Words by Maynard M. Marcelo Photos by Harley-Davidson
It seems Harley-Davidson has something for everybody. Well, that is if you’re into big-inch American cruisers. With no less than 20 models and a gazillion of variants to choose from, and that’s excluding the delicious CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models, choosing the right Harley-Davidson bike for you can be quite daunting. But if you’re into covering huge distances in classic Harley fashion, then there can only be one bike for you: the 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic.
Known to Harley-Davidson insiders and aficionados as the FLHRC, the Road King Classic may look dated, but deep inside those shiny chrome bits hides a modern bike. For 2014, the Road King and seven other Harley-Davidson touring bikes got the Project Rushmore treatment. Project Rushmore relied heavily on focus-group discussions it conducted with longtime Harley-Davidson owners to address some of their bike’s shortcomings. This customer-driven approach immediately resulted in upgrades to eight of Harley-Davidson 2014 lineup of luxury tourers and performance baggers, namely the Road King, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Limited, CVO Ultra Limited, CVO Road King and Tri Glide Ultra trike. Project Rushmore gave these new bikes more power, better brakes, fresh styling, improved ergonomics, and for the upwardly mobile young urban professionals, an upgraded infotainment system.
Unfortunately, the Road King didn’t get the aforementioned infotainment system found on the Street Glide and Street Glide Special, but who needs an infotainment system anyway when you’re constantly serenaded by the awesome sound of the V-twin motor as you cruise the highway. The heart and soul of the Road King is the uprated Twin Cam 103 that sports higher-lift cams and a high-flow airbox that resulted to a 5-7% power gain. It may not sound like very much, but the benefit can certainly be felt during roll-on acceleration at higher speeds. According to Bill Davidson, great-grandson of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson and current Vice President of Core Customer Marketing, according to their survey, owners wanted more passing power on the highway. The new High Output Twin-Cam 103 dramatically improved the rolling acceleration from 100 km/h to 130 km/h range in fifth gear even with a pillion passenger and full load of gear. The new airbox design, according to Bill Davidson, also increased the legroom and improved the airflow around the rider.
I’m not much into cruisers and the feet-forward riding position needs some getting used to, but trust me, you’ll quickly adapt to this riding posture after a few kilometers. The Road King Classic is equipped with full-length floorboards that grounds easily during aggressive cornering. So better watch your angle if you don’t want to scratch them shiny bits. You can tell the Road King Classic is a heavy bike when picking it up from the side-stand, but thanks to the Wide Set handlebars, it provides better leverage not only at a standstill but also while maneuvering in traffic. The nicely sculpted touring saddle is a nice place to spend hours and hours of riding. Its low seat height means reaching the ground is never a problem. Yes, even if you’re vertically challenged. The pillion accommodation looks mighty inviting, too.
I think one of the best features of the Road King Classic is the detachable windscreen. In just a few seconds, you can go from countryside touring to boulevard cruising. When attached, the windscreen provides ample wind protection even at highway speed. Another feature I love about the Road King Classic is the standard white sidewall tires wrapped around shiny, wire-spoke rims that give it a 50’s look. Cleverly hidden in the wheel hubs are the ABS (antilock braking system) components so there’s no messy cables to ruin the clean and streamlined design. The Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS act like a regular brakes below 32 to 40 km/h, but beyond that, the braking force is applied to both front and rear wheels regardless if you use the front right lever or the right foot brake lever.
Unlike the Street Glide that has hard saddlebags, the Road King Classic features a pair of unique injection-molded saddlebags all covered-up in premium leather. The intricate, hand-tooled leather is stitched with style and extremely durable. They keep their shape and never sag unlike soft aftermarket saddlebags. For comfort, the Road King Classic is equipped with Air-Adjustable Suspension so even if you load those saddlebags with several days’ worth of clothes, it won’t affect the ride. While other touring motorcycles may have that feature, only a few have standard cruise control. The Road King Classic features electronic throttle control technology that doesn’t use cables that can clutter the handlebars. So if you like the looks of a classic cruiser and love long-distance cruising more than anything else, then look nowhere else; the Road King Classic is the Harley-Davidson for you.
Model & Variant: 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, 2 cylinder,
Max Power: 80 bhp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 104.7 lb-ft @ 3,250rpm
Fuel Capacity: 22.7 liters
Seat Height: 696mm
Wet Weight: 367 Kg.
Top Speed: 160.93 Km/h (100 mph)
Price: PhP 1,607,000 (color)
+ Comfy seat, torquey motor, ABS, cruise control
W2W Editor’s rating: 9.5/10