Home » The Harley-Davidson Pan America Is Such A Different Kind Of Motorcycle, You Won’t Believe It’s A Harley

The Harley-Davidson Pan America Is Such A Different Kind Of Motorcycle, You Won’t Believe It’s A Harley

Harley Panamerica Ts
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Harley-Davidson sometimes has an unfortunate reputation with many riders around the world. They see the company’s large cruisers and their leather-jacketed riders as what’s wrong with motorcycling. That’s a shame, because when you give today’s Harley-Davidson a chance, you might get blown away. Perhaps the best example of Harley’s surprising awesomeness is the Pan America. This is not a bulky cruiser, a wide trike, or the like, but an adventure bike. Not only does the Harley-Davidson Pan America look like something Halo‘s Master Chief would ride, but it has legitimately great ideas under the tank.

I recently got the chance to take Pan America on a ride through California wine country followed by some hot mountain curve action. The Pan America handled the ride unlike any other Harley I’ve ever ridden. I kept having to look down to confirm that yes, I really was on a Harley and not something like a Triumph or a Honda. A number of Harley’s current products have me doing that and that’s awesome.

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[Full Disclosure: Cardo Systems invited me out to Southern California to experience a motorcycle plus a new piece of helmet communication gear. My travel, lodging, food, some of my fuel, and drinks were all covered. The Brand Amp also provided an Indian Super Chief to ride to the event.]

[Author’s note: Before I continue, I will also note that I was instructed to bring only what could fit in the small cases of the Indian Super Chief I rode in on. A helmet, armored jacket, gloves, and boots were all I could fit in my luggage with barely enough room for regular clothes. I had to swap my armored pants for thick jeans. Unfortunately, I put the jeans on way too high that morning, resulting in the pictures you’re about to see where the pants end before my boots. Don’t be like me, get it right before you ride!]

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Moneeb Nain

Harley-Davidson has been on a path of reinvention. It knows that while many of its customers flock to the gigantic cruisers and trikes, the brand cannot be a one-trick pony forever. Big and cushy touring machines are great, but today’s riders are a diverse group of people. They don’t just want to eat up endless highway miles on a motorized La-Z-Boy, but they want to go on off-road adventures and tear up their city streets in style. Adventure bikes are in and Harley-Davidson is getting a piece of that pie.

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The Harley-Davidson Pan America is a new idea born out of a plan for Harley to reach more riders than it did before. It wasn’t a secret that Harley-Davidson was largely stuck in the past. Harley’s customers were older, wealthier folks attracted to American motorcycles that looked and in some ways felt like they were 50 years old. The company gave this demographic a lot of metal to play with and as a result, the Bar and Shield rang the cash register enough to rake in grand profits.

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Mercedes Streeter

Harley hasn’t always been saddled with building large machines. Its past, which isn’t even that long ago, includes the uneasy marriage it had with Buell Motorcycles and projects including the revolutionary V-Rod and the Sportster XR1200 street-tracker. Yet, when these ventures didn’t pad the bottom line, Harley went back to what it knew best.

In 2018, the Motor Company knew it was time for a change. The “More Roads To Harley-Davidson” initiative was launched in the summer of that year and it was an ambitious project. Harley was pretty honest with itself by pointing out that the industry was shifting, but Harley wasn’t. The company’s data showed that young people just aren’t buying motorcycles like they used to and while Harley was still growing, the curve was getting flatter each year.

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Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson’s other findings included the fact that the cruiser market was losing steam while adventure bikes and small displacement motorcycles were growing well. To put it another way, Harley was finding that many people would rather buy a BMW GS or a Royal Enfield than hop on a Harley Street Glide, and that was a problem. Further, not everyone is interested in paying so much cash for a motorcycle.

More Roads To Harley-Davidson sought to fix that. The plan was incredible in its nature. Normally, a company might try to do thing or two differently to grab new clientele. Harley was flipping its own script.

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The Motor Company wanted to expand its customer base by 2 million. How was it going to do that? Harley planned on planting seeds by making products for children. It would get women into motorcycling by first teaching them to ride at Harley’s academy and then selling them on a motorcycle. Harley even put Scarlett Johansson on a prototype Harley-Davidson LiveWire in an Avengers movie.

But this wasn’t all, because Harley also wanted to launch 100 new motorcycle products. These wouldn’t just be cruisers, either, as the brand set its sights on what was trending back then. Harley-Davidson rolled out stunning concept after another, ranging from the electric LiveWire to a tantalizing Bronx streetfighter. Emerging markets would get smaller displacement Harleys, too.

