Which Harley-Davidson is Better: Road King or Heritage Softail?

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Harley Davidson Road King Vs Heritage Softail

Are you an avid Harley-Davidson rider looking to upgrade your ride? Then you may be wondering which bike is right for you: the Road King or the Heritage Softail? In this article, we’ll explore the features of both bikes and compare them side by side to see which one is better for your riding needs. Read on for an in-depth look to help you make the best decision for your new set of wheels!

Overview of Harley-Davidson Road King

The Harley-Davidson Road King is an exceptional touring motorcycle that’s reminiscent of the Harley models that were released during the 1940s and 1950s. Over the years, there have been various changes made to the Road King. In 2008, Harley-Davidson added an ABS and Cruise Control installation feature to the Road King models. Over the years, the bike’s engine got upgraded to 103 cu (1,690 cc) before eventually being increased to 107 cu (1,753 cc).

This classic touring bike offers a top-of-the-line riding experience to all bikers. With its powerful engine, comfortable design, and advanced technology, it has become the top choice for bikers who are looking for a bike capable of handling long rides in style and comfort. Its unique features like batwing fairing and adjustable suspension system make this bike a standout choice in the touring bike market.

Overview of Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail was initially introduced back in 1984, and it looks similar to the Hydra-Glide of the 1950s. Over time, numerous changes were made to the Heritage Softail Classic, including the introduction of a smooth-running Twin Cam engine, the belt drive train getting replaced with a chain drive train, new and larger tires being fitted, and more.

It comes powered by a high-performance engine capable of delivering smooth and responsive power. With a wide range of advanced features, it offers a top-of-the-line riding experience that is extremely powerful. With its distinctive retro styling, powerful engine, and advanced technology features, the Heritage Classic has become a popular choice for bikers who want to combine classic style with modern performance. Further, the inclusion of a detachable windshield and hidden rear shock absorber make this bike a standout choice in the cruiser bike market.

Harley-Davidson Road King vs. Heritage Softail: Engine Comparison

Harley-Davidson is a brand known for its iconic engines capable of delivering power-packed performances. The Road King and Heritage Softail are two incredibly popular bikes offered by Harley-Davidson. While these motorcycles offer classic styling and many advanced features, there are a few differences in their engine performance that should be considered.

Harley Davidson Road King Vs Heritage Softail - Two Motorcycles

The Harley-Davidson Road King comes powered by a Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. This is a high-performance engine capable of delivering smooth and responsive power. This engine comes with four valves per cylinder and a dual-spark ignition system, which reduces emissions and enhances fuel efficiency. This engine also features four valves per cylinder and a dual-spark ignition system. Meanwhile, it offers a displacement of 1,746 cc and produces 111 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 RPM. It has been paired with a six-speed transmission that offers smooth and precise shifts while also giving a comfortable riding experience.

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, on the other hand, comes powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. This is a larger and more powerful engine compared to the one in the Road King. This engine is capable of offering a displacement of 1,868 cc and produces 119 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 RPM. Similar to the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine also features four valves per cylinder and a dual-spark ignition system. This has been paired with a six-speed transmission to promise smooth and responsive shifts with comfortable rides.

Harley-Davidson Road King vs. Heritage Softail: Speed Comparison

When it comes to Harley-Davidson bikes, speed might not be the first thing that comes up. However, both the Harley-Davidson Road King and Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail are capable of delivering rather impressive speed and acceleration capabilities.

The Harley-Davidson Road King comes powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine, which offers a displacement of 1,746cc and produces 111 lb-ft of torque at 3,250 RPM. This allows the Road King to reach a top speed of almost 115 mph. While the Road King might not be the fastest bike offered by Harley-Davidson, it is still better than most of its competitors. The bike’s large, air-cooled engine will also deliver plenty of power and torque, which will allow it to handle highway speeds and passing maneuvers easily.

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, on the other hand, comes powered by the larger Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. It offers a displacement of 1,868cc and produces 119 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 RPM. All these factors allow the Heritage Softail to reach a top speed of almost 120 mph. The larger and more powerful engine of the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail gives it the edge in terms of speed and acceleration. Moreover, the bike is also capable of cruising at highway speeds and passing with ease, which makes it a wonderful choice for riders who want both speed and performance.

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Harley-Davidson Road King vs. Heritage Softail: Comfort Comparison

When it comes to choosing any motorcycle, especially a Harley-Davidson, comfort is one of the key factors to consider. Interestingly, both the Road King and Heritage Softail have been designed with rider comfort in mind. However, there are a few minute differences between the two when it comes to the comfort comparison.

The Harley-Davidson Road King is essentially a touring bike designed for long-distance rides. It features a large, comfortable seat that has been designed to support both the rider and passenger for hours on end. The motorcycle also has a comfortable riding position and with a relaxed posture, it will allow the rider to stretch out during the ride.

