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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.
I really want to try one myself! Hope it's the perfect bike for your travels.
I am on page 27 of this RR and I can’t wait to get all caught up ... WOW, just amazing
Wouldn’t be my first choice, or my 3rd, 4th whatever. Each to their own I guess.
I got to page 48 and I am finding myself staying up late at night or waking up in the middle of the night to continue reading. Just an amazing RR and like many I am living vicariously through your experience.
That brand doesn't do
Those don't come with beaks, they have snouts
I hope you and Neda are doing ok WRT the fires there. I know that you're not in the thick of things, but smoke travels and fires spread. Stay safe!
There have been isolated wildfires around our area, but they've been put out or are currently under control. Air quality is very poor, and there's a permanent haze over the Okanagan Valley due to all the fires. The last week has seen some record-breaking temperatures, setting historical highs. We saw 48°C in the city. I ventured out on the bike early one morning and saw this on the display:
Suffice to say, we spent most of last week indoors with the AC cranked up. When we did need to venture out, it felt like this:
Currently, our dirt-biking activities have been curtailed, because the grass is so dry. Even though we have spark arrestors in the pipes, all it takes is a hot exhaust to ignite a fire that could spread quite quickly.
Our local group sent out this video as a warning as to what could happen:
Haha, yes, there's definitely a trend with some of the newer ADV bikes losing the beaks, with the Africa Twin and the T7 going for flat-nosed styling.
The beak always seemed ornamental on bikes already fitted with a front wheel hugger. I like that some more dirt-focused ADV bikes got rid of the front hugger, like the 790/890, so the fender is actually functional rather than being a redundant, but stylish, piece of plastic:
Also, a front hugger tends to collect mud, as we found out often with our bikes when we ride through muck. Same goes for that useless rear mud guard on the R1200GS:
A lot of ADV bikers actually remove the front hugger entirely, mostly as a way to shoehorn in a 21" front:
That WP sticker on the last photo on the right is upside down.
Maybe the sticker is right side up, but the bike is upside down?
This is a write-up I've previously written about the test ride, reposting it here:
Neda's F650GS has been in the shop for over a month now, a victim of both shoddy service and wait times due to COVID parts unavailability. She's getting really fed up with not having a street bike, so we're on the hunt for a replacement for the Beemer.
Like a traveling circus, the Harley-Davidson demo trailer has rolled into town, bringing it with the usual carnival attractions of cruisers and... well, more cruisers. But there is one interesting bike sandwiched in between all the shiny midnight-black-and chromed pre-war machines.
We're here to test ride the Harley-Davidson Pan America, their first foray into the crowded and yet fastest-growing Adventure Motorcycle segment.
We roll into the parking lot and to our surprise, we were the only non-Harley bike.
One of these things is not like the other
We're very surprised that no other riders from other brands showed up. Maybe it's different in other places, but it definitely doesn't bode well for Harley if they're trying to steal market share from the other manufacturers.
Harley had a tent set up for registrations and they had a BBQ fired up churning out hot dogs for the test riders and whoever else wandered into the dealership. Coffee and water were also supplied. It was a very nicely done event, and with social gathering rules relaxing all over the province, it felt good to be able to mingle with people - and more specifically other motorcycle riders - again!
Although all the black-leather-vested clad bikers did eye our full-face helmets and non-black-mesh riding gear with a bit of suspicion, like we were the only kids in class who forgot to wear the school uniform that day...
It felt a bit like this:
We were told there would be two Pan Americas available for the test ride but something must have happened to one of them because only one was available today. I let Neda take first crack at it since she's the one doing the bike-shopping. I was asked which other bike I wanted to try since they only had one Pan America. Truthfully, I don't know anything about Harleys, so I picked the Road King because, well... it's good to be the King, right?
I lifted my feet up to get on the footpegs and found nothing but air. Looked down and realized that the pegs were all the way forward, like they were almost attached to the front axle, like one of those Big Wheel Tricycles that the kids ride. Oh boy.
Neda on the other hand was all smiles as she settled comfortably on the Pan America.
Our test ride took us north out of town on some back roads. I've got Neda on the intercom and I ask her how it is:
She replies, "There's something wrong with the bike. Like the throttle isn't connected to the engine properly or something. Feels like the clutch is slipping?"
Strange. After a few seconds later she starts hollering over the intercom!
"I figured out what it is. It's set to Road mode, I turned it to Sport and this thing flies! I LOVE IT!!!!"
Really!? Did the demo guys nerf the bike because a woman was test-riding it? Not very professional at all.