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Unfortunately, as Motorcycle.com wrote, Harley didn’t really have enough time to make all of this a reality. Annual sales were falling and getting caught up in global trade disputes wasn’t helping the bottom line. Moving some production overseas was also a risky move for a company that prided itself on being American. CEO Matt Levatich left his role in 2020 and was replaced by Jochen Zeitz. The new CEO nerfed More Roads To Harley Davidson, instead going for something called Hardwire. This plan cut Harley’s workforce, reduced the number of dealers, delayed new models, and spun off the eBike division.

Thankfully, Hardwire didn’t cancel everything. Projects like the streetfighter died with More Roads, but the company moved forward with the Sportster S, electrification, small displacement bikes for developing markets, and this, the Pan America.

America Goes On An Adventure

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The Pan America is not Harley-Davidson’s first adventure bike. The brand has done plenty of off-roading in its history, but its first motorcycle in the adventure-touring style was the Buell Ulysses. Like all Buells, the Ulysses was a weird ride, one that felt like a sportbike with the ground clearance and off-road tires of an ADV. Of course, it also technically doesn’t count since Buell wasn’t directly a Harley-Davidson.

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Still, Harley’s engineers took notes from the Ulysses (below). They also reached far and wide to existing Harley customers and owners of the proposed ADV competition. Harley wanted to know why someone might buy a BMW GS and what might make for a better ADV.

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After years of waiting, riders finally got to see and ride the production Pan America in early 2021. Sadly, I missed its launch, but I got to ride it now, and I’ve been missing oh so much.

The centerpiece of the Pan America, aside from a feature I’m going to tell you about in a bit, is its engine. When you lay your eyes on a Harley-Davidson Pan America, you’ll instantly figure out that this isn’t your grandfather’s V-twin. This engine, dubbed the Revolution Max 1250 or “Revmax” for short, is an impressive piece of engineering.

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Harley says the Revolution Max 1250 isn’t some recycled engine with new parts, but a clean-sheet design meant to blow the competition out of the water. In its talks about this engine, Harley-Davidson details an almost scary level of detail. Engineers went with a 60-degree V-twin with a narrow profile. This was done to centralize the mass of the engine for better handling, improve rider ergonomics, and to allow the engine to fit into compact spaces.

Ok, that’s pretty cool, but the engineers went further. One goal of the Revmax was reducing weight, so engineers used finite element analysis and deployed optimization techniques to minimize mass in cast components. Harley gives the example of engineers finding out how to shave weight from the starter gear and camshaft drive gears.

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Harley-Davidson

Further weight was shaved with the use of single-piece aluminum cylinders with nickel silicon carbide-surface galvanic coatings, plus forged aluminum pistons. Even more weight was reduced by using magnesium for multiple large pieces. Finally, one more weight-saving measure comes from the fact that the engine was designed to be a structural member, eliminating the need for a heavy frame to cradle it.

Harley’s engineers didn’t stop at putting the engine on a diet. This thing has variable valve timing, independent hydraulic adjustment for the roller-finger valves, and dual counterbalancers. Look, normally these things wouldn’t be much to gush about, but remember that we’re talking about a Harley-Davidson here.

Harley-Davidson

Also quite un-Harley is what this engine can do. The Revmax 1250 pumps out 150 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque at the crank. That horsepower lights up at 9,000 RPM, just before the engine’s 9,500 RPM redline. That’s right, this is a Harley engine that wants to be beaten like it owes you money. My Buell Lightning stops the show 7,500 RPM; a Pan America would leave my Buell like it’s sitting still.

To put this engine into perspective, it’s making more horses than the BMW R 1300 GS that was released just last year and torque isn’t far behind. It’s still a few more ponies than a Triumph Tiger 1200 makes as well. Remember when Harley power was at the bottom of the pack?

As I said before, the engine is a structural element, or the main structure, to be exact. Attached to it is a front portion, an alloy steel trellis, and a forged aluminum middle piece. The wet weight of the Pan America Special, which is the standard Pan America in 2024, is 569 pounds. That’s right on par with the competition.

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Like Magic

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Moneeb Nain

Let’s get to my favorite part here. I love adventure bikes but I don’t love how tall they are. I don’t have long legs, so towering seat heights make stops uncomfortable. I was on my tippy toes almost daily on my old 1999 Triumph Tiger and I thought there had to be a better way. Harley-Davidson realizes this and its solution is brilliant.

For the additional price of $1,200 (this should be standard, guys), you can option your Pan America with what Harley-Davidson calls Adaptive Ride Height. Now this sounds like the fancy electrically adjustable seat that Ryvid has with its Anthem, but it’s so much cooler.

A standard Harley-Davidson Pan America Special has a seat height of 32.1 inches. Combine that with the width of the bike and my feet are only barely touching the ground when stopped. If I do my tall bike hack — that’s left foot on the ground and right foot on the brake — the Pan America is leaning too much for comfort. You can lower the seat to 31.1 inches, but that’s not good enough.

