The Harley-Davidson Road King is undoubtedly one of the brand's more popular and beloved models. It's big. It's comfortable. It's muscular. Best of all, it's affordable. The Road King is the ultimate embodiment of a well-rounded motorcycle that can handle almost any kind of riding style, and is the bike of choice for riders looking to do some light to heavy touring. When Harley-Davidson first introduced this motorcycle in 1994, it has consistently been at the top of riders' wish lists.

Since it was introduced all those years ago it has gone through several changes and received several upgrades that have been improving on the generations before it. The Road King has its reputation built on delivering a comfortable riding experience in style, and also serves as the foundation for the other models in the touring class like the Road Glide and the Street Glide. But rather than overload it with excessive amounts of gadgets and high-tech special features, the model takes a more simplified approach that many riders across multiple generations appreciate.

Related: Road King vs Road Glide vs Street Glide: Which Touring Harley-Davidson Is The Best?

1 The Harley-Davidson Road King Rocks A Simple Design

Harley-Davidson Road King
Action shot of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King

There is absolutely zero fat on a Road King. If you were to wave a magic wand and create the ideal touring bike with all the bare necessities, then the Road King is what you would get. You've got a large touring frame that can handle transporting large amounts of weight for lengthy amounts of time with no expense to the rider.

Its six-gallon fuel tank that, along with its 45 miles-per-gallon fuel economy, makes pit stops to refuel a sparse occurrence. The Road King really puts emphasis on the riding experience by keeping its rider focused on the road and the environment, and not coddling them with additional creature comforts like Bluetooth, AM/FM radio, turn-by-turn navigation, touchscreens, etc. It just needs a healthy engine, a strong frame, and the open road. That's it. It has everything you need and nothing you don't.

2 Perfect For Customization

2022 Harley-Davidson Road King
Stock studio image of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King facing right on a white background. 

Another added benefit to having a simplified design is that it is the ultimate blank canvas for personal customization. All motorcycles in general leave room for you to put your own creative twist on your bike to make it a one-of-a-kind, but the Road King has a seemingly bottomless well of possibilities to choose from under Harley-Davidson and aftermarket lenders.

You can add different heights and styles of handlebars, change the accent theme, upgrade the saddle with different cushion types and finishes, swap out the exhaust for louder pipes, and so much more. Choosing to leave your bike fully stock is completely fine. But for those of us that like to stand out from the crowd by getting a little extra attention, there is always the opportunity to turn some heads with a Road King.

3 The Road King Is A Very Comfortable Touring Bike

2022 Harley-Davidson Road King Special
Shot of a green 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King Special cruising on the highway

The Road King is known for being associated with the concept of comfort. So with the possibility of many long, cross-country road trips in its future, keeping its rider happy and relaxed for long stretches of time on the highway is a must. By installing a cushy touring seat onto its large frame, the distribution of weight is more evenly spread out over the bike instead of a smaller, more concentrated area. Like the saying goes, "bigger is better," and in the case of riding a motorcycle for hours on end, this couldn't be any more true. Not to mention the floorboards allow riders to rest their entire foot instead of only part of it like many bikes with foot pegs do.

The stock mini ape handlebars are also a nice touch to keep the rider's shoulders relaxed and posture more upright. This is also the reason why so my police departments prefer to use Road Kings and Electra Glides for their motor officers since they will want to be comfortable and relaxed if they are expected to be riding on a motorcycle all day while out on patrol.

Related: 10 Police Motorcycles You Should Watch Out For

4 The Road King Is Perfect For Passengers

Harley-Davidson Road King Couple
thelostadventure via Flickr
Photo of a Harley-Davidson Road King Couple

Embarking out on an adventure entirely on your own is loads of fun. Doing it with a passenger along for the ride makes it even better. That means more memories, laughs, and selfies that will make the ride even more worth it. Designed to take on two people for those big trips, the Road King's priority on comfort is also extended to a second rider.

The stock seat by itself already has room for two, but given that the market being able to make improvements to accommodate the passenger's needs, all you need is the right seat, a backrest, and a cup holder to turn the back of this bike into a mini sofa. Because if you are riding with a passenger, and they have to spend large amounts of time being uncomfortable, imagine how quickly this fun road trip can take a left turn.

