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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is a bit of beating a dead horse topic (or is it dark horse? 馃槀), but I'm curious to hear from folks who have owned both the RK and Spfld and hear about pros/cons of each and your thoughts on the major differences.

Thanks in advance for the replies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@WalterMitty -what are you riding now and what lead you to that bike choice?
Not sure that will help to much!!! Currently my only street legal ride is a Honda CRF250L. :)

Other current rides:
2001 Honda CR250
2004 Honda Rancher 400 AT (used mostly for snow plowing driveway)

Other than a brief sport bike phase in the mid 90's, I have ridden off road my whole life. Mainly 2-stroke dirt bikes. I'm in my 50's and a while back all the dirt riding sort of stopped, and friends got into ADV riding, so that's why I bought the CRF250L..which was my first street legal bike in 20+ years. Since getting that bike I've done a fair amount of ADV riding...day trips, weekend trips....and even 10 days living off the bike ("hotel camping") during a trip to Colorado where we rode many of the mountain passes (see pic below). The CRF is slow, and doesn't really shine in one area, but sort of does everything decently. What lead me to getting the CRF250L was a few things....since I planned to ride it in areas that were fairly extreme, and maybe close to 100% of my abilities, I was fine going with a smaller bike, even one that was maybe not enough of a bike, versus getting too much of a bike. One I could pick up myself if needed. Also, since it's a little pig, it's almost impossible to get yourself in trouble with the throttle. All this works great when I'm off road, and even keeps me out of trouble on road. But, trying to go up hill with a head wind and maintain 60mph with my fat a$$ on it, ain't too fun.

Over the years I've ridden a few HDs (rentals), and have always wanted to get a bagger. I'm a bit of a Honda Fanboy, so I was originally thinking about getting a newer (2018+) Goldwing (non-Tour). But the more I thought about it, the more I was thinking that I really didn't want/need all the tech, huge fairing, etc. So that sort of lead me to HD, and doing a bit of a deep dive into them. Indian wasn't even really on my mind. I had seen a couple of videos on the Challenger, but it always sort of looked a bit off to me. Then while doing more surfing, I came across a Springfield, and I really liked what I saw. I think I'm really leaning Springfield DH, but the Road King isn't totally off the radar.



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2017 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse
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@WalterMitty -what are you riding now and what lead you to that bike choice?
Recently purchased a 2017 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse out of frustration when I learned Harley dealers would no longer service my 1998 Road King! The two bikes are totally different. The CDH is smoother through the gears, better balanced, it doesn鈥檛 shake, and overall is a much better, engineered bike. Of course as my RK has 96,000mi still love it but only riding it within a 100mi radius of home since there鈥檚 no service anymore. Bottom line is after 40 years of riding Harleys the CDH is the most beautiful bike I鈥檝e ever seen!
 

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2021 Springfield
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I owned a '04 Road King Custom for years, and really liked the bike, also had a '05 Softail Deluxe. Both had a TC88 and 5 speed. I could ride the RK Custom for 4-5 hrs no issue, and the FLSTNI only for about 2 hrs max before pain. When I got my SF this past summer it has been the best of all worlds imho. I've road more in the past 6 months on SF than the first 2 years on my RKC. Which has been great!

Here are my Pros/Cons for SF vs RK, since you asked, and in no particular order.

SF Pros
Riding comfort level is much better on my SF (6'2" with 32" inseam") as compared to RKC... however I would still like to try a solo extended reach seat on SF.
Gas mileage is better on SF. 42.8 AVG vs 37 RKC... and I know I am not quite comparing quite apples to apples.
TS111/6spd is amazing vs the TC88/5spd.. duh... hate to think how much I would have paid to get 111ci on my RKC back in the day.
SF is already chromed/blacked out, you choose.
SF has a unique looks at bike nights * more on this later. I get more eye looking at the SF than RK ever did.
Ride Mode & ABS works very well.
Like the stock beefy pipes on SF... with the right amount of loud.
Bigger hard saddle bags... that remotely lock.
SAE connector under the little dash flip up, I use that for my USB connection, but know I am going to break it one day.
Dollar Value seems to go farther on the SF... take miles ridden/total cost = value
Mostly metric parts.
TPM works well
I can take the bags off and it still looks amazing, love those valanced fenders & hidden rear air shock.

