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Harley's Road King goes over to the dark side

Bikes, Quads & karts

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - When we rode the Harley-Davidson Road King at the South African launch of the new Milwaukee Eight tourers back in November, mention was made in passing that there would later be a more attitudinous Road King Special, but no details were forthcoming, almost as if it wouldn’t fit into the line-up.

They were right. It doesn’t.

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The Road King Special has about as much in common with its ‘standard’ sibling as Jake Gyllenhaal does with his sister Maggie. Although the two are mechanically identical, the Special’s profile has been lowered by some clever body changes and almost all the chrome-plating has gone black.

There’s a huge black headlight nacelle over a gloss black, cast front wheel (the vanilla flavour has an all-chrome spoked rim) and the low-profile front mudguard has been shaved of trim and badges.

Slammed

The handlebars (black of course) are a little higher, to put the rider in a more aggressive posture, but everything else is lower. The saddlebags of the Road King are replaced by hard panniers borrowed from the Road Glide, which sit low to the ground, half-concealing the (black) tailpipes in what would be called a ‘slammed’ look if this was a car - but without sacrificing any of the standard machine’s barely-adequate suspension travel.

A special fascia plate fills in the gaps between the panniers and the rear mudguard, and a special bracket mounts the tail-light even lower than on the Road Glide.

The only chromed components are the lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet blocks of the engine, to emphasise that, appearances to the contrary this is in fact one of the new 107 cubic inch Milwaukee Eight family. Even the air-filter cover and tank console inserts have an engine-turned aluminum finish rather than chrome, as on the rest of the touring range.

The Road King Special comes in your choice of gloss black, matte grey, olive green and red metal-flake, and will be available in South Africa from the last week in March, with prices starting at R321 000.

IOL Motoring

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