2018 Harley-Davidson Touring Road King Special

2018 Harley-Davidson Touring Road King Special
2018 Harley-Davidson Touring Road King SpecialCRS

One small step for a Road King, one giant leap for apekind

The world has gone ape—for apehangers. Or more precisely, 9-inch-tall “mini-ape handlebars” in the case of the Road King Special. No one except a few behavioral psychologists living under a witness protection program know exactly why apehangers exist and what they do for motorcycling, except they’ve been clinically proven to raise riders’ “self-esteem” by looking “cool.” Whatever that is.

But wait! Functionally duplicating the Road King, the Milwaukee-Eight 107ci-powered Road King Special gets a complete black-out treatment, stretched hard side bags with 2.5 cubic feet of storage (up 9 percent over standard Road King bags), airy-looking, larger-diameter Turbine wheels (19-inch front and 18-inch rear versus 17-inch front and 16-inch rear on the Road King), special tapered mufflers, less trim, and no windshield. Among four paint choices, the Olive Gold hero color, together with all the black finishes, makes the Road King Special look virtually US Army grade. Some basic training, however, is advisable before riding it; the Road King Special has a long 64-inch wheelbase and weighs 820 pounds wet.

Likes: Nice to see classic 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel sizes coming back, thankfully with modern rubber attached. And the Turbine wheels are sweet.

Dislikes: Nag, nag, nag. Like lots of Harleys, the Road King Special seems 10 or 20 percent too big.

Verdict: One of Harley's best semi-custom executions.

2018 Harley-Davidson Touring Road King Special Specs and Pricing

MSRP $21,999

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