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The Pan America has an electronically controlled suspension programmed to give you 30-percent preload sag no matter how much weight the bike is carrying. The electronic system has another trick in that it can automatically lower the seat on a stop so you can put your feet down with confidence. The system drops the seat 1 to 2 inches depending on load. Normally, this gets you down to 30 inches, but combine it with an optional low seat and the Pan America will get down to 28.1 inches on stops. When I turned on ARH, the Pan America went from being so tall that I could have hurt myself to me being able to put most of my boots on the ground.

The automatic part of the system is another piece of brilliance. The system begins lowering the motorcycle once you hit 15.5 mph while stopping. When you come to a rest, the motorcycle is already in its down position. It’s so seamless that you never notice it happening. Ok, I did notice it once, and it was when I stopped so hard and so fast there was a delay in the system. But getting able to feel and watch it happen was mind-blowing. Once you get moving again the suspension pumps itself back up and again, you won’t notice it a bit.

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Of course, this is supposed to go off-road, so you can set the system to delay the lowering process until after you’ve come to a stop or you can just turn it off completely. I left it on, because it made the Pan America so much more accessible for my short legs.

While we’re on the subject of the suspension, the Pan America has a semi-active damping suspension with five modes catered to riding environments from road touring to hard off-roading. There’s a 47mm inverted fork up front and a linkage-mounted monoshock bringing up the rear. Both ends have electronic controls. You get 6.9 inches of ground clearance, a 17-inch wheel in the rear, and a 19 up front.

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Braking is handled by four-piston Monoblock Brembo calipers clamping on a pair of 320mm discs up front. A single-piston Brembo caliper chomps on a single 280mm rotor in the rear. The brakes are linked in all instances except in the motorcycle’s highest off-road riding mode. Of course, like many high-tech bikes, you get tech goodies like traction control, ABS, and the electronics for that linked braking system. You can defeat the ABS and traction control for sweet slides in the dirt and oh yeah, the bike has no problem with big wheelies.

There’s also a full-color touchscreen on hand, or you could use the handlebar buttons to navigate the bike’s functions if you’re a tactile feel kind of person. All of this is only part of what makes the Pan America great. The ride seals the deal.

Like A Rocket

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Moneeb Nain

Last Tuesday, I found myself in California wine country, or more specifically, Temecula, California. This was a sort of three-in-one event where I got to ride a couple of great motorcycles before trying out a new piece of potentially life-saving helmet gear from the folks at Cardo. I’ll get to the Cardo gear in my next piece and the Indian I rode after that. Today, I have to tell you about riding a new Harley-Davidson Pan America.

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The journalists invited to the event strapped into our gear and hopped on our test bikes bright and early in the morning. Some folks were locals, so they brought their own motorcycles, including an epic Bimota!

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Moneeb Nain

Most journalists chose a bagger or a tourer. I was just one of the few to take the adventure bike for a spin. I hopped onboard the Pan America, used the plastic lever to adjust my windshield, and set the ride mode to Sport. I wanted to go whole hog right out of the gate. Only, I discovered instantly that this doesn’t ride like a hog. It’s more like strapping yourself to a Falcon Heavy. At least, upon twisting the throttle I uttered a word that sounded something like “falcon.”

That was because the Revolution Max 1250 hits like a hammer early on in its rev range. It hits so hard that if you aren’t prepared, you will do a wheelie. This is non-negotiable; the Pan America’s power comes on hard, heavy, and doesn’t relent until you hit that rev limiter. If you have a chance to gather your thoughts, you’ll look down at the touchscreen just to read the “Harley-Davidson” displayed on it. No, the bike hasn’t changed since you hopped on board. This really is a Harley and oh my god is it astonishingly quick.

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Moneeb Nain

Now, I’m going to be quick to clarify that this isn’t the fastest ride on the block. There are motorcycles that hit harder and fly faster. My Triumph Rocket III scoffs at the Pan America’s mere 94 lb-ft of torque. But then you go right back to remembering that hey, this is from Milwaukee. This kind of performance with the Bar and Shield badge is just something else. I won’t say it’s as fun as my Rocket III or as diabolical as a 325 HP Sea-Doo, but if you aren’t smiling on a Pan America you probably need to see a doctor.

The brutal speed is matched with surprising poise when the going gets twisty. I was in a group of journalists with way more experience than I have. These guys were experienced dirt riders, track rats, racers, and lifelong motorcyclists. They were the sorts of folks younger guns like myself look up to. They gave mountain curves no mercy as I heard floorboards scraping ahead of me. I was up to the challenge, and so was the Pan America as I got in some lean and kept up with the pack.

