Home Sports Other Sports Harley-Davidson 2018 Road King / Road King Special

Harley-Davidson 2018 Road King / Road King Special

Spread the love

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson Road King and Road King Special.

Design

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733276
“The Road King carries the bling, whereas the Road King Special carries a blackout treatment almost everywhere it can.”

Road King

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733237

Clues to the Road King’s roots lie in its factory destignator; FLHR. The Duo-Glide model of 1958 was a Panhead-powered unit that saw hyrdraulic suspension added to both ends of the wide FL frame. Later on in development, the “H” was added to indicate a fairingless large-frame bike as opposed to the FLHT/FLT that carries a full front fairing and Tour-pak to this day. That old-school FLH DNA is evident right from the first head-on glance. The FLHR leads the way with a full-length front fender complete with chrome trim and skirt, but is cut with high sides that leave the rider with an unimpeded view of the front hoop.

Fat front forks sport the classic beer-can shrouds that tie right in with the headlamp nacelle that cleans up the front end so nicely by concealing the tripletree. A whisker bar mounts a set of pimp lights above the front turn signals and a large windshield provides the protection that made the earliest FLH models the grandaddy of American tourbike design. The classic chrome treatment continues in the instrument console over the fuel tanks, not my favorite detail because of the reflection factor involved. A deep-scoop seat and rider floorboards place the pilot in a comfortable windsock position, and the P-pad comes paired with passenger footboards set ahead of the flip-top hard bags.

Road King Special

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733280

All of the above is chromed to the nines and all very nostalgic and such, but the Road King “Special” takes the base model and goes in an entirely different direction. Stripped of all extraneous gear and trim, the Special leads the way with a clean fender and front end that retains the headlight nacelle and skirted forks but leaves the whiskerbar passing lamps off.

The two are very similar across the tank and rider seat, but the P-pad is designed to minimize its visual impact on the rear of the bike. Not only is the passenger seat less comfort-oriented than the base model’s P-pad, but passengers will have to be content with flip-out footpegs. Yeah, the Special will carry a passenger, but it also sends the message that you would rather not and that said passenger will likely wish they hadn’t.

In order to emphasize the custom panache of the Special, the factory modified the bottom lines of the hard bags to include a bit of stretch with a dab of droop. On top of that, the Special carries a blackout treatment almost everywhere it can, and it’s only the polished cooling fins and rocker-box spacer that keeps the mill from disappearing entirely into the black hole under the fuel tank. All of this ties in nicely with the custom culture of yesteryear to give the Special a different kind of nostalgia.

READ  Paul George Mix - "Magnolia" (Emotional) Thunder Promo Graffiti Boy Prod. Graffiti Boy Prod.

Chassis

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733303
“Showa’s Dual Bending Valve forks make an appearance on both models, and while I think I’d rather see fully-adjustable stems up front, the Showas are definitely better than nothing with a better-than-vanilla ride quality.”

Harley sticks with what works for the frame, and the good old, mild steel double-downtube/double-cradle skeleton does the job just fine. The steering head keeps the forks pulled in nice and tight with a 26-degree rake and 6.7 inches of trail on a 64-inch wheelbase that gives it a nice stability and straight-line tracking at speed. While the base model rolls on a 17-inch hoop up front and 16-incher out back, the Special cranks it up a bit with 19/18 respectively.

Showa’s Dual Bending Valve forks make an appearance on both models, and while I think I’d rather see fully-adjustable stems up front, the Showas are definitely better than nothing with a better-than-vanilla ride quality. Out back, a pair of coil-over shocks support the rear end with hand-adjustable preload for quick and easy adjustments.

Dual four-pot calipers bite the front discs, and Harley’s Reflex Brake feature shares pressure between the front and rear calipers for balanced braking effort and increased safety. ABS protection comes bundled with the security feature as part of the standard equipment package on the Special, but are still listed as upgrades for the base-model Road King.

Model: RoadKing Road King Special
Wheels, Front Type: Impeller Cast Aluminum Black, Turbine Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Impeller Cast Aluminum Black, Turbine Cast Aluminum
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear

Drivetrain

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733277
“Harley enters another year with no sort of traction control or variable power-delivery modes; I imagine someone at the factory has to realize that they ignore such tech at their own peril.”

