The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Is Finally Ready for Adventure

With Harley-Davidson’s recent financial troubles, the fate of some of its concept motorcycles was uncertain for a time. But after the electric LiveWire ferried Ewan McGregor in Long Way Up, we learned that Harley was still planning on releasing the Pan America adventure bike. And now, it’s finally arrived.

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250: the company’s first adventure bike has a brand-new engine

A rider on a black 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 in front of an orange 1250 Special in the desert
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 and 1250 Special | Harley-Davidson

Besides being Harley-Davidson’s first-ever adventure bike, the 2021 Pan America 1250 is also the first bike to show off the company’s newest engine. And like the Pan America itself, it’s a significant departure from Harley’s usual offerings.

While the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 does have a V-twin, it’s a 1250cc liquid-cooled V-twin, Roadshow reports. Usually, the company relies at least in part on air-cooling, even on large bikes like the Street Glide. And in another break from tradition, the ‘Revolution Max’ V-twin is a stressed member of the frame, Cycle World reports.

A Partially-cutaway 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Revolution Max V-twin engine
Partially-cutaway 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Revolution Max V-twin | Harley-Davidson

There’s one more area where the 2021 Pan America 1250’s engine differs from the ‘average’ Harley: how it makes power. The V-twin redlines at 9500 RPM, making 150 hp and 95 lb-ft along the way, Autoblog reports. And it does so with maintenance-free hydraulic valves, a rarity in the motorcycle world. Plus, the six-speed manual has a slipper-assist clutch.

What else does it offer?

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One of the benefits of a stressed-member engine is lowering the overall weight of a motorcycle. And for a large-capacity adventure bike, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 has a “reasonable” curb weight, RideApart reports. Thanks to extensive use of magnesium and aluminum, the base model weighs 534 pounds fully-fueled. And in range-topping Special form, that increases to 559 pounds.

Speaking of trims, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 has two of them: base and Special. Both models come with fully-adjustable Showa suspension, Brembo brakes, cornering ABS and traction control, engine-braking control, and multiple riding modes, Bennetts reports. Plus, hill-hold control, and a tilting 6.8” TFT screen, MCN reports.

An orange 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special in the desert equipped with accessory luggage cases
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special side view with accessories | Harley-Davidson

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The Pan America 1250 Special has the same 8.3” ground clearance and 7.5” of suspension travel as the base model, Jalopnik reports. However, it also comes with a semi-active version of the Showa suspension. In standard form, the suspension adjusts to the on-board payload and the selected riding mode. And with the optional Adaptive Ride Height feature, the adventure bike automatically lowers when you come to a stop for easier dismounts.

Besides the trick suspension, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special comes with heated grips, a center stand, an aluminum skid plate, and engine brush guards. Plus, a steering damper, handguards, an adaptive headlight, a tire-pressure monitoring system, and an adjustable rear brake pedal. And spoked wheels with tubeless tires are a factory-installed option.

How much will the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 cost?

A white-blue-and-red 2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure in the brush with accessory luggage
2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure | BMW

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The 2021 Pan America 1250 should hit Harley-Davidson dealers starting in May 2021. In standard form, the base model starts at $17,319. The Special starts at $19,999 with the Adaptive Ride Height being a $1000 option, Cycle World reports. While that isn’t necessarily cheap, the Pan America does compare favorably with many other large-capacity adventure bikes.

For example, the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure is over 30 pounds heavier than the Pan America Special. And while its 1254cc boxer-twin engine makes 105 lb-ft, it ‘only’ makes 136 hp. Plus, it doesn’t come standard with adaptive headlights, adaptive suspension, heated grips, or cruise control, even though it starts at $20,840. Though adding them as part of the Premium Package does also mean getting a heated seat.

A gray-and-black 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S in front of a mountain
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S | Ducati

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The Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special is also roughly the same price as a base-trim 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4. Admittedly, Ducati’s adventure bike does offer adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, though only as optional extras. And while it has slightly more ground clearance than the Harley, it has less suspension travel. But fully-fueled, the V4 S is about 20 pounds lighter than the Pan America Special, its 1158cc V4 makes 170 hp and 92 lb-ft, and it also features semi-active suspension. However, the V4 S starts at $24,095.

We’ll have to ride the Pan America to really get a sense of how it compares to the adventure bike competition. But officially count us excited for Harley-Davidson’s newest motorcycle.

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