5 It Is Affordable

2022 Harley-Davidson Road King
Action shot of a red 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King

Because the Road King doesn't have to go overboard with all the extra gadgets and special features, you won't have to shell out the big bucks in order to ride off into the sunset. A new Road King fresh from the factory hangs around $20,000, which isn't enough to break the bank on a solid touring bike.

Whether you pay full cash or finance it, this is the kind of bike that can be paid off in a short amount of time. However, a used one will fetch an even tastier price point. A pre-owned Road King in good condition and decent mileage can land somewhere in the teens, which is a very good deal for one of Harley's bigger bikes.

6 The Road King Packs Some Serious Power

2023 Harley-Davidson Road King Special
Press photo of the 2023 Harley-Davidson Road King Special

Since the Road King is a big bike, it only makes sense that it comes with a big powertrain. With the standard model Road Kings equipped with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 cubic-inch engine, this bike can produce 77 horsepower and 101 lb-ft of torque. That is plenty to handle the highways, back roads, and local suburban routes. But for those that want a little extra kick, the Road King Specials come equipped with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 cubic-inch engine that generates 100 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque.

This allows the rider to have more of an immediate takeoff for when take light turns green, and to roll the throttle excessively for when you've got the highway all to yourself. But it also isn't overpowering enough to the point where the rider feels overwhelmed. Lastly, for the real speed demons, there is a new Stage IV upgrade that can crank up the power with 135 cubic inches.

7 The Harley-Davidson Road King Has Great Handling

At first glance, the Road King appears rather bulky and awkward. But looks can be deceiving as Harley-Davidson purposefully designed this bike to be one of their more well-rounded models. Meaning that regardless of the ride that lies ahead, the Road King can do it all. That includes staying quick and nimble on its feet in busy, urban environments.

This bike can weave in and out of traffic, clear those tight turns, and locate on-street parking. If you are still not convinced that a Road King cannot make seamless turns and maneuvers, just sit back and watch the amount of skill police officers use to make riding these baggers look like child's play.

Related: Is The Road King Harley-Davidson's Best Touring Motorcycle?

8 Its Saddle Bags Are Essential

2020 Harley-Davidson Road King
2020 Harley-Davidson Road King

The Road King, much like the rest of Harley-Davidson's touring class comes equipped with an essential pair of hard saddlebags. With 2.5 cubic feet of storage, saddlebags are a necessity for carrying emergency supplies, extra safety gear, snacks, souvenirs, and so on. For anyone making a big trip, there will always be a need for additional storage. There is also the option for an additional third bag that can double as a back rest.

9 The Road King Is Great For Larger Riders

2022 Harley-Davidson Road King
Press photo of a 2022 Harley-Davidson Road King

The touring class is like if Harley-Davidson's inventory had a big n' tall section. Because many of the brand's clientele comes in all shapes and sizes, it makes sense that bigger riders require bigger bikes. Whether they are heavier, taller, or more muscular than the average rider, a touring bike like the Road King has the appropriate dimensions and size to accommodate them.

That includes a 26.4 inch seat height, floor boards, forward controls, mini-ape handlebars, and a large saddle, all of which can be customized even further to suit a rider's specific needs. For riders that are taller (6' 3" and up) there are additional upgrades like floorboard and foot control extenders and taller ape hanger handlebars that will allow a more comfortable extension of their arms and legs, rather than having them bunched up.

10 The Harley-Davidson Road King Is Multi-Functional

2020 Harley-Davidson Road King Special
Shot of a 2020 Harley-Davidson Road King Special

Motorcycles are typically designed to cater to a certain riding style. Naked bikes are built for speed and performance, and are usually popular in urban environments. Cruisers and built to be a little big bigger and laid-back for suburban and rural areas. But with the Road King, you are dealing with a Swiss Army Knife of a motorcycle because this bike can handle almost every kind of riding style and environment you throw at it. Whether you're riding it through the city, cruising down the twisty back roads, or activating cruise control while you're on the highway, this bike can do it all.