2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special First Look

The Road King goes dark for ’17 with 107 inches of Milwaukee-Eight V-twin power.

2017 Harley-Davidson Road King Special
New for 2017 is the Road King Special.Photo: Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson's Road King takes on a whole new personality for 2017 with the introduction of the Road King Special. a blacked-out brute of a bagger now powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin engine. The new Road King Special takes Harley-Davidson's touring line in a dramatic new styling direction with a contemporary look on the classic Road King platform.

Milwaukee-Eight engine
The Milwaukee-Eight engine carries a single four-lobe camshaft driven by a hydraulically tensioned chain.Photo: Harley-Davidson

“The Road King Special pounds down the boulevard like a gleaming locomotive rolling through a train yard at midnight,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice-President of Styling and Design. “The Road King has always reflected the purity of the Harley-Davidson FL riding experience. 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.”

A dark front end topped by a massive gloss-black headlamp nacelle is the signature styling element of the Road King Special. A new 9-inch-tall, 1.25-inch-diameter mini-ape handlebar puts the rider in an aggressive posture on the bike that promises comfort for long runs on the open road.

2017 Road King Special wheels
Cast alloy wheels are black with a turbine design. Up front is a 19-incher with dual floating discs.Photo: Harley-Davidson

“Chrome was retained only on some key engine components,” said Harley-Davidson Designer- Stylist Dais Nagao. “The lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet blocks are finished with chrome to emphasize the V-Twin shape of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. We added a new engine-turned air cleaner insert, a finish that’s also featured on the tank console.”

Blacked out Road King Special
How many Road King owners have handed cash over to their local powder-coater to get this blacked-out look?Photo: Harley-Davidson

The Road King Special’s engine guard, handlebar and hand controls, mirrors, turn signals, engine covers, air cleaner cover, mufflers and exhaust shields also feature the blacked-out finish. New gloss black turbine cast-aluminum wheels include a 19-inch front wheel topped by a low-profile fender. At the rear, stretched saddlebags stretch over the dual mufflers to provide a slammed-to-the-ground appearance without reducing suspension travel. A rear fascia panel fills the space between the saddlebags and rear fender, and a low-mount license plate module completes the tight, low lines of the rear end.

2017 Road King Special mini-apes handlebars
Black mini apes are nine inches tall with a 1.25-inch bar diameter.Photo: Harley-Davidson

Comfort, control and performance are enhanced by the all-new front and rear suspension components featured on all 2017 Harley-Davidson touring motorcycles. New hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers offer 15 percent more pre-load adjustment than previous low-profile touring shocks. The front suspension features new double-bending valve suspension technology that delivers the damping performance of a racing-style cartridge fork with linear damping characteristics and reduced weight. Reflex linked brakes with ABS and the Harley-Davidson Smart Security System are standard equipment on the Road King Special.

The Road King Special is offered in four color options that include Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom, and Olive Gold. MSRP starts at $21,999.