Although it makes some excellent cruisers, Harley-Davidson’s lineup outside the segment is basically just the electric LiveWire. However, as part of its plan under past-CEO Matt Levatich, Harley was working on several decidedly non-cruiser bikes. One of these planned models was the Harley-Davidson Pan America, an adventure bike meant to take on manufacturers like BMW. Due to the company’s financial troubles, we believed that it had been canceled. But it turns out the Pan America will hit showroom floors and the dirt after all.
The Harley-Davidson Pan America adventure bike concept
The production-spec Harley-Davidson Pan America first bowed in 2019, as did the planned Bronx streetfighter, Cycle World reports. At the time, only a few of the adventure bike’s specs and features were available, RideApart reports. But they pointed at a noticeable departure from the company’s usual products.
Besides being Harley-Davidson’s first adventure bike, the Pan America would also debut a brand-new V-twin. Dubbed ‘Revolution Max,’ the liquid-cooled V-twin was planned to be available in two capacities, 975cc and 1250cc, Revzilla reports. In the Pan America, the engine would reportedly make over 145 hp and 90 lb-ft.
In comparison, the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure’s 1254cc flat-twin makes 136 hp and 105 lb-ft. But arguably bigger news than the Revolution Max’s output is that Harley mentioned horsepower at all. Typically, it only specifies torque.
Besides the engine, the Harley-Davidson Pan America concept had model-specific Brembo brakes and Michelin off-road tires. And of course, the typical ADV features such as a skid plate, adjustable windscreen, handguards, luggage racks, and crash bars.
But, in another change to Harley-Davidson’s standard practices, the Pan America only has one turn signal switch. Usually, Harleys have two, one on each handlebar. Plus, the Pan America has chain-drive, Rider reports, rather than belt-drive.
The Harley-Davidson Pan America, then, was shaping up to be a significant departure from the brand’s norms. However, while the concept bike was shown off at EICMA, and press photos show it being ridden, no publication ever rode a running example.
But that doesn’t mean Harley has given up on the ADV.
Long Way Up and the Harley-Davidson Pan America production plans
RELATED: The Best New ADV Bikes Under $15,000
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire isn’t an adventure bike. But as Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman planned their third epic motorcycle journey together, they decided to go electric. And they were very inspired by what the LiveWire was doing for electric bikes, they explain in a ScreenRant.
As a result, Harley modified the LiveWires to serve as ersatz ADVs in Long Way Up. Some of the parts, such as the windscreens, shocks, and handlebars clamps, were custom. But the tires, Brembo brakes, and wire-spoke wheels are straight from the Pan America. And in the press release announcing the podcast series detailing the build process, Harley-Davidson said the Pan America was an “upcoming” product.
And only a few days ago, Harley-Davidson’s official Twitter account replied to a fan tweet asking about the Pan America. In its reply tweet, the company confirmed the adventure bike was coming in 2021.
What we still don’t know
As of this writing, no further information about the Harley-Davidson Pan America has been released. We know it’s coming in 2021, but we don’t have a specific date or price. We don’t even know the bike’s curb weight.
There’s also the matter of the Revolution Max engine. As far as size goes, it’s actually on the smaller end where Harleys are concerned. And it’s not as if the company doesn’t offer liquid-cooled engines, either.
The Iron 1200 Sportster, one of the smallest and cheapest bikes the company offers, has a 1200cc air-cooled V-twin. Meanwhile, the Softail Standard cruiser has the oil-cooled version of the Milwaukee Eight 1753cc V-twin, Cycle World reports. The larger tourers and baggers get the liquid-cooled version.
However, the Revolution Max was meant to debut on both the Pan America and the Bronx streetfighter bike. And as of this writing, the latter’s production details remain in limbo. Making a brand-new engine just for one model doesn’t make a lot of sense—just ask Cadillac. But if Harley-Davidson’s serious about it, that might mean the Bronx will be officially released, too.
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