Look what’s back, back again. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 reprises its role as the beating heart for H-D’s touring lineup, and it brings hot-rod performance to what could otherwise be a rather mild-mannered sled. Torque peaks out at 3,250 rpm with a total of 111 pound-feet of torque, plenty to move the ride with some urgency in spite of its great mass.

Electronic fuel injection manages the induction, but Harley enters another year with no sort of traction control or variable power-delivery modes to enhance safety along with the riding experience. I’m really not surprised, but I imagine someone at the factory has to realize that they ignore such tech at their own peril.

The transmission comes geared for comfortable interstate cruising with six-speeds to choose from, and both fifth and sixth gears are superslab appropriate.

Model: RoadKing Road King Special
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 107
Displacement: 107 cu in 107 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.0:1
Engine Torque: 111 ft-lb @ 3,250 rpm 111 ft-lb @ 3,250 rpm
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers Black, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers

Pricing

2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733244
“Even though the Special trades a lot of chrome for black paint, standard features that are options on the base model push MSRP a bit higher “

The base-model Road King in Vivid Black will set you back $18,999 while the top-shelf Hard Candy Custom palette will set you back $21,399 with a couple of options in between the min/max. Even though the Special trades a lot of chrome for black paint, it starts at $21,999 in Vivid Black and caps out at $24,399 for the Hard Candy option. California emissions will tack another pair of Benjamins onto the bill.

READ  Suspense prevails over appointment of India's next head coach
Model: RoadKing Road King Special
Colors: Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Electric Blue/Silver Fortune, Silver Fortune/Sumatra Brown, Olive Gold/Black Tempest, Hard Candy Shattered Flake Vivid Black, Olive Gold, Industrial Gray Denim, Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake
Price:
Vivid Black: $18,999 $21,999
Color: $19,449 $22,449
Two-Tone: $19,799 NA
Hard Candy Custom: $21,399 $24,399
ABS Option: $795 Standard
Security Option: $395 Standard
Cruise Control Option: Standard Standard

Competitors

2016 - 2017 Indian Chief Vintage - image 685253
2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733279
“Let’s be honest; no import can compete with H-D on even terms in the American-style cruiser/tourer market, so I went with Indian Chief Vintage. It’s clear that the two companies share a similar history with design aspects that have survived the passage of half-a-century.”

Let’s be honest; no import can compete with H-D on even terms in the American-style cruiser/tourer market. In fact, none even come close no matter how many Charlie-Davidsons they dream up to throw our way, so the competitor for the Road King was a complete no-brainer since nothing else quite fits the bill like the Chief Vintage from Indian Motorcycle. It’s clear that the two companies share a similar history with design aspects that have survived the passage of half-a-century.

Indian shares much with Harley design-wise, but the rear body panels join the front fender as yet another classic element that ties into long-ago established, brand-specific looks. Harley comes out on top (barely) in the suspension category with Showa’s DBV stems versus some utterly vanilla forks on the Chief, and Harley’s brakes have the Reflex feature and ABS option up against standard ABS on the Chief. Which is better? Well, it really depends on what kind of gadgetry you prefer. H-D’s plant looks like a classic Harley, but it makes no extra effort to sell a particular time period. Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 is shameless in its effort to sell the idea of an antique motor design through clever touches like the flathead-like cooling fins on the rocker boxes and the four-cam valvetrain geometry that further calls to mind the old sidevalve mills.

Much like on the flattrack, Indian brings the pain to H-D at the dyno with 119 pound-feet of torque up against Harley’s 111 pounds of grunt. Beyond that, the air-cooled V-twins run with analog engine control and nothing in the way of electronic fandanglery. The basic black Chief Vintage rolls for $19,999 and the two-tone paint will set you back another grand, and that’s right in the same neighborhood as Harley’s base model Road King.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “There’s not really a lot to choose between the two, certainly not enough to overcome well-established brand loyalty, but I’ll go ahead and admit that I’d be tickled to have either. That in itself is a victory for Indian. Having said that, I’m liking the Road King more and more each year, and the Special is right up the middle of what I consider to be my alley. I do, however, wonder at the lack of a 114 cubic-inch variant. Maybe next year…”

READ  WWE RAW 28 August 2017 Live Stream HD - WWE Monday Night RAW 8/28/17 Highlights

She Said

“Unlike my husband, I have always liked the Road King. I like the big nacelle and windshield sans a fairing in that same look as the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring or the Suzuki BoulevardC90T. Without that big fairing, the Road King dips nicely into turns and to me, at least, the handling feels more responsive without that weight up front.”

