Test rode an '04 Road King today...

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by alii1959, May 20, 2012.

  1. alii1959

    alii1959 Been here awhile

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    I started a thread a while back about my back hurting. Well, it hasn't gotten any better...as a matter-of-fact it seems to be getting worse. So, I have begun to look at other types of bikes....

    Today, I test rode an '04 Road King, expecting I would be very bored with it. They tossed me the keys and I took off...err slowly. That was me making it go slow. After a couple of miles I began to get a feel for the RK, which didn't have a windshield which was a very nice thing. I decided that I would take it around some of the road I normally ride. I noticed that I was riding at the same speeds that I normally do, but it seemed a bit more relaxed...nice. I noticed that a lot of the turns were taken at nearly the same speed as normal. I was still two finger breaking without trouble. Upper back was fine...blissfully so. I think that with a change in bars it would be great on my back (although the lower back did experience a bit of discomfort). I looked down at one point and I was zipping along at 70 w/o any vibrations...no buzzy hands...nice. I didn't scrape the boards even though I wasn't going that easy on it. It accelerated nicely. For an 800lbs beasty it really hiked up its skirt and moved out. I could see a few changes making it very comfortable.


    I did not want to like this thing, yet I decided to go into it with an open mind. Well, most of the myths that I keep hearing are just that myths. It was hot today, yet the heat from the engine wasn't that bad. It stopped very well, even with 2 fingers and I have girly hands. It accelerated with authority, not like a sport bike, but without much drama (kinda the difference between an old Caddy and an old Sports car, same speed different method of obtaining it). Yes, vibrated like an epileptic crack whore at idle, but once moving the vibrations seem to disappear. Heavy, dog yes, but the easiest bike to ride slowly I have ever seen.

    So, whats the bottom line........Houston I think we have a financial problem! God help me I think I want a Harley....crap. Crap! CRAP!!! (And, for heavens sake they say the new ones are even better.....yet, I am a poor man).
    #1
  2. speednut

    speednut Been here awhile

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    I think you should buy the newest one you can afford.
    #2
  3. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Glad you liked it!

    Yep, the '09-later frames really do ride much nicer.

    If you serioulsy think you may get one....'06-later have 96" engine, 6 speed tranny, and a 6 gallon gas tank.

    Brembro brakes became standard sometime around '09 or '10 with ABS option. '12s come with 103"
    #3
  4. H2oskier

    H2oskier Been here awhile

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    I rolled over 87k recently and expect many more to come. Is it a Ninja, NO, but I didn't buy it for track days.
    It is a bike that does what it is designed for and does it well. If you can afford a 09-12, the ABS option, 6 speed
    and new frame are a big plus.:D You can find a 04-05 for under $ 10K if you look hard enough. Good luck
    #4
  5. alii1959

    alii1959 Been here awhile

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    I understand that, as a sportbike kinda guy, I am not supposed to like these big 'ole girls...but ya know big girls need luv too.

    This experience reminds me of all of my Ducati test rides. I love the idea of a Ducati. I love Vale and the fact that he now rides Ducati. I so desperately want to like them. I HATE THEM. They just don't suit me in any way...at least not the ones I have tried. Can't imagine trying to live with one...yuck. The Harleys tend to be the opposite: don't want to like them, but I do...what is wrong with me???

    I can't imagine what a 6th gear would be for. I was up near 70 in 4th and it was just purring along. 5th made it feel like it wasn't even working....very lazy. Absolutely the most peaceful motorcycle ride I have ever had. Don't know if that is good or bad.

    While the new ones may be a whole lot better...I cannot afford one. Probably can't afford the '04 either. :cry
    #5
  6. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    Timely thread.

    Though I've not yet gotten as far as a test ride, I'll admit to Harley Fever; specifically the Dyna type. Currently educating myself on the breed.

    Glad you enjoyed the ride. There's quite few on the road; how bad can they be?!

