Worst Years For The Road King – Years To Avoid?

Harley Road King is a perfect combination of a vintage look and a comfortable touring experience. Those who choose Road Kings over the Softail and Touring models appreciate its enormous power, simple yet classical appearance, and a motor that outperforms everyone. 

Harley Davidson has been manufacturing the Road Kings models for decades now. However, not every model of this version is still suitable for your use. Yes, there are Road King years to avoid if you want a consistent and satisfactory performance from your Harley motorbikes. 

Usually, many users have experienced problems with the Harley Davidson 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2013 Road Kings models. Although these motorbike models met the highest industry standard set by Harley Davidson, their market reputation wasn’t as high as other models in different years. 

Here, we will discuss the Road King problems for these four years and show you why you shouldn’t buy the Road Kings of these four years. We will also briefly suggest the safest years to focus on buying your favorite Harley Road King. 

Worst Years For The Road King

Road King Years To Avoid Years And The Reason Explained

Road King Years To Avoid Years And The Reason Explained

As customers, we always expect that every upgrade of the motorcycles, including Road King, will be better than the previous year. Although it is a normal procedure, some of the updated motorcycle models fail to meet the user’s expectations. Harley Road King model year changes with great upgrades. However, we have already mentioned that riders have high expectations from the Road King versions. 

Unfortunately, a few Harley Road King versions have failed to impress its users. In fact, many riders were truly disappointed to ride and use these Road King versions. Thus, experts and users suggest new motorcycle riders avoid these Harley Road Kings models. The list includes:

  • 2003 Harley Road King
  • 2004 Harley Road King
  • 2006 Harley Road King
  • 2014 Harley Road King

You must realize that although these models failed to create any good impression among riders, they aren’t bad products. There have been debates over their quality. However, most people believe that these models didn’t have the “extra thing” that people expect from a Road King model. So let’s see why you should avoid these Road King versions. 

Problems With 2003 Road King Models

Problems With 2003 Road King Models

The 2003 Road King was a long-awaited upgrade from the manufacturer. However, it didn’t meet the expectations. There’re serious complaints about its fuel system. Although the motorcycle version went through a complete transformation from its predecessors, its defected fuel system made the rider’s life worse, if not the worst. 

The faulty fuel system meant that many riders had seen unexpected shut down of their motorcycles and leaks in the fuel system. What’s more, the engine and motor were not up to the mark too. Most users found the engine rather disappointing.

On top of it, the motor Harley used for this specific model didn’t meet their highest product quality. It was incompatible to power this stealthy motorcycle, so riders didn’t enjoy it. 

Problems With 2004 Road King Models

Problems With 2004 Road King Models

Since the 2003 versions were incredibly disappointing for Harley Davison, people thought their Road King model would make a grand comeback with the 2004 models. Unfortunately, the 2004 models went wrong and experienced some serious defects.  The 2004 version was marketed as Dyna Superglide. It became infamous due to a faulty transmission system and an incompatible engine. 

As riders started riding the model, they found a chaining procedure beneath its cam motor and engine. Since it was an expensive motorbike, riders didn’t expect it to happen. On top of it, people found some plastic portions in the main structure of the motorbike. These plastics could break away easily and cause dangers to riders and the motorcycle itself. 

In fact, 2004 was a disaster for the Harley Davison since another two models of the same year also had pretty bad user feedback. Firstly, users marked their FXSTB Night Train as the worst ever Harley Davidson, and it had a strong base. The motor lacked efficiency and power. So, it failed to run the motorcycle for long hours, so it failed to come out as a reliable long touring option for riders. 

Secondly, HD Street 500 model had seen issues regarding its motor and brakes. The brakes weren’t reliable. Also, most users complained that it was challenging to see its improvement from the last year, although Harley has claimed massive improvement in its design language and efficiency. 

Problems With 2006 Road King Models

Problems With 2006 Road King Models

The 2006 model was known as Harley Electra Glide for the Road King ones. However, it failed abruptly to glide over the roads. In fact, Harley had to recall hundreds of the motorcycles of this model due to massive complaints from riders. Thus, the Harley Electra is considered one of the worst Harley motorbike models to hit the market to date. 

The Model Has Multiple Serious Defects. It Included

  • The different parts were incredibly challenging to separate for maintenance and repairs. 
  • Wobbly bolts were also a concerning issue. 
  • Many riders complained that bolts also failed and came off at times 
  • The cylinder attached to the fuel tank was inferior and clingy 

All these major and minor problems of the Harley Electra Glide made it one of the worst Harley motorbikes. 

Problems With 2014 Road King Models

The 2014 version of the Road King was quite a good one with a well-design look. However, it faced problems with the faulty engine parts that ruined its reputation seriously. There were at least 19 reported cases of accidents with the 2014 model. So, Harley had to recall some of these motorbikes for a complete replacement. 

Also, there were problems with the hydraulic mechanism. The hydraulic system didn’t deliver the expected performance. As a result, the bike became a danger for passengers on the roads. Also, it’s possible to break down without any alert, making it equally dangerous for the riders. 

The Best Years For Used Road Kings 

The Best Years For Used Road Kings 

Now that we know the Road King years to avoid for road safety and reliability, you might want to know the best years for used Road Kings. We have researched the recent models and found that the 2017 Road King is truly an awesome and reliable model for short and long tours. 

The 2017 version combines a classic and vintage appearance that you will fall in love with surely. Also, you may attach leather equipment if you wish to upgrade the look of this motorcycle. Its 96/96B cam motor is highly compatible to run the unique motorcycle for the longest tours you can expect with a Harley motorcycle

Also, the manufacturer has changed the bolts, fuel tank, and clutch system that has made this bike one of the most sought-after ones among Harley lovers. What’s more, the motorcycle creates rigidity inside its powerful engine to handle the noise emission.  Last but not least, the improved bore tool has also increased the engine’s efficiency. It further allows the motorcycle to run at a higher speed for an extended period. 

Final Words 

The Road King years to avoid are mainly 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2014. So, you should avoid these models if you plan to get a used Harley. On the contrary, you can choose 2001, 2002, 2011, or 2017 models for safety and reliability on the roads. The Harley Davidson Road King has a unique look, classical vibe, and unmatched performance. Unfortunately, these four models fail to withstand the standard Harley has set.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What Year Did Harley-Davidson Make The Best Road King?

Ans: The best years for Harley Road Kings are 1994, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2017. However, this list isn’t static since different riders and experts have different options about the Best Harley Road King years. 

2.How Many Miles Will A Harley Road King Last?

Ans: Usually, you can expect your Road King to last for at least 75000 miles. Thus, the motorcycle is ready to serve you for several years in mint condition with good maintenance. 

3.What Is Considered High Mileage On A Harley-Davidson Road King?

Ans: Although Road King can last for 75000 miles with ease, if it runs for more than 50000 miles, it is considered high mileage for the motorcycle. When it runs for so long, you need to be extra careful about its maintenance. 

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