What is this?
Harley-Davidson is making great efforts to reach new audiences and new markets. With the LiveWire, the American manufacturer is the first classic motorcycle builder to add an electric motorcycle to the range, although the model is marketed as a separate brand. A bit on the example of Citroën and DS. But at least as daring is this Pan America, the big one adventure from Milwaukee. A brave choice, because this segment soars particularly high with motorcycles such as the inevitable BMW R 1250 GS, the Ducati Multistrada V4 and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure.
The design takes some getting used to, but the engine immediately charms. It is a V-twin with a block angle of 60 degrees with a displacement of 1,252 cc, a peak power of 150 hp and a maximum torque of 127 Nm. At around 4,000 rpm, the power source is silky smooth, but from 6,500 rpm the whip pops and the Harley-Davidson Pan America fires a final shot that the competition can only watch. During the comparison test with the aforementioned references, only the KTM turned out to be a little faster, but the BMW and the Ducati were merciless. Only the injection throws a spanner in the works: too spongy in the softer driving modes and too aggressive in the sportier settings.
What is changing?
A Harley-Davidson is for driving straight, that’s how we’ve all learned it. But this Pan America was not developed for Route 66, but for the dusty dirt roads next to it. And there you can rest assured. corners, because the driving part can be caught on few mistakes. It’s a pity that the Harley is a bit heavier than the direct competition, so that the Pan America sends less flashy than, for example, the Ducati Multistrada. Off-road trips are no problem either, with the right tires you can get a long way on unpaved roads.
Optionally, you can equip the Harley-Davidson Pan America with an adaptive ride height, where the suspension collapses when you almost come to a stop. This ensures that even smaller people with this bear of a adventure bike shock, without the fear of laying the colossus on its side at the traffic light. Brilliant really, why hasn’t anyone come up with that before? Other good points on the report for the seating comfort and for the wind protection, so you can easily last a whole day on the Pan America. Also nice: the dashboard has a touch screen.
The biggest surprise? The price. We expect a steep price tag, close to the very expensive BMW, Ducati and KTM. But the Harley-Davidson Pan America is at the dealer from 16,495 euros, the S version blessed with higher-quality hardware – electronic damping from Showa – changes hands from 19,495 euros.
The Harley-Davidson Pan America is the model with which the Americans want to show that they have more to offer than the cruisers and choppers we all know. And surprisingly they succeeded. It’s not a GS killer, no. But the Harley-Davidson Pan America comes damn close. And that’s not bad for a first attempt in a market segment unknown to them. Remember that the BMW GS as we know it today dates back to 1994 and has taken years to become the dominant force it is today.
The Pan America feels well thought out and has a sound foundation, but there are still a lot of points of interest. Then we think of the injection, the finish and weight. There et Harley-Davidson is a very strong block and a surprisingly mild price. Good job, Yankees!
Source: Read the full test report in Motorcyclist magazine, which can be ordered via www.motorrider.be or for sale in the newspaper or bookstore.