The chassis features a single-spar, rigid backbone frame with a stout swingarm designed for long-haul touring comfort. It includes a set of air shocks cleanly hidden behind the saddlebags, which can be adjusted with an air pump via a Schrader valve mounted on the frame rail behind the saddlebag. The front suspension has 41mm telescopic forks with a dual-disc brake setup. As far as braking goes, you will find a set of four-piston calipers biting down on a set of 11.8-inch rotors, as the rear has a single four-piston caliper and same-styled rotor, which in my option could use some style updating to flow better with the spoked wheels. All of this is controlled and regulated through an ABS system. The Road King Classic rides on 16-inch steel spoke wheels with Dunlop tires: a 130/90/16 for the front and 180/65/16 for the rear tire. I like the feel of the 180 rear tire as I have been on bigger (wider), and it always seems to be more effort to work the bike though turns. I've spent time on bikes with thinner tires, and although they are easier to handle, you never feel like there is enough rubber on the road at high speeds. So I like the 180mm tire and hope that H-D keeps it that way.
The biggest and most noticeable change was the 103ci (1,690cc) motor. As I pointed out earlier, this was the thing we were really looking forward to. At times it seems that Harley knows it needs to work hard at keeping up with all the touring manufacturers out there. They take the time to get it right and work out all the bugs before they just push something out. Well it was worth the wait, but well overdue. On a down note for me was the sound. I know there are limits to the level of rumble, but with the 2-1-2 exhaust system there was plenty of power, just not a heavy thunderstorm to be heard.
With all the newfound power the FLHRC has, I didn't notice a big, or should I say "bad," change in fuel usage over last year's model. I was getting just about 36 mpg tooling around town and commuting to and from work. The best mileage I got out of that six-gallon fuel tank was when I was out on the open highway riding in the taller Sixth gear, just over 50 mpg. Even as I was heading up into the higher altitudes and pulling on the throttle climbing the mountain roads, the FLHRC never skipped a beat.
When it comes to the overall appearance of the bike, the first thing you can't help to notice is the nostalgic looks and its heritage going back to the original '65 Electra Glide model. At first I was not a fan of the color we got for this testride (I would have liked the Apple Green with Vivid Black). This Cool Blue seems a bit light and kind of neutral. I would've liked it to be a more "look at me" kind of paint, but I was wrong. The more I was out on this bike, the more compliments I was getting from both riders and non-riders. At one point I was asked what year the bike was because the person said he had one just like it back in the '80s. Once I told him the bike was a 2011, he didn't believe me until I pointed out the Twin Cam motor.
With all the H-D medallions on the bike from the fuel tank to the fender, this bike has a great look. As you look over this bike you can see how easily it can go from a stripped-down cruiser with its removable windshield all the way up to a full touring bike with just a few accessories, such as a removable sissy bar or Tour-Pak, even an aftermarket fairing. Overall it is a great bike that fits and fulfills all kinds of riders' needs. I wish we had more time with the FLHRC to try some of the factory accessories and just get more seat time. If you are looking for an all-around touring bike, then get yourself to a dealer and take the FLHRC out for a testride and see for yourself. When you're done, drop me an email and let me know what you think. I think you will agree with me.