1998 Harley Davidson Road King Specsby Rob Wagner
The 1998 Harley Davidson Road King is part of the motorcycle maker’s FL series of large-frame touring bikes. The Road King has several FL designations, including the FLHRC and FLHRI models, along with the Electra Glide. A V-Twin engine powers the big and stable Road King, which can be equipped with many accessories, such as pannier luggage and a windshield.
The air-cooled, two-cylinder, 45-degree V-Twin engine displaces 1338 cubic centimeters. The cylinder bore is 3.46 inches with a 4.25-inch stroke. The fuel-injected engine with an electric starter features an 8.5:1 compression ratio and develops 60 horsepower and 76.5 ft.-lbs. of torque, which gives the Road King its acceleration. The transmission is a five-speed belt-drive model.
The frame is made of double-cradle steel. Stopping power is accomplished through triple disc brakes, with the front equipped with twin 11.49-inch disc brakes on front cartridge forks and the rear featuring twin shock absorbers and swing-arm suspension with a single 11.49-inch disc brake. The shocks can be air adjusted. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are an option. The front tire is MT90 B16, with the rear tire size MU85 B16.
The dimensions of the 1998 Road King vary slightly depending on the specific model and accessories ordered with the bike. Generally, however, the Road King’s dimensions remain consistent from the 1996 through 2009 model years. The Road King’s wheelbase measures 63.5 inches, with an overall length of about 97 inches. The seat measures about 27 inches from the ground, although some models were as high as 29.5 inches. Curbside weight was about 764 pounds, although the Electra Glide Road King weighed as little as 707 pounds.
The Road King features an electric, spartan-styled speedometer placed in a chrome housing unit on the fuel tank. The headlamp housing is chromed. The bike features fat whitewall tires, laced (wire) wheels and leather saddlebags with stiff inserts to maintain their shape. The seat valance, fuel tank and fender tips are emblazoned with the Harley Davidson logo. The bike features floorboards but no highway peg footrests, for long rides.
The Road King can reach a top speed of 93 mph and can go from 0-60 mph in 8 seconds. Although not particularly quick from a dead stop, it’s the lightest of the fuel-injected Harleys—weighing 76 pounds less than the Harley Ultra Classic—and can be quite spry for its size. Two major styling deficiencies were the wide-set handlebars and a spongy seat that made long-distance riding a chore, especially for older riders more likely to own the Road King. Harley Davidson responded to rider complaints by narrowing the handlebars and giving the seat more lumbar support for the 2000 Road King models.
Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.