For iron-butt rides, we like a gel cushion to relieve the pain in our butt and cruise control to ease the cramp in our throttle arm. Getting soft in our advanced age? Probably. Nevertheless, we believe the only ache you should feel while riding is the heartache when you have to stop.
Harley-Davidson makes it easy to add cruise control to its 2002 and later Road Kings, since each one is pre-wired and pre-configured for it. Their Cruise Control Kit for FLHR/S Models (Part Number 77198-07) costs $339.95 and comes complete with new hand controls, module, and all hardware. The operating instructions are already included in the Touring Models Owner's Manual.
To install this kit on a 2007 Road King Custom, we headed over to Mancuso's Harley-Davidson Crossroads in Houston, TX, where our friend and mechanic Derek Rogers handled the complete project. Installation is straightforward but tedious due to the need to remove several parts and to fit a very tight retainer clip, which the shop mechanics affectionately call "the Jesus clip," claiming it's the hardest clip on the bike.
This article covers the complete install but focuses on the cruise control components. For example, replacing handlebar controls is standard and entirely explained in the instructions.
After Derek finished, we headed to the nearest highway for a test run. Operation is simple-it's just like the controls in your four-wheel cage. The On/Off switch is mounted on the left handlebar. The Set/Resume/Accelerate/Decelerate switch is on the right. Turn on the system, cruise up to the desired speed, and press Set. Enjoy the ride. The system will automatically disengage if either brake is applied, if the throttle is rolled hard, or if the clutch is disengaged. However, when needed, the rider can gently increase speed up to 10 mph over the Set point without disengaging the control, then coast back to the Set point. Now we can wave or signal with either hand.
1. The Cruise Control Kit components are pictured here. It includes the control module and cable for connecting to the throttle body induction module, replacement left and right handlebar switches, and all the mounting hardware.
1. The Cruise Control Kit components are pictured here. It includes the control module and
2. Derek first rolled the Road King onto a lift. Next, he removed the seat, battery, left saddlebag, and left side cover. The battery was completely removed because the control module mounts to three holes on the left side of the battery box just above the fuse box.
2. Derek first rolled the Road King onto a lift. Next, he removed the seat, battery, left
3. Next, Derek prepared to install the module by connecting the pre-wired, 10-place plug. Note the rubber grommets for vibration isolation.
3. Next, Derek prepared to install the module by connecting the pre-wired, 10-place plug.
4. This is the control module installed and all the parts back in place. It looks like it belongs there.
4. This is the control module installed and all the parts back in place. It looks like it
5. Derek then routed the control cable to the induction module. It's not mentioned in the instructions, but Derek says this task is easier with the gas tank lifted, so he removed the rear hold down screw.
5. Derek then routed the control cable to the induction module. It's not mentioned in the
6. The control cable (red arrow) runs along the frame under the gas tank, then down between the cylinders to the throttle. Note that Derek placed a plastic hammer under the tank to hold it out of the way.
6. The control cable (red arrow) runs along the frame under the gas tank, then down betwee