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ADV NewsHarley-Davidson Unveils 2021 Pan America In Production Form

Harley-Davidson Unveils 2021 Pan America In Production Form

 There’s no denying Harley is going all-in with this adventure-ready model.

Published on 11.07.2019
WATCH: Harley-Davidson gives a glimpse of the Pan America in action.

I don’t know about you guys, but this new video Harley-Davidson released showing its Pan America eating up some high country trails is not a turn off. In fact, seeing – and hearing – that big V-twin harmonizing with dirt spray is quite the opposite.

We’ve learned some interesting new things about the 2021 Pan America, expected in dealerships late 2020, since its official unveiling at the International motorcycle show going on this week in Milan, Italy. 

Harley Davidson 2021 Pan America
Pan America Adventure Motorcycle in action
After more than a year of rumors and prototypes, Harley has finally revealed the production version of the Pan America. Expected to launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model.

Firstly, there can be no doubt, the Motor Company is dead serious about this model being a true off-road-ready adventure bike, as illustrated by its spoked wheels, Michelin/H-D co-branded knobbies, burly skid plate, crash bars, bolt-on rear sub-frame and brush guards. 


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Harley has further revealed the Pan America will be powered by an all-new, liquid-cooled 60-degree 1250cc V-twin engine dubbed the Revolution Max, the largest in a series of Revolution powerplants destined to power the entire Harley line.

Harley Davidson Pan America engine
At the heart of the Pan America is an all-new liquid-cooled 1,250cc ‘Revolution Max’ engine, pumping out a claimed 145 hp and 90 ft-lbs of torque.

Harley claims the Revolution Max will generate a very impressive 145 horsepower, a huge leap in top-end over its current big gun, the torque-heavy 1868cc Milwaukee Eight, which delivers less than 100 hp. Promised torque from the engine will be “more than 90 ft-lbs,” plenty of grunt for trials-speed trail gunning. Harley describes the Max’s powerband as broad as it builds “to a surge of high-rpm power.”  Interestingly, these numbers are right in the ballpark with performance outcomes from BMW’s R1250GS, the bike and audience that’s most likely Harley’s target. 

Harley Davidson unveils production version of Pan America
Harley Davidson Pan America instrument panel
The new machine will likely feature a full-color, touchscreen display, similar to that included in the LiveWire.

Press materials describe the Pan America’s powertrain as physically “narrow” and mentions that it features an “internal counter balancer” to dampen vibration as the huge V-twin does double duty as a stressed frame member. Appropriately, the bike’s final drive will be chain. 

Stopping power will be supplied by two big custom-for-H-D Brembo discs with four-piston calipers up front and a single disc out back. Suspension appears to be semi-active and we expect the bike to offer a raft of rider aids and switchable modes navigated via the big TFT screen we see in the photos. Other notable features evidenced by the cockpit view is a trim, manually adjustable windscreen and switchgear that promises cruise control and also hints of a full infotainment capability. 

Pan America adventure bike wheels
Stopping power will be delivered by all-new Brembo monoblock calipers.
The bike will sport H-D/Michelin co-branded knobbies created exclusively for the Pan America.

The sideview of the rider ripping around on the Pan America gives the impression the bike will offer a low seat height, a sure way to get in the door with new riders and brand loyalists wanting to try their hand at adventure riding.

Harley calls the Pan America its “two-wheeled multi-tool. Equal parts campfire, wanderlust and grit.” It also says the bike has been “Engineered for the unknown,” which is far more profound than their marketing team intended. 

Indeed, the Pan America, Harley’s unlikely adventure bike, is on course to touch down on a foreign planet, before an audience of motorcycling’s hardest-to-please customers. What’s “unknown” is how the newcomer will fare in the “perform-or-go-home” adventure bike market. 

Queue the popcorn, as the next model year promises one heck of a show.  

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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12 thoughts on “Harley-Davidson Unveils 2021 Pan America In Production Form

  1. I hope it is not priced like the LiveWire. That will a deal buster. Also, will the dealer network pick it up? The local HD dealers know NADA about the LiveWire.

    • I think it will be priced right at where BMW sells their adv model. My guess is it will be priced competitively, won’t be too heavy, will have everything anybody wants in an adv bike. I would bet over the next 2 to 3 years the Pan America will end up taking a big bite out of this market. The Harley hate is legendary but people tend to forget that Harley is a very big and sophisticated motorcycle company (and have been around the longest for a reason). They have the resources and tech to build any bike and do as good a job, or better, than anyone out there if they so choose. And, it looks like they have decided to do just that. Sentiments regarding Harley are going to change so fast heads will snap. That is my prediction.

  2. I’d say there will be no problem with the dealer network since the Pan will run a conventional powertrain. As for the price, there’s no a chance it will be a bargain, but neither are the top shelf adventure bikes it will be competing with.

  3. Jamie, any clue what it will weigh? It looks good, has competitive features and power. Weight (and center of gravity) could be a make-or-break stat.

  4. Harley has never build light bikes. Now take that huge V2, put a reasonably sized gas tank on the top and what will you get? A bike that is more top heavy than all others of it’s category on the market. The boxer engine of BMW has a clear advantage in that respect. There is a reason why KTM gave the 990 side tanks and revived that concept with he brilliantly balanced 790!

  5. Not so sure about the plastic brake fluid reservoir. That’s a pretty likely spot for a branch to take it out on a trail.
    As to going directly after the BMW buyers, I’m not so sure. The culture of BMW is almost there polar opposite of Harley.
    The ATGATT and “if it’s not stock, it’s too loud” (referring to exhaust) crowd isn’t likely to fuck to a dealer where 90% of the customers are wearing half helmets (except in state with no helmet laws, then they are wearing a do-rag and espousing the mantra of loud pipes save lives.

    • Your last point is a problem that Buell suffered from for years. Lots of complaining about it and Harley never fixed it really. I love my 08 XB12X but I didn’t buy it at a dealer, used in 2012. If these bikes occupy the same spaces that the Buells did, they’ll sell about as well I’d say. If only some HD dealers take part, that’ll doom it to failure too. I’d be shocked if they went to the multi-brand dealers with the PA but anything is possible I guess…hell, Harley is building a GS, who’d a thunk it?

  6. What I think everyone is missing here, and this comment is a clear example, is that the whole point of these new models is Harley is changing. I get it though, it is so hard to see the change until it happens. Much easier to keep thinking of everything staying as it is. Soon, when you walk into a HD dealership, you will find a much different line up. Along with the traditional cruisers you will find Livewires, the Bronx, PanAmericas and even more in the coming years. Also, I get the feeling that Harley’s reputation has been over dramatized by people who have never even stepped foot in a dealership. I have been many times and it is nothing like everyone wants to make titout as. My experience was that they have always been welcoming and non judgemental. There are always those idiots but, honestly, every brand has that. I can totally see all these new bikes co-existing with the cruiser models and, of course, the ever cool Sportster line up (which has been fully embraced by the younger crowd over the last few years). I think everyone is in for a big shock as this change takes place.

  7. I think this bike and their “Bronx” street fighter are going to sell very well. Harley has the means to build anything they want and to do it in a way that is attractive and competitive. They seem to have finally caught on to the fact that they need to make other models and we are starting to see the results of the realization.

    Oh, and I think you meant “cue” in your last sentence? Otherwise, why would we want to line up the popcorn?