Harley-Davidson’s Screamin’ Eagle Road King embodies a paradoxical combination of rough-hewn attitude and couturelike individualism. Built by hand in limited numbers by the Custom Vehicle Operations division, this $28,595 permutation of the classic Harley touring bike features a stump-pulling 110 cu in powerplant that will press you firmly against the detachable leather backrest, and a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission that allows flexible shifting because of the engine’s tremendous low-end torque. It is, incidentally, highly ironic that this touring bike’s thrust is most dramatic from a standstill.
The motorcycle’s design details include spun-aluminum, metal-faced instrumentation, clear-coated braided control cables, and smoked turn signals with amber bulbs. Chrome blankets the fork sliders, the triple tree covers, the inserts on the footboards, and, of course, the mufflers.
Riding a Screamin’ Eagle Road King is an exercise in indolence. Its reclined riding position speaks to a spirit of nonchalance, while its road presence implies an unspoken authority. Although the Harley-Davidson limited edition may not be the most mechanically complex touring motorcycle, its simplicity makes it one of the most charismatic. Brash, distinct, and unmistakably American, the Screamin’ Eagle Road King is a bike that is difficult to categorize and almost impossible not to enjoy.