Swapping chrome for black and powered by the muscular Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, the new 2017 Road King Special motorcycle pushes Harley-Davidson’s touring line in a dramatic new styling direction, expressing a contemporary perspective on the classic Road King model.
“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. “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.”
A dark front end topped by a massive gloss-black headlamp nacelle is the signature styling element of the 2017 Road King Special. A new 9-inch-tall, 1.25-inch-diameter mini-ape handlebar puts the rider in an aggressive posture on the bike that’s also comfortable for long runs on the open road.
“Chrome was retained only on some key engine components,” said Harley-Davidson Designer- Stylist Dais Nagao. “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.”
The Road King Special’s engine guard, handlebar and hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers, air cleaner cover, mufflers and exhaust shields also feature black surfaces. New gloss black turbine cast-aluminum wheels include a 19-inch front wheel topped by a low-profile fender. At the rear, stretched saddlebags flow over the mufflers to provide a slammed-to-the-ground appearance without reducing suspension travel. A rear fascia panel fills the space between the saddlebags and rear fender, and a low-mount license plate module completes the tight, low lines of the rear end.
Comfort, control and performance are enhanced by the all-new front and rear suspension components featured on all 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring model motorcycles. New hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers offer 15 percent more pre-load adjustment than previous low-profile touring shocks. The front suspension features new double-bending valve suspension technology that delivers the damping performance of a racing-style cartridge fork with linear damping characteristics and reduced weight. Reflex linked brakes with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are standard equipment on the Road King Special.
Powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight engine
New for all 2017 touring models, the Milwaukee-Eight engine offers quicker throttle response, more passing power, purer sound, a smoother ride and more of the feeling riders want from a Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle engine.
• More Power Each Milwaukee-Eight engine produces 10 percent more torque than the engine it replaces in touring models. In addition to increased displacement, the Milwaukee-Eight engine features a higher compression ratio and four-valve cylinder heads with 50 percent more intake and exhaust flow capacity. The valve train requires no adjustment as the design of the rocker arms enables valve lash to be set at the factory for life. Dual spark plugs for each cylinder contribute to more-efficient combustion. A single chain-driven camshaft is lighter, mechanically less complex and creates less friction and noise.
• Quicker Acceleration The Milwaukee-Eight engine weighs the same as the engines it replaces, so its extra power contributes directly to improved acceleration performance. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 accelerates 11 percent quicker from 0-60 mph, equal to a two-to-three bike length improvement, and 11 percent quicker from 60-80 mph in top gear, equal to a one-to-two bike length improvement, compared to the Twin Cam High Output 103.
• Heat Management The Milwaukee-Eight engine offers improved rider and passenger thermal comfort due to reduced heat absorption, increased heat rejection and a redesigned exhaust system. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine features a precision cooling strategy that targets a flow of oil around the hottest areas of the cylinder heads. A new knock sensor for each cylinder enables more-precise timing control. The rear exhaust pipe is repositioned and the exhaust catalyst is relocated to move heat away from the passenger. Idle speed is lowered from 1,000 rpm to 850 rpm.
• Improved Fit A new, slimmer primary drive cover and the low-profile shape of the air cleaner cover provide improved rider legroom around the engine and an easier reach to the ground for many riders. All Milwaukee-Eight powered models are fitted with an assist and slip clutch with improved hydraulic actuation and 7 percent less clutch lever effort.
• Reduced Vibration The rubber-mounted Milwaukee-Eight engine features a single internal counter balancer that cancels 75 percent of primary vibration at idle for a more refined feel and more comfortable experience for rider and passengers while retaining the classic character of Harley V-Twin engines.
• Richer Exhaust Note Lighter valves, a single camshaft, optimized cover designs and improved driveline components greatly reduce mechanical powertrain noise. The engine intake and air cleaner are designed to reduce intake sound while ensuring maximum air flow. As a result, the new Milwaukee-Eight engine is mechanically quieter, enabling a richer exhaust tone that meets all global noise and emissions standards while allowing the unmistakable rumble of its exhaust note to resonate.
• Improved Charging The Milwaukee-Eight engine charging system delivers 50 percent more output to the battery at idle to better support the power demands of touring riders, including accessory lighting, performance audio, and heated gear and other accessories.