The rest of the ride, I got a play-by-play commentary of Neda enjoying the Pan America. She was having a riot. Was this going to be her next bike? Sure sounded like it!
I was getting a bit jealous being stuck on my Road King tester, which experienced bad cruiser-flop in the corners, and the reach to the bars and the pegs were set for someone 6 inches taller than me. Nice torque right off-idle though...
When we got back to the dealership, we switched bikes. Neda opted for a Heritage Softail and I climbed aboard the Pan America.
Sitting on the bike felt very familiar. It was like they took all the seating position measurements from the R1250GS and basically grafted a Harley onto those numbers. It did feel slightly smaller than my R1250GS though, the seat is maybe half an inch lower, the seating position is canted slightly more forward, but the riding position is comfortable for long distances.
Lifting the bike off the side-stand was effortless. Harley managed to keep the centre of gravity quite low on this bike, very similar to the R1250. That was very surprising given that it's a V-Twin. It made the bike very easy to maneuver at slow speeds. I was ripping some tight U-turns and figure 8s after the demo ride and I'd say it's almost as good as the GS in that respect.
Nope, just the reflections from the demo truck behind it:
The engine is very vibey in comparison to the BMW's boxer motor. I would liken it more to KTM's 1290 V-Twin engine in their Super Adventure R. It also spewed as much, if not more heat than the 1290.
When I turned the ignition on, I noticed that the bike was set up to start in "Road" mode which made the throttle response feel muted and disconnected, just like Neda had noted. So it wasn't just set for her then! Strange that the Harley guys didn't set it to default to "Sport" mode. And then I realized maybe there was a reason why only one of two Pan Americas made it this far through the demo program. Some Harley pirate must not have been used to the 150 hp and binned one of the Pan Ams when he goosed the throttle in a corner or something.
I flicked the bike to "Sport" mode and which made the throttle feel much more snappier and acceleration became instantaneous. Okay. It is a very nice engine!
It only took a couple of minutes into the test ride to figure out that the GS market isn't what they are aiming for. It's the Mutistrada/SAR which they are competing against. It's a very capable street bike with gobs of power, something the GS never really aspires to. Riders window-shopping for a GS will probably not care about the horsepower as much as Ducati/KTM cross-shoppers.
I never really got a chance to play around with all the buttons and the TFT dash. The bike was supposed to come with the Adjustable Ride Height, but the demo guys didn't know how to turn it on. I would have really liked to see it lower and raise the bike as it came to a stop. BMW's Wonder Wheel is such a better input system than the Gameboy Controller D-Pad that most of the newer bikes sport on the left handlebar.
Most of the manufacturers are moving to this laced wheel setup where the spokes terminate outside the rim. This allows the bike to have both spokes and run tubeless tires.
The bike handled well, good acceleration, comfortable. Harley did a VERY good job taking the best aspects of all the Adventure bikes out there. The numbers for power and weight are in line with the flagship ADV models for BMW, KTM and Ducati. Styling-wise, it's not my bag of tea. Too boxy-looking.
IMO the only thing that could stop them from selling a ton of Pan Americas is the badging. They will need to overcome pre-conceived notions about what a Harley is and isn't from both within and outside the brand. We were so very surprised that no other riders showed up except bike-curious Harley owners who got off the bike complaining how they felt cramped because their feet weren't stretched out in front of them.
Great bike. I like it. I hope they do well, but based on the non-Harley turnout for the test ride, I have my doubts.
The real question is: Did Neda like it...?
I guess the owner must not have been a sticker for details...
Wow, brand ambassador. Must be nice to be sponsored!
I have to admit that we have a Reverse-Sponsorship deal with all of our vendors:
We pay them lots of money and then get to use their products in return.
Ah, you must be thinking of the electric Harleys. Although Neda did get a thumbs-up from these guys:
Ordered my PanAm a month ago. Special with ARH side cases, top case and laced wheels. Dealer called this afternoon and said the factory has run out of laced wheels. I might have to order a 2022.
And... he's back.
Hi Gene - are you ever going to finish your blog of your previous adventure? It's fantastic reading and I check every few weeks to see if you have started again. Alas at this point I have lost hope.
"We are Gene and Neda, we have killed our blog - prepare to cry". See we need you back as you are way better at it than I am.
Your last couple of posts from Lesotho were brilliant - we want more! You could turn Ridedot into an Adventure book.
Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed the Lesotho entries, Africa was quite an adventure.
I kinda fell off updating the website when we were stopped here in BC, but with the borders reopening, I do want to catch up to where we are before we hit the road again!