Harley-Davidson has gone to black with the 2017 Road King Special.
Swapping out chrome for black on its most popular model, the new Road King Special motorcycle moves Harley-Davidson’s touring line in a new styling direction, with a more contemporary look.
“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,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design.
The signature styling element is a dark front end topped by a black headlamp. New mini-ape handlebars do double duty by putting the rider in a more aggressive posture on the bike, yet Harley-Davidson says it’s comfortable for cruising.
“Chrome was retained only on some key engine components,” said Harley-Davidson designer Dais Nagao. “The lower rocker boxes, push-rod tubes and tappet blocks are finished with chrome to emphasize the V-Twin shape of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine.”
New on all of the 2017 touring models, the Milwaukee-Eight engine offers quick throttle response, more passing power, purer sound, and a smoother ride than the engine it replaces.
The 107-cubic-inch engine weighs the same as the 103-cubic-inch engine it replaces, produces 10 percent more torque and accelerates 11 percent quicker.
The Road King Special is the first model to feature the Milwaukee-Eight in an all-black engine finish.
The engine guard, handlebars and hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers, air cleaner cover, mufflers and exhaust shields also feature black surfaces. New gloss black cast-aluminum wheels include a 19-inch front wheel topped by a low-profile fender.
At the rear, elongated saddlebags above the mufflers provide a slammed-to-the-ground appearance without reducing suspension travel, according to Harley-Davidson. A panel fills the gap between the saddlebags and rear fender, and a low mounted license plate module completes the tight, low lines of the rear end.
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.
The Milwaukee-based company introduced the Road King Special on the eve of this month’s 2017 Chicago Motorcycle Show, held during the opening weekend of the Chicago Auto Show.