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Moneeb Nain

If I didn’t know any better, I would say Harley-Davidson added a dash of Buell sportbike into its adventure bike. That’s how well it boogied. I won’t say it was a perfect ride. You did feel the motorcycle’s weight in turns and it wasn’t as liberating of an experience as pushing the Zero DSR/X. But it was good, damn good. Each turn kept my heart pumping as if it were trying to match the revs. The gears locked into place with a satisfying click, and the adjustable levers were just perfectly weighted so that my hands didn’t wear out.

I also often have problems with the comfort of motorcycle seats. Bagger seats practically destroy my poor tuchus and leave me waddling like I had a bit too much fun the night before. Yet, other people don’t seem to have that problem. Likewise, some journalists say the Pan America’s seat felt painful after enough time in the saddle. My tush felt great. That’s the funny thing about motorcycle seats and body types. The sweet spot is different for everyone.

Sadly, I did not get to test how it rides off-road, but reviews from other outlets seem to suggest that the Pan America is pretty good at getting dirty. Given the chance, I’d love to test that part for myself.

Looks Great, But Some Details Are Off

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Mercedes Streeter

All of this is exciting and, if it weren’t for the painful $19,999 price tag, I’d be on the horn with my local Harley dealer right now. But $19,999 + $1,200 for ARH is thousands more than I’ve spent on any new car that I’ve purchased thus far in life. Harley-Davidson has done so much right with the Pan America, but I’m afraid high prices will continue to keep young riders dreaming rather than buying.

And the Pan America is easy to dream about. Personally, I think this motorcycle is the coolest-looking ADV on the market. When I first saw press images of it, I thought that this would totally be the motorcycle Halo‘s Master Chief would ride. And I don’t mean Chief from the weird TV show, either, but the OG Green Man obliterating aliens on your Xbox. I guess I would not call the Pan America pretty, but it has that sort of future brutal chic to it that you find in science fiction. The LED lighting, the almost British Racing Green metallic paint, I can get behind all of it.

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Harley-Davidson’s normal fare clenches onto the past like it’s a door floating outside of a sunken Titanic. The Pan America flies through the air with two middle fingers to tradition. It’s refreshing for this brand.

What I do have problems getting behind are a few odd issues that someone should have figured out before the Pan America went on sale. One of them is the rear cylinder’s exhaust pipe’s heat shield. Your right leg is going to spend a lot of its time schmoozing with that exhaust pipe. Harley-Davidson knew this and thus gave the pipes a heat shield. The only problem is that the heat shield is so useless I had to check to see if there was one even there.

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It took about 30 minutes of riding during a warm Southern California day to realize there was something off. Unless I was going highway speed, the exhaust practically cooked the upper portion of right leg. Weirdly, you see that exposed skin with the pants I was wearing? That was fine, the heat was further up. I ended up having to move my right leg a bit out of my natural position. Only then was I able to escape what felt like a blaze beginning on my leg. It’s not just me, either, as other reviewers also complained about getting baked.

Once I was able to start ignoring the heat, I began to notice the build quality wasn’t as I expected from Harley-Davidson. The screen was shrouded in thick, low-ish-grade plastic that I just couldn’t stop staring at. It’s such a departure from the high-quality paint and metal that it sticks out. It’s a similar story for the plastic around the windshield. It looked cheap and the lever for the windshield felt cheap. I wondered how well it would adjust the windshield when caked in dirt and mud.

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I was also not a fan of the Revolution Max 1250’s sound. Contrary to popular belief, Harleys are actually pretty quiet from the factory. However, even when you ride a factory-stock Harley you can still hear that iconic “potato potato” sound. In making the Revolution Max 1250 into a heart-pumping wheelie producer, it seems a lot of that sound got lost. To my ears, the Revmax sounds like what I’d expect from a Can-Am side-by-side or a Japanese V-twin, not America’s motorcycle sweetheart. No matter what mode I chose or how I rode it, I was disappointed in how much the Pan America didn’t sound like a Harley.

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I’m told some exhaust mods improve the sound dramatically and YouTube videos suggest that’s the case. Still, don’t expect to hear that old Evolution engine soundtrack. The Revmax has a new sound to go with its new power.

Harley-Davidson’s Real Flagship

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Moneeb Nain

Despite all of this, I am convinced the Harley-Davidson Pan America is easily one of the best motorcycles to have ever been designed by the Milwaukee firm. It’s so different, so good, and so game-changing that you have to confirm that this was really made by the same company that builds Ultra Limiteds. I am so glad the end of More Roads didn’t kill the Pan America, because Harley-Davidson would be stuck in the past without it.