SF Cons
Lack of color options for a given year, especially on SF, kinda takes away the uniqueness of the SF since all are the same color for 2 years.
Paint seems to get swirl marks by looking at it wrong, seems to be a defect imho.
Location of the rear shock air stem location, small thing but really annoying.
More catalog options & third party items for HD RK... still not sure this is a con yet.
Gas Tank Capacity... just think 4.5 gallons... forget the whole 5.5 claim... and just refuel every 230 miles.
Where is the USB Port in the nacelle? Oh yeah, not there.
Service, I am a little more concerned on the road due to the lack of Indian dealers. Hasn't been an issue though, which leads to I expect that the SF will require a little more planning for routine maintenance service when doing longer trips.
Meep Horn, absolutely had to replace it. Splurged and put on a 15" Buffalo Brand
Mostly metric parts... yes it can be both a pro & a con.
Putting air into the tires with a valanced fender... little issue.
No LED default front lights.


SF Wish List
Would like to see LED front lights, round air filter & heated grips standard on the SF, and the new Stage 1 air filter on SFDH



just my 0.02
 

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After owning 5 Harleys, I bought my 22 SF. These are my 2 cents, YMMV. My comments are about new bikes not used.

Pros:
Machine is better. I really like my bike.

Cons:
Over priced OEM accessories
Scarce and overpriced aftermarket
Scarce dealership shirts
Crappy dealership
No dealerships to promote competition in sales and service prices. There are 5 HD places within 30 mins.
RK had the RDRS, their version of tractions control and hill hold.


If I was you, I would ride both and buy the one you like. They are both great bikes.

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As a previous owner of seven Harleys - two of which were Road Kings - the Springfield is a superior motorcycle in all things mechanical. If you want to talk paint, placement of valve stems, and the like: whatever. Those are much easier improved than engine, brakes, suspension and so on. I have owned 30 motorcycles (8 brands from three countries) and even more automobiles. NOT ONE was designed perfectly aesthetically but it wasn't hard to discern which ones were simply better than others. While the sum total of my experiences does not make me an expert, I do, however, speak from a standpoint of not being a brand loyal rider. But this jury has rendered an unanimous verdict regarding this matter. The Springfield is simply a fair amount better motorcycle than the Road King in all matter related to actually riding.
 

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I had a 2008 RK, and now ride a 2019 Chief Vintage. I thought the 96 ci engine was going to be the bees knees, but it was pitiful. Rode on the interstate with the wife on board, nowhere near the gvwr, and I had to downshift to get over the hills. Not the case with the ts111. The sluggishness (with stage 1, BTW) was so overwhelming that no redeeming features of the bike were able to overcome the poor performance. Ended up trading it for a street glide with the 103 ci engine, and, even with S&S cams and a dyno tune, it was not a whole lot better.

That is why I rode Victory bikes for a while, and have stuck with Indian. Drive train weakness has never been an issue. Best HD I ever had was a 2010 xl1200x, stock with a dyno tune. It ran like a striped-a$$ ape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies....definitely appreciate it.

@chipmaker that's a really, really nice pic. I'm really leaning DH version, but you pic gives me a little pause.

@Michael Erwin As a non-owner, my two cents on a wish list...all for the DH....

LED Headlight
Don't take way the engine & saddle bag bars, windshield and extra lights just because I don't love chrome
USB plug should come standard
 

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Sorry if this is a bit of beating a dead horse topic (or is it dark horse? 馃槀), but I'm curious to hear from folks who have owned both the RK and Spfld and hear about pros/cons of each and your thoughts on the major differences.

Thanks in advance for the replies.
Are you considering new, or used bikes ?
 