• New Engine Styling The Milwaukee-Eight engine features sleek, modern styling that respects the heritage of previous Harley-Davidson big twin engines. The Road King Special is the first model to feature the Milwaukee-Eight in an all-black engine finish.
The Road King Special model is offered in four color options: Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom, and Olive Gold.
- Be sure to grab a copy of the upcoming American Iron Magazine Issue #347 for more about the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special on newsstands or at Greaserag.com.
To experience the style and performance of the entire 2017 motorcycle line-up and feel the power of the Milwaukee-Eight engine, schedule a test ride at a local Harley-Davidson authorized dealer by visiting h-d.com/testride.
2017 ROAD KING SPECIAL SPECS
Length – 95.4 in. (2423 mm)
Overall Width – 38.7 in. (983 mm)
Overall Height – 45.1 in. (1146 mm)
• Laden 26.4 in. (671 mm)
• Unladen 27.4 in. (695 mm)
Ground Clearance – 4.9 in. (124 mm)
Rake (steering head) – 26°
Fork Angle – 29.25°
Trail – 6.9 in. (175 mm)
Wheelbase – 64 in. (1625 mm)
Tires (Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series, bias blackwall front and rear):
• Front – D408F BW 130/60B19 61H
• Rear – D407 BW 180/55B18 80H
Fuel Capacity – 6 gal. (22.7 L) (warning light at approximately 1.0 gal.)
Oil Capacity (w/filter) – 5.2 qt. (4.9 L)
Transmission Capacity – 1 qt. (.95 L)
Primary – Chain
Case Capacity – 1.1 qt. (1.0 L)
• As Shipped – 781 lb. (354 kg)
• In Running Order – 818 lb. (371 kg)
• Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – 1360 lb. (617 kg)
• Gross Axle Weight Rating
• Front – 500 lb. (227 kg)
• Rear – 927 lb. (420 kg)
• Volume – 2.5 cu. ft. (0.07 m3)
Engine – Milwaukee-Eight 107 Engine
Valves – Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke – 3.937 in. x 4.375 in. (100 mm x 111.1 mm)
Displacement – 107 cu. in. (1746 cc)
Compression Ratio – 10.0:1
Fuel System – Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)
Air Cleaner – Paper, washable
Exhaust – Black, 2-1-2 exhaust withtapered mufflers
Lubrication System – Pressurized, dry-sump with oil cooler
Primary Drive Chain, 34/46 ratio
Final Drive Belt, 32/68 ratio
Clutch Hydraulically actuated 9 plate wet, Assist & Slip
Frame – Mild steel; tubular frame; two-piece stamped and welded backbone; cast and forged junctions; twin downtubes; bolt-on rear frame with forged fender supports; MIG welded Swingarm Mild steel; two-piece drawn and welded section; forged junctions; MIG welded
Front Fork – 49 mm Dual Bending Valve
Rear Shocks – Premium low height hand-adjustable rear suspension
Wheels: Black, Turbine Cast Aluminum
• Front – 19 in. x 3.5 in. (483 mm x 89 mm)
• Rear – 18 in. x 5 in. (457 mm x 127 mm)
• Caliper Type – 32 mm, 4-piston fixed front and rear
• Rotor Type – Dual floating rotors (front), fixed rotor (rear)
(diameter x width):
• Front – (dual) 11.81 in. x .2 in. (300 mm x 5.1 mm)
• Rear – 11.81 in. x .28 in. (300 mm x 7.1 mm)
• Anti-lock Braking System Standard
• Front Wheel – 4.6 in. (117 mm)
• Rear Wheel – 2.15 in. (54.6 mm)
Engine Torque: North America 111.4 ft. lb. @ 3250 RPM (151 Nm @ 3250 RPM)
• Right 32°
• Left 31°
Fuel Economy (Combined City/Hwy) – 45 mpg (5.2 L/100 km)
• Headlamp Dual halogen headlight 55-watt 625 lumen low beam, 65-watt 1570 lumen high beam
• Tail/Stop Lights 8W/28W
• Front Signal Lights 8W/28W
• Indicator Lamps High beam, running lights, directional light bar, neutral, low oil pressure, engine diagnostics, turn signals, battery, security system (optional), low fuel warning, cruise control, ABS, Gear/RPM display, miles to empty display
Gauges Tank-mounted electronic speedometer with ergonomic hand controls with intuitive design for improved tactile feel. Includes trigger switch for odometer, trip A, trip B, clock, range to empty