HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING (2017-on) Review

Published: 22 September 2016

Harley fans need to fear not: it’s like the old, only a little bit better

HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)

Harley fans need to fear not: it’s like the old, only a little bit better

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Also new for 2017 are new ‘big piston’ Showa forks which are claimed to deliver improved damping with both rear shocks now adjustable via a single knob on the left-hand unit. The result, again, is not radically different, but definitely more refined, assuredly plush, seemingly in control (as far as we could tell along the untaxing American byways) and pleasingly more easily adjustable than ever.

Engine 4 out of 5

Now badged the ‘Milwaukee-Eight’ Harley’s traditional 45º V-twin is bigger (1745cc from 1690cc) and gets new heads featuring four-valves and either oil (as in the Road King) or liquid (full dressers) cooling. Torque is up a claimed 11%, power is boosted and it’s also smoother and more economical. It is punchier, smoother and better sounding, but not by as much as you might expect.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Rugged and chunky Harleys may sometimes be but paint, chrome and reliability is usually good and there’s no reason to suspect anything much has changed with the updated 2017 ‘Milwaukee-Eight’ version, except reserving a final decision reliability on the new valve-train until they have proven themselves. What’s more, they tend to be understressed and pampered by owners.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Harley ownership never comes cheap and with prices starting at over £18K that’s certainly not changed with the updated Road King. On the positive side, however, running costs are far more affordable, economy is claimed to be improved and residual values are the envy of the whole motorcycle industry so what goes around comes around…

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

Equipment 3 out of 5

Equipment-wise, the 2017 Road King is unchanged from the Twin Cam powered 2014 one, which benefitted from a host of improvements under Harley’s ‘Project Rushmore’ programme. ‘Bagger’-defining hard panniers and Plexiglas screen deliver touring comfort and practicality but there are otherwise few of the frills (stereo, cruise control etc) that you get on the American firm’s full dressers.

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Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £18,695
Used price £15,000 to £31,000
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 88 bhp
Max torque 111 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Tank range 273 miles
Specification
Engine size 1745cc
Engine type 45º pushrod V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 22.7 litres
Seat height 705mm
Bike weight 379kg
Front suspension Showa big piston forks, no adjust
Rear suspension Twin rear shocks adjustable for preload
Front brake Twin discs with four-piston Brembo calipers. ABS
Rear brake Single disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 130/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/65 x 16

History & Versions

Model history

2017: New Milwaukee-Eight’ powered touring range introduced

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
  • HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING  (2017-on)
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