News

Inside News

Whether you prefer to grip the wheel or the handlebars, get the latest inside scoop on both classic cars and motorbikes.

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 puts the cat among the adventure bike pigeons

It’s been years in the making, but Harley-Davidson’s new Pan America 1250 adventure bike will be in showrooms in the next few months. And if the spec sheets translate into the real world, the all-American challenger to this hotly contested class may well prove to be a thorn in the side to BMW’s dominant R1250GS.

Harley-Davidson has been very open about diversifying its product range and announced the Pan America along with several other planned new models, including the Yamaha MT-09 challenging Bronx, in 2018. And while the Bronx looks to have fallen by the wayside, the Pan America 1250 will be on British roads by this summer.

Cynics may have sniggered at the thought of an adventure touring bike from the most traditional of cruiser manufacturers, but the Motor Company may well have the last laugh. They’ve revealed the final specifications and they suggest a machine that should be a match for the class leading GS, never mind competitors like the Triumph Tiger 1200 and Yamaha’s Super Tenere.

And while most manufacturers have tried to muscle in on Harley’s dominance in the custom/cruiser sector, the American brand had previously remained (with a few limited diversions, most notably the VR1000 superbike of 1994) loyal to its traditionally styled and engineered machines. The Pan America is a ground up new design and, barring a few H-D traditions, may well pull in new riders to the brand, ones who would never had considered owning a Harley before.

RA1250s

Traditionally Harley-Davidson have shied away from declaring power outputs, focussing more on torque and characteristics, but the so-called ‘Revolution Max’ unit is at the cutting edge and this time they’re happy to shout it from the rooftops. The headline figure is the all-new short-stroke V-twin engine, producing a claimed 145bhp – more than 10bhp up on its German rival – and the technology includes variable valve timing, which allows the motor to be tuned for a beefy mid range without sacrificing top end power.

The tech also includes the latest levels of electronics, inline with competitors, which features five pre-programmed riding modes and the ability for the rider to create their own custom mode using their own preferred parameters. Other electronic aids include cornering ABS and corner sensitive traction control. A 6.8” TFT dashboard presents the information, with Bluetooth connectivity for the Infotainment system.

Indeed, take the spec sheet alone and the Pan America could come from any mainstream motorcycle manufacturer. The styling is distinctive, especially the headlight, and the chassis follows the class norm with a 19” front and 17” wheel, shod with Michelin tyres, although only cast alloy wheels are available at launch.

That new engine is used as a stressed member, which saves weight, and the chassis has been designed to bolt together in sections, meaning that it can be easily repaired should it take knocks when ridden off-road. That ability to be ridden on the rough stuff can also be seen by the decision to adopt a tough chain final drive, a departure from Harley’s normal but more fragile belt and the heavier shaft drive seen on the GS and Tiger 1200.

The result is a wet weight of 245kg, a little lighter than its German rival, but of course the proof of the pudding will be in the riding and Harley-Davidson is bigging up its new model, although we’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how it performs against its rivals.

Two models will be available at launch and while the base version is already well specified, the Pan America Special adds electronic suspension and a unique adaptive ride height system, which lowers the bike at standstill. Pricing is also very competitive, starting at £14,000.

Bike News

You also may be
interested in...

Bike News

Steve McQueen limited edition tops updated Triumph Scrambler 1200 range

Triumph fans will be able to channel their inner Steve McQueen this summer after the British brand announced that it will build a special edition of its Scrambler 1200 as a homage to the Hollywood icon.

Read more Bike News, Inside Bikes

Keep up to date with our news & blogs

Bike News

Steve McQueen limited edition tops updated Triumph Scrambler 1200 range

Triumph fans will be able to channel their inner Steve McQueen this summer after the British brand announced that it will build a special edition of its Scrambler 1200 as a homage to the Hollywood icon.

Read more Bike News, Inside Bikes
Bike Shows & Events

Top five… motorcycle events set to go ahead in 2021

Which motorcycle events are going ahead in 2021 and what's caught our fancy?

Read more Inside Bikes, Motorcycle Events
Bike News

Colin Appleyard bike division sold to MotoGB

Famous West Yorkshire motorcycle dealership Colin Appleyard has sold its two-wheeled operations to focus on its car division.

Read more Bike News, Inside Bikes

Have some questions? Check out our tips & guides pages for some great information

Motorbike Reviews

Road test: KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

KTM’s confidence in its new 1290 Super Adventure S is clear. According to the Austrians, it’s the ‘Ultimate High-Performance Adventure Bike’ – a pretty big claim, but as the previous model’s speedy dynamics are so impressive, it’s probably not too...

Read more Bike Reviews
Motorbike Reviews

Road test: Kawasaki Z900RS

Think of a modern day interpretation of a classic motorcycle and you’ll probably have visions of the latest Triumph Bonneville, or maybe a Ducati Scrambler or BMW R nineT, but after spending some time with Kawasaki’s latest Z900RS, we might have just...

Read more Bike Reviews
Motorbike tips

Top five… cruisers that aren’t American

Cruisers, or custom bikes as they are also known, are popular with a wide range of riders. They’re low, easy to ride, designed to be modified and look great.

Read more Inside Bikes