    I figure, hey, it's still an airhead!
    #6
  7. alii1959

    alii1959 Been here awhile

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    That is exactly what I thought. How bad could they be if so many people want to own one? Can't just be nostalgia. Further, they have a dealer network second to none around here. And, they offer test rides, while many other brands do not. That goes a long way toward sales in my opinion.

    This is the exact thinking that led to my investigating Apple products....now I have 4 laptops, 2 ipods, 1 ipad, 3 airport wireless stations, etc. I have a real bad habit of being all in or all out. (Love my Apples!!!)

    I think that, from what I have ridden, Harleys are far more competent than we are often led to believe. The brands with the most fanatical owners are Harley, BMW, and Ducati. Don't like Ducati. BMWs are a bit bland, but very nice. But, I believe that I am developing a Harley bug....drat. I won't be a pirate, but I may become a rider.
    #7
  8. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Had an '96 RK with the EVO engine. Was a pretty nice mile muncher, cruising at 70-80 at 3-3500rpm sweet spot. Handles like a pig and would scrap floor boards and kickstand. I liked the floorboards and a backrest really made long distances seem much shorter. Replaced it with a DL650, light and flickable. but missed the relaxed cruising. Enter the Ulysses, best of both bikes.
    #8
  9. Mrmerlin

    Mrmerlin K1300S fast as shi..

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    before you plunk down your cash go ride a Rocket 3 Triumph,
    make sure your holding on when you open the throttle.
    You should be able to practice figure 8s in the parking lot ,
    and you will see how well the balance is on the Triumph
    #9
  10. vaexplorer

    vaexplorer Adventurer

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    A friend has an Aprilia Mille R (stay with me, there's a point). He loves it because it has the best of everything: Ohlins suspension, Italian styling, Rotax engine... it's the best. On our last ride together, I asked, "Wanna make a stop and take a break?" Answer: "Yeah, I can't feel my hands!"

    A Formula One car has the best of everything, but it stinks for sightseeing and getting groceries. Harley's are great at what they do. If you like them, you like them. I like them. Nice place to spend a bunch of time, and great for sightseeing, which is what I like to do. I wish they were free.
    #10
  11. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    " I wish they were free. "


    Price has been a surprise to me. I'm not seeing any substantial difference between new & 3-5 yrs. Many do seem to have extremely low mileage @ 2-3k/yr!? Quite a few seem "well-farkled" as well, Screamin' Eagle is prevalent, so perhaps that brings price up? Or do they simply hold their value?
    #11
  12. scrannel

    scrannel Scrannel

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    In the big general scheme of things, the world of motorcycles is incredible today. I would also urge you to look at everything. There is a whole lot out there.
    #12
  13. EricD10563

    EricD10563 Been here awhile

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    If you liked the 04 your really like an 09 or later with the updated frame which is stiffer than the previous years. 09's come with Brembo brakes not sure about the previous years and ABS is an option.
    #13
  14. milo

    milo Been here awhile

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    I agree with this, except I believe it was 07 or 08 that the gas tank was increased to 6 gallons? I believe FI was an option through 2005 and I prefer it over the carburetor. The cam chain tensioners are problem waiting to happen on the 88ci engines. The good news is Harley has an up-grade for them which solves the problem. Just be aware of this though. In general buy the newest one you can afford. The big change occurred with the 09's and the new frame. Watch the prices on used ones though because many seem pretty high. A new 2012 RK Standard will run you $17,900 blk, $18,300 color and this is full list including freight. Optional ABS is now packaged with a security alarm which can add another $1,100.

    #14
  15. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    Almost.

    Fuel injection has been around a bit longer, I want to say somewhere in 2001 to 2003 ish.