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Both. But if used, I only want one that's maybe 2-3 years old.
Over my +50 years of riding I've never bought a new bike. I've had a dozen HDs. Two of my last 3 were Road Kings. And the latest was a 2012 FLHP aka Road King Police with the 103. The '12 King was the best of the bunch, it fit like a glove (6 ft. and 185 lbs.) very dependable and handled very well fast and slow, but rear suspension was like an over sprung dump truck, way too harsh for my ol' back. Maybe the newer Kings have improved suspension, I don't know. My current ride is a '15 Vintage. Ride/suspension experience is night and day, Vintage is far superior. I didn't notice much if any real difference in power/performance between the two. I expect the newer Springfields have better suspension than my Vintage which is a plus, also maybe a little better performance?

If I was hunting for pre-loved, I would consider that the 2019 and up 111s have better valve springs and I believe improved heads & pistons with longer skirts. I don't know much of anything about the newer HDs. Although I know a few friends that have them and they are happy with them.

This being an Indian site, Indian MCs will be touted. Go to a HD site and it will be HDs. In fact, Indian MCs are rarely even mentioned at the HD site I still belong to. But HD is a common discussion here. Both brands have their plusses & minuses. A big plus for HD is stealer network, lots of them. And around here there are also reputable independent shops that work on HDs if you don't want to go to a stealer. Around here there no indy's that are capable of working on Indians that I'm aware of, and that sux.

Either or, enjoy the hunt... all part of the fun :giggle:
 
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I used to be an HD loyalist. I converted from HD to Indian because HD thoroughly pissed me off pushing me to research other manufacturers. After much research I landed on Indian and bought my first Indian, a new 2019 Springfield. Best decision I made regarding bikes. It looks like all the pro's and con's have been mentioned (btw, no manufacturer is perfect, every one have their own pro's and con's, including HD and Indian). For me stock Indian heavyweight bikes beat out stock HD heavyweight bikes for power and comfort. Yes you can do performance and comfort upgrades on both. I've gotten more compliments on my Indian in the two years I've owned her than I did on my HD's in all the years I owned HD's bikes. I almost can't stop at a travel center along the highway to take a piss and get fuel without coming out of the travel center and finding a crowd around my Springfield and people wanting to know more about Indians. Unless Indian pisses me in the future like HD did I'll be loyal to the Indian brand (granted I wouldn't turn down the right Victory if I stumbled across one).
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I used to be an HD loyalist. I converted from HD to Indian because HD thoroughly pissed me off pushing me to research other manufacturers. After much research I landed on Indian and bought my first Indian, a new 2019 Springfield. Best decision I made regarding bikes. It looks like all the pro's and con's have been mentioned (btw, no manufacturer is perfect, every one have their own pro's and con's, including HD and Indian). For me stock Indian heavyweight bikes beat out stock HD heavyweight bikes for power and comfort. Yes you can do performance and comfort upgrades on both. I've gotten more compliments on my Indian in the two years I've owned her than I did on my HD's in all the years I owned HD's bikes. I almost can't stop at a travel center along the highway to take a piss and get fuel without coming out of the travel center and finding a crowd around my Springfield and people wanting to know more about Indians. Unless Indian pisses me in the future like HD did I'll be loyal to the Indian brand (granted I wouldn't turn down the right Victory if I stumbled across one). View attachment 684027
Same here regarding the seat, deflectors, and windshield. I have a Freedom shield on order.

300 mile/8 hour days on the RM seat are very doable and common now. The longest ride on the stock seat I did was 450 miles and I was dying by the time I got home.i had no overnight option as rain was heading in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Over my +50 years of riding I've never bought a new bike.

I would be totally happy getting used, though it would have to be a 2020 or 2021 based on changes and colors, buuuuuuut given the market, you either can't find them, or there's like zero discount. I even saw one the other day that was a year or two old and they were asking over current MSRP of the 22s.
 

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Same here regarding the seat, deflectors, and windshield. I have a Freedom shield on order.

