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The Pan America 1250 is a Harley-Davidson that can go anywhere

Where this motorcycle can go, there are no roads

The Pan America 1250 is built to conquer the bush. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Harley-Davidson may be late to the adventure/touring party, but the American entry arrives with a bang. Dubbed the Pan America, the newest Harley-Davidson is an all-new model and the brand’s first ever entry to the adventure/touring class. “From its inception more than a century ago, when many roads were little more than dirt trails, Harley-Davidson has stood for adventure,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “So I’m very proud to present Pan America as the first adventure touring bike designed and built in America.”

Lightweight construction maximizes the potential of the 150hp engine. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

The Pan America is powered by the new 150hp Revolution Max 1250 engine, a liquid-cooled 1,250cc V-twin designed for a broad spread of power. Surprisingly, for a Harley-Davidson at least, quoted curb weight is not excessively heavy: 242kg (wet) for the standard Pan America, and 258kg for the Pan America 1250 Special. Weight savings were accomplished by utilizing the powertrain as a stressed member, eliminating the traditional frame. The front frame, the mid frame and the tail section bolt directly to the powertrain, reducing weight and stiffening the chassis. The swingarm and the standard wheels are also made of cast aluminum for lightness and strength. The chassis is designed with a 158cm wheelbase to strike the middle ground between comfortable touring and off-road agility. The company also partnered with Michelin to create the Scorcher Adventure tire specifically for the Pan America. Riders seeking maximum off-road traction can opt for Michelin Anakee Wild tires with an aggressive “knobby” tread pattern.

The Pan America rider can choose from a selection of ride modes. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Brembo provides the braking system for the Pan America, utilizing dual 320mm front rotors and a single 280mm rear rotor. A radial monoblock 30mm four-piston caliper and a lightweight front brake master cylinder with adjustable lever response were also designed specifically for the Pan America.

The standard suspension is a passive Showa system adjustable for preload and compression/rebound damping on both ends. The front suspension is a 147mm inverted cartridge fork with 190mm of travel, while the rear is a piggyback reservoir shock that incorporates a linkage system for a progressive feel.

The Michelin Scorcher Adventure tire was created just for this motorcycle. PHOTOS FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

The dashboard uses a tilting 17.2cm TFT screen that disables all touch-sensitive functions when the bike is in motion. The rider can still use hand controls to manage the display while moving. This supports Bluetooth-equipped mobile devices for music and calls. Navigation is supplied by the Harley-Davidson app for iOS and Android devices.

The Pan America benefits from a full suite of safety features including an inertial measurement unit for cornering rider safety enhancements, cornering enhanced electronically linked braking, ABS, traction control, drag-torque slip control, and hill hold control.

The bike also has several ride modes: Road, Sport, Rain, Off-Road and Off-Road Plus. Switchable while in motion, each setting consists of a specific combination of power delivery, engine braking, ABS and traction control. Cruise control is standard.

Of course, it can still munch through smooth tarmac like traditional Harleys. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Ergonomically, the Pan America promises a comfortable fit with a seat that can be set to a high or low position without requiring tools. The high position has an unladen seat height of 89.4cm, while the low position is at 86.8cm. A four-position windscreen can also be adjusted with one hand to manage airflow around the rider.

The Pan America’s aluminum fuel tank holds 21.2L and places its fuel filler well forward on top of the tank so it will not be covered by most tank bags. Lighting is all-LED, and the distinctive rectangular Daymaker Signature headlamp has been designed to produce outstanding illumination with a homogenous spread of light that is free of hotspots.

The 1250 Special benefits from a clever adaptive suspension system. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

The Pan America 1250 Special features several exclusive add-ons over the regular model, the most impressive being its semi-active suspension. It uses electronically adjustable hardware by Showa controlled by Harley’s own software. The vehicle loading control system senses the weight of the rider, the passenger and the luggage to select optimal suspension sag by adjusting the rear preload. Unladen seat height is 84.8cm in the low position, and 87.4cm in the high position. In addition, adaptive ride height is a factory-installed option that allows the rider to mount the bike with ease as well as lowering the bike when coming to a stop. Depending on the automatically selected rear preload, the system can raise and lower seat height from 2.5cm to 5cm. ARH does not compromise suspension travel, lean angle, ground clearance or ride quality. The rider can also choose between several suspension modes.

The computer instantly adjusts damper preload and ride height. PHOTOS FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

Riders who also foresee the need for even sturdier shoes than the stock cast aluminum set can also opt for tubeless laced wheels. Head hand grips, hand wind deflectors, and a steering damper are also fitted as standard. Other convenience features of the 1250 Special include a tire pressure monitor, a center stand, a multi-position rear brake pedal, brush guard, and an aluminum skid plate.

Finally, this bike uses adaptive headlamp technology, utilizing the ABS IMU to project additional light into corners. The lamps illuminate in sequence based on motorcycle lean angle at 8°, 15° and 23°. The system is also designed to provide a gradual ramp-up in brightness so that the additional lighting comes on smoothly.

The Pan America is a different type of Harley, but it's no less enjoyable. PHOTO FROM HARLEY-DAVIDSON

According to Harley-Davidson of Manila, regional pricing has yet to be finalized and will be announced by mid-March, with actual units targeted to arrive in the Philippines by April. If you’re shopping for a premium adventure bike, it would be worth your time to wait and see how this new American entry looks in the flesh (or metal, whatever).

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our Motorcycle Editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.