By John Burns Editor Score: 91.5%
2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special
Editor Score: 91.5%
Harley‘s new Street Rod was our excuse to go to Daytona last week, but while we were there we got to ride The MoCo’s new Road King Special too. Okay, so, yeah, the Street Rod was a bit underwhelming, but it would be fun to sit all the commenters heaping abuse upon H-D for that bike on one of its FLs for about a 10-minute ride. I think it would shut most of them right up. Well, actually it probably wouldn’t. I think we’ve all learned how hard it is to unseat deep-rooted preconceptions lately.
Harley has this type of bike so dialled, it’s easy to forgive them their dysfunctionality in some other arenas. The Road King is the base-level FL model (the FLs being the touring models), and as such we could’ve seen the RK Special coming, since there are already Street Glide Specials, Road Glide Specials, etc. This is the bike for people who want a naked bagger and don’t care about a stereo or Infotainment. Purists! (H-D offers various optional windshields.)
It is altogether fitting and and proper that Harley should so honor the Road King, as it’s been one of the company’s biggest sellers since its 1994 introduction. The new bike is to the original as an Airbus A380 is to a DC-3. H-D product planner Paul James points out that, in a recent dealer-customizing competition, almost everybody chose an RK as the starting point. It’s a blank slate, a clean canvas…
And the best thing about the new Special is its Milwaukee Eight 107 engine. The new eight-valve Twin felt pretty sporty when we sampled it …read more