2021 HARLEY DAVIDSON PAN AMERICA: HD SETS ITS SIGHTS ON GETTING DIRTY

Harley Davidson's Pan America in what is hoped to be its natural habitat
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Harley Davidson takes to the dirt roads with a unique entry into adventure that will turns heads and polarise opinions.

MY21 HD Pan America taking in the scenery

The long awaited Harley Davidson Pan America adventure model has been unveiled in all its full glory. For a time, it felt like the bike may not make production as both the world and the HD corporation seemed to be in dubious health. But the model has so far survived COVID-19 and a marketing department bombarded by customers who never want to see the brand change from what it had to offer in the 1950s. Surely this is a good sign that it can survive a solid ride on shaky ground?

They always look best when they’re dirty right?

The Pan America is powered by the all-new liquid-cooled V-twin, Revolution Max 1251cc engine, which Harley claims produces 150 horsepower and is hooked up to a six-speed gearbox.

Harley used to make dirtbikes but that was a long time ago. It’s still kind of weird to see them offroad

YOU’VE GOT OPTIONS 

The bikes will be available in two versions: the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. The Special receives some upgrades and options that include Adaptive Ride Height (ARH) which is able to lower the bike two inches at rest to make it easier to get on and off. While riding, the system maintains a constant, optimum suspension sag by adjusting preload while continuously sensing weight inputs. HD is the first manufacturer to offer this system. To top it off the Special also comes with semi-active electronic suspension by Showa, (think Africa Twin Adventure Sports). You can also opt for spoked, tubless wheels and one of four colour scheme choices.
The bike tips the scales at about 243 kilograms fully fuelled for the Standard version and 255kg for the Sports model (claimed) which is in the ballpark of other big-bore adventure bikes like the R 1250 GS and Africa Twin.

Being able to lower the seat height at a stop is pretty bloody useful. Especially for anyone who’s experienced catching your foot on a pannier trying to dismount at the servo!

 

ADAPTIVE RIDE HEIGHT (ARH) AT A GLANCE

AUTO MODE
The system determines how quickly to lower the suspension based on how aggressive the braking action is, with the result of having the suspension fully lowered when the bike comes to a stop.

SHORT DELAY AND LONG DELAY
The lowering function is delayed until the motorcycle comes to a stop so that full ride height is maintained while the motorcycle is moving at low speeds.

LOCKED
The Adaptive Ride Height system will always maintain the normal ride height and does not lower at a stop. This mode might be selected by riders who do not need ARH to be flat-footed at a stop, or for off-road riding when full ride height is desirable at low speeds.

The cast wheel version will no doubt see a majority road/touring work

ACTIVE SUSPENSION SETTINGS AT A GLANCE

COMFORT
Maximizes ride comfort by providing more compliance and isolating the rider from rough road conditions.

BALANCED
Optimized balance of ride comfort and ride control for all-around riding.

SPORT
Maximum ride control with higher damping rates calibrated for spirited riding with maximum confidence.

OFF-ROAD SOFT
Reduced initial damping to increase suspension compliance to better absorb larger obstacles and to reduce kickback – ideal for logging roads, ruts, and rocky terrain.

OFF-ROAD FIRM
Increased initial damping for aggressive riding or when less body float is desired – ideal for soft/loamy terrain.

BIG THINKER

Some of the electronic features include Linked Braking and Cornering ABS, Traction Control and a Drag-Torque Slip Control System, as well as Hill Hold, Tire Pressure Monitoring and Cruise Control. All functions are sighted via the 6.8-inch TFT screen which is equipped with a USB charging port and is Bluetooth compatible. The Harley app will allow navigation via your phone. 

HD wasn’t afraid to throw the bikes around in its press shoots

 

Harley went with a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel combo with a tubless/spoked set an option on the Special. There are 7.5-inches of suspension travel both front and rear. The fuel tank is a little over 21 litres which is decent but we’ll need to do some real-world riding to find out what that sort of distances you can get from that.

Pricing starts at $31,995 and increases with colour choices and options. Adding spoked wheels and Adaptive Ride Height, which we’d certainly consider, will lift the price by $1485.

PAN AMERICA

PAN AMERICA SPECIAL