Beginner road bikes, lighter and more simplified cruisers, came first, but such steps could not restore Harley-Davidson to its former greatness. And in 2021, a completely new class of motorcycles was launched into mass production - the grand enduro in the face of the Harley-Davidson Pan America model.
The first off-road Harley?
There have been talks about launching a completely new Harley for a long time, but most motorcyclists did not take the rumors seriously. One could still believe that the company would release a classic road bike, but no one suspected that a grand enduro would appear.
The appearance of the motorcycle is impressive! Photo: Youtube.com
And in 2021, the production model Harley-Davidson Pan America, created in the grand enduro class, appeared. As it turned out, the manufacturer already had off-road motorcycles in its history - in the 1970s. In the early 2000s, Buell, then owned by Harley-Davidson, also produced grand enduro bikes, and they were equipped with Harley engines.
It turns out that the manufacturer "in the bins" had technical documentation that allows the release of heavy enduro. It was possible to copy the segment leader - BMW R1200GS, but Harley-Davidson went its own way.
The Pan America motorcycle turned out to be original:
- ? Own "chopped" design
- ? Powerful engine, traditional V-twin
- ? High degree of energy saturation
The result was a new Harley, which at first glance has nothing in common with the traditional motorcycles of this manufacturer, but at the same time, the model at the start of sales could compete with the leaders of the grand enduro segment.
The back of the motorcycle looks even airy. Photo: Youtube.com
Externally, the motorcycle looks strange not only for a real Harley, but for any enduro tour. The designers and engineers have come up with a kind of terminator motorcycle that evokes thoughts about the future after the apocalypse. In any case, the bike is severe and masculine, there is a certain charm in it, although there is no need to talk about any sophistication of appearance.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 is available in two versions:
- ? Basic
- ? Special
The specialized version, in addition to a number of electronic options, such as cruise control and traction control, is equipped with electronically adjustable suspensions, aluminum engine protection, roll bars, heated grips, tire pressure sensors, adaptive headlights and other options.
Engine and transmission
The first grand enduro from Harley-Davidson received a modern motor - this is a traditional V-twin, but with a liquid cooling system. Called the Revolution Max engine, it has a displacement of 1252 cubic centimeters and develops 150 hp.
The motor is designed specifically for use on an off-road motorcycle - the emphasis is on traction in the range of low and medium speeds, it is in such modes that such bikes most often move.
The engine is traditional for Harley - V-twin. Photo: Youtube.com
The traditional vibe of the Harley V-twin is present, the developers said that this was done on purpose, to connect with the company's traditional motorcycles. This is hard to believe, because the vibration of Harley engines is a design flaw introduced into the rank of a cult feature.
The drive to the wheel is unexpectedly chain, not belt
The gearbox is six-speed, the shifts are easy, the clutch is modified, it is squeezed out effortlessly, but the characteristic clanging of Harley gearboxes has not gone away, it is far from the Japanese units of the American gearbox.
When creating the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, engineers tried to make the design as light as possible, but not at the expense of strength. As a result, the engine became a power element of the chassis, but still, the weight of the motorcycle in the standard configuration was 242 kg.
Suspension front and rear adjustable, in the Special version they are electronic. Suspension travel 190 mm, ground clearance - 210 mm.
Brake system Brembo. Photo: Youtube.com
Impressions from the operation
The motorcycle has keyless entry, the exhaust sound is traditional for modern V-shaped engines. The very first trip makes you think before actively unscrewing the throttle - the torque on the bottoms, promised in the advertisement, turned out to be just a locomotive!
The thrust from the Revolution Max engine is even up to the cutoff at 9 rpm in the red zone!
On asphalt, there is enough power to move at a cruising speed of 120-150 km / h, the wind protection does its job perfectly in this driving mode. The average consumption of gasoline is about 5,5 liters per 100 kilometers, which is not much for a volume of 1250 cm3.
Heating grips works rather weakly even at full power. Seat heating is not provided even as an option.
The motorcycle even on asphalt shows character. Photo: Youtube.com
You can switch driving modes to several positions:
- ? Road
- ? Rain
- ? Sport
- ? off-road
- ? off road plus
Each mode has its own engine settings, the "Sport" mode turns the enduro tour almost into a real sportbike.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 enters corners remarkably for Harley, even better than classmates in the heavy enduro class.
On off-road, a heavy motorcycle behaves well, the main thing is not to get into serious mud, otherwise it will be difficult to pull the bike out. Thanks to the course of the suspension, bumps and pits on dirt roads are passed without problems.
In the city, the motorcycle demonstrates high maneuverability for its class. Photo: Youtube.com
If you plan to drive on rocky sections of the road, then it is better to reduce tire pressure - the level of comfort will increase.
The overall off-road experience for the new touring enduro model is great! There are minor flaws in the settings of the driving modes, sometimes the stiffness of the suspensions in the Special version is adjusted electronically incorrectly, but in general, there are no particular complaints.
Who is better - Pan America or Goose from BMW?
If we compare the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 with its main competitor, the BMW R 1250 GS, then in terms of design, Harley will be in the lead. As for driving performance, you should not expect from the new model the clarity and functionality in every option that BMW has worked out for more than 30 years.
If we compare the demand for the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 and BMW R 1250 GS in 2021, then the demand for Harley is much higher. The company has been fueling interest in its new project for about five years, and Harley-Davidson lovers, who have the financial means, hurried to order this motorcycle.
The front of the motorcycle has an original design. Photo: Youtube.com
Rough-road riders who don't care much about the brand will opt for the BMW R 1250 GS, Harley-Davidson's motorcycle is still too raw. It will be finalized not earlier than in a couple of years.
Still a good bike!
Despite the inevitable minor flaws, the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 turned out to be a reliable, stylish and passable universal motorcycle. Due to the low center of gravity, the weight of the bike is not felt. The powerful engine has locomotive traction not only at low and medium speeds, it provides high acceleration dynamics up to the cutoff in the red zone of the tachometer.
Harley-Davidson has created a truly versatile motorcycle that has its own style, different from the "classmates". The flaws will be fixed in the process of improvements, so it is quite possible that the new Harley will someday push the BMW Goose off the pedestal.