Harley-Davidson introduces its new Road King Special, a stylish version of its popular touring mount dripping with lots of black bits and powered by the Motor Company’s Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine.
“The Road King Special pounds down the boulevard like a gleaming locomotive rolling through a train yard at midnight,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice-President of Styling and Design in a company press release. “The Road King has always reflected the purity of the Harley-Davidson FL riding experience. 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.”
The preponderance of blacked-out parts includes the headlamp nacelle and new nine-inch tall mini-ape handlebar. There’s also a black engine guard, hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers, mufflers, cast-aluminum wheels and air-cleaner cover too. A few chrome touches remain however.
“Chrome was retained only on some key engine components,” said Harley-Davidson Designer- Stylist Dais Nagao in the same release. “The lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet blocks are finished with chrome to emphasize the V-Twin shape of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. We added a new engine-turned air cleaner insert, a finish that’s also featured on the tank console.”
Other differences from the standard Road King include a larger 19-inch front wheel and slightly lower stance overall. It does hold Harley-Davidson’s touring model suspension updates, including new hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers and double-bending valve technology equipped front fork. Linked brakes with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System come standard on the Road King Special.
And of course there’s the new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, the ninth generation of the company’s Big Twins introduced fall 2016. It’s the mill powering all of H-D’s Touring and Trike models in 2017. The Road King Special comes with the 1750cc version and the Motor Company promises more power, faster acceleration, better heat management and lower vibration from the updated engine. We document the Milwaukee-Eight advancements in more detail in this review.
The Road King Special comes in Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom and Olive Gold. MSRP starts at $21,999 for Vivid Black and goes up to $24,399 for the Hard Candy Custom option.