Product Spotlight on Sportsman Lifters: Tech, Durability and Affordability

There are plenty of lifters out there designed specifically for drag racing. Neither supply nor demand is a problem for these critical components. Cost and durability are. It’s easy to break your racing budget with a trick lifter, but as racers well know, the relationship between all components in a valve train package is more important than any individual part.

COMP Cams has solved the lifter dilemma with its Sportsman Solid Roller Lifters. These premium-quality, high-value components are designed for both sportsman and professional racing, along with high-end street machines. They are available in both needle bearing and bushing configurations, and provide all the critical design features of the world’s strongest lifters at a price the average sportsman racer can actually afford.

These lifters are an ideal choice for bracket racers and classes like Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street, as well as other sportsman classes such as Comp Eliminator.

“With our years of experience in building solid roller lifters, we took everything we learned from our high-end Elite Race Series Lifter and everything we’ve learned from the entry-level  to try to find a middle ground for use in sportsman racing,” explains Billy Godbold, Valve Train Engineering Group Manager at COMP Cams.

The result was the Sportsman Solid Roller Lifters, which are designed to be a premium upgrade over those Endure-X Lifters and a value alternative to the Elite Race option. They are offered in two configurations: a traditional needle bearing axle/wheel design or an optional bronze bushing axle/wheel setup.

“The offerings COMP Cams had were great, but we really saw the need for a series in between,” Godbold explains. “One of the great things about the Sportsman Lifters is we offer two options. There is a needle bearing version for the least possible friction, as well as a bushing version for applications where loads are very, very high.”

For applications with valve train stability, needle bearings do provide the least amount friction, but for those that run on the ragged edge, the bushing option is the ideal choice since there is no chance of a needle ending up in a bad place, like an oil pump or connecting rod.

“Even in extremely aggressive race applications, you can definitely look at the Sportsman Lifters with the bronze bushing as your best insurance against needle bearing failure because you just don’t have to worry about them,” Godbold continues.

Each design features two pressurized EDM oil feeds, as well as an edge-orifice feed to the wheel, which delivers oil more reliably than most competing options. Sportsman Lifters also are designed with a shallower oil band than competitors’ versions for increased strength and rigidity, while internal machining helps to reduce weight.

The lifter body utilizes a skirted wheel that strengthens the lifter ears, and also provides more contact area with the lifter bore for further stabilization. In addition, staked axles eliminate clips and provide robust axle retention. This staked axle feature increases the stiffness of the lifter ears and helps prevent the ears from spreading. Sportsman Lifters are built from 8620 premium steel (the same material as Elite Race Lifters) for increased strength and wear resistance, and utilize a captured, stainless steel link bar design.

The lifters also feature a tapered and slotted link bar tower for reduced weight. Overall, they weigh less than the Endure-X option. A tall body enables use in both standard and .300″ tall lifter bores, which results in increased strength and less lifter bore wear. Sportsman Solid Roller Lifters are available in pairs or full sets of 16 in .842″ diameters for Big and Small Block Chevys and GM Gen III/V LS engines; .875″ options for Big and Small Block Fords; and .904″ diameters for Big Block Chrysler Hemi and SBC and BBC engines. Offset configurations are also offered.

In addition to their state-of-the-art design and engineering, Sportsman Lifters feature a human element as well. They have been painstakingly tested and re-tested in a variety of environments, and they are built with the same attention to detail customers have come to expect from COMP valve train components for nearly 40 years.

“When choosing a lifter you have to decide what kind of performance you want out of the vehicle and engine,” Godbold says. “The Sportsman Lifter has a really broad appeal. It fills a great gap, all the way from the street up to the most extreme drag race applications.”