Back from the darkside, or, how I made friends with a Road King... - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 7 Old Jul 10th, 2006, 6:09 pm Thread Starter
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Back from the darkside, or, how I made friends with a Road King...

Well I just got back from a week on a Road King...

OK... I'll say it... it didn't suck.

Being a bit of a snotty Beemer snob I was prepared to hate this bike. I rented it only because it was slightly better than renting a cage.

I rented the thing from Eagle Rider of Chicago (actually in Berwyn) Not a super experience with them, but that's a different story.
I told them I'd need the bike for a week and would be making my way to Detroit and back over the course of the week. The response was a hilarious "Wow, that's a long way!" It's ONLY 280 miles fer crissake!

They rolled out a nice metallic purple RK with exactly 2 miles on it! The kid did a pretty good job of showing me the bike and turned me loose. I tried to put my feet on the primary and the pipes a few times till I got used to the floorboards being so far foward, then we got along fine.
Overall I liked the bike more than I thought I would. There were some ergo problems but if it were my bike I would be able to fix them. I spent a good bit of time with my heels hooked on the leading edge of the rear boards, it kept my heels under my ass where they belong on a proper bike! I did move the bars back a little the second day, if it were mine I'd add about 3 inches to the windscreen as well. It was a passable ride on the highway, best at around 65. There was a nice groove at 80 but the buffeting was severe enough to blur my vision so I couldn't ride long at that speed. I did spike 100mph once on a nice long downhill. It was not comfortable or stable there and the bike wouldn't hold 100 on the flat, certainly not on a climb.

Where this bike shone, and I really enjoyed it the most, is on nice country two lane. Loping along at about 50mph and soaking up the scenery.
Cows to the left, corn to the right, pass a pretty lake, then corn to the left and cows to the right. It got as much or more attention than the LT while parked but then we were in the heartland.( I must admit that the LT draws an entirely different demographic than the RK) I saw a handfull of BMWs near citys and maybe 2 dozen UJMs in a week... I saw probably 300 Harleys in that same time.

All together a nice easy 1000 mile week of visiting family, friends and getting to ride to all of it. Ride to it on a big chromey noisy kickazz HAWG!
But ride I did!

OK, I get the whole Harley thing now. I still won't buy one, but I get it.

Last edited by Keith; Jul 10th, 2006 at 8:15 pm.
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post #2 of 7 Old Jul 10th, 2006, 9:13 pm
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Glad it didn't kill ya!

Dcn Channing

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post #3 of 7 Old Jul 10th, 2006, 9:50 pm
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What you say about the performance is spot on. It sounds like you got the standard road king. The Harley's come with various "staged" engines. I think they can push that thing up to 103 cubic inches which is fairly powerful. Of course that will be roughly 35k. The standard has 88 cubic inches and 61 horse power at the wheel which seems dangerously underpowered to me.

Unfortunately the technology does not allow for long distance or high speed riding. If you take that thing out into the desert or into warmer temperatures it will overheat very quickly. As an added "bonus" the oil pump is not built for the speed and long distance riding that we normally do. To provide for long distance high speed riding you have to replace the stock oil pump. I think this is a $400-$600 part, but I am not sure.

My experience is limited to a few shorter trips on the road king (mimicking your experience) and a day long ride on the deuce. Man that thing has some torque but it seemed to peter out around 70 or so. I really could not get that thing up over 100 easily. On the whole I agree with you. Not a bad experience, but the comfort and agility of the BMW certainly seems a steal compared to 40+ year old technology and an added 20,000.
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post #4 of 7 Old Jul 10th, 2006, 10:41 pm
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i've always enjoyed myself when i rode a harley. there's something about a big, loping v-twin that says, "relax. let's go for a nice cruise." suddenly it doesn't matter how fast you are going or how deep you can go into a corner before jumping on the brakes. it's a very cool ride. glad you enjoyed yourself.

i don't think i'd want a harley as my only bike, but i'd sure love to have one as part of a stable.
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post #5 of 7 Old Jul 11th, 2006, 2:08 am
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Originally Posted by Keith
Where this bike shone, and I really enjoyed it the most, is on nice country two lane.
Thought for sure you were going to say parked in front of a bar....

Been wondering where you've been - never woulda guessed you were steppin' out!


Camarillo, CA
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post #6 of 7 Old Jul 11th, 2006, 6:51 am
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Talking Back in April at the THC rally

several of us rode over to Luckenbach to see what that was all about and as expected there were tons (hundreds) of HDs there.

As we parked many of the HD riders came over to see the Beemers and as the LT went up on the center stand, one guy remarked "my wife said as your rode in "here comes your wet dream".
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post #7 of 7 Old Jul 11th, 2006, 9:13 am
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Glad you got a taste od thr HD.I put about 29K on my 95 Road King.You're right about the bars,anyone under bout 6'4" changes out the bars,deat pretty much sucks too,although I can,t say anything good about my 05 LT stock seat.Worsy seat I've ever owned,unfortunatley typical of most brand stock seats.The foot forward ergo on the RK abd Glides is still the most comfy posiyion I've ever ridden and on my HD's I always did 20K miles a year,course I didn't own a car whem I had the bikes,year round riding in Naples,Fl.We did one trip Atlanta to Naples through hurricane Francis on HD Ultra,wouldn'y do it again and don't reccomend it,but we made it.I used to sell for Naples HD for four years,the loyalty to the brand is astounding.HD builds the bikes people want to buy,yhey could be much more advanced technically,but that's not what peop;e want,look at the V-Rod.We'll see whats new this weekend at the dealer show,be interesting to see if the Vrod motor makes it into a touring bike,maybe better brakes,the sportsters got nissen's last year,vrod got Brembos.One thing I really miss since switching back to BMW,this is my 6th beemer,is the HD dealer network.It's unbelievable that Ky where I now live has only 1 dealer,and my closest dealer is 90 miles,Cape Giardeau,Mo.Granted I enjoy the ride,but if I had an emergency problem thats a long trip.I love em all and will continue riding them all,one at atime.
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