It’s a shame that the Pan America, like others in this part of the ADV segment, is so expensive. A dollar under $20,000 gets you some nice cars. Heck, the BMW R 1300 GS, another bike that is awesome in its own right, starts at a grand cheaper than the Harley. Sadly, Harley’s continued efforts to attract younger riders still seems a bit too expensive. But if you do have that kind of cash floating around, or at least the financing to make it work, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

My day with a Pan America was a great one. I wanted to ask if I could ride it back to Illinois from California instead of taking a flight home. Instead, I might have to see if I can get one as a press loaner. If it’s that good in wine country, it should be a blast when I take it on a real adventure. Stick around, hopefully I can make it happen!

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Robert Runyon
Robert Runyon
16 days ago

I’ve always seen Harley Davidson as a personal commitment to Industrial age technology. This original Steampunk motorcycle transports me to places no electric or small displacement motorcycle could touch. It’s the whole package. I’ve daily ridden hard tails/springer combos with narrow tires (not those fat ass drag tires with unwelcome traits from unsprung weight).My 16/21 mix is a lark when splitting lanes or cruising the back roads. I’m running a 2 over Springer front end and it must be experienced!. Oh yeah, I’m 65, riding for ever and I’ve owned everything from a Moto Morini to my Kawa ELR. Always a Harley in the garage.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
22 days ago

I feel like Harley is going more in with the Pan America especially now that HD has entered a partnership with the BDR. I still would like to see a 900cc version of this bike. It was rumored then cancelled then not cancelled..etc. Used ones you can get at affordable prices like 11-15k. I know someone that sells at a BMW dealer she couldn’t get the Harley dealer to take one at wholesale price. Also year 1 issues coolant hoses hit exhaust pipes and burned through. And HD decided to emulate BMW in another way, bad side stand sensors.

Mister Win
Mister Win
23 days ago

I’m really tired of people saying they “Don’t sound like Harley-Davidsons”… How can it NOT sound like a Harley-Davidson? Nobody else is making RevMax engines!

It doesn’t sound like an air-cooled, 45 degree overhead valve motor that’s too unbalanced to bear load, is that what you mean? Because I think the tone of it is VERY American, more muscular and deep than anything other than maybe the FTR or a Buell 1190… And downright nasty with an exhaust!

Lardo
Lardo
23 days ago
Reply to  Mister Win

It doesn’t sound like a traditional Harley. Why are you really tired of others expressing their opinion? “the tone of it is VERY American,” WTF does that even mean? So trad Harley’s aren’t “American” sounding to you, but the new Harley does? Having a hard time understanding your logic…

Mister Win
Mister Win
23 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

They BOTH sound traditionally American to me-big simple V-Twins are OUR sound, please believe it-and there’s a certain throaty tone Harley engines make that no other engines do, a BROMP where most motors BRAP if that makes any sense.

There’s a YouTuber named Schaaf who’s done ride videos on both the Road Glide and the Pan America and even the Sportster S, there’s a point around 4200rpm where even the RevMax engines sound almost EXACTLY the same to me: Big, unstressed American engineering, happy to be wrung or milled out whenever you feel like it… Freedom engines.

Last edited 23 days ago by Mister Win
Matthew Skwarczek
Matthew Skwarczek
24 days ago

I had a blast riding the Pan America Special a few years ago. That adaptive ride height feature is, like you said, insanely well-calibrated. If you would’ve told me when I started riding that Harley would show up the heavy-hitters of the ADV market like this, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Out of curiosity, have you ridden the Sportster S or the Nightster? Same engine–albeit with some cruiser-specific changes–and platform

CSRoad
CSRoad
24 days ago

If I was asked to play the semi-offroad game I would pick a Yamaha T700 for about $9,000 less and about a hundred pounds lighter. Shy on the gizmos, but less to go wrong and I don’t think the Pan America, in real life, would be gapping you anywhere except the interstate.

The dynamically adjusting suspension is cool for a bunch of cash, a lot of riders don’t feel safe unless they can flat foot both feet. That and the H-D name I Iook upon as the only draws.

Lardo
Lardo
23 days ago
Reply to  CSRoad

I think most real buyers for this type of bike will agree with you. It might sell, but it’s like having a TRX and never going off road.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
22 days ago
Reply to  CSRoad

I am not so sure full size ADV bikes are much more than tourers that do very occasional gravel. They’re not pushing these to single track aficionados. My Ulysses was rad but anything more than a rough gravel road was too much. And I wasn’t getting gapped by anyone that I rode with on pavement.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
24 days ago

Is this still the same bike as when HD started selling them several years ago? There are no new updates to it right?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
24 days ago

Not a Harley guy here. But.

Something about the whole tank, windshield, headlight pod just looks like crap to me, but maybe it’s better in person?