Aside from the comfortable seat and riding position, the bike also features a wide range of comfort-enhancing features like an adjustable rear suspension, a height-adjustable windshield, and more. Further, the motorcycle also has a low center of gravity, which helps in improving stability and reducing rider fatigue.

Harley Davidson Road King Vs Heritage Softail - Solo Rider

Meanwhile, the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail has also been designed while keeping comfort in mind. It features a large, comfortable seat designed to support both the rider and the passenger.  It also has a relaxed riding position with a slightly forward posture, which allows the rider to control the bike while also maintaining a comfortable position.

Furthermore, it has a wide range of comfort-enhancing features like an adjustable rear suspension, a low center of gravity for improved stability, and a windshield that can be adjusted for height and angle.

Harley-Davidson Road King vs. Heritage Softail: Towing Capacity Comparison

When it comes to the towing capacity, Harley-Davidson bikes are not typically designed for towing heavy loads. This also includes the Harley-Davidson Road King and the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail. However, it is worth mentioning that these bikes can still offer some towing capability to an extent.

The Harley-Davidson Road King is a touring bike that is meant for long-distance rides. While it is not specifically designed for towing, it does have limited towing capability. The bike can safely tow up to 50 lbs of cargo on a hitch-mounted carrier. However, this is a relatively low towing capacity, and that the bike isn’t suitable for towing heavier loads.

Similar to the Road King, the Harley-Davidson Softail also is not designed for towing. However, it can offer limited towing capability. According to Harley-Davidson, the Heritage Softail could tow up to 50 pounds of cargo safely on a hitch-mounted carrier. Similar to the previous scenario, this is a relatively low towing capacity, and that the Heritage Softail isn’t ideal for towing heavier loads.

Pros of Harley-Davidson Road King

The Harley-Davidson Road King is a classic touring bike that has been a particular favorite among bikers for many years. This iconic motorcycle is known for its style, comfort, performance, and more. It has many pros that make it an incredible choice for bikers looking for a quality touring bike. Here are some of them.

#1. Classic design

The Harley-Davidson Road King has a timeless, classic design that pays homage to the classics from the past. With its wide front end, iconic windshield, and big headlight, the Road King is instantly recognizable, which helps it stand out from the crowd.

#2. Powerful engine

The Road King comes powered by a high-performance engine capable of delivering a lot of power and torque. The Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine can produce 111 lb-ft of torque, which is considerable power when cruising down the highway or riding in the city.

#3. Versatility

Another major plus point of the Harley-Davidson Road King is its versatility. This motorcycle is designed for handling a wide range of riding situations, from cruising around town to long-distance touring. It even comes with the ability to carry a passenger for long rides, making it a great choice for couples who love riding together.

#4. Comfortable ride

Another great positive of this bike is its comfort. The Road King is designed for long-distance touring, and it comes equipped with a wide range of features for enhancing the riding experience. These features include full-sized floorboards, a plush, touring-style seat, and many other features designed to keep you comfortable throughout the ride.

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#5. Resale value

The Harley-Davidson Road King definitely holds its value in the market. When it comes time to sell your bike, you can expect to get a wonderful return on your investment.

#6. High-quality build

Harley-Davidson bikes are known for having high-quality builds, and this one is no exception. The Road King is built to last, as it is made using high-quality components and materials that can withstand the rigors of long-distance touring.

Cons of Harley-Davidson Road King

While the Road King has a lot of pros, just like any other bike, it is not perfect. There are a few cons to this wonderful bike. Some of them include –

#1. Price

One of the biggest cons of the Harley-Davidson Road King is its price. This is a premium bike, and it comes with a premium price tag, which might put it unreachable for some bikers. However, most people believe that the high cost is well worth it for the quality you are getting.

#2. Weight

The Harley-Davidson Road King is a heavy bike, which can make it slightly difficult to maneuver and handle, especially for beginners and newbies. Weighing more than 800 pounds, this bike can be slightly challenging to handle in tight spaces or slow-speed situations.

#3. Limited storage

Another major issue with the Road King is its limited storage. While this bike certainly has some storage space and includes saddlebags, it might not be enough for longer trips or for riders who have to carry a lot of gear.

#4. Maintenance costs

Any Harley-Davidson bike is somewhat expensive to maintain, the same is the case with the Road King. Routine maintenance like oil changes and tire replacements can eventually add up over time. Moreover, repairs will be costly, especially if you have to take your motorcycle to a dealership for service.

#5. Fuel economy

The Harley-Davidson Road King isn’t known for its fuel economy, and riders might find themselves spending more on gas than they’d with other bikes. However, many bikers believe that the trade-off for the power and performance of the motorcycle is worth the extra cost.

Pros of Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is a classic cruiser that is quite popular among bikers. With its powerful engine, iconic design, and other features, it offers a wide range of advantages to the rider. Here are some of the pros of riding a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail.

#1. Classic design

One of the most obvious pros of the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is its classic design. This motorcycle has a timeless look that is highly appealing to riders of all ages and experience levels. With its retro styling and attention to detail, this bike is truly a classic.

