“Chrome don’t get you home”.
Times have been hard for H-D of late. The year end financial announcements weren’t as promising as many had hoped and with the introduction of an entirely new engine architecture towards the end of last year – the Milwaukee-Eight – as well as Polaris dropping their Victory brand and doubling-down on their Indian development, there is a lot of pressure on ‘America’s favourite company’ to hit 2017 hard.
The first assault from the bar and shield is the new Road King Special.
Powered by their new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, Harley are making a pretty big deal that they’ve ditched their usual chrome styling for what they refer to as a ‘dramatic new styling direction’.
What they really mean – in what has been pitched as a ‘contemporary perspective on a classic’ – is that they’re aiming for a far younger crowd.
The majority of the chrome has gone, black is the order of the day, and the ride has been significantly lowered. And there is that new engine of course.
The new styling is carried through to a bevy of external components; a new mini-ape-hanger adds to the lowered, aggressive stance, engine guards, turn signals, mufflers and exhaust shields are all murdered out and the chrome that is left has been sparingly used to highlight areas of that new, engine block.
“The Road King Special pounds down the boulevard like a gleaming locomotive rolling through a train yard at midnight”– Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice-President of Styling and Design.
The ride would appear to be significantly improved too. New rear shocks are said to increase the pre-load adjustment by around 15% and the front forks feature technology ‘similar to a racing-style-cartridge’.
Four colourways will be offered at launch – Vivid Black, Charcoal Denim, Hot Rod Red Flake Hard Candy Custom, and Olive Gold.
The US selling price is set to be $22,449 (around £18,000) for the Olive Gold version pictured here.
So what do you think? Does the ‘blacked-out’ new Harley-Davidson Road King Special work for you?