As Harley-Davidson introduces its new Milwaukee-Eight engine to the Road King standard and Classic models, a new version joins the ranks. The 2017 Road King Special sports larger wheels, bigger sweeping saddlebags, and a blacked-out styling that, devoid of any chrome, plays to the mean and lean tune.
After the unveiling of its brand new V-twin engine last year, Harley-Davidson proceeded to introduce the Milwaukee-Eight in 107 and 114 ci (1,753 and 1.868 cc respectively) configurations in selected 2017 models from the touring family. Among these, the ever-popular Road King series got a fresh lease on life, pairing its retro looks with a modern powertrain.
Next to the Road King standard and Classic, Harley-Davidson has just unveiled a third model. Built on the same base, the Special features a mean bagger styling, specifically designed to appeal to a younger audience.
It takes just a quick glance to identify a body bare of chrome and all the intricate trim details that adorn the other Road King models' fenders, side covers and saddlebags. Instead, the Special sports clean, single-colored bodywork, a simple old school logo on the side of the fuel tank, and an abundance of black metals. Actually, this is the very first application of the Milwaukee-Eight motor in black cases.
With the bagger image in mind, Harley-Davidson's designers opted for larger wheels, measuring 19 inches in diameter at the front and 18 at the rear – as opposed to the 17 and 16-inch wheels of the standard Road King.
The saddlebags are also a bit bigger, with longer sweeping edges towards the back, also making for an extra 0.2 cu ft (5.7 l) of luggage capacity. This design admittedly assists in creating the image of a lower tail unit, in a process also entailing a redesigned rear suspension – probably to compensate for the taller rear wheel, although Harley-Davidson does not explain the incurred changes in detail. In every other technical term, including frame, engine, front forks, brakes, and fuel tank, the Special is identical to the basic Road King model and the Classic.
With ABS and security system in its standard equipment, the 2017 Road King Special is available in four color options: vivid black, charcoal denim, olive gold, and hard candy custom hot rod red flake. The starting price in the US is $21,999 for the black version (add another $450 for the other two available colors), while the hard candy custom option will set you back some $24,399 in total.