HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING (1993-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"For some, the Road King is the best Harley of all"

Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding

"For some, the Road King is the best Harley of all"

  • At a glance
  • 1584cc  -  65 bhp
  • 44 mpg  -  135 miles range
  • Low seat height (693mm)
  • £17,595

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

For some, the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King is the best Harley of all, mixing the 50s style of the Fat Boy with the versatility and comfort of the Glides thanks to its twin shock chassis and built in panniers and screen. For extra cool there’s also the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic and Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Custom versions.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Impressively plush and manageable. With its weight carried low the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King is refreshingly stable and easy to steer, even at low speed. The ride is smooth and comfortable, too. Just be aware that, although improved in recent years, Harley brakes aren’t the best and like most big Hogs the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King takes a  fair bit of stopping.

Engine 3 out of 5

Like the rest of the big twin Hogs, the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King's ‘Twin Cam’ motor has just been boosted to 1584cc (from 1450cc and, before that, 1340cc) which gives it a healthy torque and midrange boost. The Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King's engine is authentically vibey and useful enough but don’t expect anything like modern Japanese performance.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Classic Harley in every respect: the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King's powertrain is understressed, made from girders and been in production for decades, so no worries there. The chassis and cycle parts are hefty, lavishly painted and chromed and built to last. The Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King is a glossy tank among motorcycles.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

£13,000+ new is a huge amount of money, whichever way you look at it but Harleys, certainly in terms of appeal and depreciation, are different to other motorcycles and the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King is one of the best Harleys. For our money, the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic, at £400 more than the stock King, is a better buy. Find a Harley-Davidson Road King for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King may not have all the bells and whistles of its full-dresser Glide brothers but its still a fairly tasty bolide. Panniers and screen are on the clunky side of robust, instrumentation and seating is lavish. Of the three, the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic is by far the sweetest.

Owners' Reviews

6 owners have reviewed their HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING (1993-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

better than the dream

25 August 2014 by phillipb7415

I have the 2010 road king classic with the 1584 engine. I was able to hire a standard road king in florida with the 1690 engine stock tune. I felt like a god riding on it but have to admit the performance was awful. My bike has the stage 1 tune with... Read more k&n filter, power commander and vance and hines full exhaust system: it is a different bike. It is amazing, it rasps, growls, has the Harley sound ("brook brook brook" when throttling off) and the performance is now excellent. I ride with friends on sport bikes and on the throttle I can keep up on all but the sharpest of bends. its an amazing bike, but get the stage 1 tune

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Article Requires Update

11 January 2011 by StevesRoadKing

You need to carry out a new review of this bike. Ive just bought a 2011 version of the Road King Classic and it now has a 1690 engine, with updated suspension etc etc etc..... Brilliant...... Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Classic!

27 January 2009 by roadking03

This is my second classic and I love it. I bought it in Alaska to ride Alaska and the the Alcan highway and just sort of kept on going after finishing! Now touring all of the states and what a machine to do it on. It is a joy to ride over long, over... Read more 500 miles, rides. It commands respect and always admiring looks from passers by. It looks a truly beautiful machine. Though I question the lack of proper touring equipment...like ABS as standard, music system, electric or adjustable screen, heated grips. Ok ok...most of these are extras and we all know where Harley make their money....extras, accessories and clothes. But this IS 1 of their 2 main touring models so it should be fitted out as one. Not a week end decoration. The speedo and warning lights are in a daf(no, dangerous) place. You have to take your eyes off the road to focus and check. really bad! Brembo brakes are ace.....much much betteer than my 2003 Electra Glide Ultra. About damm time. It does what it says on the tin and does it well. I feel at home on Lucy (her name!) every time I throw the old leg over. She never complains, is always ready, warms up quick, she does what I say, never answers back, and takes me anywhere.... the exact opposite of the GF! Buy one and enjoy.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

chill out!!

13 May 2008 by darrell.s

I've had my road king classic just over a year and done nearly 12 thousand miles. Apart from warped front discs,(changed under warranty)i've had no problems.Cleaned regularily it's holding up quite well dispite all year riding. Ridden as it's meant... Read more to be, ie slowlyish, it's comfy, relaxing and enjoyable. Try to ride it hard it's bouncier than tigger on acid!! It's my first Harley and overall im more than happy with it. Fuel range is ok, between 165/170 miles per tank and so far it's not used a drop of oil. Ride it like a Harley cruiser and it does exactly what it says on the tin!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
2 out of 5

King of H-D?

28 April 2007 by flyingdragons9999

There is no sufficient luxurious gadgets to make you feel like a King. Bike is on the heavy side, poor rear suspension, fuel tank too small and useless original windscreen. Classic is better. Read more

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Had one for about three months

28 March 2007 by SeanW

And loved it. I'd recommend the classic version - the custom model has a weird bar bend that is a bit of a strain on longer trips Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 6 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1993
Year discontinued -
New price £17,595
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 65 bhp
Max torque 91 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.3 secs
Average fuel consumption 44 mpg
Tank range 135 miles
Specification
Engine size 1584cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 18.9 litres
Seat height 693mm
Bike weight 332kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 2 x 292mm disc
Rear brake 292mm disc
Front tyre size MT90 B16
Rear tyre size MU85 B16

History & Versions

Model history

1993: 1340cc Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King introduced.
1995: Quick-release catches added to panniers. Fuel injected FLHRI added to range.
1996: New smoother switchgear and master cylinder employed.
1997: Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic added to range.
1999: Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King now with 1450cc Twin Cam engine.
2001: Immobiliser and alarm system now standard.
2002: New swingarm and uprated rear suspension.
2004: Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Custom added to range.
2006: New 1548cc engine introduced to Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King from September.

Other versions

Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic: as per base King but with slightly more retro, rounded styling complete with leather-look, buckled panniers, whitewall tyres and wire wheels.


Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Custom: a sleeker styled Road King with the screen and some trim removed, a lowered rear end and more pull-back bars.

Photo Gallery

  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Top view
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Riding
  • Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King motorcycle review - Side view