches’ 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide still got around Laguna Seca’s twists and turns quite quickly thanks to high quality parts and a good setup for rider Josh Chissum, who finished eighth.

TP: Your team’s angle going in, and the promo surrounding it? 

CD: We wanted to support Drag Specialties, of course, as well as the other brands involved. We figured it would be a good way to add to our brand’s presence, get more involved in the high-performance aspect of the bagger genre, and of course sell more clutches and cables.

TP: The thinking behind your rider choice? 

CD: Josh Chissum is an old friend and sponsor of mine, and he used to road race 883s and XR1200s. I knew we could trust him and he didn’t have the ‘win or throw it away’ mentality some racers do.

TP: What chassis modifications did you make, and why? 

CD: The frame is stock, because it had to be, and we used an Alloy Art swingarm, two-inch longer fork tubes to raise the front end, Legends Suspension internals and longer Legends rear shocks for additional cornering clearance. Tossed the floorboards and ran Speed Merchant mid controls for even more clearance. 

TP: What engine modifications did you make, and why? 

CD: The engine used was a Jims 131-incher, which is bulletproof. They make really good power, and we added a few Feuling Parts, as well.

TP: Who was on your crew? 

CD: Our crew was myself and my son Zander. Josh helped out a lot and had his buddy Jason Calhoon help out, too. We’d planned to have more help, but Covid limited the crew we could have.

Team Barnett made no secret of its desire to compete, but also support the other teams in the KOTB paddock, many of whom used Barnett clutches and cables.

TP: How much (if any) pre-race testing did you do? If you did, what did you discover? 

CD: We went to Buttonwillow a couple weeks before the race and tested for a few hours. That was the first time Josh got to ride the bike. (Well, besides around his gated community, something his neighbors weren’t too happy about.) The bike worked pretty well. We did a couple of suspension tweaks, but overall it went okay.

TP: Biggest surprise (or surprises) for you and your team? 

CD: Not surprisingly, most teams kind of steered away from simply bolting on parts and having some fun. We stuck to basics, mostly, and then yanked as much as we could to lose weight. We were probably 200 pounds heavier than most of the bikes out there, but we were having fun and supporting everyone we could.

TP: How’d the weekend go? Results, problems, realizations, etc. 

CD: Overall, we were fine. We finished the race, didn’t crash and didn’t get last, so we can’t complain. Several teams spent way more money and time than we did and didn’t finish. We had fun and brought extra clutches to help everyone else out. Most went faster with them, which was a win-win for us!

Chissum at speed exiting Laguna’s infamous Turn 11. The team expects to compete in 2021, too.

TP: What would you have done differently if you had the chance? 

CD: We probably would have built a more race-oriented bagger like most everyone else wound up doing. Also, we’d have spent more time lightening the bike and finessing all the little things involved with it.

TP: Will you be part of KOTB next year? 

CD: We will definitely support anyone involved in it even if we don’t race, but I think we will be there.

TP: Anything else you’d like to add? 

CD: Just want to thank Drag Specialties and Moto America for doing the race. And Rob Buydos for not being afraid of trying something different, and making it work! Josh Chisum for riding our bike and not complaining how heavy it was! Also all of our sponsors! We couldn’t have done it without you. 

Follow Thunder Press’ King of the Baggers coverage throughout December.

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