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Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Softail Models

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Old Oct 14th, 2008, 05:02 PM     #1
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Softail Heritage vs. Road King

I originally posted this thread in the touring section, and the RK got the overwhelming nod and I mainly just got opinions on the RK, not too many on the Heritage.

So, to give each candidate equal air time (that's a rule, right?) I will repost on this forum, and welcome your objective opinion.

By the way, I have tested the Heritage, and was REALLY impressed, it also feels more comfortable than the RK when just sitting on the bikes. Have yet to test ride the RK, but hopefully will soon. I will be doing mostly local riding, but want something that will be more highway friendly than my sportster.

35 year old male; 6'1"; 215lbs; 33 inch inseam

thanks
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Old Oct 14th, 2008, 07:16 PM     #2
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

When I first shop for my Harley (from hayabusa ), I was after the RK classic, I have test rode both Heritages and Road Kings almost weekly, everytime there's a demo ride, I was there and rode nothing but RK and HST, then I just sat down and think about both bikes for weeks and finally made decision on the HST due to the ride that I'm doing, half city and half highway, the HST can do both of my riding style and the RK is to me a bit heavy for local use plus the HST has everything I needed and the height is just right, I'm only 50 with 5'10 170lbs with 31" inseam, on the RK, I have to tip toe at stop but the HST, both of my feet were flat down, they both are different bikes but both are great bikes and that's something that only you can make a decision on which one is best for you. Have fun.
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 08:09 PM     #3
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

I rode the Road King today... very easy to handle and very smooth. It's amazing how easy the big bikes are to handle. Two negatives, at this point, are slightly forward sitting position and quite a bit of vibration while stopped. I rode the Heritage again right after the RK, and the seating position, coupled with the position of the passenger seat, which provides a nice backrest, feels better (the handlebars are in a really nice ergonomic position for me) For some reason, I find myself wanting to like the RK better, but feeling the Heritage is the right option for me at this time. Given most of my riding will still be local, I don't think I would be giving up too much comfort by going with the Heritage... seems like the biggest advantage the RK has is its super long distance capabilities. I know many have said that they can easily do 400-500 mile days on the heritage, without missing a beat... I can't imagine wanting to do anymore than that. I will test ride both again in the next couple of weeks. That RK sure did feel smooth, though

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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 07:03 AM     #4
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Sounds to me like you're so squarely on the fence that the major factor is how often you're going to take long trips, 300+ mile days.

I just returned from Biketoberfest last night and the Road Kings/Street Glides/Ultra Classics outnumbered the Heritage by at least 3 to 1. If you're going to put in a lot of long days on the road, get a bike designed primarily for that purpose. If that type of riding is going to be a rare event, the Heritage sounds perfect for you.
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:14 AM     #5
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Quote: Originally Posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
Sounds to me like you're so squarely on the fence that the major factor is how often you're going to take long trips, 300+ mile days.

I just returned from Biketoberfest last night and the Road Kings/Street Glides/Ultra Classics outnumbered the Heritage by at least 3 to 1. If you're going to put in a lot of long days on the road, get a bike designed primarily for that purpose. If that type of riding is going to be a rare event, the Heritage sounds perfect for you.
So what exactly is the practical difference in long-distance riding comfort? I know the frames of the softails and touring bikes are different... but how does that actually affect the ride over long distances... anyone? In other words, what differences will the rider feel between the bikes for any given distance?

BTW Doolittle, your last point is the relevant one... I don't imagine doing enough long distance trips that I "need" a touring bike, but I want to be able to comfortably do a couple hundred miles without having to think about it. Right now, I am just not comfortable doing extended highway travel on my sportster.

Thanks for the help and insights
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:32 AM     #6
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

I'll give you my point on it. I have a Fatboy, which for all practical purposes is a HST.

I just rode it 8 hrs each way to the Outer Banks to go fishing. No problems at all, I can ride it all day and not be uncomfortable. I am only 5'9" so it just fits me well. I have saddlebags for it and just bought a T Bag which is all I used for this last trip. It also has a detachable windshield which I have never even had on the bike.

I like the wind in my face, maybe if it gets colder I'll put on the windshield. I never ride around with the saddlebags unless going on a trip. I like the look of the bike with no saddlebags and no windshield and that is the way I usually ride it. I know the touring bikes are more practical if you do a lot of trips and need to pack stuff, but you can make do for three or four trips a year. The comfort is great. I do have a Corbin seat which helps and beach bars which just make it really comfortable to sit on.

The only reason I could see needing that fairing on all of the time would be for the stereo. At times, I wish I had one, but then I just ease on the throttle a little and that takes care of that need for a while.

You won't go wrong with either bike and I was where you are a while back. I just like the look of a stripped down bike rather than a touring one so that is what I chose. Maybe one day, I'll need a tourer, but am fine with the Fatboy for now.

Good Luck!

Eric
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 11:36 AM     #7
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Quote: Originally Posted by Drew View Post
So what exactly is the practical difference in long-distance riding comfort? I know the frames of the softails and touring bikes are different... but how does that actually affect the ride over long distances... anyone? In other words, what differences will the rider feel between the bikes for any given distance?

BTW Doolittle, your last point is the relevant one... I don't imagine doing enough long distance trips that I "need" a touring bike, but I want to be able to comfortably do a couple hundred miles without having to think about it. Right now, I am just not comfortable doing extended highway travel on my sportster.

Thanks for the help and insights
Drew
Touring bikes - air adjustable rear suspension, fairing/windshield, storage, tunes. The frame improvements helped handling but I'm not sure that should be a deal buster when choosing between a RK and a HSC.

Eric made some great points - if you're just doing a few trips a year and don't care about wind protection and tunes, throw on the saddlebags and maybe one extra behind you and hit the road. Throw a detachable windshield on if hours and hours of a 70 MPH breeze wears you out. Heck I know a guy that rode his RK around for 3 weeks with an IPOD in his jacket pocket and ear phones in his helmet - that solves your tunes problem!

It really sounds like the Heritage is perfect for you. Don't waste any more time outguessing yourself - go get one!
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 11:39 AM     #8
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Do yourself a favor and test ride them both before buy it. Some dealers will let you test ride and others will not. In this case you may want to rent each with the rental price put towards the purchase price which some dealers do as long as you buy after the riding.
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 12:12 PM     #9
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Quote: Originally Posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post

It really sounds like the Heritage is perfect for you. Don't waste any more time outguessing yourself - go get one!
Funny, that's exactly what the dealer told me
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 12:16 PM     #10
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Re: Softail Heritage vs. Road King

Quote: Originally Posted by glider View Post
Do yourself a favor and test ride them both before buy it. Some dealers will let you test ride and others will not. In this case you may want to rent each with the rental price put towards the purchase price which some dealers do as long as you buy after the riding.
I have ridden both... the heritage twice, and the RK once. I assumed the dealer would not let me test a new bike, so I told the guy if he had a used, but newer model RK to test, I would like to take it for a spin. He said, "how about that new '09 you've been sitting on for the last 20 minutes... is that new enough?" He proceeded to role a beautiful all black RKC out the door... 4 miles on it. Times are tough, so I know they are doing what they can to make the sale, but I also think the dealership I frequent is pretty good.

regards, and thanks for your insight
Drew

Last edited by Drew; Oct 20th, 2008 at 12:26 PM.
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