Road King Years to Avoid That You Never Know

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If you are looking for the year you should avoid while buying a Harley Road King, don’t worry because here I have listed the worst years for Harley Road King.

Road King Years to Avoid

I know it is difficult to decide about the models you should not buy at any cost, but here you will be relaxed because I have worked harder.

In addition, I have also listed the best years for Harley Road King and common problems that a Harley King user can face. 

Let’s dive into:

Which Road King Years to Avoid?

You should avoid buying these worst years of the Harley Road King.

Road King Years to Avoid

1. Harley Road King 2003  

The Harley Road King 2003 is the worst year of its models because most owners reported its various issues.

Road King Years to Avoid

Oil Pump Issue

The heart of a motorcycle lies in its engine, and the oil pump is vital for maintaining its health. 

Unfortunately, the 2003 Road King had a notable issue with its oil pump. Some riders reported a premature failure that led to catastrophic engine damage. 

The pump’s inadequate design didn’t circulate oil efficiently, causing the engine to overheat. Over time, it leads to significant wear and tear, potentially resulting in expensive repairs or replacements.

Faulty Fuel System

A motorcycle’s fuel system should be impeccable for smooth rides and extended tours, which Harleys used. But the 2003 Road King presented problems in this area.

Many owners reported issues with the fuel injection system, which would result in uneven fuel distribution, which leads to poor fuel economy, rough idling, and even sudden engine shutdowns in certain conditions.

Engine Problem

The 2003 Road King’s engine had other concerning problems. Some owners noted excessive noise, especially during start-up. 

There were also instances where the engine would produce vibrations strong enough to be felt throughout the motorcycle. 

It not only decreased the ride quality but also raised concerns about the long-term durability of the bike.

Electrical Issue

The 2003 Road King, unfortunately, faced several electrical issues, from malfunctioning indicators to the erratic behaviour of the instrument cluster.

Some also reported issues with the ignition system, where the bike either failed to start or shut down mid-ride without warning.

2. Harley Road King 2006  

The 2006 model of the Road King is one year that, unfortunately, stands out for some of its shortcomings. The 2006 Harley Road King faced some significant issues.

Road King Years to Avoid

Wobbly Bolts

One of the first things a motorcycle enthusiast notices about the 2006 Road King is the wobbly bolts. 

These bolts, pivotal in holding various bike parts together, were less than reliable in this model. 

Many owners reported these bolts coming loose, leading to significant safety concerns. 

A loose bolt can cause parts of the motorcycle to malfunction or even collapse during a ride, risking the rider’s safety.

Inferior Cylinder

The heart of any motorcycle is its engine, and its cylinders are at the core of the machine. 

The 2006 Harley Road King fell short in this department with its inferior cylinder quality. There were multiple reports of the cylinder causing performance issues. 

Many riders noticed a decrease in the bike’s power and a drop in fuel efficiency. This was a significant setback for a brand that prides itself on delivering robust performance.

Faulty Fuel Injections

The fuel injection systems are essential for the smooth running of a motorcycle, ensuring that the right amount of fuel is delivered to the engine at the right time. 

However, the 2006 model of the Road King was plagued with faulty fuel injections. Riders reported sporadic performance, with the bike stalling or giving jerks at random intervals. 

It impacted the riding experience and posed potential risks, especially when cruising at high speeds.

3. Harley Road King 2004  

The 2004 Road King, this year’s model, has been marred by various issues that have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Harley enthusiasts.

Road King Years to Avoid

Transmission Problem: 

One of the most common problems 2004 Road King owners reported is its transmission.

Several riders reported hearing unsettling noises, particularly when shifting between gears. Others experienced rough shifts, which led to a jerky ride, even under normal conditions.

These issues hinder the riding experience and, if left unnoticeable, could lead to more severe damage over time.

Cam Chain Tensioner: 

Another major issue with the 2004 Road King is the cam chain tensioner. This component, crucial for keeping the cam chain tight and functioning correctly, has been worn out prematurely. 

When it happens, the chain can slacken, leading to degraded performance and potentially causing significant engine damage. 

Reliability Issue: 

For a brand that prides itself on producing reliable machines, the 2004 Road King sadly doesn’t live up to that reputation.

Some riders have reported problems with the bike’s electrical system, oil leaks, and even instances of the cycle failing to start. 

While only some 2004 models suffered from these problems, the sheer volume of reports indicates a troubling trend for this particular year.

4. Harley Road King 2014  

The 2014 Harley Road King was a year that drew several complaints, mainly due to persistent issues.

Road King Years to Avoid

Engine Issues

One of the main gripes of many riders was the engine issue prominent in the 2014 model.

Some owners reported excessive heat from the engine, which caused discomfort during long rides and raised concerns over the durability of some of the engine components.

Overheating engines are not just an inconvenience. They can lead to more severe problems, including engine pinging, power loss, and premature wear and tear on vital components.

Hydraulic Clutch Issues

Another significant concern was the hydraulic clutch system. The 2014 Harley Road King was subject to a recall due to a potential problem with the hydraulic clutch system.

Some riders found that the clutch system did not disengage after prolonged use as it should.

This malfunction could lead to difficulty in decelerating or stopping the bike, posing a severe risk to riders.

Faulty Saddlebag Mount

A motorcycle saddlebag is essential for riders who travel or like to carry items on the go. 

The 2014 model faced scrutiny for its saddlebag mounts. There were reports of saddlebags coming loose or even falling off during rides. 

They can cause an incident, especially at high speeds, and can lead to hazardous situations for the rider and other vehicles on the road.

Which are the Best Years for Road King?

Harley-Davidson, an iconic American motorcycle brand, has delivered some of the industry’s most reputable and cherished motorcycle models. 