    2006 had a 5 speed with a 88" motor
    2007 got a 6 speed transmission and the new 96" motor
    2008 I think got the Gas tank, may have been 09
    2009 Got the new frame

    I don't know what year they switched them over to 103". I think it started with just the Ultra, then they added the other models on. It's kinda weird to me why they would design and produce the 96" for a few years only to switch everything to the 103"


    I thought the cam chain tensioner was an 80" problem, and fixed when they went to the 88? Either way it's not too big of a deal to fix, it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

    OP, it doesn't say where you are from but the deals are out there, it's just a matter of being patient. These bikes are fairly easy to work on and reliable, I wouldn't be afraid to get one with some miles on it if it's priced accordingly. The value seems to bottom out around 8 to 10 grand, assuming it's taken care of.

    Here's some that just came up on CL, seem to be in good shape and around 10 to 11 thousand price range. This is where I'd be looking to buy, the value isn't going to go down much more over a few years if you decide to sell. I've rarely seen them go below 8000, unless there's a problem with the bike.

    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/3012675514.html
    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/3025220182.html
    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/3023688070.html
    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/3002125871.html
    http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/mcy/2999805191.html
    #15
  16. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    Road King is a great bike. I own a 2011. That being said, of the bikes I own it's the worst on my back. I mention this because you don't really notice it until you put some miles on. I've got lower back problems so being seated that way for long puts a lot of pressure on the lower spine. On my GSA it's easy to slide around, stand up and/or redistribute some the weight to my arms.

    Not sure if any of this applies to you, just a heads up on one of the issues you might not notice on a short test drive.
    #16
  17. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    +1

    I sometimes have problems with my low back. Riding a DS doesn't bother it. Riding a sporty bike (Buell S1) doesn't bother it. Riding my Ducati 900SS doesn't bother it (does bother my hands and wrists though). Ridng my 1150GS doesn't bother it either. Spending too much time in my truck, or in an office chair kills my lower back though. A couple of hours doesn't bother me, but long periods of time can take me out of commission and take literally DAYS to recover.

    There is just something about that foot forward position, that even with good lumbar support, just kills me.

    YMMV of course, but if your back issue is a big part of your decision to buy, you may want to consider renting one for a weekend and doing some serious miles before deciding for sure.

    Good luck with whatever you decide...
    #17
  18. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    Right on.
    If you have back problems already, allowing your spine to slouch while riding is a step in the wrong direction.
    Take a weekender or a week with it, even if you have to rent one.

    They're great bikes. And you've uncovered a truth in motorcycling (that no one is a sportbiker, adventure rider, or cartoon biker. rather, we're all just motorcyclists who can find pleasure in many machines and roads). It's gratifying to learn something so crucial. Just make sure you buy the right bike for your infirmities.
    I do a lot of squats and deadlifts, and I really work to take care of my back. But even I get some discomfort after riding a big couch for a while.
    #18
  19. alii1959

    alii1959 Been here awhile

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    Well, my back problems seem to be quite different. My pain extends from between my shoulder blades to just below them. I don't read too much about upper back pain. I have worked out hard to make sure my lower back is fine (squats, dead lifts, etc). But now the upper/middle is the problem.....the vagaries of age.

    I did notice a huge difference in my lower back as I rode, for about 20 miles or so, but I think that can be solved by a change/adjustment to the handlebars. It helps that I am a bit of a lightweight (155#) so the suspension/seat don't seem too bad. If I can arrange to I will rent one for a day just to get a feel for it. Sadly, few places near me rent bikes, of any kind.

    The price range mentioned above seems to be about average. $10K more or less is the basic price range. That is a lot of money for me.

    I did notice today that I was thinking that the seat on my GIXXER was a rock! Dang it....I think I am being dragged over the edge.

    It is very difficult to say if it would be comfortable or not w/o owning it for awhile...then, it is too late. But, the great thing about Harley's is the fact that changing it to anything you can imagine seems to be very possible. An 8y/o Harley is a baby and parts are easy to come by.

    I don't know.....maybe I am ready to take it easy for awhile.....really enjoy the ride. Or, maybe I am getting the 3-year itch.....
    #19
  20. bobobob

    bobobob badbadbad

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    Have you thought about a riders backrest?
    Folks on the HD forums say they really do the job.
    #20