Tag Archives: milwaukee eight

2020 Harley-Davidson Road King review

When it comes to no-frills traditional touring the first bike that comes to mind is the Harley-Davidson Road King.

That is partly because of the name: Road King by name, road king by nature.

Apart from auxiliary riding lights, lockable panniers, cruise control, a windscreen and some crash protection, the rest is simple and traditional motorcycling.2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

At its core is a hefty 107 cubic-inch (1745cc) Milwaukee Eight engine that is refined brute strength for hauling your ass and your luggage.

And it will ably haul two in more comfort now that the bike gets the fatter and wider pillion seat from the Heritage Softail.

The rider will also enjoy the slightly narrower seat so your legs are as splayed as before.2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

What I love about this bike is that it does everything in an understated manner. Nothing showy, just honest touring motorcycling.

Despite its simplicity, it is actually quite flexible and really a two-in-one bike when you consider you can easily remove the windscreen and panniers in less than a minute.

Road King power2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

Since 2017, the Touring models have the Milwaukee Eight engine which is not only more powerful, but also smoother, quieter and runs cooler!

The Milwaukee Eight is so called because they have gone from the Twin Cam to a quieter single chain-driven camshaft with four lighter valves per head. There’s eight valves in all, hence “Milwaukee Eight”.

The ignition thump is gone as is a much of the mechanical noise.

Finer internal tolerances and lighter components have made it mechanically quieter which means Harley’s engineers have legally been able to ramp up the volume and bass in the exhaust.

While the transmission is much less “agricultural” in feel, neutral can still be a little difficult to find. It’s easier if you try to obtain that green “N” light just before coming to a stop.

I’m a little disappointed to see that the convenient heel shifter is no longer standard. It would be my first accessory purchase.2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

I have been riding the bike around for a couple of weeks in fairly cool and wet weather, so I haven’t been able to asses its engine heat.

However, the ignition has been advanced to make it cooler, lowered the rear header down and moved the catalytic converter rearwards.

The last time I rode one a couple of years ago I found thermal comfort had improved, but there was still plenty of heat around the back of the leg. The pillion also complained about heat being directed at her right ankle.

However, you can remove the windscreen for better summer ventilation.

Ride and handling2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

The Road King is the best handling of the touring models with a light front end, the most clearance and a precise feel.

The taut chassis and good clearance allow it to be thrown around much more than you would expect of a 362+kg monster.

This is largely due to the Showa dual bending valve forks.

They have also removed some of the jackhammer effect in the grips, although the long mini-ape bars relay vibration and impact shudders to your hands.2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

I found gloves with palm padding mitigates the effects.

The new emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers improves the ride, but it’s still a little short over some of Queensland’s bumpy B roads.

The twin springs can be easily adjusted with a single knob, but you have to remove a pannier first.

They also offer 15 to 30% more pre-load adjustment for heavier loads.

Creature comfortsBorder Harley-Davidson Road King

Apart from better seats, the mini-apes are a good fit for me and the floorboards are generous for long-legged riders.

Instruments are simple and understated: a single round speedo with a small LCD screen showing a variety of information you can toggle through with the switch on the left bar.

There is also an analogue fuel gauge in the left “dummy” fuel cap.

The Road King has a minimum of chrome, but lush paintwork and don’t you love that mint-green colour scheme. Once again, understated and stately.

Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

  • Price: FLHR Road King $34,495 
  • Warranty: 24 months, unlimited mileage
  • Service: 1600/8000km
  • Engine: Milwaukee Eight 107 (1745cc) twin
  • Power: N/A
  • Torque: 150Nm (111ft-lb) @ 3250rpm
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Cruise Drive
  • Brakes: 300mm discs, 4-piston calipers, ABS
  • Suspension: Showa dual bending valve forks (117mm travel), hand-adjustable rear suspension (76mm travel)
  • Length: 2450mm
  • Seat: 705mm
  • Fuel: 22.7 litres
  • Dry weight: 362kg
  • Tyres: 17″/D408F BW 130/80 B17 65H; 16″/D407 BW 180/65 B16 81H

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide review

When the mercury plummeted to -2C it was the only time I wished I’d been on the Harley-Davidson Street Glide instead of its striped down stalemate, the new Electra Glide Standard.

The return of the famous Electra Glide name from the ’60s when the iconic batwing fairing was introduced is marked by this stripped-down version of the top-selling Street Glide.

Harley has stripped $1500 off the price of the Street Glide by deleting the music infotainment system, heel shifter, pillion seat, USB output, windscreen vent button and those grip warmers.