The Road King is a timeless classic, balancing comfort, performance, and aesthetics. 

1. Harley Road King 2016  

When selecting the best years for the Road King, enthusiasts often rave about the 2016 Harley Road King. 

A Deeper Look for Why is Best 

Performance & Handling 

The 2016 Road King boasted a High Output Twin Cam 103 engine, renowned for its increased power and low-end torque. 

This made it a fast bike and a comfortable one for long rides. Its Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS and the dual halogen headlamp added to its safety features, ensuring smooth handling even in challenging terrains.

Aesthetics & Design 

Harley Road King 2016 combines classic and modern design elements, making the 2016 Road King aesthetically more immersive.

The bike displayed impeccably style, from its iconic headlamp nacelle to the removable windshield. 

Its two-tone paint options and hand-finished fuel tank added to its visual allure.

Comfort & Touring Capability 

One of the primary attributes that set the 2016 Road King apart was its unparalleled comfort. It is spacious saddlebags, and comfortable seating position made it a favorite for those who loved long rides. 

Its one-touch design philosophy in the saddlebags made it easy for riders to store and retrieve items and enhance the touring experience.

2. Harley Road King 2005  

Performance and Handling

The 2005 model boasted a Twin Cam 88 engine. The engine was known for its robust performance and reliability. 

The impressive torque output gave riders enough power for city cruising and open road adventures. 

Design and Aesthetics

Harley-Davidson has always been about aesthetics as much as about performance. 

The 2005 Road King maintained the classic look but introduced subtle changes that made it more appealing. 

The chrome detailing was mysterious, and the two-tone paint option was being hit among fans.

Comfort and Ergonomics 

The 2005 model of the Road King had a redesigned seat that was comfortable for long rides.

The seating position, handlebar reach, and foot control placements were ergonomically designed to offer riders comfort.

Upgrades and Customizations 

Harley bikes are known for their customization options, and the 2005 Road King was no exception. 

It offered many accessories and add-ons, allowing riders to personalize their machines.

Value for Money 

Considering the performance, design, comfort, and potential for customization, the 2005 Harley Road King offered great value for its price.

3. Harley Road King 1999  

Timeless Design

The 1999 model boasted a classic design that struck a chord with old-school riders and newcomers. 

Its sweeping lines, chrome detailing, and signature badges made it a road-turner.

Performance and Handling

It featured a Twin Cam 88 engine and provided ample power, making highway cruising a breeze. 


Over the years, the 1999 Harley Road King has proven to be a robust and reliable machine. Many riders have reported minimal issues, exceptionally while not appropriately maintained.

Customization Potential 

One of the reasons many bikers gravitate towards the Harley brand is the opportunity to customize. 

The 1999 Road King was no exception. Its versatile design made it a favorite among those looking to personalize their rides, from custom paint jobs to aftermarket parts.

Common Problems with Harley Road King 

The Road King is one of the most beloved models in the Harley-Davidson lineup. However, as with any machine, the Road King has had reported issues over the years. 

Such as a faulty fuel system, engine and motor issues, transmission problems, etc.

1. Engine and Motor Issues

The heart of any motorcycle is its engine. But even the robust machines of the Road King are not immune to problems:


Some riders have noted that the Road King’s engine overheats, especially in stop-and-go traffic or during prolonged rides in high temperatures. 

Oil leaks

Some riders have reported oil leaks, though not as expected. It is often due to gasket failures or wear and tear in the engine components.

Knocking sounds 

An irregular knocking or pinging noise from the engine can be concerning. It might be due to low-quality fuel, ignition problems, or mechanical issues in the machine.

2. Transmission Issues

A fully functioning transmission system is essential for a bike to run smoothly. A few Road King owners have highlighted transmission-related issues:

Difficulty in shifting

Some riders face issues when trying to shift gears. It can be because of a misadjusted clutch or problems within the gearbox.

Noisy transmission 

A loud clunk noise when shifting, especially from neutral to first gear, has been observed by some riders. 

To solve the issue, you must ensure the transmission fluid is cleaned and at its correct level.

Gear slipping

A more serious concern is when the gear slips from its position, which can be due to worn-out transmission components or a misaligned drive belt.

Regular maintenance checks, using the correct transmission fluid, and timely repairs are crucial to keeping these transmission problems away.

3. Faulty Fuel System

A smooth ride demands an uninterrupted fuel supply. Some Harley Road King owners have reported issues with the fuel system. 

These are the common issues with the fuel system of road king:

Fuel pump malfunction 

It may lead to the engine stalling or failing to start altogether.

Contaminated fuel 

Dirt or water in the fuel can severely impact the engine’s performance, leading to decreased acceleration and rough idling.

Fuel injector issues

Clogged or malfunctioning injectors can lead to an imbalanced air-fuel ratio, affecting the motorcycle’s overall performance.

Regular maintenance, good quality fuel, and cleaning or replacing the fuel filter can prevent or address most of these issues.


Is the 2006 Road King a good bike?

The 2006 Road King is a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle renowned for its comfort, style, and reliability. Many riders consider it a good bike for cruising and long rides.

How many miles can you get out of a Road King?

A Road King, with proper maintenance, can easily exceed 100,000 miles. Some riders have reported reaching 200,000 miles or more. 

Regular service and timely repairs play crucial roles in achieving such longevity.

Wrapping Up 

Harley Road King is the most classic touring bike among Harley Davidson enthusiasts.

But all of the Road King’s year models are different, and some have issues that make them less appealing to buyers.

Avoid the 2003, 2006, 2014, and 2004 models if you’re looking for the Harley Road King.

Because these models have issues with their oil pumps and engine, fuel injectors, and hydraulic clutches.

But if you are also one of these road kings, you must look for regular maintenance to avoid the potential issue.

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