Test rode an '04 Road King today...

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

  1. Tooth

    Tooth State of Jefferson

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    If the bike fits ....ride it ....the make of the motorcycle is for the ignorant and irrogant to argue over.

    Back rests are also available....helps the lower back alot

    I would buy 09 and beyond if the wallet permitted. Touring frame better and 96cc is better bike. Catalytic converters appeared in 10 and are disliked by many. I have an '10 and could care less.
    I would not buy a used Harley that has beyond a Stage I mod.....new airfilter, remapp and pipes. I personally have an issue with new cams, big bore kits, remaps.....there are many who get it right and many more who get it wrong and reduce life of engine. I like a block that has not been opened. I buy a bike to ride...distances not to the corner and back. To each there own.
    Prices vary, from ridiculous to reasonable....you have to shop. a Stealership will screw you on a used bike unless you find a small guy willing to move inventory.

    I would agree with those that say rent a bike for a weekend if you could. Also go to a dealer that does demo rides. I might also look at metric Crusiers and Goldwings......
    #21
  2. sixspeed

    sixspeed 15 under Adventurer

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    x2.

    Took a 5 hr cruise on the RK yesterday. I've got the police seat without a backrest. Very painful getting up this morning with my lower back problems.

    As Kraven said, I find myself slouching on the bike which is the root of the problem. I don't have forward pegs so I'm sitting quite normally albeit with my arms out due to the cop bars.

    With that said I am going to invest (heavily because I wanna keep the cop air ride seat) in the back rest for the seat. It's not the seating position that was killing me as much as it was the lack of lower back support.
    #22
  3. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    No I haven't thought about it, never even occurred to me. My back usually starts getting bad anytime I stay in any seated position for too long. Worth trying though. I'll check out those forums. Thanks for the tip.
    #23
  4. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    +1 for the backrest!

    Have had a Corbin seat with backrest on present and past bike and wouldn't ride a cruiser for any length of time without one.

    Also swapped the handlebars so I'm not leaning forward and reaching so much.

    I don't have the best posture and slouch way too much. That said with the present seat/bars on my Road Glide my upper body position is pretty much the same when riding the DR650 or the HD. The biggest change is my foot position with my knees at about 100 degrees extension on the HD and 70 degrees on the DR but since I'm really not weighting the pegs on the DR the pressure on my ass/low back is not that much different between the 2 bikes.
    #24
  5. Clint Taurus

    Clint Taurus Been here awhile

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    The OP really covered my sentiments about not really wanting to like an 800LB behemoth. Then I test rode one and it was all over. I took a 350 mile shakedown cruise on my new 2012 RK on Saturday, all around good ride but I think I'm gonna get a rider backrest for the long haul cause by the end of the ride I was feeling kind of twitchy in the lower back. All the HD touring bike riders I know swear by the rider backrest. This weekend I do my 1000 mile first service and will install the backrest provided I can get my hands on one.
    #25
  6. bobobob

    bobobob badbadbad

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    You're welcome.
    Several models are adjustable too, so that you can change the angle of the back rest during the day.
    #26
  7. Cakeeater

    Cakeeater Been here awhile

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    Correcto!

    An adjustable backrest and highway pegs make for perfect cruising.

    I bought both right off the shelves at the HD store when I bought my R. Glide.

    For my 32 inch inseam, the combo is purrrrrfect. I can stretch my legs, push against the backrest and elevate my butt off the seat if I want.

    Completely comfortable. I gave props to my oldest bro who had just gone from NY to the top of alaska and back and recommended it.

    Cakeeater.
    #27
  8. ReferJohn

    ReferJohn 3RD Generation Rider

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    To the OP... I ride a '04 RK and have the HD pillow look two-up seat that comes standard on the ULTRA, with the slot for a rider backrest. I do not have the back rest yet after 8yrs ownership, Great motorcycle BTW.
    #28
  9. Robert OK

    Robert OK Been here awhile

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    I've got a Road King Classic, looks like there is a slit in the seat for the backrest. On the Harley site I see two obvious models: the Road King Classic Style and the Road King Classic Style Adjustable. Looks like they're both adjustable, but the second model has a more expensive mounting system with some kind of remote adjustment lever.

    Hopefully neither model effects the pillion. FWIW my wife is petite.
    #29
  10. Jofa

    Jofa Adventurer

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    Ive had road kings on and off for about 10 yrs and also have a very bad back. In general, i think the Road King is a very comfortable bike, particularly for the lower back, but disatisfaction w the drivetrain drove me away from HD. That being said, I ended up getting the removable back-rest that fits into that seat slot and it makes all the difference in the world on long road trips. I went from new england to illinois and back on a ride and loved that back rest. another good thing about it, it is easily and quickly removable, so you can throw it in the saddle bag when u dont want to use it.