It is only available in “Vivid Black” and costs $34,495 ride-away ($NZ37,995) which compares with the Street Glide at $36,995.

Cold as iceHarley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

I didn’t know it was -2C until my mates told me later because ambient temperature info is only available on the infotainment system. However, my fingers certainly told me.

We were on the second day of our five-day ride through NSW and we had just left Glen Innes, heading south into even colder climes.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

The batwing fairing was providing reasonable protection and my winter gloves were only just coping, but I had forgotten to put in a set of of hand warmers I had bought for just $10 at a servo. They were still in my panniers!

After stopping to warm up with a coffee at Guyra, the ambient temperature had rocketed to about zero, so I didn’t bother inserting the hand warmers in my gloves. I found the fairing offered enough protection, anyway.

So if, like me, you rarely ride in such freezing conditions, you probably don’t need grip warmers on this bike.

If you find music distracting while riding or use a helmet intercom, like me, then you also won’t need the infotainment system. I find they are pointless for music over 80km/h anyway.

So with the $1500 saved, I would invest in better rear shocks to improve and lift the rear ride. The hand-adjustable emulsion-technology rear shock absorbers are ok, but a bit too short for NSW’s bumpy country back roads.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

Yes, I know the idea is to provide a “slammed” rear end for that hot-rod look, but it lowers clearance to 120mm, which is 5mm less than the Street Glide and 15mm less than the plush-riding Road King.

On some of the terrible northern NSW roads, it hit the bump stops on many occasions with the shock waves pounding through my already bad back.

I also didn’t miss the heel shifter, USB output and the button that closes the backdraft vent. It didn’t allow rain in as I’d expected.

However, it would be handy to have a lockable door on the gaping hole where the infotainment system was. It would be useful as a secure glove compartment.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

Creature features

Despite the stripped-down “unnecessary” features, the Electra Glide still has a lot of bling.

For example, chrome has been added to the rocker, cam and derby covers to emphasise the V-Twin shape of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine.

There are also practical features such as electronic cruise control, 49mm front forks with dual bending valve suspension and Reflex Linked Brembo Brakes with ABS.

Those forks are much better for sorting out the NSW country road bumps than the rear shock.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

They keep the front wheel on the ground and provide good feel and traction which was handy in the wet conditions we encountered over the Thunderbolts Way.

I had a few slippery moments thanks to the slick combination of cold and wet, yet the big, black Hog was miles ahead of my BMW-riding colleagues by the end of the road.

Most of those “moments” came from the rear, anyway, on account of my over-exuberant right hand. It surprises me that Harley hasn’t added traction control yet.

I suspect it will come in their next round of Touring updates as they already have it on their Trikes.

Milwaukee Eight2017 Harley-Davidson 107 Milwaukee Eight engine in a Road King Classic millennials electra glide

The biggest delight on my five-day tour and subsequent rides around a warmer South East Queensland over the past couple of weeks has been the Milwaukee Eight engine.

I’ve been a big fan ever since I first fired one up at the 2016 world launch in Tacoma and noticed the lack of thump and bluster.

The ninth-generation “big twin” has become more sophisticate with eight valves — hence the name — yet has returned to the old single overhead cam design. It is also now double counterbalanced.

This all results in a much more refined, smoother, more powerful, flexible, responsive and economical engine. Despite giving it a handful, it returned just over 5L/100km.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

The transmission has also been updated. There is less clunk in the gears, neutral is easier to find and sixth is no longer only for illegal speeds on the highway.

Roll-on acceleration is effortless at any revs, although there is a sweet spot around 3000 revs that pulls your cheeks apart in a big wide smile.

Despite having massive pistons throbbing around in this 107-cube (1745cc) unit, it feels polished and civilised.


If you don’t need the infotainment system, grip warmers, heel shifter, USB port or pillion seat, then save yourself some money and try the Electra Glide Standard.Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

  • Price: $A34,495  ($NZ37,995)
  • Engine: Milwaukee-Eight 107, 1745cc, SOHC, eight-valve
  • Power: Not available
  • Torque: 315Nm
  • Bore x stroke: 100 x 111mm
  • Compression: 10:1
  • Transmission: six-speed, belt drive
  • Length: 2400mm
  • Seat: 680mm
  • Clearance: 120mm
  • Wheelbase: 1625mm
  • Tyres: 130/80B17 65H; 180/65B16 81H
  • Tank: 22.7 litres
  • Wet weight: 372kg
  • Lean angles: 31 degrees (right), 29 (left)Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com