300 mile/8 hour days on the RM seat are very doable and common now. The longest ride on the stock seat I did was 450 miles and I was dying by the time I got home.i had no overnight option as rain was heading in.
The longest I could do on the Springfield stock seat was about 2-hrs and I was in so much pain I had to stop. With the RM Heated Leather Touring Seat and rider backrest I can ride all day long for hundreds of miles stopping only for fuel or to piss. The Mrs. loves the attached passenger pillion of the RM touring seat as well. She can ride just as long as me without any comfort complaints. Granted, this is our first heavyweight touring frame bike. All our old HD's were in the Dyna/Softtail models (granted we had upgraded aftermarkets seats on our HD's too to add better comfort) so the comfort level we now have on the Springfield is a luxury - the longer wheelbase, the air adjustable longer travel mono shock are amazing. It's like a recliner on 2-wheels - LOL.

I will be adding a set of Indian Aftermarket hand guards for colder weather riding (I ride year around). I add highway bar closeouts during the colder weather riding months and it's unbelievable how much warmer my feet are now compared to riding without them. I figure the same logic will hold true with hand guards (they're ugly as sin, but if they work that's all I care about - I'm sure the look will eventually grow on me the same way riding with a windshield and lower wind deflectors has - I used to despise windshields and lowers until I rode with them. I guess the older I get the more comfort I want while riding, especially on all day, multi-hundred mile days). During the winter months, I get caught a long way from home when the sun goes down and end out riding home in the dark many a day/night.
 

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I would be totally happy getting used, though it would have to be a 2020 or 2021 based on changes and colors, buuuuuuut given the market, you either can't find them, or there's like zero discount. I even saw one the other day that was a year or two old and they were asking over current MSRP of the 22s.
I've always avoided dealers and purchased from private individuals. However, I did buy my '15 Vintage from a dealer about 3.5 years ago. Did a 600 mile round trip to get it, Central NY to central PA. My '15 Vintage has the 29* rake which can make slow speed handling a bit more challenging. So I do keep my eyes open for '20s on up, which is when the rake was changed to 25* like that of the Springfield. Mine is willow green & cream and that's what I want again. The Indian red would be choice no. 2, if those colors are even available in newer models. But you're right, prices on the newer bikes are high, too high for me to move on anything I've seen. No hurry though, mine with the stage 2 keeps me pretty happy. And me, I wouldn't rule out another Road King if the rear suspension has been addressed.
 

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Pros and cons for current versions (assuming 111 engine on SF and 107 on the RK, though 116/114 doesn't change the equation much or even 111/114). The ergonomics/riding positions are very different on the two bikes though, and I can't list that as a pro or con for either as it is all personal preference.

Pros to SF:
  • Gear indicator works even with the clutch pulled, you always know what gear the bike is in.
  • Power locks on saddle bags, standard even
  • TPMS standard
  • Engine is smooth and consistent (m8s seem quite smooth when moving, but it is like they did something to make them vibrate the hell out of the bike at idle).
  • Suspension is better.
  • Longer wheelbase makes the bike seem a bit more stable, but weight distribution keeps it very manueverable.
  • Better mounting position for aftermarket GPS, front and center.
  • Looks

Cons:
  • Engine runs a bit warmer. I am in TX and still happily ride it through the summer, bit it does put off more heat than either of my Harleys
  • No RDRS available (It is an option on the RK, but it adds many useful features. Traction control, Hill brake assist, TPMS)
  • Less aftermarket for customization, but not in the areas that matter. [1]
  • A bit less nimble at low speeds
  • Fewer dealers/service options (and many of the dealers are more powersports than motorcycle).
  • Paint quality is not quite as good as Harley.

[1] While Indian doesn't have 20+ different "lines" of bolt on to theme a bike, all of the important aftermarket is there. Intake and Exhaust has all the same major players, Seats as well, and lighting too.
 

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My 2000 Indian Chief is strictly an around town and short rides kinda motorcycle. It has no storage whatsoever. For longer adventures/activity, my '16 RK is used (hard bags and tour pak). The Indian has an S&S motor, so local mechanics can fix her. The nearest Indian dealer is over an hour away and we have a HD dealer right here in town. In the big scheme of things, logistics/repair capability/convenience dictates our motorcycle ownership.
 
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