Specifications

Model: Road King Road King Special
Engine:
Engine: Milwaukee-Eight® 107 Milwaukee-Eight® 107
Bore: 3.937 in. 3.937 in.
Stroke: 4.374 in. 4.374 in.
Displacement: 107 cu in 107 cu in
Compression Ratio: 10.0:1 10.0:1
Fuel System: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Exhaust: Chrome, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers Black, 2-1-2 dual exhaust with tapered mufflers
Dimensions:
Length: 96.5 in 95.3 in
Seat Height, Laden: 26.3 in. 26.4 in
Seat Height, Unladen: 27.8 in. 27.4in
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in. 4.9 in
Rake (steering head) (deg): 26 26
Trail: 6.7 in. 6.9 in
Wheelbase: 64 in. 64 in
Tires, Front Specification: BW 130/80B17 65H 130/60B19 61H
Tires, Rear Specification: BW 180/65B16 81H 180/55B18 80H
Fuel Capacity: 6 gal. 6 gal.
Oil Capacity (w/filter): 5.2 qt. 5.2 qt.
Weight, As Shipped: 798 lb. 783 lb.
Weight, In Running Order: 836 lb. 820 lb.
Luggage Capacity -Volume: 2.3 cu ft 2.5 cu ft
Performance :
Engine Torque Testing Method: J1349 J1349
Engine Torque: 111 ft-lb 111 ft-lb
Engine Torque (rpm): 3,250 3,250
Lean Angle, Right (deg.): 32 32
Lean Angle, Left (deg.): 32 31
Fuel Economy: Estimated City/Hwy: 45 mpg 45 mpg
Drivetrain:
Primary Drive: Chain, 34/46 ratio Chain, 34/46 ratio
Gear Ratios (overall) 1st: 9.593 9.593
Gear Ratios (overall) 2nd: 6.65 6.65
Gear Ratios (overall) 3rd: 4.938 4.938
Gear Ratios (overall) 4th: 4 4
Gear Ratios (overall) 5th: 3.407 3.407
Gear Ratios (overall) 6th: 2.875 2.875
Chassis:
Wheels, Front Type: Impeller Cast Aluminum Black, Turbine Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Rear Type: Impeller Cast Aluminum Black, Turbine Cast Aluminum
Brakes, Caliper Type: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
Electric:
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps: High beam, running lights, directional light bar, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, turn signals, battery, security system (optional), low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS (optional), Gear/RPM display, miles to empty display High beam, running lights, directional light bar, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, turn signals, battery, security system (optional), low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS (optional), Gear/RPM display, miles to empty display
Gauges: Gauges styled to complement each vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators. Gauges styled to complement each vehicle. Display features odometer, trip A, trip B, range to empty and gear indicator; and larger tell-tale indicators.
DETAILS:
Model: FLHR FLHRXS
Colors: Vivid Black, Twisted Cherry, Electric Blue/Silver Fortune, Silver Fortune/Sumatra Brown, Olive Gold/Black Tempest, Hard Candy Shattered Flake Vivid Black, Olive Gold, Industrial Gray Denim, Hard Candy Hot Rod Red Flake
PRICING:
Vivid Black: $18,999 $21,999
Color: $19,449 $22,449
Two-Tone: $19,799 NA
Hard Candy Custom: $21,399 $24,399
ABS Option: $795 Standard
Security Option: $395 Standard
Cruise Control Option: Standard Standard

References

2016 - 2017 Indian Chief Vintage - image 641060
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733304
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733303
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733302
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733301
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733300
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733299
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733298
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733297
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733288
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733287
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733286
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733285
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733284
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733283
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733282
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733281
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733280
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733279
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733277
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733276
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733275
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733274
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733246
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733245
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733244
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733243
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733242
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733241
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733240
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733239
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733238
  • 2018 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special - image 733237

Comments

comments

Load More Related Articles
Load More In Other Sports

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Best 10 Websites to Download Free Music

Spread the loveBest 10 Websites to Download Free Music A music download is the digital tra…