Harley-Davidson swaps out chrome for black in 2017 Road King Special

Harley-Davidson swaps out chrome for black in 2017 Road King Special

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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. Photo by Harley-Davidson

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.

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