Harley-Davidson Pan America
The Best of All Worlds
When the Pan America from Harley-Davidson was launched last year, I wrote the story on the RoadBook Switzerland announcing it. BUt I honestly didn’t think I’d like it. Well, I was completely and utterly... Wrong.
When the Pan America from Harley-Davidson was launched last year, I wrote the story on the RoadBook Switzerland announcing it. Though I thought the Pan America was a bold move from the bar and shield brand, and the spec of the bike was spot on, I honestly didn’t think I’d like it.
I thought it looks long and slow; it doesn’t look like a Harley; it looks like a hybrid that wouldn’t really work on either the road or the trail; and, it doesn’t look comfortable.
Well, I was completely and utterly... Wrong. About everything.
Except the Pan America not looking like a Harley, because it doesn’t, and that could be a good thing.
... well, I was completely and utterly... Wrong. About everything. Except the Pan America not looking like a Harley, because it doesn’t, and that could be a good thing.
Harley-Davidson Switzerland contacted me about a week-long test ride, and I immediately agreed. I picked up the bike from Harley-Davidson Lausanne/Biker's Point (bikers-point.ch) with no hassle at all (thank you).
And I was off.
I am lucky enough to work in a Swiss castle for my day job and my commute is a mixture of normal roads, highway, and some of the best twisties in the world, climbing up the Sainte-Croix hill, and then down into the Val des Travers.
On the highway, the Pan is supremely comfortable and stable and, thanks to an easily adjustable mini-screen, well suited for long trips. The standard cruise control works very well and the seat is all day comfy. I was pleasantly surprised how great it felt to ride on the highway.
But, that’s not where the rubber really meets the road for motorcyclists...
For the climb up to Sainte-Croix and then down to Butte, it is a mixture of switchbacks, sweeping corners, and long straights, and the Pan America didn’t disappoint.
Its 1250 Big Twin engine was up to every task and ground clearance was great. Overtakes were simple without having to drop even one gear.
The bike came equipped with a very nicely fitting tank bag and waterproof roll top tail pack, which fit onto the frame easily, so getting everything to work was a snap.
The sound of the engine is a bit muted in its stock form, but when revved, it still sounds pretty darn Harley. And, thankfully, there are plenty of options to deepen that roar, thanks to Harley’s extensive accessories catalog.
The Pan America is designed as an all-rounder, able to transition seamlessly between tarmac and trail. Switzerland is very restrictive when it comes to off-roading, but I was still able to do a bit of green-laning in the vineyards around where I live, and the Pan America performed admirably and with aplomb.
Another time, I’d like to take the Pan on a true off-road experience to truly push its limits, and mine.
I really enjoyed the time I spent in the saddle of the Pan America. It’s comfortable, sporty, powerful, and, most of all, fun.
I definitely recommend this do-it-all motorcycle and I can’t wait to ride it again.
- fun to ride
- well equipped (cruise control, riding modes, proximity key)
- doesn’t look like a Harley
- small and not very interesting dashboard/screen
- muted engine note (easily fixed with Harley’s HUGE aftermarket catalog)
- doesn’t look like a Harley
Find out more
To hold on to the emotion, subscribe to our newsletter