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Old 01-02-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
CdnGS OP
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Harley 103 vs 96 cu in motor

I'm contemplating buying an 2011 Road King. Anyone who has ridden one care to weigh in on the merits of the 103 vs 96. Aside from the increased torque is it worth the extra $$$?

Thanks
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:14 AM   #2
kadesean
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Regular Road King will have the 96 and no factory option for 103, Road King Classic is standard with 103. More torque is all you're going to get with the 103, but the package also comes with security and ABS. If those items are desirable then the package makes sense and is worth the coin.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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96 feels quite poochy compared to the 103. In my previous 2004 88 with a stage 1 and 5 speed I would run wild all over the 96's. In a comparison between my old 88 against the 103, the 103s were faster. I've had a 07 with a 96 and now have an 08 with a 103. Get the 103.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infallible View Post
96 feels quite poochy compared to the 103. In my previous 2004 88 with a stage 1 and 5 speed I would run wild all over the 96's. In a comparison between my old 88 against the 103, the 103s were faster. I've had a 07 with a 96 and now have an 08 with a 103. Get the 103.
Well, there you have it. First hand knowledge from someone who has had both.

I have the 96 and can tell you that Harley is going to keep increasing the Cubic Inches as long as people desire an increase. The could build a 150 I am sure but that would be horrible business. Just bump it up a few ever so often and us Americans will love it. It's a Harley, you can scoot pretty good on an 80, 88, 96, 103, 110. It will also be very reliable if you keep it mostly stock and service it regularly. I would say next year they will have the 110 on the regular bikes and a 115 on the Screamin' Eagle. And then those motors will be the "best". But, all the Harley motors will pull you, your passenger, and all your gear along at higher than legal speeds.

Buy whichever Harley fits you best (and I've seen some 05-08s going for 10 grand with low miles) and then buy a turbo Hayabusa if you want power and speed.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:46 PM   #5
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I upped my SG to 103 (SE kit, stock cam, 10:1 compression) at 6000 miles. There is a difference. As someone else posted, you don't need it, it pulls fine stock with whatever your load. But you'll want it cause it's fun. That extra torque is what you're paying for.
I vote worth the money.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:22 PM   #6
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In my opinion, if raw power is your goal look elsewhere.

It's a fine bike and a great ride, but a go fast it aint.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:34 PM   #7
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You have every right, of course, to buy increasingly bigger and bigger motorcycles. I just don't see it myself. Yamaha built some huge V-twin engine for their cruise line, and found it just wasn't practical, and dropped the project. By all means buy the bigger HD.

To me an 800 pound motorcycle is just not my idea of fun. Shoot, I wouldn't mind trading my 2006 XL883 for a pre 2004 model to end up with an XL that's 50-70 pounds lighter.

But then I can't see why a big twin with 80+ pounds of torque needs six speeds. My 1984 Sportster did okay with four.

This is just one old dudes opinion, and most will dissagree. But smaller, lighter motorcycles are still dam fun to ride to me, and that's after just shy of 50 years of riding.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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My dad went ahead and got the 103, pretty much just for the stuff that came with it..which i believe is ABS, security and a oil cooler....and more torque can't hurt right??
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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I'd save a bundle, and get the 106.....





More power, better handling, and more comfortable right out of the box...
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:19 PM   #10
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I'd save a bundle, and get the 106.....





More power, better handling, and more comfortable right out of the box...
And get something that sounds, feels, and rides totally different than the Harley. Not knocking Vic, but that's like saying he should buy a VTX 1800 - they're barely the same. Closer comparison would be one of the pushrod Star bikes- they are a lot closer in feel.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:25 PM   #11
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My 2000 Super Glide has the stock 88. I ride with a guy who had a Road King that had been bored and stroked to 113 I think, plus cams and quite a bit more. It even had the FI removed and a big ol Mikuni put on. Even though my Super Glide is lighter, I could not keep up with him when he got on it. Was his bike sport bike fast? Of course not. It was, however, faster than any of the other cruisers in our group and he had a blast on it till he totaled it.

I thought about putting some money into my Super Glide to boost performance, but after talking to a reputable shop about what it would cost I bought a Buell instead. It is faster and handles better right out of the box than my Super Glide would have been with thousands more put into it.

So, I guess what I am saying is that I enjoy my Super Glide, but felt that trying to make it fast was too expensive for the end result. If I was buying a Road King, it would depend on how much extra the 103 is over the 96. At the end of the day, you still won't have a bike that can keep up with an FJR or a Concours 14 or even a Gold Wing. If performance is really important to you look elsewhere. If it isn't, stay with the 96.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lopoetve View Post
And get something that sounds, feels, and rides totally different than the Harley. Not knocking Vic, but that's like saying he should buy a VTX 1800 - they're barely the same. Closer comparison would be one of the pushrod Star bikes- they are a lot closer in feel.
I just thought if he wanted an American bike that already has a bigger motor, better handling, more comfort in stock form, at a better price, looking at the 106 might be an option.

If he'd rather have a Harley for whatever reasons then more power to him...literally....
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:14 PM   #13
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I worked in the biz for nearly a decade. I've owned several of 'em. My thoughts are the 96 does the job just fine. But if you must have more power than a stock 96 save your pennies and do a big bore kit with cams at the same time. Yes, you'll spend more money than the 103 costs from the factory, but you'll get a hell of a lot more performance than that stock 103 can produce. In fact the best bang for the buck is the stage III kit, which makes about 100 hp and 105 ft lbs of torque. The kit costs $1500 retail, and comes with a supertuner and high flow air cleaner. The only extra you'll need is a set of slip on mufflers or a full exhaust system if you so desire. This time of year you'll find dealers offering specials, so you could probably get the whole thing done for less than 2 grand plus the exhaust of your choice.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:13 PM   #14
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When you consider resale value (i.e. cost of ownership), it probably doesn't cost much, if any, more to get the 103. Bueller's option is the best for power, but probably not for resale.

My 2 cents.

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:50 PM   #15
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Just FWIW, I owned an '07 110" CVO Road King. Sold it for an '09 96" Street Glide. The 96" SG hustles me up and down and around Rocky Mountain roads with plenty of ooomph, and oooomph to spare. I don't miss the 110" at all.
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