With the Road King, Harley-Davidson has taken a very smart approach – updated all the bits that needed to be addressed, while leaving all the good bits untouched. So, when you see a Road King in the flesh, if you can’t figure out if it’s the latest generation or its predecessor, it isn’t really your fault.
Harley-Davidson hasn’t meddled with the design of this Road King – and they didn’t need to either. With the kind of bulk it has, and a generous dose of chrome, the Road King has phenomenal presence. Underneath the skin is where all the changes are though. At its heart is the Milwaukee-Eight motor that displaces 1,753cc from its V-twin unit. This new powerplant feels a lot more refined – not just when you thumb the starter, but even when you’re cruising at three-digit speeds. The 151Nm of torque feels sufficient to lug the 375kg weight of the motorcycle – but, sadly, it doesn’t offer much help when pushing the bike in and out of tight parking spots. The gearbox is precise, but has that typical Harley clunky-ness to it. Like most Harleys, this one too has a heavy clutch that can be quite painful when riding in the city. Plus, the heat that dissipates from the engine can roast your legs.
Among other things, the Road King’s suspension has been updated too, but that hasn’t improved the harsh ride much – a result of its low travel suspension. Around tight bends, of course, the Road King tends to reveal its weight. But, out on the highway, it’s among the most comfortable bikes out there. Of course, a comfortable seating position and the large windscreen play a huge part in this too.
While the Harley-Davidson Road King is a good machine for someone looking for a retro cruiser, there’s no arguing the fact that it isn’t the most practical motorcycle out there. Moreover, at Rs. 29.40 lakh, it isn’t exactly great value for money – especially when you can have the Street Glide for just a few lakhs more.