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2008 Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Road King


by Mark Hacking ,

In the world of motorcycling, Harley Davidson's Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) - makers of the Screamin' Eagle line - is the equivalent of BMW's M division or Mercedes-Benz's AMG arm or Audi's S team. The objective of these in-house tuning studios is similar: To produce high-performance variants of core products in limited numbers.

This Road King has been specialy modified by CVO.

On paper, it's a sure-fire recipe for success. Take a production chassis, slot in a different engine, apply some different accoutrements and charge a premium price. Of course, this formula makes sense for certain cars and motorcycles - i.e. performance-oriented vehicles - but would seem to be less logical for others. (Does anyone really need the Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG - the world's fastest minivan?)

Having never ridden a CVO cruiser, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect - mainly because the concept of a high-performance cruiser seems to be something akin to the concept of the world's fastest minivan.

I could be wrong, but a cruiser strikes me as being the perfect ride for a scenic, serene and sunny country ride. Why in the world would you need additional power or a more raucous exhaust system when your objective is rest and relaxation?

Method to the madness
Here's why: There's still nothing quite like the sound of a big V-twin engine or the feeling of opening up said V-twin when the mood strikes. While the 2008 Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Road King may seem the ultimate in niche motorcycle marketing, the truth is that it was surprisingly enjoyable to ride.

Powered by the largest-displacement engine in the H-D fleet - 110 cu or 1800 cc - this Road King produces a healthy 115 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. This power is delivered via Harley's new electronic throttle control and fuel injection system. Riding around town, this is enough pull to move the Harley down the road at a brisk rate, despite the bike's hefty curb weight (somewhere north of 750 pounds).

Out in the open, the Road King felt completely at ease motoring along in the 120-130 km/h range, feeling as if it had plenty of power left in reserve. And, of course, cracking the throttle produced that familiar exhaust roar that diehard Harley fans could not live without.

Chrome will always be a big selling argument with Harley owners.
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