I am shopping new bikes still. But at 20K for this thing just don’t work for me a bit. For that price I sort of demand a frame, just because. Sorry HD. This just looks cheap, and overweight.

Better choices out there to be made.YMMV

Last edited 24 days ago by Col Lingus
ADDvanced
ADDvanced
22 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Integrating the engine as a structural element is cool.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
22 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Understood. But 60 years of riding has me preferring a frame. YMMV though.

Beatle
Beatle
21 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Reminds me of something fat from the 80s. Looks like different sized blocks stacks on top of each other. It lacks a “beak” which is common on adventure bikes like the GS and Tiger. The Super Tenere and Africa Twins have no beak, but their fronts are much more trim than the Harley.

I’m not a Harley guy either, but I do consider myself to have an open mind, and I’m at least applauding HD for actually making something that’s not a cruiser, but I don’t think anyone is buying this one for its pretty face.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
24 days ago

I love the suspension trick, which is long overdue for ALL motorcycles, but it’s still an overweight adventure bike, a category that shouldn’t even exist. Any bike intended for fire trails should be easily righted if tipped over.

Last edited 24 days ago by PaysOutAllNight
AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago

I’d like to see a line of smaller displacement HDs in the US. Call them “Harlettes” and build a promotional campaign around Bette Midler. Sure, the age demographic wouldn’t quite be what they want. but it would be fun watching a bunch of motorcycles zooming through a replica of the Continental Baths in its heyday while the disclaimer text warns viewers to ride wearing more than just a towel.

No. Bruce Vilanch and the ghosts of Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Riley aren’t writing for me either. If they did. the material would be better.

Last edited 24 days ago by AlterId
Col Lingus
Col Lingus
24 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

I’ll take Rich Little to block please.

Lardo
Lardo
24 days ago

poor tuchus and leave me waddling like I had a bit too much fun the night before.” Really? TMI. No other way to convey that idea?

Mister Win
Mister Win
23 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

I thought it was funny

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
23 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

What, you never have Indian food?

Lardo
Lardo
23 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

can’t wait to hear about David’s sex life…

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
23 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

I was funny…

Lardo
Lardo
23 days ago

it’s so funny. can’t wait to hear if Mercedes wife is pre-op or fucking her with a strap on or dildo. ha ha ha. I’m on the edge of my seat. cause I can’t sit down. because of what I stuffed up my ass last night!

Small Fact0ry
Small Fact0ry
24 days ago

I currently own 2x Suzuki SV650’s: one is a track-weapon-tool, and the other is a naked-standard-street-variant. I have nothing but love for a torquey v-twin. I have been riding for 40 years of my 50 year-life, and love riding all types of bikes (off-road and on), but absolutely no interest in cruisers. When hardly introduced their “more roads to H-D” program I was happy to hear. Would I actually own a H-D some day? Would they steer the ship and start making a variety of smaller (and more affordable) bikes? Then that CEO left…

The Pan-America was nice to see, even though it’s not anything that I’d personally purchase. From my eyes, most purchasers of the Pan America seem to of the be coming from other brands and giving H-D a try. Unfortunately these models have been riddled with issues, and some have had missed months of riding due to them unable to get sorted. Many have just decided to cut their losses, and get out from under them. This is when they realize that the re-sale value on these is NOT good.

I’d love to add a classically-styled small displacement bike to my stable at some point: Which looks like Royal Enfield is doing a great job filling…

Coelacanth
Coelacanth
24 days ago
Reply to  Small Fact0ry

The SV650 was my first bike and it’s a fantastic vehicle. To this day I regret selling mine.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
25 days ago

If it sounds like not a Harley engine, that’s a win to my ears. I’m so tired of hearing ear-piercing blub blub misfire noises. Hopefully these new engines are less loud when they inevitably get straight-piped.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
25 days ago

I love the looks of this thing and impressed HD had the guts to do something completely different. I’ve seen one in the flesh and I was wowed. Also, the fact that it doesn’t sound like a HD is a bonus.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
25 days ago

“Last Tuesday, I found myself in California wine country, or more specifically, Temecula, California.”

At this point almost the entire state short of glaciers and salt flats is “wine country”

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago

IMHO better wine is to be had in the Sierra foothills, Amador and Eldorado counties. Its a nice drive too.

Joe L
Joe L
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Different grapes grow in different places, and terroir is a thing! Temecula does have some great wines.

That said, the market for California wine is over saturated, at a time when wine consumption is dropping. There’s been some consolidation so far, but there is a bit of a reckoning coming, it’s just taking longer than for craft beer. You can spin up a brewery pretty quickly; a winery, not so much.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
24 days ago
Reply to  Joe L

Perhaps they do now. Last time I was there I thought the area was more hat than cattle. But then they seemed focused on chardonnay whereas I prefer big reds. Lodi Zins for example.

