The Bagger Road King remains the definitive Harley and the new ‘Milwaukee-Eight’ engines and suspension are both an improvement. It’s not a radical improvement, admittedly, but Harley would argue their customers didn’t want that. But whether it’s enough to satisfy those wavering between H-D and ever-improving Indian, we’ll have to wait and see.
In February 2017 Harley-Davidson unveiled the Road King Special (below), which replaced the chrome from the standard Road King with moody black.
The windscreen from the standard Road King was ditched, and nine inch tall ape hanger bars added for more attitude. In black, of course.
The Road King Special’s engine guard, handlebar and hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers, air cleaner cover, exhausts and exhaust shields also feature black surfaces.
Chrome only remained on key engine components – the lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet blocks.
The Road King and the Road King Special both used the new 1750cc Milwaukee Eight engine, which offers 10% more torque over the previous engine and a much more refined ride and smoother throttle response.
"The FL series has always reflected the purity of the Harley-Davidson riding experience,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice-President of Styling & Design.
"By exchanging chrome surfaces for black and lowering the bike’s profile, we’ve moved the traditional Road King into a new space that’s very current in the custom bagger scene. Built to ride, and ride hard, the Road King Special also broods with menace. Just as we designed it to."
The Road King Special was available in four colour options; Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom and Olive Gold. Prices started at £19,995.