#2. Comfortable ride

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail has been designed for long, comfortable rides. With its plush seat and suspension, the bike is capable of offering a smooth ride that minimizes fatigue even during long trips. Moreover, the low seat height and wide handlebars will also help provide a comfortable riding position.

#3. Top of Form Powerful engine

Another major advantage of the Heritage Softail is its extremely powerful engine. With a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, the bike is capable of offering plenty of power whether cruising on the highway or passing slower vehicles. The engine will also deliver an extremely satisfying sound that is sure to turn heads.

#4. Smooth handling

Despite its weight, this bike is surprisingly easy to handle and maneuver. Its low center of gravity and well-balanced design makes it relatively stable and responsive on the road. The wide handlebars and low seat height will also help provide a comfortable and secure grip.

#5. Customization options

One of the best things about Harley-Davidson bikes, including the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, is the wide range of customization options available. The bikers can choose from a wide variety of accessories and upgrades to personalize their Heritage Softail and make it their own.

#6. Resale value

Harley-Davidson bikes, including the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, are capable of holding their value well over time. It means that riders who take great take of their bike can expect to get a great price when it comes time to sell or trade their bike.

Harley Davidson Road King Vs Heritage Softail - Two Motorbikes Driving

Cons of Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is an exceptional cruiser bike with a lot of advantages. However, it is far from perfect. The Heritage Softail also has a few drawbacks. Some of the cons of the Heritage Softail include –

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#1. A high price

One of the biggest cons of the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is its high price. This bike comes with a lot of amazing features, but those features come at a price. This can make the bike out of reach for some bikers.

#2. Weight

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is a relatively heavy bike, which can make it somewhat difficult to handle and maneuver. Weighing in at more than 700 pounds, this bike can be challenging to handle in tight spaces for beginners.

#3. Limited wind protection

While the Heritage Softail comes equipped with a windshield, some bikers might find that it doesn’t provide enough wind protection, especially when riding at higher speeds. This could make long rides slightly uncomfortable, especially in colder weather.

#4. Maintenance costs

Harley-Davidson bikes, including the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail, can be quite expensive to afford and maintain. Servicing, routine maintenance, and customization can be very costly. The different maintenance costs such as the tire, oil changes, carburetor, washing, etc. can add up over time.

#5. Low ground clearance

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail features a relatively low ground clearance, which could make it quite difficult to navigate over obstacles like speed bumps or uneven terrain. This can be a cause of concern for riders who intend to take their bike off-road or on rougher terrain.

Price of Harley-Davidson Road King and Heritage Softail

Harley-Davidson is a premium brand that offers a wide range of bikes that suit different styles and preferences of bikers. Although these bikes offer a lot of amazing features, these bikes are on the expensive side. The same applies to the Harley-Davidson Road King and the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail.

The Harley-Davidson Road King is a touring bike that has been designed for long-distance rides. The price of a Road King will vary depending on the specific model and features that you choose to go for. The base price of a 2022 Road King starts at around $19,899. However, additional features and customization options can significantly increase the final price. For instance, a Road King Special with premium additional features can cost you over $28,000.

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail is a classic cruiser designed for bikers who want a bike that offers classic styling and comfortable riding. Like the Road King, the price of the Heritage Softail will vary depending on the model and features you’ve chosen. The base price of the 2022 Heritage Softail starts at around $18,999. However, similar to the Road King, additional features and customization options can increase the price. A Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic model with additional features can cost you more than $21,000. 

Numerous factors can affect the final price of a Harley-Davidson bike, including the model, year, features, and customization options. Generally, newer models and the ones with more features and options will come with a higher price tag than older or basic models. Moreover, Harley-Davidson bikers often prefer to customize their bike to reflect their individual style and preferences. These customizations range from simple cosmetic upgrades to significant modifications that affect the performance of your bike. As such, the price of a Harley-Davidson bike can vary depending on specific features and customizations chosen.

FAQs

What is the main difference between a Harley-Davidson Road King and Heritage Softail?

The Harley-Davidson Road King and Heritage Softail are both touring-style motorcycles from the same manufacturer. The Road King is known for its classic look and comfort, featuring a low-slung seat, a wide windscreen, and a large fuel tank. The Heritage Softail, on the other hand, combines classic styling with modern performance, featuring an adjustable suspension, a low center of gravity, and a wide range of accessories.

What are the pros and cons of each bike?

The Road King is known for its comfortable ride, classic design, and reliable performance. However, it may not be as agile as the Heritage Softail and may not have as many features. The Heritage Softail offers a smoother ride, greater agility, and more features, but may not be as comfortable as the Road King.

What should I consider when choosing between the two bikes?

When choosing between the Road King and Heritage Softail, it’s important to consider your riding style and preferences. If you are looking for a comfortable and classic ride, the Road King may be a better choice. If you are looking for a more agile and feature-rich bike, then the Heritage Softail

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White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.

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