Last edited 24 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Joe L
Joe L
23 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Before last weekend, the last time I’d been there was before COVID. Old Town Temecula had a ton of new restaurants and stores when I went this time. Murrieta Hot Springs resort also reopened and was very nice. It’s worth a revisit IMO. I’m going back in a few months – doesn’t hurt that it’s 90 minutes from north Orange County.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
23 days ago
Reply to  Joe L

About 10 hours for me unfortunately. Napa, etc is a lot closer but over hyped and way, way overpriced for my taste. I’m more into ultra cheap, bottom shelf boxed and screwcap wines now. The quality on those has come a long way.

AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Given some of the Orange County’s-a-little-too-diverse-for-us politics out there, Temecula always seemed like more of a whine country to me.

Why no, Steven Keaton, the dad from Family Ties, does not write my jokes. Why do you ask?

Last edited 24 days ago by AlterId
Joe L
Joe L
23 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

LOL. Outside of Huntington Beach, north Orange County is more diverse. You wouldn’t catch me dead in Irvine, for instance. My town is basically a suburb of Long Beach, and I like it that way.

Last edited 23 days ago by Joe L
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
25 days ago

“That’s right, this is a Harley engine that wants to be beaten like it owes you money.”

I though IT beating YOU like you are way behind on your oversized loan payments was considered a good thing among the hardcore leather chapped cosplay crowd.

Last edited 25 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Drew
Drew
25 days ago

I have to wonder if this will be enough to start pulling in new demographics. This is right there with BMW on price, and KTM makes some solid products for a lot less. The HD name carries a lot of weight, but I don’t know if it can carry this type of bike at this type of price point.

I hope this marks a good pivot that marks more options at all sorts of price points, though. I know people who ride the BMW adventure bikes, and I’m pretty sure they won’t mind another option next time they shop.

Joe L
Joe L
23 days ago
Reply to  Drew

The adjustable ride height is definitely an attraction for those who want an adventure bike but are short of inseam.

Bomber
Bomber
25 days ago

I really really really like this bike. The trick suspension is killer. It’s just a bit “too big” for a true ADV that might spend some time off road. More like a big GS, and for the money, I’d probably go GS. That said, I went a size smaller. I got a Norden 901 Expedition last year.

All that said, it’s good to see Harley looking at the aging of their “typical” buyer and doing something to get younger riders. This, the Livewire and that new killer x440 that we don’t get (travesty!) all show they are aware they need to diversify to stay relevant.

Greg
Greg
25 days ago

The traditional harely rider, can’t ride anymore or will have to stop within 10 years. In 20 years, only people playing “retro rider” will own one. This is 100% the direction they need to go in. If they get the QC down and fix some of those smaller issues, the 20k price tag is considered reasonable by that group I believe. Maybe not for a starter bike, but for a serious rider. Good for them, hope to see more bikes like this and less loud ass bikes that aren’t good for much else they mainly make.

On a totally different note, Mercedes— I think, and this is just an idea. It would be pretty fucking funny, if you took all the “best” shots you have compiled from reviews as your life as a journo, and made a picture book of it, it would be a hit. “Mercedes misadventures” or some such, a coffee table book. A small paragraph in the corner of each page– What you were testing, quick take on it and maybe a sentence explaining how you came to be in that position and you got a success.

I’m still laughing about the jetski review from a week or two ago and that fucking winter hat while cruising at 80mph on the water. I don’t mean this in any way to be an insult. I think you do well “owning” these malfunctions and it would be fun to take it up a notch.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Frackle
Frackle
25 days ago

It’s exactly the bike harley needed to answer the market need for an american adv bike (rational or not, a lot of older bike buyers want american). I still think it’s not the top choice based on specs, but it’s not a stupid choice based on specs, and that’s way more than I’d expect from a harley-made adventure bike.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
25 days ago

Many years ago, Ducati released the Multistrada. Understated: it was a face only a few people would find attractive. But Ducati already had a broader base than Harley with the Monster, Classic, and 916/996

This bike with it’s large maw, and large-fleck metallic paint, looks to be targeting people who are already Harley people shopping for Harleys.

At least the Buell range targeted people who were not Harley people. Esp. the Blast.

Mister Win
Mister Win
23 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Some people DO like American motorcycles, the look of the tank and the less complex design languages, but they also want modern tech and performance. As a guy who loved Victory and never really warmed up to Indian, I’m happy for something like that from anywhere!