    If i recall correctly, the seat you want is the "road king classic" seat, because it has the slot in it for the back rest, i think i got the seat and back rest off eBay in a package deal, it wasnt a lot of money either
    #30
  11. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    Jofa-

    " but disatisfaction w the drivetrain drove me away from HD. "

    what was it about the drivetrain?
    #31
  12. Jofa

    Jofa Adventurer

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    Aside from my own personal HD bikes in the past, I've riden a road king for my PD for about 10 years now and while we take the bikes through extreme riding conditions that most people wont, we have always had issues with overheating, oil leaking, heads leaking, transmission issues etc.
    I've had numerous contact burns and burned uniforms, but also 2nd degree radiant burns on my legs just from the extreme heat from the engine during parades, crowd issues etc. I've had RKs so overheated they just stop running. I've had RKs that struggled to pass a motorcade on the highway because the motorcade is going 75 and the bike maxed out at 95mph. I've also had RKs that blew oil out the air cleaner at high RPMs, because of issues w the heads and vacuum at high speed. I know that we are making these bikes do things most riders wont, & think its a great bike under normal easy-going conditions, but it is never fun in summer heat or stopped traffic.
    At home, I currently ride a 'sport tourer' - the FJR, that is in no way as comfortable as the road king, but the FJR has zero heat issues - even in stopped highway traffic in 90 degree summer heat, and the FJR has stellar road handling. I can run it at any speed from the highway to the twisties and it never has an issue.
    #32
  13. sixspeed

    sixspeed 15 under Adventurer

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    Riding my new to me '11 FLHP in Sunday's 80 degree heat in an hour stop-and-go traffic accident jam would lead me to agree with you.

    Looks like she's gonna be a hot one once the 90 degree days come. Aaah the beauty of an air cooled bike. :evil
    #33
  14. TXRKC

    TXRKC Been here awhile

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    Oil coming thru the air cleaner is a sign that the oil tank has been over filled.
    #34
  15. nskitts

    nskitts Long timer

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    +2 ..i have heard they greatly help the lower back and they don't look too bad either.
    #35
  16. tundra61

    tundra61 I wish I had a title

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    I will admit - I recently test rode a Harley and my big take away was - I need 3 bikes in the garage. Two of which I already have.

    Those being, the plated enduro, naked sport bike and last but not least - the Harley.

    Hopefully there is a roadgide in my not distant future !
    #36
  17. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    I like the road king a lot, much to my surprise. A few years ago I rented a fat bob and tried a 500 mile day with a windshield and enjoyed the ride across and around california's central valley.
    Then I saw the Dyna Switchback, read the reviews and wondered why i'd need 820 pounds when 700 might do.

    I went o see the Switchback at Roanoke Valley HD where they were incredibly nice to me and my partner, offered a test ride and let us look in peace. I sat on the bike and felt amazingly comfortable. A test ride would be great but $17,000+ out the door gives me heartburn. I hate the idea of a used HD as all owners seem to love to mess with bikes adding chrome horrendous pipes and engine mods. So a used road king not only would be heavy but would be modified from factory reliable.

    Quandary.
    #37
  18. marshrat

    marshrat Been here awhile

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    On the 88-inchers there are real power gains to be had with mild hop-up parts, most of which can be dealer installed.
    I have the H-D Screamin Eagle big bore 95-inch cylinders and pistons, mild Andrews gear-drive cams, Mikuni 42 with K&N filter, and V&H slip-on mufflers on mine. Makes a very torquey and enjoyable package. 72K miles on these mods with no problems whatsoever.
    84K miles on the bike. It's a keeper.
    #38
  19. tundra61

    tundra61 I wish I had a title

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    how big of a performance difference between the 96 and 103 motors?
    #39
  20. 131unlimited

    131unlimited Been here awhile

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    To the OP - if budget is a concern and you liked the 04, would suggest you look at 02's. Yes they will also need the cam chain tensioners either upgraded, replaced or swapped out to gear drive, but there are many options at many price points for that issue and once it is addressed the 88" motor is a good one.

    The 02's you can get with a carb and the crank and crank bearing setup was stronger than the 03'-07 models, they have decent brakes, suspension and lots of parts from 99 to 07 will fit it.

    If you search on hdforums you'l see there are several reasons why the 02's are the most prefered from that generation.

    I went from an 89 E glide to an 11 Street Glide ( 103", 6 speed, Brembo ABS, electronic cruise control) love that bike ! Just did a 4 day run with a good friend, lots of miles and it was a pleasure to ride (fyi - also use an HD adjustable backrest, works great.).

    Hope you find a good one and get out there !

    Tundra - the power diff between the 96 and the 103 is really just a few more Lb's of torque to help when passing or accelerating.... it is nothing drastic.
    #40