Harley-Davidson (Harley) has taken the wraps off its first adventure tourer.  Harley’s Pan America is the first time the MoCo has ventured into the “modern” adventure segment.  Now with the rollout of the Pan America, Harley has its own in-house designed and manufactured adventure bike.  Harley says it is the first adventure bike made in America.

Pan America 1250cc Revolution® Max engine

The Pan America rolls out in two versions; the Pan America 1250 and the Pan America 1250 Special.  Both are powered by Harley’s fuel-injected Revolution® Max 1250 engine.  It’s a liquid-cooled 1250cc V-Twin powerplant making a claimed 150 hp and putting out a claimed 94 lb-ft of torque at 6,750 rpm.  Harley says that the engine is designed to “offer a broad powerband that builds to a rush of high-RPM power.”  Transferring the power to the rear wheel is a six-speed transmission.

Revolution Max 1250 Pan America

The Harley-Davidson Revolution Max 1250 engine.


The Pan America’s uses its engine as a stressed member.  The frame consists of stamped, cast, and forged junctions that are MIG welded.  It also has a forged aluminum mid structure.

Pan America Suspension

On the Pan America 1250, you’ll find a 47 mm inverted fork that inserts into aluminum triple clamps.  The fork is adjustable for compression and rebound damping as well as spring preload.  At the rear, you’ll find a linkage-mounted piggyback monoshock that is adjustable for compression and rebound as well as “hydraulic spring preload.”

Moving up to the Pan America 1250 Special, you’ll find a 47mm Showa inverted fork that comes with technology-driven adjustability.  The Special’s fork has electronically adjustable semi-active damping control.  In addition, the rear monoshock has “…automatic electronic preload control and semi-active compression and rebound damping.”

Both the Pan America 1250 and the Pan America 1250 Special provide 7.5 inches of front and rear travel and 8.3 inches of ground clearance.


Braking at the front is handled by a radially mounted Brembo monoblock four-piston caliper.  It clamps down on dual 320mm floating rotors.  At the rear, a single-piston caliper puts the whoa on a single 280mm disc.


Weight is always a significant concern for big adventure bikes.  Harley says it worked hard to achieve a desirable power-to-weight ratio.  They say that the Pan America’s design focuses on performance and minimizing weight. These parameters play a large role in developing the bike’s engine architecture, material choices, and component design.

Ultimately, the new Pan America’s arrive with a wet weight of 534 pounds for the 1250 Pan America and 559 pounds for the Pan America 1250 Special.   Approximately 40 pounds of both bike’s wet weight is attributable to the fuel carried in the bike’s 5.6-gallon fuel tanks.  With a claimed 48 mpg fuel efficiency, the Pan America’s fuel capacity could take you about 265 miles before running dry.

Tires and Wheels

The Pan America 1250 uses cast aluminum tubeless rims.  The front uses a 19-inch wheel, while the rear uses a 17-inch hoop.  These rims are shod with Michelin Scorcher Adventure radials.  If you move up to the Pan America 1250 Special, the bike can have tubeless anodized aluminum spoked wheels.


To let you know what’s happening on the bike, Harley has fitted a 6.8-inch viewable area  TFT touchscreen display capable of showing speedometer, gear, odometer, fuel level, clock, trip, ambient temp, low temp alert, side stand down alert, TIP over alert, cruise, range, and tachometer indication.  It is also Bluetooth capable and offers phone pairing to access phone calls, and music.  It also has a navigation function using an H-D dedicated app.

Pan America display

The Pan America’s instrument panel is a 6.8-inch TFT touchscreen display.


The Pan America’s seat height is a rather ADV-ish 33.4 inches.  However, with the Special’s optional Adaptive Ride Height (ARH) suspension, the unladen seat height can be as low as 32.7 inches.  Adding a 180-pound rider can result in a seat height as low as 30.4 inches.  Harley says that the ARH does not compromise suspension travel.

The bike’s four-position windshield can be adjusted with one hand through a range of 1.8 inches to make riding more comfortable.  Also increasing comfort on longer rides is cruise control as standard.

The Pan America 1250 Special is equipped with other equipment not found on its sibling.  Included in the list of additional equipment is a centerstand, heated grips with three temperature settings, a steering damper, a multi-position rear brake pedal, brush guards, and an aluminum skid plate.


To help you see and be seen, the Pan America comes with LED lighting.  The “Daymaker Signature LED headlamp”, tail, stoplights, and turn signals are all LED.

Warranty and service

The Pan America comes with a 24-month unlimited mileage warranty.  Its first service interval comes at 1,000 miles, with subsequent service intervals of 5,000 miles thereafter.


The list of technology in the Pan America is very extensive.  It’s going to take you a while to read through all of it.  So if you’d like to skip right to the final details, we’ll let you know now that the base Pan America has an MSRP of $17,319, while the Pan America 1250 Special retails for $19,999.  That pricing makes it competitive with other brands’ large displacement ADV machines.

With BMW’s base R 1250 GS starting at $17,995 and R 1250 GS Adventure priced at $20,345, along with Ducati’s base Multistrada at $19,995, and its S model at $24,095, the Harley machine’s pricing is competitive.  That said, big-bore ADV bikes from Honda, Suzuki and Triumph are cheaper.  Nonetheless, by comparison, any fears that the Pan America would be overpriced are now moot.

spoked wheel pan america

You can get the Pan America with tubeless aluminum spoked wheels.


The Pan America bikes make significant use of technology and come with a large suite of technology and rider aids.  There is a veritable alphabet soup of electronic controls to control many, many different aspects of riding.

