Harley-Davidson FLHRCI Road King Classic Reviews

2011 Harley-Davidson FLHRCI Road King Classic from United States of America

Model year2011
Year of manufacture2011
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2012
Acceleration marks 8 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 9 / 10
Braking marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.9 / 10
Distance when acquired12 miles
Most recent distance4754 miles
Previous motorcycleHarley-Davidson FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra Glide

Summary:

Everyone needs to experience the ride!

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong so far with any Harley Davidson motorcycle I have purchased.

General Comments:

The Road King is the best of the three motorcycles in the Harley group have owned. With the 103 motor, it is the most responsive, and also the most comfortable.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd September, 2012

2006 Harley-Davidson FLHRCI Road King Classic from United States of America

Model year2006
Year of manufacture2006
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2010
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 9 / 10
Handling marks 3 / 10
Braking marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired4500 miles
Most recent distance8500 miles
Previous motorcycleHonda FSC600 Silver Wing

Summary:

Great looking cruiser with zero sporting aspirations

Faults:

The previous owner had replaced the voltage regulator, stator, and speedo sensor before I purchased it, which was surprising given its low mileage (under 4k).

I have only had to replace the front fork seals, and that was due to impact with a road hazard, and therefore shouldn't be held against the bike.

General Comments:

One of the most beautiful, classic motorcycles on the road. Everything is extremely high quality - real metal and leather everywhere. The bike looks (and is) expensive. A large part of the price you pay goes to the aesthetic qualities of the bike, and that's just fine. You'll have everyone drooling over it.

This bike is HEAVY! You will feel that weight pushing the bike during parking or if you tip it off center at all. Pushing this bike up any slight hill is nearly impossible.

In spite of the weight, low speed maneuverability is surprisingly good! It's easier to ride this bike at low speeds in tight situations than other bikes weighing half as much.

The engine (Twin Cam 88) is adequate for one rider and just slightly underpowered for a rider and passenger. It vibrates at idle, but once you are underway, it smooths out and all you feel are the power pulses. It does make wonderful Harley noises, especially at idle and under heavy throttle. Low end torque is abundant, but the max revs are low (5500rpm or so). Did I mention it sounds amazing?

Handling is focused exclusively on open road comfort, and you can cruise for hours without fatigue. Comfort on long, straight highway or in town over road imperfections is high.

Unfortunately, this bike handles very poorly when ridden aggressively and its suspension is antiquated and soft. You use half of the suspension travel just sitting on the bike!

Likewise, brakes are adequate at best, with the rear brake being good (but easy to lock up) and the front brake requiring a strong grip. Neither brake offers any real "feel", so a lockup can come without warning. The huge effort required to use the front brakes reduces the risk of this a bit, but locking the rear wheel is very easy in a panic. I'm sure the brakes are typical for a Harley, but anyone who has ridden other brands will find the brakes sub-par.

Comfort on twisty backroads is low, as the suspension cannot cope with turns at speed, and causes the bike to wander in the lane. It will wear you out if you try to keep up with Non-Harleys, and put you far behind them if you don't. It's not intended to be a canyon carver, but Harley can and should do better than this. The low cornering angles mean that there isn't as much "reserve" handling as you might expect with other bikes.

The other oddity is that the stock handlebars are too short, and cause most riders to lean farther forward than you would expect on a cruiser.

Harley stock tires are also quite hard, which increases their life span but reduces traction. I would prefer a slightly softer tire with better grip, even if I had to replace the tires a bit more often.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th August, 2010

15th Aug 2010, 17:53

Update to the original review. I just finished a 700 mile road trip down the Pacific coast of California (HWY 1), and not only would I affirm the comments about poor handling in the twisties, I found the bike surprisingly vulnerable to road imperfections. Specifically, it wanted to follow every little line or pavement ripple in the road, which made it feel skittish. Not really dangerous, but unsettling... I would not have expected this from such a heavyweight bike that is advertised as a long-haul cruiser. There was another rider in my group with a 2002 Road King Classic, and he said his behaved exactly the same way.

Harley desperately needs to improve the front suspension of this bike.

15th Jun 2011, 13:40

Very nice review. I've ridden several Road Kings, and agree with your assessment. I'm hoping the ABS, new frame & bigger (103") motor help some of the shortcomings, as I'm probably going to buy a Classic for my next bike.

Thanks again for the detailed review.

15th Jul 2012, 02:40

Simple fixes for handling problems mentioned; Dunlop Elite 3's are a far superior tire to the stock 402's (I rode on those for years!). Added bonus - less wear! (That's right, better handling AND less wear!!!) You can also get the "Missing link" stabilizer from progressive? (I am not sure if the name is correct, but I know it's from Progressive). NIGHT and DAY difference! Try these two solutions and you will never look back! (I had a guy following me on a sport touring, and he couldn't believe how well my bike could corner!)

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 8 reviews