Jlacourt
Jlacourt
25 days ago

And my 2015 KTM 1290 SA makes more horsepower and torque than this….as much as I like the Pan Am, the engine is nothing special.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
25 days ago
Reply to  Jlacourt

The old Buell 1125 Rotax Helicon engine from 16 years ago was similar power at 146hp / 82lb-ft to this new engine. So, it’s not even impressive for HD’s perspective almost two decades later.

Greg
Greg
25 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I don’t ride, but it seems to be, that’s plenty of power for a small bike? At what point are HP wars pointless on a 500lb machine. If you want a steady, long lasting anything- it’s best to keep numbers reasonable and not stress platforms. If I’m on an adventure, I want to get home, not beat someone at the traffic light.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
25 days ago
Reply to  Greg

IMHO: for livability it’s down to tuning on improving linearity of the power more than the sheer numbers. A linear 200hp engine, like in a GSXR1000, is very rideable with power to get you into/out-of a lot of trouble very quickly and smoothly.

Every so often people question the power out of big motorcycles being ‘too much’ and stressing the engine and/or being rideable. I, personally, don’t have too much issue trusting a high-strung Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, or BMW engine to get me home (brands which have built themselves up over the years with an earned reputation). But a house-brewed HD engine? Probably some doubt.

Greg
Greg
25 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

makes sense, thank you for taking the time to flesh that out to me as a non rider.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
25 days ago

No, but one could argue that HD knows when to call in help and can apply it, such as with the Porsche designed Revolution platform. But, the reference made to a HD brand with similar power existed long ago – so let’s not make excuses for them.

I’ll concede historically in the VR1000 almost 30 years ago; I’m sure those people have all long since retired, though.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
25 days ago
Reply to  Jlacourt

How about emissions? Reliability? Where in the rev range is the power and torque made?

All that being said, KTM is kinda known for typically having the hotter engines. Harley is not.

Coelacanth
Coelacanth
24 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Hotter in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Along with many other folks on ADVrider, I’ve spent years trying to deal with the heat coming off the LC8.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
25 days ago

At least, upon twisting the throttle I uttered a word that sounded something like “falcon.”

Was it something like “Yipee-kai-yay Mr Falcon”?

A. Barth
A. Barth
25 days ago

“potato potato” sound. In making the Revolution Max 1250 into a heart-pumping wheelie producer, it seems a lot of that sound got lost.

It’s my understanding that the potato-potato was caused by an offset crank pin which intentionally unbalanced the crank motion. If they’ve gone to a more traditional crank, that could explain the change.

They’re also using cam chains now instead of pushrods, so they are making progress. Part of their problem IMO is that historically they haven’t really tried to make good motorcycles, preferring (as you described) to make stuff for people who were already fans.

Drew
Drew
25 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Part of their problem IMO is that historically they haven’t really tried to make good motorcycles, preferring (as you described) to make stuff for people who were already fans.

Yeah, this definitely isn’t going to be an easy sell to the core demographic of Harley fans. Hopefully it can attract the attention of a new demo of adventure bike riders. I’d hate to see them make a good motorcycle that gets ignored by the target rider and their normal fan.

William Domer
William Domer
24 days ago
Reply to  Drew

How I wish for a return to Aeromacchi (sp?). I loved my 350 and H/D needs something in a smaller start up the ladder range. That said, they, at least, seem serious about the future and as a Milwaukeean I am glad to see that.

Gubbin
Gubbin
25 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Traditional Harley engines have a 45° cylinder angle and a single crankpin, leading to the potato potato that’s kind of like a 4/4 beat. A lot of other V-twins have a 60° cylinder angle and single crankpin, leading to more of a potat-potat 3/4 beat. Not sure why but 60° seems less harmonious to my ear.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
23 days ago
Reply to  Gubbin

I’m mouthing out the syllables and I get more 3/4 from po-ta-to po-ta-to than po-tat po-tat. I’m probably just not imagining the actual sound correctly.

Gubbin
Gubbin
22 days ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

In my mind, there’s a one-beat pause between words.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
25 days ago

Yeah, if it wasn’t for the silly one-cylinder-behind-the-other engine, it would almost look like a proper BMW GS

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
25 days ago

Given the love of SUVs with the car-buying public, I’m not surprised to see the motorcycle equivalent become popular, so it’s cool that HD is going there.

The cruiser thing is getting to be a tough sell, as other bike types can do what cruisers can, but not vice versa. I’ve ridden the metric versions, and I get the appeal; HD just took it to the extreme. And for awhile, there was enough interest to sustain that, but tastes change. I’m just glad HD has chosen to try to compete with rest of the world, not just be a niche firm.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
23 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

also the age of most harley buyers. they ride them for a few years and then are too old to ride anymore and sell them. if you go to the used market for bikes you are flooded with lower mileage HD cruisers to choose from. buying brand new doesn’t make any sense.

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