The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 is a wonderful journey touring motorbike. The truth that it’s the model’s first actual entry into the section is spectacular — no, I didn’t overlook the Buell Ulysses, which was neither badged a Harley-Davidson nor a direct competitor to different bikes within the section — however the Pan America isn’t simply good for a gap salvo, it’s simply plain good. And the blissful story all begins with the bike’s all-new liquid-cooled engine.

Harley’s new 60-degree V-twin engine displaces 1,252cc, options twin overhead camshafts with variable timing, twin spark plugs and a 13.0:1 compression ratio. The usage of hydraulic valve adjusters means they’ll by no means want adjustment, one thing its essential German rival cannot declare. The Revolution engine spins out 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 pound-feet of torque at 6,750 (operating premium gasoline; output will probably be lowered on common unleaded). It’s principally the precise reverse of most another V-twin from H-D, with energy that begins fairly low however builds rapidly because the revs climb, by no means letting up earlier than every 9,000-rpm shift of the six-speed gearbox. Not surprisingly for a Harley-branded bike, the Revolution engine seems to be good, too.

Harley has included Street, Rain, Off-Street and Off-Street Plus modes which might be chosen utilizing buttons on the handlebars. A 6.8-inch shade show reveals all the present settings, together with all the info you’d in any other case count on from the gauge cluster. Every of those modes regulate every thing from the engine’s energy output to suspension and ABS brake settings. The digital suspension that comes on Pan America Particular fashions like our take a look at bike additionally affords a number of modes. Sport, Street and Consolation are all self explanatory, and the distinction between Off-Street Tender and Off-Street Agency are simply felt from the saddle.

Adaptive Journey Peak, which provides an extra $1,000 to the price of the Pan America Particular, can drop the seat peak to only beneath 30 inches at low speeds, beginning its adjustment at 15.5 mph. An optionally available low seat brings that quantity all the best way all the way down to about 28 inches for shorter riders. Inventory, the Pan America’s unladen saddle is 33.4 inches off the bottom within the low place or 34.4-inches within the excessive place. This wide selection of adjustability makes the Pan America probably the most versatile bikes within the journey section, accessible to riders with shorter inseams who might in any other case have a tough time balancing a heavy bike beneath strolling speeds. It’s additionally potential to show off Adaptive Journey Peak to keep up most clearance.

The semi-active suspension system mechanically adjusts to keep up 30% suspension sag no matter how a lot weight the bike is carrying. There’s 7.5 inches of suspension journey and eight.3 inches of floor clearance, and for those who exceed that restrict, the large burly skidplate of our Pan America Particular mannequin felt sturdy sufficient to stop harm to something essential. The Pan America 1250 weighs in at 534 kilos moist, whereas the Particular bumps that as much as 559 kilos on account of extra gear that features engine guards, a middle stand, hand guards, heated grips, a tire-pressure monitor and an Ohlins steering damper. It is heavy however effectively balanced and never so unwieldy that I had any issues getting it up onto its heart stand.

A manually adjustable windshield with a pistol-grip deal with is designed to direct the oncoming wind blast the place the rider desires it, however even in its most upright place (which is oddly at its second-to-last setting) it could’t push the bubble fully over a tall rider’s helmet. A lot of the remainder of the controls are pretty straightforward to make use of from the saddle. Downside is, there are such a lot of buttons and switches on the handlebars — a problem on this section that’s not distinctive to Harley-Davidson — that riders are going to need to get to know them rather well earlier than hitting the street. And regardless that the digital sprint is shiny, crisp and well-sized, among the readouts are too small to see with out taking your eyes off the street for too lengthy.

The Revolution engine, which in contrast to most H-D V-twins shares a case with the transmission, is a burdened member of the body. There’s a entrance body, a mid body and a subframe on the rear that helps the rider and passenger. The top result’s a stiff chassis that lets the entrance and rear suspension methods work effectively. On-road dealing with is excellent, with straightforward transitions from left to proper, and loads of out there lean angle. Rolling into the throttle supplies sturdy thrust, and partly as a result of the traction management adjusts its sensitivity based mostly on lean angle, the bike instills a way of confidence to maintain exploring its limits.

I spent most of our time using in Street mode. It by no means rained throughout our week with the Pan America, however it was apparent that Rain mode cuts energy and throttle sensitivity. The 2 Off-Street modes are helpful, naturally, off street. The usual Off-Street mode eases the ability supply and amps up the traction management and linked ABS brakes. Off-Street Plus reduces traction management intervention and permits skilled riders to lock up the brakes. Traction management is totally defeatable, permitting for tail-out antics on the filth. 

I rode the bike with its inventory Michelin Scorcher Journey tires, so I didn’t enterprise too far off into the rocks or mud. Heavy gravel and unfastened sand did trigger the bike to wander a bit, however its good weight distribution (although I had a backpack with 20 kilos of substances within the prime case), stable ergonomics and rational geometry meant that it by no means felt so bushy that I wanted to decelerate. One facet impact of comparatively low-speed using is that there isn’t sufficient airflow to push sizzling air away from the engine, and the Pan America’s powerplant places out a variety of warmth.

Out of the filth and onto the freeway, the very first thing that turns into apparent when using the Pan America is that it’s obtained loads of energy. Accelerating as much as extra-legal speeds is a flick of the wrist and a few left-toe gear adjustments away, and the sturdy upper-rpm punch makes passing 18-wheelers a cinch.

Among the best issues about this class of bikes is that they will swap between on- and off-pavement adventures on the rider’s whim. The Pan America executes this transition very effectively, regardless of an apparent bias towards the asphalt. All of the digital doodads outlined above work wonders to change the Pan America’s dynamics from sporty tourer to succesful off-roader, significantly the adjustable suspension and engine maps.

By now, it ought to be apparent that I feel Harley-Davidson has made a superb journey touring motorbike. In spite of everything, I mentioned as a lot proper off the bat. And at $17,319 for the bottom mannequin or $19,999 for the Particular mannequin that I examined, it’s even priced competitively. Factor is, there are a number of excellent journey bikes that H-D is competing with, not the least of which is the segment-defining BMW R 1250 GS. Is the Pan America higher than its rivals? No, probably not. But it surely’s proper within the ballpark, and that’s a significant win for the American model that wants nothing greater than to carry new riders into its showrooms.

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