Getting Down and Dirty
Harley-Davidson Wows with the new Pan America
Harley-Davidson changes the game completely by introducing the Pan America, a high-tech do-everything motorcycle that purports to challenge the competition in the hugely popular adventure touring segment.
Harley-Davidson’s storied past is full of all kinds of motorcycles, from small capacity bikes to Servi-Cars, military motorcycles to flat trackers, dragsters to choppers, and everything in between. Lately, however, Harley’s identity has been mainly touring and cruising. There is no doubt that the Motor Company has been able to dominate this category, but this dominance has made attempts to diversify (with standards, electric bikes, and more) more difficult.
In February 2021, Harley-Davidson changed the game completely by introducing the Pan America, a high-tech do-everything motorcycle that purports to challenge the BMW GS, the Ducati Multistrada, the Honda Africa Twin, and the Triumph Tiger in the hugely popular adventure touring segment.
...from its inception more than a century ago, when many roads were little more than dirt trails, Harley-Davidson has stood for adventure
“From its inception more than a century ago, when many roads were little more than dirt trails, Harley-Davidson has stood for adventure,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “So, I’m very proud to present Pan America as the first adventure touring bike designed and built in America. The Pan America models exude that go-anywhere spirit, shared today by riders in the US and around the globe who want to experience the world on a motorcycle.”
Actively involved in the launch of this new bike is actor and brand ambassador, Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Frontier, Game of Thrones…), who is joining creative forces with the Company to bring Pan America’s passion for adventure to the world. A Harley rider himself, Momoa voices and appears in the launch video (clic here).
According to Harley’s launch press release, Pan America models are equipped with technologies designed to enhance the riding experience, including multiple electronically controlled ride modes plus Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements. This broad collection of technologies is designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking. The Pan America 1250 Special model is equipped with electronically adjustable semi-active front and rear suspension. As an industry-first innovation, Pan America is equipped with Adaptive Ride Height (ARH), a revolutionary new suspension system which automatically transitions between a low stopped position and optimal ride height when the motorcycle is in motion.
Two versions of the bike were introduced: the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special models. For Harley-Davidson entering into the mature adventure touring market, it was important to get the details right. From grab handles to integrated luggage mounts, to a horizontal headlamp configured to better illuminate an off-road trail, function defines style.
Both Pan America models are powered by the all-new 150hp Revolution Max 1250 engine, a liquid-cooled 1,250cc-displacement V-Twin designed to offer a broad powerband as well as high-RPM power. To minimize overall motorcycle weight (Pan America 1250, 534 lb. wet/Pan America 1250 Special, 559 lb. wet), the Revolution Max engine is integrated into the vehicle as the central member of the chassis.
Promising to be a true Swiss Army Knife of a motorcycle, Harley claims that the motorcycle will perform as well on-road as off, which is a tall order. It certainly is impressive with its technical specs, with electronically-controlled ride modes plus Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements, and the aforementioned Adaptive Ride Height suspension system, a first for motorcycles (it lowers the seat height 1 – 2 inches when stopped).
Styling is interesting, to say the least. It doesn’t, at first glance, look like a Harley, but the big Bar and Shield on the tank certainly gives the brand away. There are cues to the design ethic of the LiveWire in the tank flowing into the front section, but it certainly doesn’t look like any other Harley on the planet. And, from a specification and a usage standpoint, that perfectly suits this brand-new motorcycle that is designed to take Harley-Davidson riders to places unknown.
The Pan America models are slated to be in Harley-Davidson dealers by spring of this year. The base model Pan America will retail for $17,139 while the special model is priced at $19,999.
Rest assured, RoadBook has already requested a test ride, so watch these pages for a test ride in the not-too distant future.
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