  • Cornering Enhanced Electronically Linked Braking – C-ELB
    •  The C-ELB system provides balanced front and rear braking under a wide variety of brake applications. The system provides more linking when the rider is applying heavier braking and reduces or eliminates linking for light braking and low speeds.
  • Cornering Enhanced Antilock Braking System (C-ABS)
    • C-ABS is a variant of ABS that considers the lean angle of the motorcycle. While cornering, the available grip for braking is reduced, and C-ABS automatically compensates.
  • Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS)
    • C-TCS is a variant of TCS that accounts for the motorcycle’s lean angle. Each pre-programmed Ride Mode has a specific level of TCS and/or C-TCS. In the customizable ride modes, the rider can select from three levels of C-TCS intervention.
  • Cornering Enhanced Drag-Torque Slip Control System (C-DSCS)
    •  C-DSCS detects excessive rear wheel slip under powertrain-induced deceleration. It will adjust engine torque delivery to better match rear-wheel speed to road speed. The action of C-DSCS is tailored when cornering, based on detected lean angle.
  • Hill Hold Control (HHC)
    • HHC is designed to make it easier to ride away with confidence by minimizing the number of controls needed to pull away smoothly. The system applies brake pressure until the rider actuates the throttle and clutch to pull away.

Technology only available on Pan America 1250 Special

  • Adaptive Ride Height (ARH)
    • Using four selectable Adaptive Ride Height sub-modes, the system allows a rider to more easily mount the bike and put their feet down at a stop, by lowering the seat height 1 to 2 inches.
  • Semi-Active Suspension
    • Utilizing data provided by sensors on the motorcycle, this suspension system automatically controls damping to suit the prevailing conditions and riding activity. The system uses Showa BFF (Balance Free Forks), and the rear uses BFRC (Balance Free Rear Cushion-lite) coil-over shock. 
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
    • The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) displays current front and rear tire pressure on the color display screen and displays an indicator to alert the rider when tire pressure is low.
  • Daymaker® Signature Adaptive Headlamp
    • Daymaker® Adaptive Headlamp technology utilizes the ABS IMU to determine the motorcycle’s lean angle to illuminate areas of the road that traditional LED lights may not light.

Ride modes

Pan America riders can choose from several different ride modes, and according to Harley-Davidson, the modes work as follows;

  • Sport
    • This setting provides “the full performance potential of the motorcycle in a direct and precise manner, with full power and the quickest throttle response. C-TCS is set to its lowest intervention level for on-road use, and engine braking is increased.  On the Pan America™ 1250 Special model, Sport Mode will also increase the rate of suspension damping for enhanced feedback to the rider at higher speeds.”
  • Road
    • This mode offers less-aggressive throttle response and less mid-range engine power than Sport Mode, with a higher level of C-ABS and C-TCS intervention. On the Pan America 1250, Special, Road Mode selects a suspension damping setting that delivers a softer ride than Sport Mode.
  • Rain
    • Throttle response and power output are programmed to significantly restrain the rate of acceleration, engine braking is limited, and the highest levels of C-ABS and C-TCS intervention are selected. On the Special model, Rain Mode will also adjust suspension damping to a compliant comfort setting.
  • Off-road
    • This mode is designed for unpaved roads and moderate off-road situations. The motorcycle will deliver a mid-range level of power, and the torque curve is tailored for use in an off-road environment.  This is less peak torque and horsepower at the upper end of the rpm range.  In Off-Road Mode, C-ABS is active on both wheels, with interventions designed specifically for loose, unpaved surfaces. The C-TCS intervention is set at the same level as Sport Mode. On the Special model, Off-Road Mode adjusts suspension damping to an off-road setting for enhanced control over uneven surfaces.
  • Off-road plus
    • “This mode is intended for use by experienced riders in the most challenging off-road situations.”  Engine performance is the same as Off-Road mode.  ABS function on the rear wheel is disabled, the linked braking function and the Drag Torque Slip Control (DSCS) are disabled. The TCS is set to provide the least intervention available. Front-wheel lift mitigation and rear-wheel lift mitigation are also disabled. The cornering enhancement to TCS and front-wheel ABS is disabled, meaning these systems will be at their consistent intervention level regardless of motorcycle lean angle. On the Special model, the Off-Road Plus Mode will adjust the suspension to have less initial damping for increased compliance over larger suspension inputs – bumps on the trail, obstacles or landing after leaving the surface.”

Rider designed modes

  • Custom
    • “Custom Mode allows the rider to create a set of performance characteristics to meet personal preference or for special situations, such as a track day. To create a Custom Mode, the rider may select their combined preference of engine torque delivery characteristics, engine braking, throttle response, C-TCS and C-ABS intervention, and suspension damping levels (Special model only), within specific ranges. On Special motorcycles equipped with optional Adaptive Ride Height (ARH), the rider can adjust the timing of, or turn off, the lowering function. The rider can create one Custom Mode for the Pan America 1250 model and up to three different Custom Modes (Custom A, Custom B, and Custom Off-Road) for the Special model. 
  • Custom Off-road Plus
    • “This mode will retain the engine performance setting selected by the rider for their Custom Off-Road Mode, but will select all of the other Off-Road Plus settings.”

It’s clear that Harley has spent a lot of time on the Pan America’s technology and capability.  As Harley’s initial foray into the adventure bike segment, the Pan America could be a “make it or break it” moment for its entry into the ADV category.

So what are your initial thoughts on the Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special?  Let us know in the comments below.


All photo credit: Harley-Davidson

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