The UK 2013 Road King 110th Anniversary is a Double Special Edition

Here in the UK, the 2013 Road King 110th Anniversary Edition is more special then in the US. My international reader may wonder what can be more special then special, and more limited then limited, so let me explain.

From a US point of view, the 2013 Road King 110th Anniversary is limited, has a special paint scheme, some badges and dual colour seat, but otherwise it is a Road King of which tens of thousands are sold every year. Lets say the 110th Anniversary Model is a bit special in the US.

Here in the UK however, Harley-Davidson does not sell the “Road King” at all, it only offers the “Road King Classic”. I am not sure exactly why, but also in the car business you often see that cars sold overseas and far away from its production base have much less variations then in their home market. On the Road King, some elements, like Security System, ABS and Cruise Control are optional in the US, while in the UK they all come as standard. The reason is simple: logistics, its all about shipping, local warehousing and client friendly delivery time.

Milwaukee may be happy to ship 10.000 Vivid Black Road King Classics to Europe, as it knows it will sell them, but 4 optional variations mathematically yield 24 different models, and the demand within these 24 variations is much harder to predict. To only produce after the client has ordered is not a good option, as the shipping from the US to the UK and Europe takes too much time if performed economically. Therefore the first thing your kind Harley salesmen in Europe does is to look what stock is there in the larger european warehouses in Oxford (UK), Morfelden-Walldorf (D) or Arese (I) or in the decentralised but networked local dealers, then he checks what is already build and on a ship on its way.

So, for the UK, a “basic” Road King is very special, double limited, as the FLHR was last sold in 2009. And the differences between a Road King and a Road King Classic are optically substantial. They share the same frame, the same 103 Ci engine, handlebars and screen, but they are very different in two main parts: the saddlebags and the wheels.

Check out the difference between a Road King and a Road King Classic. The Classic on the right has black leather saddlebags, classic look, but not so easy to use use, and no real locks, just clips. The Road King (left in 110th Anniversary Vintage Bronze) with its hard saddlebags in the same color scheme as the bike, also have a very classic look, as they are shared with most other Touring models. Easy access and lockable with the same key as the bike, I am very much looking forward to this new luxury.

The other big difference are the wheels. Just looking at the front wheel, the Road King Classic has 16 inch front rim, laced, with white band 130/90 tyres, while the Road King has a 17 inch 28 spoke cast rim, which I hope are easier to clean. What the handling difference between 16 and 17 inch rims will be has to be seen but may well be very small, as the whole geometry should not be affected. The 16 inch wheel takes 130/90 tyres and the 17 inch wheels 130/80 tyres. This means the (rubber) tyre are not as high (80% of 130 cm), but the overall wheel radius is pretty much the same due to the bigger 17 inch rim. I think the spoke cast looks cleaner, the brake rotor smaller, although its the same size.

Some Chapter memebrs do not believe me, but my friendly Harley dealer can confrim that I did 20,000 miles on my first set of factory-fitted tyres, front and back had to be replaced at the same time and were still legal. I am told this is a lot, some more progressive riders do not achieve half of that distance. I believe its not about speed but style, and Sergio Perez in his F1 Sauber demontsrates how tyres can be treated gently while still being fast. How I do it? No idea.

But for 35,000 miles in 3 years white wall tyres are absolutely useless, as after 3,000 miles you clean them for the first time, after 9,000 miles and 3 cleans you give up, and after 20,000 miles you like the dark grey walled tyres and decide that your next set will be a plain black. They may look less classic, but definitively cleaner.

So in the UK and Europe, there are more then 1 reason to go for the 2013 Road King 110th Anniversary Edition.

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