The Majesty on Wheels: Taming the Harley-Davidson Road King Special

The Harley-Davidson Road King Special is not just a motorcycle. It is the ultimate statement of two-wheel power and prowess. And in 2024, this giant of the road promises the same commitment to comfort and dominance. An arrow of the open road and the city, it appeals to the seasoned traveller and rookie alike. But how big is the Road King Special and how hard is it to ride?

The Stature of a King: Measuring the Road King Special

Epic in Stature

Neigh. As I awkwardly lift the Road King Special in its white shipping box by the tail section, I marvel at the behemoth that’s landed on my doorstep. And when I say behemoth, I mean behemoth. The Harley-Davidson Road King Special is nearly 8 feet long, 95.3 inches to be exact. And as far as weights go, the motorcycle checks in at 774 lb for the bike ‘dry’ and 807 lb for the bike tanked up and ready for a ride. Compared with many of Harley-Davidson’s smaller roadsters, the Road King Special is in a weight class of its own, a machine designed for opulence on the open road.

Maneuvering the Majesty: Handling the Road King Special

A Balancing Act

If there is one thing that we can be sure of it is that the size of a motorcycle is positively correlated to its performance. Lighter bikes are typically quicker to accelerate, they turn tighter and overall are a joy to ride. Heavier bikes, like our Road King Special, require some extra thought to finesse. Weighing in at over 800 lb, is the Road King difficult to handle?

Voices from the Road

Doodle on a Motorcycle, the small but mighty of the moto-vlogging world at 5’3.75″, agreed, dismissing it as ‘really, really heavy’. Still, with years of riding behind her and plenty of tricks of the trade, she’s able to handle this beast of the road just fine, though she points out that it’s probably a ride for someone with some experience. Cage Free Moto agreed, noting that the bike can be tough to handle at low speeds and when moving in tight quarters, especially since it weighs so much. Speedway Harley Davidson countered with praise for its surprisingly nimble handling at slower speeds. Well, it seems experience and stature are key to this Leviathan.

The Verdict: Is the Road King Special Too Much Bike?

A Rewarding Challenge

Make no mistake: the Road King Special is a bike for big people. It is a big bike. It is a heavy bike. It requires big balls (or a big brass one) to jump on and work the hell out. But riding the Road King is an absolute blast, and arguably the most comfortable drop-barred machine you can buy. For those people looking for an all-position conveyance, the King would be a perfect fit for urban ripping as well as cross-country adventure. But it will require that you rise to the occasion.

Who Should Consider the Road King Special?

A Ride for the Experienced

However powerful its engine, or smooth or stable its handling attributes, the Road King Special is a motorcycle for an experienced rider. Those with sufficient delicious strength, skill and confidence to handle its heft with aplomb will most certainly enjoy doing so; meanwhile, those less practiced or physically diminutive will do well to build up their miles and toenails on a lighter machine before assuming this seat of power.

The Road King Special: A Legacy Continues

Embarking on a Journey

Harley-Davidson’s Road King Special, with its air-cooled, pushrod V-twin engine and the exhaust rumble it produces, embodies the ethos of the company: ‘The ride you give the road, the road will give back to you. Every mile you ride becomes another story on which your Icons live on forever.’

What is VERSA, Exactly?

Before signing off, let us address the somewhat elephantine phenomenon in the room – or rather the versa. What on earth is versa? That versatile little prefix has cropped up several times during the course of this article, when referring to ‘vice versa’, which is short for the Latin ‘vices versa’, meaning ‘the other way round’; to the verse of a poem; those directions that, when followed, lead you back to your starting point; and, of course, to the ‘versa’ of our ‘versipellet’. Each and every one of these would make almost no sense – just as ‘eel’ would make next to no sense as a term for ‘fish’ – were it not for the fact that it all flows so naturally in English. Indeed, that ‘all flows so naturally’ is due in no small part to that ‘offending’ – but oh so useful and effective – little word.

Let the Road King Special be your weapon of choice when you ride into the sunset and take on those open roads where few dare to venture.

Jun 03, 2024
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